Talent Acquisition

How to Start Your Own Recruitment Business

My name is Adam Bolton, and until recently I worked for a recruitment agency – I’d been there for almost 8 years, but I wanted something more.  I wanted to be able to provide more for my children (both in monetary and daddy time!) and decided that the best way for me to do that would be to start up on my own.

I’ve decided to write a series of blogs that will (hopefully) take me through the first year of ABrecruit.  In this, the first installment I would like to share with you how I have set up the business, and what you may expect from the initial period.

Basic Needs

So, you want to start your own recruitment agency – excellent.  Hopefully, you will have some domain experience (in my case it is .Net development) and you can take your business knowledge and employ it to your new business.

Things you need (or things I did!):

  • An accountant.  The very first thing I did was to meet with an accountant (most offer a free consultation as they want your business).  Luckily for me, I was referred to the same accountant by 2 people and it turned out (Linkedin is your friend) that a friend from my football team actually worked there.
  • When I met with the accountant, I made sure I had plenty of questions.  I’ve never run a business, so I had bundles of questions, things such as registering for tax, forming a company, how to claim for business expenses – trust me if you get a good accountant (which I have) you will get your questions answered there and then.
  • Money.  I’ve got a mortgage and 2 (hungry!) children to feed, so it was of key importance that my wife bought into my vision for the as yet un-named company – you need to work out your monthly outgoings, minimize them, and then add business expenses.
  • A name.  I spent 2 solid days trying to come up with a company name, but every single domain I came up with was taken.  In the end, I went for the good old-fashioned ‘initials’ and ABrecruit was born.
  • Insurance for both public liability and business insurance – this is one I forgot until the end!
  • Business Banking account. I had a nightmare with this, I chose to go with Lloyds Business Banking and it took them about 2 months to sort everything out, I wouldn’t recommend them on this basis, they compensated me for my issues, but I just can’t bring myself to recommend them even though I know people who have had no issues with them. I’ve heard good things about HSBC and Barclays though.
  • A place to work.  It doesn’t matter where it is, you can rent office space, share office space, work from a shed in your garden, anything, but you really must have a ‘workspace’ and a ‘chill space’.  If you are working from home, there isn’t a person on this earth that can honestly say that a TV staring at them with access to Sky Sports News wouldn’t be a distraction!  You then need to add in a computer, phone line, broadband, etc.  There aren’t too many hidden costs of running a recruitment business.
  • Website – ask around.  I can guarantee that someone you know is connected with someone that runs a small web design agency, you should not pay more than £1,000 for this.  I decided to opt for a mobile-enabled site, meaning if people view my site on a mobile device it adjusts itself accordingly which is slightly more expensive.  If you want a site like, give Jamie at Bubble Web a call, he did mine.
  • That’s it.  This is recruitment, if you’ve got a computer and a phone you’re winning.  Oh hang on, I’m missing something massive here…a database!  If you head over to Chameleoni you will get a basic recruitment database for free – they run on the basis that when you grow you will need to pay them for extra users.  Good business model.

Leaving your job

I’d been working for the same company for almost 8 years, so leaving the comfort (and colleagues) behind was tough.  I handed my notice in on 2nd Jan, saw through my 1 week notice period at home (looking after my kids and squeezing in some XBOX time!).

My new working day

Since starting the business I have never worked so hard – and I have loved every single minute.

My ethos for ABrecruit is somewhat of a cliché, but ABC used to be ‘Always Be Closing’ in sales/recruitment – well I now see that as more like ‘Always Be Connecting’.  I’ve met with far more decision-makers and developers than I ever did in the past.  I’m open and honest with my candidates (who love my working hours, see below!), and my clients and people, on the whole, appear to be responding well to it.

I now work pretty much solidly from 8 am – 9 pm weekdays, and work all day on Saturday with a break for my pastime – football!

I mention the working hours because you really do start to live and breathe the job – I’ve sat watching a film with my daughter and can’t resist checking my emails!  It also makes you feel proud to hear your daughter telling her cousin on Skype (yes, my 5yr old knows how to use Skype, she has her own account) that “my Dad has his own business”.

Candidates like the hours too – plenty of them call me between 6-9 pm because they’re not sneaking out of work to talk to me, they can relax and tell me what they’re really after.  Clients have told me how impressed they are with getting CVs at 9 pm, and I just tell them that’s what they get with ABrecruit!

I’m only 6 weeks into the business and it’s early days yet, but watch out for the next installment of “Adam Bolton – from recruiter to riches”.

UPDATE: How to Start Your Own Recruitment Business: The Dream Continues…

By Adam Bolton

Adam Bolton is a Technical Recruiter for ABrecruit Ltd who specialise in recruiting for .Net developers. If you would like to get in touch with Adam feel free to leave a comment below and/or tweet him at @ABRecruitLtd. He also runs IDinLondon.