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I used a 10 question customer survey at the end of each job. There was also a place for comments and check boxes for "would recommend" and "can use as a referral". Then I would show every customer the binder with about 50 reviews to read during the estimate.
 

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FT painter/FT dad
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I never had a customer ask in 2 years.
 

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I always give them two pages of references. Most of my repeat or referal dont really ask, but any lead comming from advertising you better have reference's and insurance around here. You wont get in the door with out them.
 

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I think being proactive and showing them your references even without being asked is a good idea.
 

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To me this goes back to the question of why should they hire you over the next guy. In my mind they should never have to ask. I always showed every client my insurance docs and reviews/referrals. I also tried to educate my clients on why they should look for someone with insurance and what the correct documents look like.
I think it made a big difference.
 

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I also have a list of references I give to the cust. when we meet. I think it probably can put them at ease to check if they'd like.
 
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