I have a former client that called our office and flat out asked for a cash referral fee to be paid to her for people she has referred to us. As far as I know we have only received one inspection from her realtor because she was impressed with our work.
I don’t believe Florida law allows it.
468.8319 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) A person may not:
(a) Effective July 1, 2011, practice or offer to practice home inspection services unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
(b) Effective July 1, 2011, use the name or title “certified home inspector,” “registered home inspector,” “licensed home inspector,” “home inspector,” “professional home inspector,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
© Present as his or her own the license of another.
(d) Knowingly give false or forged evidence to the department or an employee thereof.
(e) Use or attempt to use a license that has been suspended or revoked.
(f) Perform or offer to perform any repairs to a home on which the inspector or the inspector’s company has prepared a home inspection report. This paragraph does not apply to:
1. A home warranty company that is affiliated with or retains a home inspector to perform repairs pursuant to a claim made under a home warranty contract.
2. A certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the home inspection and offers to perform the repairs, the contract for repairs provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.
(g) Inspect any property in which the inspector or the inspector’s company has any financial or transfer interest.
(h) Offer or deliver any compensation, inducement, or reward to any broker or agent therefor for the referral of the owner of the inspected property to the inspector or the inspection company.
(i) Accept an engagement to make an omission or prepare a report in which the inspection itself, or the fee payable for the inspection, is contingent upon either the conclusions in the report, preestablished findings, or the close of escrow.
(2) Any person who is found to be in violation of any provision of this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) This section does not apply to unlicensed activity as described in paragraph (1)(a), paragraph (1)(b), or s. 455.228 that occurs before July 1, 2011.
History.—s. 2, ch. 2007-235; s. 20, ch. 2010-106; s. 12, ch. 2010-176.
That refers to agent or broker and not client
I’d give $25 for each referral if that makes her happy.
I give $ gift cards for referrals from clients, I tell them that the people they refer have to tell me who they were referred by, and obviously, the referral has to result in an inspection.
I would not give your ex client anything unless I could verify that she did successfully refer, ask for the name, and if you did an inspection for them, call the other party to verify they were referred. 25 bucks, or 10%, check or visa card and keep the receipt for your taxes.
In any business or congress, it takes money to get anything done. Money is flowing. Because there is so much that flows, people think that they deserve a fee for suggesting your services, or any other effort in their behalf. So much so, that this is becoming an automatic requirement.
Agents, brokers, offices will not allow you to communicate or advertise in any office, or to any REA, until a fee is paid. It is expected.
Today, this is becoming the only way that you market to any association, industry, or REA office.
To heck with ethics.
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Remember, you can rebate any person who pays you for a service. You cannot rebate a third party. Nothing wrong with this referral fee/gift card. If you offered it, honor it. Keep the costs under $40. Often I will put a surprise flyer in just some of the pockets of REA offices; not all of them.
“Gees, what did you get in your mail box? I did not get one. I think I will call that inspector…”
Darn, Nathan. Another marketing secret out.
Gary, I market to agents and brokerages all the time and have never once been asked for a fee to do so.
Sounds very unethical. Around here no Realtor is allowed to received any fees without disclosing it to the client that they will be getting money from me. That right there would be a BIG RED FLAG THAT MY SERVICES ARE NOT IN THEIR BEST INTEREST.
I work for my client only not the real estate agent. Good agents respect that
Several REA offices here will not let any HI into an office unless you have paid a “advertising fee”. KW is one.
Sad that some of the most famous RE companies want money for you to advertise, promote your business, and do presentations. Most limit the amount to 5. IE, 5 mortgage companies, 5 title companies, etc. So, if only 5 HI’s are allowed, pay the fees, the REA’s use them exclusively. And, for the most part, they are all inexperienced. The buyer’s are the ones who get the shaft.
Again, it takes money to play in many offices. Soon, it may become a bidding process.
Does sound completely unethical.
Have you reported this to the real estate board or commission?
This just came in a minute ago and is an example of why client referrals are important.
Not sure why a happy past client would do anything other than refer you without compensation.
I often tell people how good the food is at a restaurant and never has the thought crossed my mind to suggest they pay me for it.
Bob, thanks again for your good work last summer. G… and I are very happy in the condo. I referred you to Mi…, copied here, who just signed a contract and would like to schedule an inspection. Hopefully you have some time to assist her, as I told her what a thorough job you did for us.
Happy holidays, J…
One thing common among people is the desire to help their friends. When you know of a good (insert name of profession, here) and your friend, family member or acquaintance is in need of someone you know — when are you ever hesitant to share that information?
Instead of offering to pay someone to say nice things about you, consider offering a $25 discount to any person they refer to you. Let your client win points with their friends and get the credit for a good referral AND a good price.
Have thought about printing a discount on the back of my business cards. Doesn’t really do much for the referring client, but will save whoever they give the card to. When the new client gives you the card, you know who it came from. Have thought about sticking a few random ones in the ones I leave with agents, without telling them.