Refer Everyone to Everything: Strange Ways to Make Money

Many businesses are willing to pay you to refer your friends to them. It’s far cheaper for a company to pay you for a referral than it is for them to advertise and discount in order to recruit new customers. Some companies pay you in cash, while others give you a credit on your bill. Some will give you free or discounted services, such as the landscaper who gives you a free weed treatment for every referral. However they reward you, referral bonuses add up to money in your
pocket. If you have a lot of friends who are willing to accept your referrals, you can make several hundred dollars a year or more.

What kind of companies offer referral bonuses? Almost any company that has competition in your area might be willing to offer referral bonuses. A quick look around my area turned up the following offers:

Cable/Satellite: Most providers around here offer either cash, statement credit, or free premium channels if your referral leads to a new contracted customer.

Employers: Several employers in my area offer bonuses to current employees if they refer someone for an open position and the referral is hired. It’s usually a cash bonus, but one employer gives extra vacation time.

Veterinarians: My vet gives my pet a free physical if someone I refer becomes a client.

Phone/Cell Phone: Many cell phone carriers or phone companies offer statement credits if you refer someone who signs a contract.

Rewards Programs / Survey Sites: Many sites will give you cash or “points” added to your account for your referrals.

Internet: Statement credits or cash are common bonuses given by Internet providers.

Contractors: Some will give you cash back if you refer someone who hires them for a job. If you’re currently in the middle of a project, the contractor may offer a discount or a credit good for a future project.

Banks: Some will deposit cash into your account if someone you refer opens an account.

Mechanics: Free or discounted services are common bonuses that mechanics offer.

Landscapers: A landscaper may offer free or discounted services.

Insurers: A discount on your policy or a credit on your bill may be offered if a referral takes out a policy.

Business Vendors: If your company has a relationship with a hardware manufacturer, caterer, janitorial service, water supplier, or any other supplier/vendor and you refer them to another company, your company may get some freebies. This isn’t necessarily money in your pocket (unless you own the business), but it may make you look good to the boss.

How do you capitalize on these bonuses? Most important, make sure you understand how the referral program works and what the person you’re referring needs to do to ensure you get credit. Some programs require your friend to simply list your name on the application. Others require that they list your account number on the application. Make sure the person you are referring has the information they need and that they do what is required so that you get the bonus.

Read the fine print so you know how many referrals you can make and still get credit. Some companies limit you to two or three referrals per year while others have no limit. Make sure that the referral is given at the time of initial sign up. Most companies won’t let you go back and say,”Oh, by the way, Joe Smith referred me.” If it’s not done at sign-up time, you’ll likely forfeit the bonus.

You don’t want to become obnoxious about referrals. Don’t hound your friends if they don’t want to use your service providers. Simply make them aware that you have a provider you like and that you would be happy if they would let you refer them. Don’t beg and don’t get upset if they choose to use someone else.

Ask your service providers and employer if they offer referral bonuses. If they do and you know of friends or family who are in the market for a specific service, don’t hesitate to refer them. You may score a bonus for your effort.

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