For a new recruitment agency owner, the dream is a brand-new office, with city views, gleaming computer screens, an expensive barista style coffee machine, and big, comfy leather chairs. But, with remote working, cloud software, and the average cost of a single desk in London's Zone 1 sitting at £790 per month, a physical office space might not be the best investment for an agency just starting out. The question then is: Can you set up a credible recruitment agency without an office? The answer is yes, you can. Here's how you go about it.
A remote agency can still enjoy the prestige that comes with an expensive postcode in a trendy part of a city by using a service like Regus. Regus allows you to set up a virtual office with a professional postal address, a telephone answering service, mail handling, and even the use of an office on an ad hoc basis. The cost of this service works out between £1 - £3 per person, per day. For many startup recruitment agencies, this type of arrangement gives you the necessary credibility, whilst also cutting down on costs too.
If you’d rather get up and go and actually make the trek to an office that’s a little further away than the garden shed, there are options like hot desking to consider. Most co-working spaces come with wonderful meeting rooms attached meaning that you get the benefits of that shiny office you crave, whilst saving a considerable amount of money too. If you’re looking for a shared working space, companies like WeWork, or Glasgow’s own Whisky Bond offer hot desking at a greatly reduced cost compared to renting an entire office. These spaces are often trendy with fantastic amenities so for many startup recruitment agencies, hot desking could give you the best of both worlds.
For remote working to be successful, especially when starting a business, you need the right infrastructure in place. From a cloud based recruitment CRM to Office 365 or cloud based accounting software like Xero, there are plenty of excellent software options available to make remote working a real goer for your team. Building an effective remote team isn’t nearly as difficult as it used to be – if your team can get online, they can get to work. This could be from the beach on Thailand (an attractive option when hiring new staff), or their spare room in a wet and cold corner of the UK.
Now, you might worry about your teams’ camaraderie if they’re working from home, dispersed across the country or even the world. But fear not! It’s easy to have digital meetups daily or weekly as there are plenty of video software options available for ‘face to face’ conversations. If possible too, you could have weekly or monthly meetups out in the real world to help build friendships within your team. If you’re concerned about the safety of your data, make sure to get some technical and legal advice to keep your recruitment agency and its data safe.
You Don’t Need an Office
To build a great business you don’t need to build a great office. At least not one tied to a geographical location at the start of your journey. Instead, you can build a great team and use cloud based technologies for collaboration and communication. If you get the right framework in place, you can scale up quicker and more nimbly without an office. Use the money you save, invest it in people and tools, and set your recruitment agency up the right way.
My advice for a recruitment agency in startup mode is don’t invest in an office when there are so many excellent options to make remote working a sound business choice. But I’d love to hear what you think too. Please share your success stories (from either side) in the comments below!