A business reference is a recommendation provided on behalf of a client, vendor, or other business associate or contact. You may be called upon to provide a business reference letter to verify the quality of a contract company’s work to a new client.
The reference you write may recommend the business to other clients or, in general, provide an endorsement of a contact for business purposes. It’s important to be honest in your assessment of the company’s offerings: Don’t agree to write one if you haven’t had a good experience with the company. Instead, gracefully decline to provide a reference if you don’t feel that you can provide a strong recommendation.
What to Include in a Business Reference Letter
It’s important for your recommendation to be professionally written and formatted, so it will make the best impression.
- The date
- The writer’s contact information (name, title, company, address, phone, email)
- The recipient’s contact information (name, title, company, address) (in a printed letteronly)
- Professional salutation
- The body of the letter (a few paragraphs highlighting why you are providing a recommendation)
- Professional closing
In a printed letter, the writer’s contact information is at the top of the page. In an email, the contact information is at the bottom. The recipient's contact information can be omitted from an emailed letter.
How to Start Your Letter
- A traditional, “snail mail” business letter should begin with your contact information and the contact information of the person to whom the recommendation is being sent.
- When sending an email, include “Reference” or “Recommendation” in the subject line in addition to the company’s or person’s name. This will help ensure that the recipient instantly understandswhat the content of your message is and opens the letter for review.
The Body of the Letter
Start your letter by explaining how you know the individual or company that you’re recommending. If you’ve used them repeatedly or have an ongoing relationship, mention that as well.
The body of your letter should provide information and detailed examples of the high quality of the product or service you have been provided.
Be specific so you can show the reader why you are recommending the product or service.
You should also mention how pleased you were with the work and offer to elaborate on or clarify any points in the letter.
Include your contact information in the final paragraph of a letter or in your email signature, so it’s easy for the recipient to follow up if they need more information.
End your letter with a professional closing:
- For a printed letter, leave a space for your written signature then type your name.
- For an email, add a closing then type your name.
Examples of Business Reference Letters
The following are examples of business reference letters recommending the services provided by a company or individual. They can be used to help you create your own letters, but be sure to tailor them to your specific situation.
Business Reference Letter Template
Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Business Reference Letter Example (Text Version)
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
April 9, 2020
Sparkleshine Cleaning Service
321 Business Ave.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Smith,
It is with much enthusiasm that I am writing to recommend the services of the Sparkleshine Cleaning Service.
I have been using Sparkleshine to clean my offices for the past five years and have always been completely satisfied with their performance. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and offer the most competitive rates in town.
We have also hired them on occasion for extra jobs, such as cleaning after a move, cleaning the Venetian blinds, deep cleaning the kitchenette, etc. They have been very reasonably priced, and always do exactly what we ask of them.
I'm happy to recommend the services of Sparkleshine. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Signature (printed letter)
Business Reference Letter Example
Email Business Reference Example #1
Subject: Stephen Davison Reference
Dear Ms. O’Malley,
I have been acquainted with Stephen Davison for three years, in his capacity as a web designer for my small business. He completely overhauled my website and has been responsible for its ongoing maintenance and search engine optimization as well.
Stephen’s design and optimization, I believe, are largely responsible for the dramatic increase in traffic to my site, and for the resulting increase in profits for the business. He is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates his ideas. He has been a true game-changer in identifying and enhancing the areas of my website that weren’t performing as well as they could have, and thus he has my highest endorsement.
If you have any additional questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact me.
Business Reference Email Examples
The following are examples of business references sent via email.
Email Business Reference Example #2
Subject: Reference for Kip’s Kennels
Dear Mr. Small,
As a dedicated pet owner, I searched long and hard for a kennel where I felt comfortable leaving my precious companions. After doing plenty of research, and visiting several other kennels in the area, I found Kip’s Kennels about two years ago. My pets haven’t been boarded anywhere else since.
The staff at Kip’s is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every pet as they do their own, and the facility is always spotless. Unlike most of the kennels in our area, they also offer daily updates via email or text to reassure you while you are separated from your pet.
I highly recommend Kip’s Kennels to care for your pets while you are out of town. If you have any further questions or would like to speak with me about my experience, please feel free to contact me.