In the competitive world of plumbing services, finding effective ways to stand out and attract new clients is paramount. Traditional methods such as SEO and advertising are essential, but one powerful strategy that should not be overlooked is word-of-mouth marketing. 

Nothing beats the power of a personal recommendation from a satisfied customer, and that’s where a plumber referral program comes into play. Not only does it help you reach potential clients who need emergency service quickly, but it also fosters loyal customers who will continue to use and recommend your services in the future. 

This article explores how to set up and optimize a successful plumber referral program to maximize your reach, attract new customers, and maintain a loyal client base. Let’s dive in.

What is a plumber referral program?

A plumber referral program is a strategy that plumbing businesses use to incentivize existing clients to refer their services to others. This is a popular method of attracting new customers, as people are more likely to trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, or colleague.

lazard plumber referral program

How does a plumber referral program work?

In a plumber referral program, a plumbing business provides a reward to previous clients who successfully refer new customers. This reward can take many forms, including discounts on future services, cash rewards, or even non-monetary rewards like exclusive benefits or priority service.

It’s crucial for a business to track where their new clients are coming from, so they can understand the success of their referral program. This is typically done through unique referral codes or links that customers share with their friends.

Rather than manually tracking referrals, the most efficient plumber referral programs use software to automatically track the referral source when a new customer books a service, and instantly distribute rewards when they are earned. This not only reduces the potential for errors, but also saves time and resources.

A well-managed plumber referral program can significantly boost the client base of a plumbing business by leveraging the trust and connections of their existing clients.

Why do you need a plumber referral program?

A plumber referral program can be an effective tool in your marketing strategy for several reasons:

Reliable customer acquisition: Plumbing is a service that people usually don’t require frequently. Thus, customer acquisition can be a challenge. With a referral program, you can leverage your existing satisfied customers to acquire new ones, providing a reliable channel for client growth.

Trusted recommendations: Customers tend to spend a lot of time researching different plumbers before making a decision. However, they place significant trust in the recommendations of friends and family. If your services are recommended by a trusted source, potential customers are more likely to choose you over competitors.

Cost-effective marketing: Compared to traditional advertising, referral programs can be more cost-effective. Traditional ads require upfront investment without any guarantee of conversion. But with a referral program, you only pay for successful conversions – when a referred client makes a purchase.

Low risk: Because you’re only paying for successful referrals, plumber referral programs carry less financial risk compared to traditional ads. This makes them an attractive option, especially for small businesses or those with tight marketing budgets.

Performance tracking: Referral programs allow you to easily track the source of your referrals, so you can understand how your program is performing. This data can provide valuable insights, allowing you to refine and improve your referral program over time.

Referral software for plumbers [Free Tools]

These referral tools for plumbers are a free and easy way to help you start your referral program.

Free Tools + Services:

Want a fully automated referral program for your plumbing business? Run your referral program with us at Referral Rock. Find out how we can build your program with you (and tailor it to your unique needs)

Are you ready for a plumbing referral program?

Even with all the benefits, not every plumbing company is ready for a referral program. You’ll need the following essentials in place before you launch a plumber referral program, for the program to be a success:

  • A healthy base of existing customers who love your work – ideally, some of them should already be recommending your services without prompting
  • A website to send referred leads to
  • A customer experience worth recommending – plumbing work is all about the service 
  • A high level of customer satisfaction, including high ratings from customer reviews 

If you’ve met all these criteria, dive in to see how you can create a top-performing plumber referral program.

Plumber referral program best practices

A plumber referral program can be a great tool to expand your customer base and increase business. Here are some best practices to keep in mind while designing your referral program.

Choose double-sided rewards

A double-sided reward system in a plumber referral program can be a highly effective strategy. This means offering incentives to both the referrer and the referred friend.

Providing rewards to both parties encourages frequent referrals. The referrer is motivated to refer more friends in order to receive more rewards, while the referred friend is incentivized to employ your plumbing services to take advantage of their “side” of the referral reward.

Since the referrer likely won’t require your services again soon, the reward for them should not be tied to your business. But plumbing services can represent significant investments, so the reward must reflect the value they’re bringing to your business. Cash referral fees, gift cards for other businesses, gift baskets, or experiences such as travel or events can make great rewards for the advocate.

plumber referral program gift card

Vary rewards based on the type of service

It’s a good practice to vary rewards based on the type of service a referral results in. Offering higher rewards for referrals to more expensive services is a smart strategy. For example, you could give more cash back for a referral that results in a water heater installation, versus one that leads to a routine maintenance job. Similarly, you could offer higher rewards for referrals to business plumbing services, which are typically more expensive than services for home owners.

scaled plumber referral program rewards

The reward for the referred friend, on the other hand, should be directly tied back to your services, to encourage them to use your plumbing services. This could be in the form of discounts, credits toward their project, cash back after the project is paid for, waiving fees (such as the inspection fee), or offering free or discounted additional services.

A double-sided reward system can create a virtuous cycle, with satisfied customers referring others, who then become satisfied customers themselves and continue the referral cycle. This can help grow your customer base and enhance your business’s reputation, no matter what your customer needs. From water damage to restoration services, the right program will make a difference.

Select referral software for the backbone of your program

Selecting the right referral software is crucial to the success of your plumber referral program. It can streamline the program creation process, automate management, and provide valuable insights into your program’s performance and customer satisfaction. Here’s why you need referral software:

Program creation and management: The right software can help you quickly set up and manage your referral program. It can automate many of the tasks involved in managing a referral program, like tracking referrals, issuing rewards, and monitoring program performance.

Referral tracking: Referral software typically generates unique referral links for each of your advocates. This allows you to precisely track where every referral is coming from and issue rewards instantly when a referral is successful.

Data collection and analysis: Referral software collects data about your program’s performance. You can use this data to measure the success of your program, identify areas for improvement, and refine your program to achieve better results.

Referral Rock referral software offers best-in-class features for referral tracking, sharing, and engagement, and doesn’t require any technical expertise to set up. We offer concierge onboarding, meaning our experts will guide you through the setup process, and ongoing support to ensure your referral program runs smoothly. Using Referral Rock can greatly simplify the process of creating and managing a successful plumber referral program.

referral rock software

Optimize your program for easy sharing

Optimizing your referral program for easy sharing is key to its success. Here are some strategies to ensure that customers can easily share your program with their friends:

Ease of access and sharing: Make sure that customers can access the program and share it with as few clicks or taps as possible. The easier it is for them to share, the more likely they are to do so.

Clear messaging: Use an enticing headline that clearly states what customers need to do (i.e., share your services) and what they’ll receive in return (i.e., the reward). This gives them immediate understanding of the benefit they’ll get from participating in the program.

Concise explanation: Clearly explain the program and the conditions for earning rewards in a few simple steps. If it’s too complicated or confusing, customers may be discouraged from participating.

Visible call to action: Include a prominent call to action button to prompt customers to share. This could be a ‘Share Now’ or ‘Refer a Friend’ button that leads them to the sharing options.

FAQ page: Direct customers to an FAQ page for any further questions they might have. This will help resolve any doubts or confusions they might have about the program.

Multiple sharing options: Offer various ways for customers to share the referral program, catering to the ways they naturally share information with friends. This could include email, social media, or a referral link that they can copy and paste anywhere.

Give out unique referral links

Referral links tie back every referral to the person who made it, so your business can easily track and reward referrals. Each referral link has a unique identifier, so it’s always associated with a given customer.

Referral software generates referral links for customers easily and automatically. Be sure to present the referral link when someone signs up for the program, so they’re ready to copy and paste it anywhere.

Design a simple referral form

Plumbing referral programs tend to ask for a lot of information, but too many questions can get overwhelming quickly. Only ask for the information you need to track who the referral came from and contact the new lead – you can get more info later if that’s needed

Consider one of these simple lead form combinations:

  • Referrer name, phone, and email; lead name, phone, and email
  • Referrer name and email; lead name, phone, and email
  • Referrer name and email, lead name and email

plumbing referral form

Use social media to your advantage

Social media platforms are a common place for customers to share things they love with their friends. Therefore, it makes sense to include social media sharing options in your referral program. One share could potentially expose your business to thousands of potential customers. Encourage your customers to share referral links or posts about your services on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Promote your program in lots of places

To generate new business, people need to know about your program. Here are some ways to promote your program:

  1. Website: Feature your program prominently on your website. This could be through a hero image, a banner, or buttons in the top and bottom menus.
  2. Client conversations: When interacting with a satisfied client, mention your referral program and encourage them to participate.
  3. Personal referral emails: Send personal emails to your most satisfied customers, asking them to refer their friends and family.
  4. Mass emails: Send emails focused on your referral program to all customers at regular intervals, such as every 3 or 6 months.
  5. Routine communication: Mention your referral program in routine emails such as news updates, confirmation emails, and invoices.
  6. Social media posts: Regularly post about your referral program on your social media platforms. Change up the wording in each post to keep things interesting.
  7. Email signatures and social media bios: Including information about your referral program in your email signatures and social media bios is a hidden gem strategy. You’ll build awareness of your program with every email and social media view!.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively promote your plumber referral program, reaching a wider audience, and driving more referrals for your business.

plumbing referral fb promo

Ask for referrals at strategic times

The timing of your referral request can significantly impact the success of your referral program. It’s best to ask for referrals when your clients are happiest with your services, such as when:

  1. You’ve successfully completed a project and they’re satisfied with the outcome.
  2. You’ve received a positive review or social media comment from them.
  3. They’ve given you positive feedback in person or through a customer survey.
  4. You’re sending them an invoice for a completed project, and you know they were satisfied with your service.
  5. It’s the anniversary of a project you know went well.
  6. You know they’ve already recommended you outside of your referral program.

These moments represent times when your clients are most likely to be satisfied with your services and therefore most likely to refer you to others.

Send the lead a personal note from the referrer

The first impression your business makes on a referred friend is crucial. Ideally, the message they receive should be written by the person referring them, explaining why they recommend your services. Here are some tips to make this message more effective:

  1. Encourage personalization: While you can provide suggestions or a template, encourage the referrer to personalize the message. This makes the recommendation feel more genuine.
  2. Highlight rewards: Make sure to clearly state the rewards that the referred friend will receive. This can serve as an additional incentive for them to use your services.
  3. Include a strong call to action: Include a clear, eye-catching CTA (call to action) in the message. This could be a prompt to schedule an appointment, redeem a discount, or learn more about your services. The CTA should be placed prominently, ideally ‘above the fold’, so it’s one of the first things the referred friend sees.

Thank customers for referrals

Expressing gratitude for referrals is an important step in maintaining and encouraging further customer engagement. Customers are grateful when you follow up about referrals, as they want to know if their friend or family member used your services.

A simple, personal thank you note can make customers feel appreciated and encourage them to continue referring others to your plunbing business. Publicly thanking customers on your social media platforms can also foster a sense of community and appreciation.

Tell other businesses about your program

Plumbing services often receive referrals from similar, non-competing local businesses such as construction contractors and HVAC installers. It’s beneficial to inform these businesses about your referral program so that referrals coming from their employees can be tracked. Additionally, consider setting up a more formal referral partner program with these businesses, in addition to your standard customer referral program.


A plumber referral program is a powerful tool for attracting new customers and rewarding your existing ones. The program should be easy to use, with clear benefits for both the referrer and the referred.

Choosing the right referral software can significantly simplify this process. This software not only provides an easy-to-use platform for your customers but also automates the tracking and management of the referral program, allowing you to focus more on providing quality plumbing services. With features like referral tracking, sharing, engagement experiences, and concierge onboarding, Referral Rock referral software sets the stage for a successful referral program.

Ready to streamline your referral program and grow your business? Get started with Referral Rock today!