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Setting up referral fees with another firm

Any common approaches?

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As a firm bsed in Northern Ireland, we have clients on both NI/UK and Ireland. We've taken to decision not to engage any new clients based in Republic Of Ireland and we have spoken to a few firms in Ireland who are happy to accept referrals. We still get active enquiries and will be passing these leads on.

Anyone have an arrangement for referral fees in a similar situation?
Options would include:

  • Flat rate referral charge - what level does anyone else use?  £50?  £100?
  • Portion of year 1 fee - 5%, 10% , something else?

I would imagine the first option is much easier to manage for both parties but unsure of a suitable level. Anything over £100 seems excessive to me.

Obviosuly a disclaimer would be wise when referring the lead/prospect on and we can easily put this in place with a common email paragraph.

Any help/comments greatly appreciated.

Replies (6)

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By zebaa
19th Sep 2021 12:36

How much work do you intend to do on a referral ? A percentage I think is a non-starter. Far too much work to track in any reasonable way, never mind possible data issues as the protocol winds its merry way to goodness knows where. I would decline to pay £50 for a phone number, more so if it's only a few miles south. My suggestion would be to look again at the basis of your question; can you afford to turn away ROI custom ? Having some sort of location in the EU / ROI, while being a lot of effort, may be the way to go.

Thanks (1)
Replying to zebaa:
By KPEM online
20th Sep 2021 04:59

Less than 5% of current clients are ROI based and the need to maintain CPD especially around tax makes it less attractive for a small firm.

Location isn't really the issue. I don't want to offer a service at a basic level to Irish clients if they can get better tax advice elsewhere.

It's really a decision around what clients need and deserve. We can do all the basic compliance but keeping up with two sets of regs isn't on the roadmap.

Thanks (1)
By Hugo Fair
19th Sep 2021 13:13

Obviously we don't know the numbers (of referable enquiries or indeed the %age of them that would 'convert'), but I'd be surprised if there's a fee which would both make sense for those 'buying' them for you and generate sufficient income for you to make your time worthwhile.
And, as zebaa hints at, would you be simply copying through an unqualified contact (in which case value is greatly diminished) or providing 'filtered' (aka qualified) enquiries (with a higher value but at increased costs for you)?

A bit of lateral thinking might be helpful ...
* Presumably you're only interested in passing these potential leads to Agents whom you believe not to be a competitive threat to yourselves ... so why not establish a relationship with them not based on payments but on an exchange of enquiries?

That way both parties are more likely to be 'invested' in the relationship (leading to higher quality leads in both directions) ... win:win (and both parties now appear to be operating in both territories).

Thanks (2)
paddle steamer
19th Sep 2021 22:53

A long time ago (90s) if we brought new clients to the firm I was with we received a bonus through payroll of circa 30% of the year one fee, however we only received after the fee had been rendered and paid and we needed to still be working for the firm, so payment could easily be 2 years after introducing the client.

Obviously not the same as introducing to another firm, and we could ourselves readily check what was billed from the file (in the days when fees were annual in arrears), but at least guidance re the value of an introduction- certainly cheaper than buying blocks of fees and of course an incentive for staff not to wander.

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By atleastisoundknowledgable...
20th Sep 2021 08:34

I pay £50 one-off commission when a referral pays their first year’s fees.

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By roger brisley
21st Sep 2021 15:47

Why is it from outside your area? Money laundering issue?

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