Guide to starting your own recruitment business

Start Your Own Recruitment Business: A Beginner’s Guide

August 24, 2020 8:25 pm Published by

Starting your own recruitment business isn’t easy – but if you’re up for the challenge, the rewards can be outstanding. The ones who succeed don’t do it through luck – it’s about the right attitude, relevant experience, and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit.

4 out of 5 new recruitment businesses fail in the first 2 years. If that doesn’t put you off, keep reading.

It also helps if you know someone who has already done it. But that’s not a luxury everyone has. So this is my guide to running your own recruitment agency.

Know your niche

You need to determine what type of recruitment business you are. A good starting point is to look at the network you’ve built already.

Think about the expertise you have and which market you’ll be providing your service to. Are your candidates already in senior roles? Are they new graduates? Make sure you know the answers to these questions so you can position your business in the right market.

The next step is to create a database of clients and applicants that fit into your niche. Avoid the temptation to include every contact. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up reaching no-one.

Specialising right from the beginning not only gives you a clear aim, it also tells your potential clients and candidates what your expertise is. You can always widen your niche into other industries once you’ve established your business.

Check out the competition

Working for yourself in recruitment doesn’t mean you only need to think about yourself. It’s vital you get to know your competition. In fact, you can’t know enough about them at this stage. So get swotting up on your local, national and international competitors.

Study their strengths, weaknesses, culture, branding and marketing strategy. What you’re looking for are gaps in the market you can take advantage of. You need to find a space where what you offer stands out.

This is also the time to work out where your potential weak spots are. Do this, and you’ll be ready to take them on when the time comes.

Give yourself a financial check-up

Write out your potential future expenses for the first 12 months. It won’t be spot on, but it will help you pin down what you need for day one, and what you may have to invest in to grow your business.

Will you rent office space or are you working from home? What equipment do you need? Have you got any business insurance quotes yet? Will you need a website builder?

Start a money spreadsheet and put together a realistic starting budget and make sure you know the answers to these questions. It’s also worth considering getting an accountant to help check your numbers.

Consider a partnership

You don’t need to invest in a large bank loan to get started or struggle alone in your bedroom with just a phone and a laptop. Another option is to partner up with an established recruitment firm that can help with those support costs.

That’s what we offer recruiters at JMC Partners. Plus a lot of other perks too. Check us out – we’re pretty good at what we do!

If you choose the partnership route, make sure it’s a well-established company with a stellar reputation. And be clear about what they will cover and what you must do yourself.

Make it official

When you register your business, you’ll be asked to choose whether it’s a limited company, LLP, sole trader business or partnership. This is your first business decision and the start of an exciting new venture!

You’ll need a good name – one that’s easy to spell so people don’t miss finding you on a Google search. Make sure no-one else has registered that name and it’s not associated with a failed business with a shady story. You’ll also need to check that the domain name is available. There’s no point getting attached to a name you can’t use.

Check out the laws and regulations you must abide by as the owner – it’s your responsibility to know these. Make sure you have robust terms and conditions, contracts, and agreements to protect you from any legal claims.

And think about the accounting side – tax has a habit of catching new businesses out, so put a plan in place so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Whether you use an accountant or not, the chances are you’ll still have to get involved in this to some degree and have a pot of money put aside to pay your taxes.

Related: Show me the money! Could an accountant stop you from becoming another statistic?

Build a brand

First impressions matter – so start with a good-looking logo. Pick the channels you’ll be using to market your business, (LinkedIn is a must) and think about the content you’ll create to reach your target audience. Always have a goal in mind with any content you put out there – don’t be tempted to just write content for the sake of it.

This is your chance to put across your values, your unique selling point, and to show your expertise. Make sure your messaging and your tone of voice is consistent with the brand image you want to create.

And get networking. People want to get to know and trust the people behind a business before they invest their hard-earned money.

Think about the big picture

Future goals are important. Know where you want to be going so you don’t head in the wrong direction early on. It’s not silly or unrealistic to have ambitious goals. Just break it down into stages and know which first steps you need to take.

It’s good to keep your eye on the next steps you need to take to grow your business. Once you start a business, it’s easy to get swept up in running the day-to-day business and lose track of that bigger picture. Make sure you avoid this and schedule in time to grow your business in the direction you want.


Jason Connolly set up JMC Legal Recruitment in 2016 when he was still in his 20s. JMC Legal quickly established itself as one of the big players in the industry, and Jason has also become a well-known fixture in the press, offering advice and support.

JMC Partners is looking for recruiters interested in starting a business partnership under the JMC brand. Find out more here or contact our office for more information.

This post was written by jmcpartners

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