How to start a recruitment company or agency? A step-by-step guide

A recruitment company or agency is an exciting business prospect with a lot of potential. That’s probably why you’re thinking of setting one up.

Is it difficult? It can be. But if you follow these steps, it’ll make starting a recruitment agency a whole lot easier.

Consider a niche

factoring for recruitment companiesA general recruitment business can work well, but in such a competitive industry, many start-ups find more success by focusing on a niche sector. The available market audience will be smaller, but many companies prefer to work with a recruitment agency with specialist industry experience, so it can be easier to get your foot in the door.

If you do go down this route, just remember to fully research potential niches, as market demand in some sectors is much stronger than others.

Familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations

When setting up a recruitment agency, there are a lot of regulations to follow in terms of what you can and can’t do.

If you have experience in the recruitment industry, you may know these already, but it’s well worth familiarising yourself with the most up-to-date regs. Some industry sectors also require a license.

Work out the finances for your recruitment agency

factoringWhile a lot of success can be achieved in the recruitment industry, it’s notorious for tricky cash flow conditions.

One of the main reasons is down to the delay between payments. The period of time between the recruitment work being done, and the payment being received, can be up to three months in many cases.

Banks can also be hesitant to provide affordable finance – particularly if your agency is growing quickly.

That’s why it’s crucial to do the maths when it comes to your day-to-day operations. Consider the worst case scenarios, and then assess whether the funds available would help you get through those quieter periods.

Fortunately, there are very effective tools to help manage cash flow which we’ll discuss later in the article.

Get the marketing right, particularly during the start-up phase

Marketing is key. Not just the brand name and website, but also your market positioning.

What is your target audience looking for in an agency? How will you reach out to them? What will you offer that differs you from your competitors? How will you compete in terms of pricing?

A good marketing plan, executed well, plays a big role in building those initial clients. From there, you can collect a portfolio of previous work and use your reputation to expand your client base.

Consider REC membership

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation, also known as REC, is an accreditation body for the UK’s recruitment industry. It’s not essential to join, but if you do, it can give your agency more credibility in front of potential clients.

Plus, if you’re just starting out in the recruitment industry, or feel like sharpening your skills before you launch your own agency, REC offers a range of training courses for all levels.

Make sure factoring is available to you

factoringFactoring is a service where you can sell your receivable invoices to a third party (the “factor”) at a discount, so you get paid sooner, while the third party is repaid when the invoice becomes due and is eventually settled.

That’s the trade-off: you make a little less, but get the money when you need it. You can turn an invoice due in 3 months into cash in the bank within just a few days.

Why is this so important? Because cash flow can be particularly difficult for recruitment agencies with such long delays between work and payment. It’s therefore no surprise that recruitment is one of the busiest sectors in the factoring industry.

And with most recruitment agencies having a large percentage of their assets held in outstanding invoices, it’s often the only way to free up cash quickly to smooth out any bumps in the road.
That’s why it’s vital for any recruitment company to have access to competitive factoring. Perhaps you’ll never even use it. But if you do find yourself in a situation where you have upcoming bills, and all your income is tied up in unpaid invoices, factoring can be a relatively affordable way to avoid any problems.

As a factoring broker specialising in the recruitment agency, we’ve formed relationships with factoring firms to source you the best deal we can find. Tell us what you need, and you’ll have factoring from a reputable company with fast payment and very competitive terms. It’s as simple as that.

Plus, our service is completely free. You can find out more about factoring for recruitment companies here.

Leverage online marketing

When setting up a recruitment agency, some of the fastest growth can be achieved through leveraging online marketing. For example:

Social media – A great way to build brand recognition and authority while reaching out to potential clients. LinkedIn, as a dedicated business social media platform, is one of the most effective.

E-mail marketing – A carefully selected e-mail marketing list can allow you to contact companies and ask if they have any vacancies you can find talent for. Lists can also be sourced for addresses and phone numbers if you prefer to use other forms of communication.

Job websites – Major job websites are some of the recruiter’s most important tools. If you’re given the task of filling a job vacancy, you can use the platform to promote the position and access potentially thousands of willing candidates.

Take advantage of specialist payroll and accounting facilities

For recruitment businesses, workers’ payrolls can be complicated. This is particularly the case for temps, where a lot of organisation is required to ensure that all workers are paid on time and correctly.

Fortunately, there are accounting platforms designed specifically for recruitment businesses to make managing the finances a lot easier. Better still, some factoring firms provide these facilities with factoring included in a seamless package. With this, factoring can be used to help pay workers on time so there’s a much lower risk of cash flow causing missed or incorrect payments.

Be people-focused

The most successful recruitment agencies have a passion for pairing the best people with the best jobs. It’s a two-way street. If someone receives a job they enjoy, it makes them a better employee and satisfies the company paying your fee (i.e. the employer).

With effective marketing, sound financials, accessible factoring and a passion for the trade, you’ll be able to turn your start-up recruitment agency into a long-term success.

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Is Factoring Halal or Haram?

There is some confusion in the UK and elsewhere in the world as to whether factoring is Halal, whether factoring is Haram and whether factoring is Sharia compliant. Much of this confusion comes down to the fact that in Islam, banking and financial activity must be done with the principles of Sharia. Therefore any financial product that complies with the principles of Sharia is Halal (permissible) and any financial product that does not comply with Sharia is Haram (sinful and prohibited).

Sharia prohibits all forms of usury or riba. Essentially, usury and riba are the acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money, regardless of whether the payment is fixed or not. That means therefore that a traditional mortgage or loan from a UK bank is Haram because interest is charged on the money that has been lent. However, there are Islamic finance products available that function instead of loans and mortgages. But if Islamic banks and financial products cannot charge interest, how can they be profitable? Hilary Osborne, the Guardian’s Money editor explains it as follows:

“Banks can profit from helping customers to purchase a property using a ijara or murabaha scheme. With an ijara scheme the bank makes money by charging the customer rent; with a murabaha scheme, a price is agreed at the outset which is more than the market value. This profit is deemed to be a reward for the risk that is assumed by the bank”.

It’s clear that whilst loans and mortgages may be deemed Haraam, there are alternative products to replace these. But what about factoring? Is it Halal? Is it Haram? Or are there alternatives? A short definition of factoring is as follows:

“Factoring is a financial transaction whereby a business sells its accounts receivable (i.e., invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount in exchange for immediate money with which to finance continued business.”

Viewpoints vary as to whether factoring is Haram or Halal. To many, they see it as a classic case of usury, the invoices themselves essentially being debts and the selling of debts in Islam is Haram. Then, discounting the debt they see as clear case of usury. Others may see traditional factoring in a different light and see ways that it is or can be made Halal.

However the good news is that there are alternatives and there are factoring or factoring like services that are Halal and Sharia compliant. These Islamic factoring services adhere to Sharia principles and offer efficient working capital and liquidity solutions on a non-recourse basis. The exact details of how they work may vary but what they all share is the compliance to Sharia principles. These have had to be developed because factoring is essential these days for many businesses in the UK and beyond to help them deal with their cash flow problems.

If you would like to know more about factoring or are considering it for your business then get in touch today and speak to an independent factoring broker who can answer all your questions and give you independent advice.

Factoring Solutions is one of oldest established specialist factoring brokers and is available on 01827 707680

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Factoring

Factoring is one of the most popular and most effective ways of easing cash flow worries with businesses across the UK enjoying its many benefits. But there is still a lot of misinformation out there about factoring which means many businesses are unaware just how useful if can be. Here’s 5 things you may not know about factoring:

Factoring Is Not a Loan

One of the main misconceptions is that factoring is a loan as well as one that is somehow more expensive than traditional bank loans. This is completely incorrect because factoring is not a loan in any sense of the term. There is absolutely no lending involved whatsoever in factoring. When a factoring company buys your invoice and pays you money for it, that is it, that is the sale done and dusted, your business owes nothing to anyone. The responsibility for collecting the money owed on that invoice now stands entirely with the factoring company. Therefore, factoring is not a loan, it’s actually a straightforward sales transaction.

It’s Not YOUR Credit Rating That Matters, It’s Your Customers

One of the most common reasons that some small business owners cite about not using factoring as a way of solving their cash flow woes is that they are worried that they do not have the credit worthiness to benefit from it. The irony is, it’s for small businesses who may not have the best credit and startups that factoring can be a fantastic way of improving their cash flow. This is because factoring is based upon the creditworthiness of a business’s customers, rather than the business’s credit score itself. This means that if your business has some very credit worthy customers, factoring is fantastically quick, simple and cost effective method of improving cash flow.

Compared to Lending From A Bank, It’s Seriously Quick

Is invoice factoring quicker than a bank loan? Yes. We all know that thanks to the current economic climate, getting funding from banks can be a long, drawn out affair. With loan decisions being taken on various factors including a company’s operating history and credit scores, it can sometimes take weeks or even longer. Factoring can be done much quicker than this, often within a matter of days if needed.

Factoring Can Save You Serious Amounts of Time

If you factor your sales invoices then effectively the factoring company is running your sales ledger. Think about the resources and time that your business currently takes issuing and cashing up invoices? There may be a charge for factoring but when you factor in the time saved and the resources saved (which can be deployed elsewhere) then you will often find that their is a net saving by using factoring for your business.

More Businesses Than You Think Use Factoring

You’d be surprised at just how many businesses use invoice factoring as currently over 44,000 UK companies are using either factoring or invoice discounting to fund their working capital.

Chances are that are many of your customers, clients and competitors are benefiting from invoice finance so why not contact Factoring Solutions today on 01827 707680 to find out how factoring can benefit your business happy in the knowledge that all of our services and advice are, and always will be, completely free of charge

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When Is It Time To Consider Invoice Factoring?

If you’re running a small to medium sized business then you’ll undoubtedly be aware that one of the key challenges is maintaining a healthy cashflow. Having control of the money coming into your business and what goes out of it is essential to helping your business thrive and if your cashflow struggles, it can have several negative effects on your business including:

● Unable to settle invoices and owed monies: Poor cash flow management can result in you being unable to pay suppliers and even your staff
● Harm your credit rating: Frequently defaulting on short and long term financial obligations can in certain circumstances harm your company’s credit rating
● Diminish your competitive advantage: Poor cash flow can harm the competitiveness of your business because you are unable to finance the required investment needed to keep your competitive edge over rivals. This could be investment in new tech for example.
● Most importantly, it can threaten the very existence of your business. If your business cannot pay suppliers and creditors, it won’t be very long before the company’s insolvency results in closure.

cash flow signsIt is clear to see that poor cash flow can kill a business and it is time to consider invoice factoring if you are experiencing any of the following:

● Are you a startup business that is struggling to get finance from the existing traditional sources of finance such as banks?
● Are you experienced an increase of slow paying customers or clients and is thus negatively affecting your monthly cash flow?
● Does your business have a long sales cycle? Does a slight dip in sales or a delay have a serious impact on your cash flow?
● Is your business sometimes struggling to find the money to invest in its growth, such as paying for new equipment and training?
● More worryingly, are you sometimes struggling to find the money for your company’s payroll?

If you are experiencing any of these then it’s time to consider invoice finance. However, it is wise to proceed with caution. A Quick Google and you will find a whole host of factoring companies out there, all offering what they say are the very best deals on the market. However, all is not what it seems because what may be a good deal for one company may not be good for another. There may be other charges involved and what on the surface may seem like a great deal can turn out to be a very expensive mistake. In view of this, it is always advised to go through a factoring broker. Independent from the companies involved, a factoring broker can explain what deals are available, highlight any hidden charges and ensure you get the best deal for your business. And the best news? As well as independent advice, you may even get a better deal because often factoring brokers have access to better deals than are available to the public.

If you’re considering invoice factoring then why not give us a call today? As independent factoring brokers, we have helped improve the cashflow of many businesses across the UK. Call us on 01827 707680

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Things You Didn’t Know About Invoice Discounting

Are you an SME or startup and would like a way to ease those occasional cash flow woes? Maybe you have heard about invoice discounting but have never really considered it because you weren’t too sure what it is? Here we take a look at 5 things you probably don’t know bout invoice discounting and how it could help your business.

It’s Not Invoice Factoring

One of the big misconceptions about invoice discounting is that it exactly the same as invoice factoring. It isn’t. Although in many ways they are very, very similar, there are some fundamental differences around who runs the sales ledger and collects the money as well as whether your customers will know you are using these kinds of services. We’ll explore these below.

Your Business Retains Control Over Your Own Sales Ledger

With factoring, you sell your invoice to the factoring company and they take the role of managing the sales ledger, credit control and chasing customers for the payment of the invoices. This is not quite how invoice discounting works. With invoice discounting, your business retains control of its own sales ledger and chases payment in the normal way.

Your Customers Won’t Know You Are Using Invoice Discounting

With invoice factoring, it is clear to your customers and clients that you are using invoice finance because the factoring company are the ones collecting the payments. Some companies don’t like this fact about invoice factoring, despite it being a common occurrence and something that because so many customers are using, it hardly raises an eyebrow. However, with invoice discounting, no-one will know that you are using these types of services because you are collecting your own payments.

It’s Much Quicker Than Traditional Bank Finance

If you are a startup (or indeed any small to medium sized business) then you’ll know that if you try and access traditional bank finance then it can be a very long, drawn out and frustrating process that often requires you to jump through hoops. More so, it can also often be a very negative experience despite everything you do, you will be denied finance for the very flimsiest of reasons. However, like invoice factoring, invoice discounting is much easier to access for startups and small businesses and much quicker too. This quick access to finance can sometimes the difference between whether a business survives or goes to the wall.

Invoice Discounting is a Source of Finance That Grows As You Grow

The great thing about invoice discounting is that as your business’s level of turnover increases and the value of your outstanding debtors grows, this also entitles you to access more cash through invoice discounting. That means not only can invoice discounting ease cash flow worries in the short term, it can help provide that boost to your business and help it to grow in the long term too. It’s very comforting to know you have a readily available line of finance ready and waiting for when you need it. Whether It’s for research and development or purchasing new tech that will differentiate you from the competition, with invoice discounting you can have access to a growing amount of finance when you need it.

For an informal chat on invoice discounting please contact us on 01827 707680 without any obligation whatsoever. We’ll discuss the various options open to you safe in the knowledge that we will only ever introduce you to one of the few discounters that perform as well as they claim and as one of the UK’s leading specialist brokers all of our services are completely free of charge

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Factoring for contractors

Regardless of what industry you work in, life as a contractor can be immensely rewarding, fulfilling but also tough at times. It’s not hard to see the appeal of becoming a contractor, the freedom and financial gains can be significant, as can the flexibility to work where you want, when you want. However, as with many things in life, things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. Cash flow can be a big problem for some contractors due to a number of reasons including:

● Labour intensive work
● Payments being made to suppliers or subcontractors before receiving cash payments from the project in question
● Retainage
● Slow payers

A poor cash flow can seriously harm you financially and even wipe you out completely so it is important to have a strategy to deal with the inevitable contractor cash flow problems so you can work and make more money with the peace of mind you will always have access to cash.

Why Factoring For Contractors Makes Sense

Factoring for small businesses has for a long time been an accepted, convenient and cost effective way of improving their cash flow by accessing the cash tied-up with their invoices. This can enable the to pay their suppliers and staff on time even if their clients have not paid them on-time. This is done by the factoring company buying the debt of the businesses for a slightly lesser amount than the invoices value. The business may receive a little bit less than they invoiced but what is important for cash flow is that they receive the money straight away instead of having to wait 30, 60 or in some cases 90 days.

Contractor factoring goes one step further and gives you access to the cash that is tied up in your timesheets. For just a small percentage of the cash tied up in your timesheets, you could have them paid into your account within as little as 24 hours.

3 Situations In Which You Might Need Contractor Factoring

Transitioning From Umbrella to PAYE or Limited Company – Undertaking this sort of transfer can sometimes stretch you financially depending upon your personal financial situation. You could be waiting up to nine weeks for the payment of your first invoice which can be an awfully long time without money! Using factoring however will let you access the money with every approved timesheet.

Cash For Equipment Or Training – If you need a lump sum quickly to invest in new equipment or training, then factoring is the perfect solution. Within a day, you can have access to the cash you need to get the training or equipment that is essential to your work.

Short Term Cash Flow – Sometimes as a contractor you can face short term cash flow problems for a whole range of reasons. Factoring is the perfect solution to get you across these short term cash flow worries.

If you want to know more about factoring and how it can help you then call your independent factoring broker on 01827 707680 for a free, no obligation chat.

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