How to Start a Staffing Agency 1-2-3
Many a job seeker has reaped great rewards from temporary staffing. Skilled but yet-inexperienced workers
are able to get a foot in the door at prestigious companies, where a weak resume would have made it very
difficult to be considered.
Similarly, "drifters" (those who tend to rapidly drift from job to job) may be plagued by an overly-long
resume. Temporary staffing services can be ideal for drifters, as they have the opportunity to work on
short-term projects and move on without the negative repercussions.
Retirees and college students are also very common candidates. A retired nurse may find enjoyment and extra
income from a temporary medical staffing firm. A computer science major can gain valuable experience working
with a technical agency.
Only a small number of personnel is required to handle recruiting and clientele. Even the largest
international firms tend to function with small, mostly-independent branch offices serving specific regions.
This modular structure means it is quite possible for a one-office temporary staffing agency to compete
effectively with established firms.
Overall, the triple-benefit to clients, associates, and entrepreneurs has contributed to the phenomenal
growth of the temporary staffing industry. Because of these advantages, it will remain an integral part of the
employment process through good times and bad.Staffing Agency Start-Up Plan
Start Up Costs and Financing Sources:
$5,000 to $25,000
The startup and operating costs of a temporary staffing agency are much lower than many other businesses.
The basic requirements are a small office with the typical supplies, a computer system with general accounting
software and database software for organizing contracts, and the people skills to work with clientele and
associates. It would not be impossible to start a temporary staffing agency on a shoestring budget of a few
The largest business expense is payroll. It is common for associates to be paid by the agency before the
agency is paid by the client. An account must be maintained with sufficient funds to cover payroll costs until
bills are paid by the clients.
It is difficult - but not impossible - to get help from venture capitalists in covering part of the costs of
setting up a temporary staffing agency. A well-researched, forward-looking business plan is essential.
Pricing Guidelines for Service:
Associates are paid by the hour, and the
agency covers its costs by charging a premium to the amount billed to the client. The exact amount of the
premium differs from case to case and can vary from 5% to 50% or more. Some associates are willing to work
for less and some clients are willing to pay more, which when properly matched can result in very decent
profits for the temporary staffing agency. The contract usually spells out a flat fee to be paid to the
agency in the event that a client decides to permanently hire an associate.
Advertising and Marketing:
A competitive hurdle for small startups is that larger agencies already have established reputations and
brand recognition. This is actually a minor obstacle because of the localized nature of the business. It is not
necessary to wage a national marketing war to gain exposure for a new agency. An inexpensive and well-directed
marketing campaign can quickly build a valuable reputation within the local operating region of the
An office (perhaps a home office) should be equipped with the standard office supplies and at least two
At least one computer system with accounting software and a database for keeping track of projects is
mandatory. A printer is used for printing invoices and job listings, and a high-speed Internet connection
connects the agency with online job search sites.
Many temporary staffing services have computers with tutorial software available to help associates to train
their keyboarding and basic office software skills. These computers are also used to test the skills of
Many billions of dollars are spent on temporary staffing services each year. A small, single-office agency
can earn profits in the tens of thousands of dollars. The large, international firms rake in millions every
A temporary staffing agency is the middleman between two distinct markets: clients and associates.
It is usually not a difficult matter to reach hundreds of applicants with simple help wanted advertisements.
More focus will probably be placed on connecting with client companies and convincing them that your services
will help their businesses.
Certain industries seem more receptive to temporary staffing. Financial institutions and other
office-centric companies are constantly seeking qualified office support staff. Factories frequently need labor
for light industrial work, product assembly, and shipping and receiving tasks. Hospitals and clinics use
temporary medical staffing to hire transcriptionists, certified nursing professionals, and other support staff.
Increasingly, high-technology companies hire computer programmers, database specialists, and systems engineers
on a temporary basis through agencies specializing in technical placements.
Tips for Success:
Develop a niche!
In larger markets, providers of temporary staffing services have found it useful to branch into
niches such as temporary medical staffing, legal, financial, or technical fields. The focused nature of
these agencies allows recruiters to build a pool of highly-educated, trained, and experienced
associates who are able to provide the best service to clients within a particular industry.A
hospital executive would feel more comfortable contracting nurses from an agency dedicated to temporary
medical staffing than from a one-stop-shop that also places welders, janitors, and filing clerks. This
confidence also helps associates to command better wages than they might otherwise receive through a
general-service temporary staffing agency.
Much of the work of running a temporary staffing agency can be automated by computer software.
Well-designed database software can ease the process of matching qualified associates with appropriate job
openings. Accounting operations can be very heavily automated (but working closely with a good accountant
is still advised). With these tools in place, just two major tasks remain: finding clients and finding
- Use your own services!
As the business grows, it will become necessary to add staff to handle the recruitment and marketing. That
should never be difficult, since typically dozens or hundreds of qualified candidates are already in
contact with the agency!
Training, Skills or Experience
Recruiters are at an advantage with a background in human resources, business management, and marketing. A
degree is not essential for starting the business, but the knowledge gained through a business management
program is immensely helpful. People skills are important, and can be learned through experience and self
study. Numerous books have been published, specifically addressing temporary staffing as a business
Copyright Randy Wilson, All Rights Reserved | Randy Wilson has dozens of home based business articles such
as Best Home Based Businesses, Small Business Opportunities Magazines and Easy Start Home Businesses.
Become a Career Coach
Another option you have is to become a Career Coach. As a career Coach, you
can assist job seekers by helping them prepare for interviews.
You can also provide resume writing services or career training. Job seekers can
include a variety of different people, like entry level workers, job-changers, moms returning to work,
mature workers, etc.
Career Counselor Jennifer Fishberg has put together a business start-up guide with tips from 17
successful career coaches and career counselors, which will guide you in launching your career counseling
business. This is a business you can do part-time or full-time and requires little start-up investment.
How to Become a Career Coach
Staffing Agency Resources: