Finder’s Fees: The Complete Guide For Marketers

Have you been asked to pay a finder’s fee for new leads? Wondering what the deal is with finders? A finder is an intermediary who helps your business get leads. And not just some cold, uninterested leads you can get from PPC campaigns. Finders are highly motivated to get you conversions because that’s where their earnings come from. Essentially, it is like the pro level of the good old word of mouth. 

So, what are finder’s fees, and how can you integrate them into your referral marketing strategy? That’s exactly what you will learn in today’s blog. We’ll walk you through the whole process of creating and structuring your finder’s fees. In addition, we’ll check how referral software can provide effortless tracking and automation to ensure maximum efficiency.

Understanding Finder’s Fees: The Basics

What Is A Finder’s Fee (aka Fee Finder)?

A finder’s fee is a commission (aka a referral reward) for successfully bringing a new client to your business. You can also hear it being called referral fees. The idea is that a person — a finder — acts as a third-party intermediary to connect businesses with potential clients. Simply put, if someone helps vendors promote their goods or services and get new customers, you can think of them as a finder, and it’s pretty standard that they get paid for it. You get a new client. And they get compensation for their time and effort. Everybody’s winning. 

Someone might ask, “Why does my business need a finder’s help at all?” That’s a legit question. But the thing is that finders aren’t just random people recommending your business. They are pros. “But what about the finder’s fee?” Finders tend to have experience in your industry, and they are highly interested in getting you that client and the referral fees, of course. It is a business transaction after all, but a mutually beneficial one. Because of this, partnering with one could be your next well-thought-out marketing tactic. 

How does it work? Imagine you get people who know your niche and have a network of potential customers. So, they connect you as a seller and their network as buyers. For instance, we all know that real estate agents get a commission when they find potential buyers and seal the deal. But the same can be true for any niche. It might sound too simple to work. But now, stop for a moment and look at the current marketing landscape. 

Everyone sees tons of annoying ads every day. Wherever people go, they run into: “Best promotion of the month,” “Buy two, get one free,” or “Subscribe now and get a discount!” It’s exhausting, isn’t it? What do most people feel? Irritation and a lack of desire to click on all those links and buy something. 

And now imagine that what you get instead is a trusted contact giving you a ready-made solution. Not a “Buy it now!” but a genuine recommendation. Ah, what a relief! While this might be slightly exaggerated, if we assess all the current marketing strategies, they tend to get more natural, organic, or even user-generated. That’s why finding a finder (and paying the finder’s fees) is at least worth a try. 

Finder’s Fees vs. Referral Fees: Same Same But Different

These two concepts are very similar and are often used interchangeably. In the end, both of them means paying out some sort of compensation (reward) for bringing in a new client to your business. But still, they are different in several ways.

A referral fee is typically an incentive that people get for successfully participating in a referral campaign. 

  • The participant might be any of your customers who casually recommends your business to a friend or two when the opportunity presents itself. 
  • But your customers aren’t as involved in what happens between their friend and you as a business after they’ve made the referral. 
  • Plus, they don’t really need to know anything about your niche to participate. 

👉Example: Let’s say John used a cleaning service and really liked it. His friend Mike came over and casually mentioned the constant mess at home. So, John told him about his great experience with the cleaning service and gave him a referral card or sent a referral link. As a result, Mike used that service (aka made the purchase), and John got his referral fee (discount, Amazon voucher, free cleaning, etc.). Depending on the requirements, the commission paid to John can increase based on how many more referrals he brings in.

Finder’s fees work a little differently. They have a more professional approach, so to speak. 

  • First, the finder is much more involved in the whole process. 
  • They are actively trying to connect a potential buyer and seller and close the deal. So, they act as intermediaries between the interested parties to complete the transaction. 
  • Besides, they often have relevant experience and expertise to facilitate a meeting between the business and the potential buyer. 

👉Example: Imagine a recruiter who finds a DevOps Engineer for a software company. When they locate a perfect candidate who gets the job, the recruiter receives their finder’s fee. This fee is a commission that can be a small percentage of the DevOps’ yearly salary or his full first salary, for instance. This usually serves as a strong incentive for the person to put in top-notch effort.

The Power Of Finder’s Fees

finders fee builds trust customer referrals refer a friend spread the word

Why should a new business (or an established one) get finders? Because this strategy is cost-effective and brings excellent results if done right. It might become a perfect addition to your other referral marketing efforts for several reasons:

🎯 Leveraging trust. Finders use trust to their advantage. Because they aren’t your sales department, potential customers feel less pressure, and your customer acquisition results get much better. According to PwC’s 2023 Trust Survey, 58% of consumers say they have recommended a business they trust to friends or family. Referring a person you trust is in human nature because we naturally want to help others. Plus, getting a little credit for helping isn’t bad either, right?

🎯 Reduced marketing costs. Traditional marketing campaigns can be costly because they involve the work of many specialists. Meanwhile, finders are paid only for the work done. In other words, no results – no expense. This model is often more cost-effective than most other marketing tactics. While you usually have to pay per click or cold leads, with word of mouth, you only pay for a successful purchase or a converted lead. 

🎯 Finders’ experience. They often have the necessary tools and knowledge in a particular industry. A business can even save money by utilizing the finder’s skills. Usually, a person making a decision to do this sort of work is one who has a passion for helping others. That’s why your sale records could see a boost when you find someone talented for the job.

 🎯 Targeted coverage. They also tend to have their own channels of communication, whether it’s their social media, blog, or personal connections. Thus, companies can attract the right audience by engaging finders. Most sellers who use their services tend to get better ROI.

🎯 Measurable results. When working with finders, it’s easy enough to set the right metrics. For instance, you may set the required number of customers to refer in a month. But be honest about the referrals you want. Transparency and clarity allow businesses to track the results of their work.

🎯 Adjustable scalability. The referral fee you pay can change under certain conditions. It can be increased for going the extra mile and decreased for failing to fulfill the plan. Generally, if the sale number is not looking good, this will affect whatever arrangement you have with them.

🎯 Fast market entry. They can speed up this process because they have the necessary connections. They can save both time and money for your business. Consulting with skilled and experienced finders known for providing great services will give you an even better outcome.

Now, you know what’s in it for the company, but what motivates finders themselves? There are a couple of things:

✅ Financial motivation. It’s simple: they get a percentage of a successful transaction by bringing the seller and the buyer together. Like with most referral programs, motivation matters, set a reasonable fee to be paid after the sale is completed. Besides, make sure that your signup form (if you have one) is as straightforward as it can be. 

✅ Competition. People love to compete and get rewarded for their success. For example, whoever brings in more clients this month will get a bonus. This approach encourages a sense of competition.

✅ Feeling of achievement. Believe it or not, some people do have a passion for making a sale. In addition to money, many people want to feel they can do something properly and get successful results. Thus, they are motivated to take further action. By paying an attractive fee, you can reward those who take pride in their work.

✅ Social recognition. We want to be recognized by others for our successes. It’s human nature. It doesn’t even always have to be an increase in referral fees. Recognition by a boss, peers, or society makes us feel more confident, successful, and trustworthy.  

✅ Skills improvement. This is one of the less obvious reasons. Apart from the fees, people in this niche can improve their skills or develop in a particular field. For example, that might just be a proper skill set to become a sales agent.

Who Pays A Finder’s Fee and Referral Fee?

Payments are generally handled by the companies that get new clients thanks to the finder. The fee is really a small investment compared to the gains. Businesses can set their own terms and format of cooperation, but the basic idea remains the same. Initially, it’s a mutually beneficial deal for both parties. The finder brings new clients and gets a referral fee, while the company expands its client base. 

How Does A Finder’s Fee Work?

Cooperation between the business and the finder begins with signing a mutually beneficial agreement. It contains all the requirements and conditions. It should also clearly indicate how long the company will pay the referrer for the client brought by them (more on this later). 

How To Manage Your Finders’ Referrals

How can businesses track the referrals made by their finders? You may be able to do your referral tracking manually, but if you’re going to take this marketing channel seriously — and you should — referral software will level up your game. Plug-and-play software like  Referral Factory can help you track the number of new clients and successful conversions made with the help of a particular finder. Some even have a fee finder feature built in. This way, both of you will always see a transparent picture of the results. The best part about managing your finders using referral software is that it’s built especially for marketers, so you have full control over the user experience and automation. For example, you could easily generate referral links for each of your finders that they can share on their social networks. When any of their contacts click on that link, they’ll get a personalized invitation page where they can register their interest by filling out a form:

Example of a referral link page for the person invited. Pages like these can be used to facilitate introductions and track finder's fees.

Once they fill in their details, Referral Factory can pass the lead straight into your sales pipeline or workflow in your CRM and track whether the lead converts. All the while, keeping your finder informed of their progress as well as any referral fee or commissions via these handy tracking pages:

An example of a referral tracking page where your finders can see their metrics and any finders fees they are due.

Finally, referral software can help you calculate your finders’ commissions and even make automated, once-off, or recurring payments. The fee finder makes it easy to track the financial side of things. In other words, if you’re planning to utilize finders in your lead generation efforts, the software is how you make the whole process painless!

If you want to test it out, have a look at these referral program templates, which you can customize and use as your own. 

What To Consider When Implementing Finder’s Fees?

How To Structure Your Finder’s Fee

Of course, the structure of your finder’s fee will differ depending on your niche and type of business, but let’s see a couple of examples to get a general picture. 

The compensation structure in HR and recruiting looks as follows. A finder brings a new employee into the company for long-term cooperation. That employee then works for the benefit of the company and generates profits. What is the finder’s interest?

  • A percentage of the employee’s annual salary (e.g., 20%). This referral fee depends on the candidate’s salary and their performance. 
  • A fixed amount per referred employee. Regardless of the employee’s skill level and performance, the finder’s fee is a fixed bonus for the work done. 

Here is another example from the real estate field. Suppose John is selling a house, and Mary wants to buy one. Paul is a real estate referral agent who manages to bring John and Mary together to make a deal. Naturally Paul gets a finder’s fee, which in this case is a commission (usually paid by the seller). 

Is Finder’s Fee A One-Time Payment?

Yes and no. Depending on the industry and its specifics, the payment system might vary. But overall, you have the following options: 

  • The finder’s fee is paid off once for a successfully referred customer who has converted. This is like selling a house or car.
  • The finder gets paid a fee for this same client for several years. In this case, they are most interested in bringing in a customer with a long-term perspective. For instance, such a scenario is optimal in consulting.

Typical Finder’s Fee Range

The amount of compensation paid to finders for converted leads often depends on the industry and the finder’s experience. Generally, it is between 5% and 35% of a successful deal. Here are the typical finder’s fees for different industries:

10 Factors To Consider When Setting Your Finder’s Fee

Remember that establishing mutually beneficial relations with a finder is key to your long-term partnership and success. A proper agreement will allow both parties to get what they expect and be satisfied. Still, how do you decide on what finder’s fee is optimal? We have identified ten main factors:

1️⃣ Experience and expertise. Pay attention to the finder’s level of expertise in your industry. Are they certified? How many successful deals have they closed? What partners have they worked with in the past? Also, find out more about their promotion strategies and possible channels of communication. If you have a chance, look at their social media profiles (at least LinkedIn) or maybe even check reviews (if applicable). Usually, those with good experience and reliable expertise can claim a bigger reward for shorter closing periods or more conversions. So, take this into account when selecting partners for further cooperation.

2️⃣ Contribution effort. Consider how much time and effort they need to get the best result. Beginners might require more time, while professionals could use their time-proven methods to speed up the process without compromising quality. In addition, they may utilize special paid tools and resources to complete tasks, so consider this when negotiating a fee or a commission. At the same time, keep in mind that not every lead is worthy of a finder’s fee. You have to make sure every deal makes sense for you financially.

3️⃣ Consistency and long-term engagement. Is the finder interested in the long-term cooperation? And what about you? The answer is crucial because it might change your requirements, goals, etc. Of course, it depends on the industry specifics. For example, if you are a consulting agency, you are interested in having regular clients who use your service repeatedly. So, if they bring you a one-time client, it won’t coincide with your company interests. That’s why you should discuss the regular finder’s commissions if the person they bring in will become your regular client. 

4️⃣ Non-financial incentives. In addition to the monetary reward, the finder should have other motivations. It can be anything: the spirit of competition, recognition, self-assertion, etc. Then, there is a chance that their work efficiency will be higher. Besides, they can get more creative in searching for the right solutions, which will also affect the expected reward size.

5️⃣ Customized agreements. Approach each finder individually. What one person prefers, the other finds irrelevant. Consulting with each of them to discuss the terms of cooperation separately is better. Then choose individual rewards depending on their experience and preferences. 

6️⃣ Responsibility. Be clear about your finder’s level of responsibility. What conditions must they meet for the deal to be considered successful? Be fair, and don’t try to put more on the finders’ shoulders than they can handle. Don’t give newcomers impossible tasks to avoid wasting time.

7️⃣ Length of the sales process. Negotiate the length of your deal. Discuss when the finder gets payment. Will this reward be one-time or regular? What happens if the deadlines change? How does this affect the commission? Under what conditions can you and them prematurely end your partnership? And who will get compensation in such a case? Find the answers to these questions before you start your cooperation.

8️⃣ Payment considerations. What payment structure does your finder prefer, and how do you see it? Consider their experience, industry specifics, and task complexity to reach a decision that is comfortable and fair for both of you. Do not just try to optimize your expenses. Instead, focus on long-term and high-quality cooperation (if they are worth it).

9️⃣ Regular evaluation. Carry out a regular performance check to assess the finder’s work. How quickly do they bring good results? Are those results satisfying? Also, pay special attention to whether they can solve unforeseen problems. This is what can also be reflected in their reward.  

🔟 Feedback loop. Assess your communication with the finder. Are you satisfied with the feedback process? And what about them? Do they take your comments and suggestions into account? A transparent process of giving and receiving feedback is essential for any type of cooperation. And this is no exception. So, try to contact them regularly and resolve any issues right away,

As you can see, there are many things to consider. Who would have thought? Luckily, you’ll only have to plan this carefully the first time, and the workflow will become much more enjoyable for everyone. Be fair and straightforward to make the terms of your partnership as comfortable as possible for both parties. And now, let’s talk about how you can ensure that through your finder’s fee agreement. 

Finder’s Fee Agreement: Everything You Should Know 

A finder’s agreement gives each party confidence and sets clear game rules. We recommend consulting a lawyer and tax specialists before onboarding your finders. Nonetheless, you might want to include the following sections in your finder’s fee agreement:

✍️ Parties. You should start by defining all the parties involved.

✍️ Recitals. A brief description of the contract background.

✍️ Definitions. Identify the basic terms, such as: “Successful closure” and “Finder’s fees.”

✍️ Designation and acceptance. Clearly state that the referral is designated to refer potential opportunities to the receiving company.

✍️ Referral process. Describe the referral process. Explain how the recipient company will confirm and verify results.

✍️ Calculating the referral fee. Mention the calculation method of the compensation for the work performed. Be clear about the percentage that you are willing to pay when they refer your services or product.   

✍️ Terms of payment. Write about the cases in which the referring person will get their reward. 

✍️ Confidentiality. Do not forget to specify the point about non-disclosure of information. Also, spell out the consequences in case of violation of this consent.

✍️ Termination. Describe the circumstances and conditions for agreement termination. 

✍️ Indemnification. Consider each party’s responsibility for the contract violation.

✍️ Signatures. Remember that all parties must sign the agreement. 

Typically, you can also add other sections to describe some stages in more detail. Besides, you might want to introduce some changes later on. That’s totally fine. The main idea is that the final version of the contract is functional and beneficial to everyone. In any case, consulting with your lawyer before crafting any agreement is essential.


Paying a finder’s fee for converted leads is an unconventional but very effective strategy for attracting new customers and connections to your business. If you haven’t used finders before, it might be the right time to start. Organic marketing, reduced brand promotion costs, and sustainable, long-lasting cooperation are just some benefits you can expect. Done well, it can become one of your favorite marketing tactics.

Want to see some real-life examples? See our best referral program ideas here.


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