Most of our software work comes from referrals. As developers, how do you go about referring out projects that aren't in your area of competency?


Provide contact information for someone you know that does do the work necessary.

Most the people I directly refer clients to know that if I haven't specifically mentioned this client to them, then I don't really know the client and merely dropping my name shouldn't carry any undue favoritism or trust in general. It's pretty easy to just drop a name... So I always make it a point to contact the referral directly if the client is in good standing with me. It helps overcome some of the initial apprehension with unknown clients for the referral.

If I refer a client I have worked with in the past, I drop a quick email or phone call to let them know "Client XX may be contacting you." and a brief history of my relations with the client:

  • They pay on time
  • They pay, but generally 30 days out
  • They are meticulous with respect to X
  • I don't enjoy working with the client, but you may
  • Nice client, but they tend to want everything very quickly
  • This is my favorite client, please take care of them

-- that sort of thing.

Or I politely decline the project if I can't make any direct referrals. "Sorry, I just don't do XXX and unfortunately I don't have anyone to directly refer you to."

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