I'm a freelance editor. I work mostly with self-pubbed authors, some of whom are best-sellers. Most don't have agents, although I've helped a fair number write queries and synopses. So this one surprised me.
I was talking to a potential client, and she wound up saying to me, "I went with an editor my agent recommended instead of you."
Umm... isn't that a conflict of interest, for an agent to recommend a particular freelance editor? Doesn't that open doors for accusations of hinkiness and kickbacks and being in bed with the wrong people?
But we do it all the time.
It's not a conflict of interest (unless there IS something hinky or kickbacks going on) because I don't have a stake in which editor is chosen; I only care that it's one who can get the job done right.
I'm sure you know that there are some really bad freelance editors out there (much like there are really bad agents!)
I've gotten burned by sending a couple clients and potential clients to editors I thought would be terrific and weren't.
I'm VERY hesitant to recommend editors I haven't worked with.
I'm pretty sure most of my ilk feel the same way.
Hinkiness and kickbacks are a very different question though.
Kickbacks are a sure way to get booted out of the AAR.
The Canon of Ethics is pretty specific
Members may not receive a secret profit in connection with any transaction involving a client. If such profit is received, the member must promptly pay over the entire amount to the client. Members may not solicit or accept any payment or other thing of value in connection with their referral of any author to any third party for any purpose, provided that the foregoing does not apply to arrangements made with a third party in connection with the disposition of rights in the work of a client of the member.
But just giving a client or potential client a list of editor's names, or recommending a specific editor is still ok. And mostly how it's done.
I've heard of agents recently who are on the wrong side of this and ranted about it.
It sounds like your business is going well (congrats!) which means you'll have a roster of people who WILL recommend you.