Introduction to this document

Trade reference request

Whenever you do business with anyone, particularly a new customer, it’s very important you find out as much as possible about their financial position before you start trading with them. Our letter shows the questions you need ask of a referee in order to minimise the risk of getting caught out later.

No slow payers

There’s nothing worse than supplying goods and/or services and then finding you’ve got a slow or unwilling payer on your hands.

To reduce the risk of this happening, ask any new customer or client to let you have some business names that you can contact in order to take up references before you enter into any contracts with them.


Ask for more than one name and also carry out company and credit searches too, just to be on the safe side. This could be time and money well spent.

When you’re considering a reference, it will often pay you to look at what’s not said, rather than what is said, e.g. “they’re a good customer but we can’t speak for the sum nominated”. A phrase like this indicates that they’re unsure your potential customer is good for the whole amount of credit that you’re proposing to offer.