The 2023 Complete Recruitment Agency Business Plan

So you want to start your recruitment agency?

Unlock the path to discovering exceptional talent, fostering a
flourishing business, and reaping the rewards you deserve.

Fortunately, having the proper partners may help—like when you join Additional Resources’ Recruiter Startup Model, you can start your own recruitment desk with minimal up-front investment. However, to paint a clear picture of the financial implications, we’ll present an analysis of the various recruitment agency startup costs—from technology needs to marketing expenses—and explore viable ways to reduce them.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Importance of a Business Plan

  1. A well-structured business plan is the cornerstone of success for recruitment agencies. It serves as a blueprint outlining your agency’s vision, mission, goals, strategy, and financial projections. 

    Here is why it is crucial for the success of a recruitment agency. 

    • A well-crafted business plan is a strategic tool that enables recruitment agencies to stay focused on their objectives, create a competitive edge, and ultimately achieve long-term success. 
    • Notably, it allows you to identify potential challenges and opportunities, set realistic expectations, and allocate resources efficiently.
    • By providing a clear roadmap for growth, a comprehensive business plan helps you navigate the complexities of the recruitment industry and adapt to the ever-changing market conditions.
    • It helps you make informed decisions and strategies effectively. 

The 7 Stages of Writing a Startup Recruitment Agency Business Plan

Writing a business plan from scratch for your recruitment agency can be challenging. We’ve compiled a comprehensive step-by-step guide to explain the process.

Here are the seven stages involved in putting together this critical document:

    1. Defining your recruitment agency’s vision and mission
    2. Identifying your business model and services
    3. Conducting market research and analysis
    4. Developing a marketing and sales strategy
    5. Building your team and infrastructure
    6. Defining financial projections and funding
    7. Outlining risk assessment and mitigation strategies

Stage #1: 3 Steps Procedure for Defining Your Recruitment Agency’s Vision and Mission

Creating a solid vision and mission statement for your start-up recruitment agency business plan is crucial to guiding your business in the right direction.

To do this, follow the below steps:

  1. Define your purpose.
  2. Establish your goals.
  3. Outline your values.

With a trusted partner like Recruiter Startup

costs to start your recruitment desk are minimal compared to starting from scratch

Step #2: Establish your goals.

Set measurable goals to work towards, such as:

  • Place 100 candidates in new jobs within the first year.
  • Generate £250,000 in revenue by the end of year two.
  • Build a network of 500 vetted clients and 1,000 active candidates in the UK.

If you’re putting together a start-up recruitment agency business plan, it’s important to review and revise your goals regularly based on your progress and market conditions. 

Step #1: Define your purpose.

Establish the underlying reason for starting your recruitment agency in the first place. Do you want to help people find meaningful work, support growing businesses, focus on a niche industry, or something else? Whatever the reason, your purpose should align with your values.

For example:

  • To help UK technology startups attract top talent.
  • To provide job opportunities for disadvantaged groups in local communities.
  • To become the go-to agency for healthcare recruitment in the UK.

Step #3: Outline your values.

The values that guide your agency will shape your culture and brand.

Examples include the following:

  • Integrity: We’re honest and transparent and keep our promises.
  • Excellence: We strive to exceed expectations and deliver the highest quality service.
  • Diversity: We believe in providing equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity, or background, in line with the UK Equality Act 2010.

Your vision, purpose, goals, and values provide the foundation for your recruitment agency business plan. Refer to them often when making critical decisions to stay on track. 

Stage #2: Identifying Your Business Model and Services

Next, consider which business model suits your needs: focusing on permanent placements, contract staffing, or both.

The services you offer should align with your expertise and target market. For instance, if you have a background in IT, specialising in tech recruitment might be ideal. However, starting with generalist roles could be more suitable if you’re new to the industry.

Lead generation

Developing a comprehensive recruitment agency business plan in the UK (or any other country) can be complex and often impractical for new agency owners. A more efficient alternative is to join a recruitment franchise like Recruiter Startup.

We provide the necessary infrastructure, tools, training, and support to help you launch your agency quickly, enabling you to start matching candidates with jobs and generating revenue immediately. 

Stage #3: A 4-Step Checklist for Conducting Market Research and Analysis

Performing market research for your recruitment agency is essential for understanding your target market, competitors, and industry trends.

This involves the following activities:

  1. Surveying businesses in your area
  2. Researching competitors
  3. Tracking industry trends
  4. Analysing data for opportunities

Step 2: Researching Competitors

Investigate what competitors offer and how they operate — research their fees, services, and client attraction strategies. The UK recruitment industry is highly competitive, comprising over 27,700 agencies. Hence, understanding your competition will help you differentiate your agency.

Step 1: Surveying Businesses in Your Area

Determine hiring needs and budgets by surveying local businesses. As of 2022, the UK had approximately 5.5 million private sector businesses, providing ample opportunities to explore various industries and niches. 

Step 4: Analysing Data for Opportunities

After gathering data, analyse it to identify opportunities and establish a competitive advantage. Look for unmet needs or new trends to capitalise on.

Step 3: Tracking Industry Trends

Stay updated on trends like remote work, which increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 17.4% of the UK workforce working from home in 2020. Also, monitor the demand for contract staff, as the gig economy has grown in recent years. Adapting to the ever-changing recruitment landscape is vital for long-term success.

Starting a business from scratch can be hectic. As an alternative, consider joining a recruitment franchise like Recruiter Startup. We have an established brand and in-depth industry knowledge, helping you begin your journey with a solid foundation.

Check out our associates recruitment model to learn more about how we operate and how much you can earn working from home.

Stage #4: 5 Tips for Developing a Marketing and Sales Strategy

A solid marketing and sales strategy is crucial for building a successful business, recruitment agencies inclusive.

These five tips can help outline a compelling start-up recruitment agency business plan, which is vital if you’re looking to convince investors to fund your enterprise:

  1. Define your target market.
  2. Build your online presence.
  3. Develop a marketing strategy.
  4. Source great candidates.
  5. Provide excellent service.

1. Define your target market.

To identify your ideal job-seekers, focus on an initial niche, such as IT professionals, nurses, or teachers. You may go on to specify locations, experience levels, and skills.

For example, you may focus on recruiting in the healthcare niche, a highly viable market — the UK has a high demand for healthcare professionals, with the NHS employing over 1.4 million people. Targeting your market makes reaching them more manageable.

2. Build your online presence.

About 61% of job-seekers in the UK used online job boards to find employment in January 2022 alone.

Take advantage of this viable marketplace by developing a professional website to showcase your agency’s credibility. Optimise for search engines using essential keywords, like “recruitment agency” and your location, e.g., “London.” Create LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles for networking with candidates and clients.

Our post on how to start a recruitment agency expounds more on the need to achieve a robust digital profile.

3. Develop a marketing strategy.

An excellent recruitment business plan example outlines how it plans to generate leads.

  1. Identify the best ways to promote your agency. 
  2. Consider advertising on job sites like Totaljobs, Reed, CV-Library or in industry publications. Offer discounts and promotions to new clients and attend local networking events to form personal connections. 
  3. Lastly, regularly email your contact list with job openings and agency updates.

4. Source great candidates.

Post jobs on your website, social media, and platforms frequented by your target candidates. You may also utilise your network to gather referrals but thoroughly screen candidates to ensure the best matches for your clients. 

5. Provide excellent service.

Strive to build lasting relationships with clients and candidates — regularly check in to ensure satisfaction and address any issues promptly. Go above and beyond expectations, such as assisting a new hire’s onboarding process. Up to 83% of satisfied clients and candidates will likely refer others and return to your agency, boosting profit margins by 25%.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to developing a successful marketing and sales strategy for your UK recruitment agency. While crafting a comprehensive recruitment agency business plan can be challenging, focusing on the essentials lays a solid foundation for your agency’s growth.

Stage #5: Building Your Team and Infrastructure: A 4-Point Checklist

Assembling a team of qualified professionals and establishing the necessary infrastructure is crucial when building a recruitment agency, so you must consider it in your recruitment agency business plan. However, this can be challenging and costly, as outlined in our post on recruitment agency startup costs.

Adhering to the following checklist can make your task easier:

  • Hiring recruiters
  • Administrative support
  • Office space
  • Technology infrastructure

2. Administrative Support

Your agency needs administrative staff to manage daily operations, such as answering phones, organising schedules, and updating records. An administrative assistant’s average salary in the UK is £20,664 annually. Any candidate you’re hiring should have strong organisational and communication skills.

1. Hiring Recruiters

Recruiters are the backbone of your agency. Aim to hire experienced recruiters with proven success in your target industry or job function.

In the UK, the average salary for a recruiter is £31,489 per year, with bonuses and commission potentially increasing earnings. Recruiters must excel in networking, interpersonal, and sales skills to effectively find candidates and maintain client relationships.

3. Office Space

If not operating virtually, secure office space for your team. Consider a location easily accessible for candidates and clients, with room for private offices or cubicles, a reception area, conference rooms, and storage. In the UK, office rental costs vary by location, with London prices ranging from £50 to £150 per square foot per year.

4. Technology Infrastructure

Invest in a robust technology infrastructure, including the following:

  •  Applicant Tracking System (ATS): Essential for managing candidates. Popular options in the UK include Bullhorn and Firefish.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system: Vital for tracking clients and placements. Salesforce and HubSpot are widely used in the UK.
  • Fast internet connectivity: Important for efficient operations.
  • Enterprise-level security: Crucial for protecting sensitive data and complying with UK data protection regulations like GDPR.
  • Virtual communication tools: Video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams facilitate remote collaboration.

Setting up a recruitment agency’s team and infrastructure is a significant undertaking, requiring substantial resources. For those considering an easier route, a franchise model like Recruiter Startup provides the essential components and support, allowing you to focus on growing your business. Check out what others are saying about us.

Stage #6: Defining Financial Projections and Funding

To create a comprehensive recruitment agency business plan, it’s essential to determine funding sources and estimate projected returns on investment.

Financial projections and funding

2. Finding Funding Sources

With financial projections in place, you can then explore the following recruitment startup funding options:

  1. Business loans: Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer loans, but they require collateral and solid financial projections. The British Business Bank can help you find suitable financing options in the UK.
  2. Angel investors: These are wealthy individuals who invest in exchange for equity and high potential returns. The UK Angel Investment Network can help connect you with investors.
  3. Crowdfunding: This involves raising small amounts from multiple contributors. Platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube are popular but require dedicated effort.
  4. Franchising: Pay an upfront fee to access a proven model and brand, e.g., Recruiter Startup. Note: With Recruiter Startup, your upfront fee is only £750 + VAT per month, a far lower expense than starting your own recruitment agency. 

1. Creating Financial Projections

Attract funding by showcasing realistic financial projections for your agency.

Consider the following factors in doing so:

  1. Revenue: Estimate the number of placements you can make annually and the average fee per placement. In the UK, the average fee for permanent placements is around 15–20% of the candidate’s annual salary. Don’t forget to account for seasonal fluctuations in the job market.
  2. Expenses: Calculate rent, payroll, marketing, and other business expenses. In London, for example, office rental costs can range from £50 to £150 per square foot per year.Note: When you set up as a franchise recruiter with Recruiter Startup, your expenses will be slashed as you won’t need to spend on office space or staff.
  3. Profit: Determine your projected profits by subtracting expenses from revenue. This demonstrates the potential ROI for investors.

To secure funding, present a well-developed business plan with solid financials and explain how the investment will drive growth and profits.

Stage #7: Outlining Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategies

Considering potential risks and creating strategies to address them is crucial for the success of your recruitment agency.

Here are some key areas to focus on:

1. Identifying and Addressing Risks

When designing your recruitment agency business plan, anticipate challenges and develop solutions.

Common risks include the following:

  • Economic downturns: A weak economy slashes hiring rates. Maintain cash reserves and diversify your client base to mitigate this risk.
  • New competitors: Stay competitive by focusing on niche markets and building strong client relationships. There are over 27,700 recruitment agencies in the UK, making it essential to stand out.
  • Key staff departures: Retain top talent by implementing training programs and offering incentives. Take note that ensuring high employee turnover can be costly and disruptive.

2. Meeting Legal Requirements

Compliance with legal regulations is vital for your agency’s reputation and success.

To achieve this, ensure you do the following:

Saving Time and Cost With the Franchise Recruitment Model

Starting a recruitment agency from scratch can be time-consuming and expensive, especially when considering investing in a robust recruitment agency business plan. However, a franchise recruitment model can save time and money, allowing your business to become operational more quickly and efficiently.

The key benefits of choosing a franchise recruitment model include the following:

Saving time and cost
  1. Accelerated business setup: Franchising allows you to leverage an established brand and proven business model, significantly reducing the time and effort required to start your agency.
  2. Existing customer base: As a franchise recruiter working from home, you can tap into the franchise agency’s existing customer base, reducing the need to invest heavily in marketing and brand awareness campaigns.
  3. The lion’s share of all placement fees: When you register as a franchise recruiter with an agency like Recruiter Startup, you get to keep 80%–90% of all your placements.
  4. Comprehensive business plan: Franchise recruitment eliminates spending months perfecting your business plan, as the franchise agency provides a tried-and-true plan to follow.
  5. Online presence and marketing materials: Franchise recruiters can bypass the hassle of building a website and online presence by using the franchise agency’s established website and marketing materials.
  6. Cost savings: The franchise recruitment model often includes software requirements and supplies provided or subsidised by the franchise agency, leading to significant cost savings.
  7. Expert guidance and training: Franchise recruiters can benefit from valuable insights and training from an experienced franchise agency that’ll guide them through setting up and operating their recruitment desk.

Choosing a franchise recruitment model allows aspiring agency owners to start placing candidates and generating revenue much sooner. This approach saves time compared to spending months designing a recruitment agency business plan. The franchise model is an attractive option for those looking to enter the recruitment industry hassle-free. Contact us now to get started!

Failing to comply with legal obligations can result in fines, reputational damage, or even forced closure. Hence, prioritise compliance from the outset.

Recruitment Agency Business Plan - Frequently Asked Questions

Recruitment agencies make money primarily by charging their clients (employers) fees for successfully placing candidates in job roles. These fees can be either a percentage of the candidate’s starting salary or a fixed fee, depending on the agreement with the client. Some agencies also charge candidates a fee for job search assistance or other career services.

Yes, starting a recruitment agency can be a good idea if you possess strong industry knowledge, networks, and the ability to match job seekers with suitable employers. The recruitment industry can be lucrative and rewarding. However, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges, such as competition, changing market conditions, and the need for adaptation to new technology. 

Some of the best industries to start a recruitment agency are:

  • Medical and Healthcare
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Education
  • Renewable Energy
  • Construction and Engineering

Yes, the recruitment industry can be challenging due to several factors, including the following:

  • High competition: With over 27,700 recruitment agencies in the UK alone, competition is quite steep.
  • Economic fluctuations: Economic conditions often affect the industry, impacting job availability and demand.
  • Changing technology: Keeping up with new technologies like AI and automation may require adaptation and learning.
  • Building relationships: Developing solid relationships with clients and candidates is crucial but time-consuming.

Based on data from several sources, the UK recruitment industry is experiencing growth but at a slower pace. However, over 50% of recruitment agency experts forecast a 1%–25% revenue increase for 2023. While the industry continues to grow, it’s essential to consider factors such as competition and market fluctuations when assessing its overall health.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it — a complete guide to a recruitment agency business plan. As you can see, it’s no easy feat and requires a significant time and financial investment to get off the ground. The business plan alone can take months of work.

Why go through all that hassle when there’s a more straightforward solution?

Franchise models like Recruiter Startup offer a turnkey solution to get your recruitment agency up and running in no time. We provide the systems, training, and support so you can focus on what matters — finding great candidates and clients.

Stop wasting time on business plans and start building your dream recruitment agency today with a working business model. The opportunities are right here, so take that first step now. You’ll be glad you did!

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7-Step Guide to Starting a Recruitment Agency

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