Business Reference Letter Recommending Professional Services

Business consultation with new client after getting a professional service recommendation.
••• Ale Ventura / Getty Images

Once you’ve achieved a certain level of professional success, you’ll be in a position to help others in your field. One of the best ways to do this is to write a business reference letter recommending your contact’s professional services.

You may write these letters of recommendation for clients, co-workers, or venders—anyone you’ve done business with in the past. Sometimes the recommendation is for a person who is applying for a new job in your industry. Other times it may be for a business you have worked with that is looking to build its client base.

Writing these letters is more than just a nice thing to do. It can help solidify your professional reputation and grow your network, as well—if you go about it the right way. Here’s what you need to know about writing a business reference letter.

Before You Write a Business Reference Letter

There are a few things to consider before you agree to write a letter for your business contact. Ask yourself the following questions before you agree to be a reference:

Are You Writing on Behalf of Your Company?

If you're writing a letter as your organization’s representative, talk to HR before you commit. While some companies allow their employees to write reference letters freely. Others may restrict them or prohibit them entirely. So, be sure to find out what your employer's policies are before consenting.

Many organizations also have references go through human resources (HR) approval process. Check with your company's policies before proceeding.

Can You Attest to Their Skills?

You should know the candidate in a role which allows you to write a meaningful reference. For example, if you have worked with the person as a freelance writer but he's now starting a dog-walking business, you can't attest to his skills in another realm.

In such cases, it’s best to decline and perhaps offer advice as to who would make a better candidate. If he wants to start a dog-walking business, he should already have a steady clientele who can genuinely vouch for his abilities.

Can You Honestly Recommend This Person?

Write the letter only if you can honestly offer a positive reference. If you have nothing good to say about their performance, do the honest thing and say you're unable to contribute. If you feel obligated to give an excuse for why:

  1. Be completely honest and say you don’t feel comfortable writing on their behalf.
  2. Say, “I’m not in the position to write recommendation letters.”

Though you may feel awkward or guilty, trust your intuition. Besides, an inauthentic letter will serve neither the applicant nor their potential employer well.

Once you agree to write the letter, keep it focused and stick to the facts. Avoid saying something that is strictly opinion–it might work against someone being considered for future employment and could potentially result in legal problems for you and your company.

What to Include in a Business Reference Letter

Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph to set up your position and your relationship to the candidate. Let the reader know why you're qualified to write the letter.

Confirm the details about the candidate:

  • The person’s job title and company
  • How long you worked with the person
  • When you worked with the person (if you don’t currently)
  • The nature of your business relationship or the capacity in which you worked with the candidate

Offer your endorsement of the candidate's skills and qualities concerning their professional services. Emphasize their most valuable experience and skills. Include hard skills (such as technical expertise) but don’t forget to include soft skills, too. What people skills do they have that make them a better choice than the competition?

If you’re providing a recommendation for a job, state that you would happily reemploy them, and note specifically how their professional services benefited you and your organization.

Use the final paragraph to add any additional examples or anecdotes as you see fit.

Lastly, close by offering to answer any further questions or provide follow-up information.

You may receive a simple “thank you” response from the hiring manager or potential client, or they may ask more detailed questions about the person you’re recommending. In any case, be sure to respond promptly.

Letter Examples Recommending Professional Services

This is an example of a reference letter for recommending professional services. Download the business reference letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a business reference letter recommending professional services
©TheBalance 2018

Reference Letter Recommending Professional Services #1

Annabelle Sebastian
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
866-123-4567
asebastian@sebastianlaw.com

July 15, 2021

Jack Eggleston
Acme Law Firm
123 Business Road
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Mr. Eggleston,

I am writing to recommend the services of Daniel Lightheart, CPA. Daniel has been working for my law firm for the past 15 years as our accountant and bookkeeper. His knowledge and attention to detail have aided in keeping our company on track during the recent recession and through a major restructuring.

I feel confident in recommending Daniel's accounting services.

He is not only thorough but also easy to work with and always willing to take the time to discuss my concerns and respond to questions.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Annabelle Sebastian

Reference Letter Recommending Professional Services #2

Lisa Moore
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
800-212-4444
lisamoore@timewatches.com

July 15, 2021

Joan Kelly
Acme Software
123 Business Road
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Kelly,

I am writing to recommend the marketing services of Michaela Brown. Michaela created and implemented many successful campaigns for us from July 2015 to January 2021.

Her design software expertise coupled with her collaborative and innovative spirit made her the go-to expert for our most significant projects. She singlehandedly took our Twitter following from 1,000 to over 52,000 in just three months by using forward-thinking strategies. She was detail-oriented, organized, and always open to constructive feedback, making our business relationship both effortless and pleasant.

I recommend Michaela for any role through which she can contribute her remarkable creativity and dedication. If hired, I am confident that she would take your marketing efforts to new heights.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Lisa Moore