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    Starting a referral business
    Hello,

    I'm interseted in starting an apartment referral business for college students. I will be targeting a University in my city that only has housing for Freshman students. After that year they must find housing. But I work during the day, so I can't take phone calls during that time.

    When would I be able to take calls? How would I get paid upfront by an apartment complex as opposed to waiting until a tenant is placed. How would I market to the apartment complex and the student. Also I do not have a home computer.

    Tonya


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    >> When would I be able to take calls? <<

    Specify when you can take them on your advert? Eg: "Call 6pm - 9pm"?


    >> How would I market to the apartment complex and the student <<

    Posters or leaflets placed in the student union or recreational building? Or if you have a budget, maybe a small ad in a student magazine (take a walk around the uni to see their in-house publications)?

    Just some ideas.


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    Thanks
    Thanks for the reply. Good ideas. I appreciate it.

    Tonya


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    Depending on the size of the University, you might try Craigslist, social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) or like BusinessMan said, post leaflets in the student union, or near dorms. You could also offer to split the referral (whatever percentage you wish) for word of mouth advertising by students.


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    Where there is a will there is a way! You can always return calls when you are available. As far as advertising you can place ads via flyers and others on your down time. If you don't have a computer maybe a smartphone will be a better choice and a less expensive choice. If that is not an option there are tons of free options such as libraries and other sources to get some ads posted. You could do this once a week and it will benefit you greatly! It may not be a simple solution but if you want it bad enough you will find a way to make it work!


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    These days all students have computers, tablets, smartphones - or at least some kind of internet-connected communication device, so you need to use social media in this kind of business. You will presumably also have a computer and/or smartphone by now too.

    Set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account (it's easy to link these so you don't have to post twice), and whatever other social media the college students are using. Go out and ask a few students what all the kids are using right now, as it does change from year to year. Consider having a simple app built that shows up-to-date listings of available accommodation. Let everyone download it for free and take your commission the traditional way. Contact apartment complex owners directly to let them know about your service, and give them a copy of your app too.


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    If you're working with college students, I think your options for communication are actually much wider than any other clients. They can call you and leave messages, and you can return calls after you get out of work. They can also text you and email you right on their phones, which you can also return as promptly as possible. I believe you can work around your no-call times easily as long as you are quick and efficient at calling/texting/emailing in return. In your voicemail message you can even say something like how you will return calls after a certain time. I don't know a single college student who isn't permanently glued to their phone, so reaching them when you have time shouldn't be a problem.


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    Sounds like a good idea. Maybe consider starting a website so people can easily sign up for your services.


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    From what I understand from the post is that you want someone to refer more people to come and rent your houses. I think having to give them a little incentive will work best. That is what students always want, to feel appreciated.


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    As far as the telephone goes I would recommend hiring someone as a secretary if you're serious about making the company succeed. And I don't mean the type with an accent who answers the phone from halfway around the world.

    Having a young cultured phone assistant would surely put your customers at ease as well, insuring your business' respectability.


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