They would have separate marketing materials (brochures, business cards) that would have the website address and email address using the different domain name. They also want the smaller second site to come up on search results related to the services for that site and not the main site.
Can this be pulled off without having a significant negative effect on ranking potential for either of the two site and also not risk a duplicate content penalty?
It would seem you would have to add a robots.txt file that excludes indexing of the pages on the main site that are duplicating on the smaller site.
However there is a potential big issue. The company is a local business. Nowadays the local results (Map + 3-pack) are as important if not more important, than the traditional organic results below the 3-pack (although I acknowledge they are related). For their Google Business Places, since they have two websites for the same company, they can only list one of the website. So if they list the corporate site, their not going to get in the local 3-pack for their specialized site for search terms. They may be able to live with this though since the main site will show ALL services.
Comments? Ideas? Issues? Strategies?