Tips on setting up a construction recruitment agency

Here are some tips we have put together through research and leader profiles to help you start up your own construction recruitment industry.

Research your competition

Whether you’re setting up a recruitment agency from scratch or leaving an old company behind to venture on your own it’s important to find out as much as you can about your competition.

If you are specialising your recruitment offerings ensure that you have looked at that market and the industry market as a whole. There are different types of competitor analysis you can conduct. Plotting your competitors on a graph based on their price and quality of service allows you to pick up on gaps within the market, you may choose different variables on your graph.

This first step will help you to identify where your company can slot in with the least amount of direct competition. It will make your marketing and pricing strategy a bit easier to plan.


It doesn’t matter if you have decided to set up on your own or with a business partner. Setting up a temporary recruitment agency can be costly. This is because you may have to pay your workers first and then collect the money (and your fees) from the client. Ensure you find a way to cover your costly early on either through investment or a loan. It is possible to have silent investors who fund the business or invest a lump sum and remain out of business decisions. It’s a good idea to have some legal help even if the investor is a friend or family member.

The first milestone

Registering your company is a big milestone. Coming up with a name and office address is an exciting moment. If you are just starting up consider putting your home address as the company address while you get set up. This will allow you to trade before you commit to an office lease.

Construction recruitment Director Stewart Olsen worked from home for “around 2 weeks to test the water before committing to the outgoings of an office.”


Apart from an office, it’s important to get your ducks in line before getting jobs in. Consider getting a basic CRM system to help keep track of your future candidates. Many companies such as Talisman offer monthly rolling subscriptions so you aren’t locked into a long-term contract. As you grow you may consider adding on a Pay and Bill, Credit Control and Timesheet module which Talisman are able to provide.

Stewart Olsen pointed out that one of the challenges he faces when setting up Orb recruitment was the cost of CRM and Job boards. Ensure you budget for these when you’re starting up.

Planning and structuring

Having a marketing plan, budgets and business strategy is essential. If you nail this early on it will be much easier. Get some help from other directors, or professionals who can help you develop a business strategy. Our leader profiles can be a good starting point on some tips from industry leaders on how they scaled their recruitment agencies from the beginning. A marketing plan will help you spread the word as soon as you begin trading. Mathew Dittmann found it was a challenge to create a presence within the market but managed to grow his company quite organically through effective marketing.

Set yourself some realistic targets early on. All directors want to earn big bucks in their early days but be realistic on what you want to achieve set reachable goals and review them often.

“I think it’s quite easy as a new business to think about all the money you could be earning and you set your targets to over a million pounds a year, but you have to be realistic. The more planning you do the more successful you’ll be. Set yourself milestones throughout the year that’ll help you to achieve your targets – focus on building incrementally or you can get far too ahead of yourself!” Mathew Dittmann

Get some clients

If you have left a previous company don’t go and poach your old clients, this could be breaching you restricted covenants. Your LinkedIn network is a powerful tool. Let others know that you have decided to go solo, there may be some workers you helped previously that are now high up within companies.

Recruitment can be a numbers game so hit the phones and don’t be disheartened if the clients don’t start coming in straight away. It can take time. Go to some industry related events and network to get your brand out there and make some connection.

Be prepared for hard work

Running a business is not easy. It can be very rewarding but, Rome wasn’t built in a day! So prepare yourself, friends and family for some late nights a few missed dinners and weekend work. If you manage your friends and family’s expectations for the upcoming months they will be much more understanding. But make sure you give yourself a break if you know there will be a few months of extremely hard work plan a holiday to give yourself something to look forward to.

Be prepared for growth

If you have planned well and got some clients you’ll begin to grow in size. Be prepared to make some internal hires to ease your workload. You may consider using a recruitment agency to help you find some consultants or administrators. Don’t forget that as you grow your technology should also grow with you.

When you begin to make more hire sit down and plan the type of company culture you want to adopt. Do you want to have dress down days at work? Will you offer birthdays off? What incentives will you provide to draw consultants in and stay? There are great conferences based on how to create a good company culture, it’s easier to create a culture than it is to change one.

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