Starting a Staffing Business

Watu has joined hands with many agencies starting a staffing business over the years, and it’s been a real treat to see them grow from an idea to a thriving reality.

​As can be expected, we’ve picked up some useful knowledge along the way for others starting a staffing business, so we thought we’d share it around.

Building a Website

These days, hiring someone to build your site isn’t necessarily your first step. WordPress, for example, has some beautiful themes available, though it’s worth bearing in mind that this is not straightforward nor simple. About 75% of your time will be spent learning the system, and the remaining 25% building.

However, a huge benefit to this, apart from saving your cash, is that you will be able to maintain, update and edit the system as you please. Recent photos, your Watu account link, and new case studies can be added without having to pay designer fees or work around their schedules.

Behind the Scenes

Note: This information is relevant to UK clients only and was last updated Jan 2015
Operations always look simple from an outsiders perspective; who would want to see the long hours, hectic schedules and frequent stress that can come along with running an events-industry business? Saying that, we’d like to save you from some of the tedious behind-the-scenes tasks by listing them – and how to tackle them – here:

Holiday Pay: Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday per year. Commonly, this is rolled into a staff member’s pay for each day however it must be made clear that the holiday pay is on top of basic rate, and on the payslip it must be shown what proportion is for holiday pay. You can read more about holiday entitlement and displaying the separate payments on a payslip.

T&C’s: Watu provides a place for you to enter your terms and conditions for staff to agree to. You’ll want to have these ready for before staff start signing up, so when writing them, keep in mind the surrounding points. If you’re looking for guidance, you can search for ‘temporary staffing terms and conditions’ to see how other agencies have structured theirs.

Self-Employed or PAYE staff: You’ll have to determine whether you will allow staff to sign up as self-employed, limited companies, PAYE or any of the above. How do you go about making this decision? Use the employment status options below to help get started:

Employment Status Indicator
Employment Status Manual

In general, agencies are moving towards registering staff as PAYE as outlined by this government page “Know Your Rights“.

48 Hour Opt Out: As part of the rules to protect employees, people who want to work more than 48 hours in a week must state this. If you are predicting a busy schedule and a regular team of staff, you may want to add this in as part of your profile template. You can read more about 48 opt out in “Maximum Weekly Hours and Opt Out” government page.

Slowly but surely, you’ll need to start with staff. But where are the best places to recruit?

Universities: Check out our post on how to connect with university staff.

Facebook Groups: These are very active and are a great way to find eager recruits. Look up promo/promotional staff/promo zone as starters.

Stuck for Staff: Got a job and not enough staff? Check out Stuck for Staff which has thousands of promotional staff ready to be booked on. Not only will you fill your jobs, but find many people happy to sign up to your agency

Word of Mouth: Of course, reputation is still important. Happy staff lead to happy clients, leading to more work for those happy staff. And staff generally love to chat about which is their favourite agency – why not make it you?

And how about the staff questionnaire for all these new recruits? We’ve already written some guidance on what questions to ask applicants, as these will have a huge impact on your time management in the future as well as ability to search for specific categories of people within Watu.

Shout about your USP
I read the websites of every lead interested in Watu. That’s a lot of websites, spread all around the world. From them, I get a sense that each agency was started by a genuine passion for supplying the best staff, the ones who excel in the field and wow clients. But, this appears to be across the board – so how do I know which of these enthusiastic agencies would be right for me, if I were a client?

With so much high quality competition, perhaps focussing on a niche market and owning it is the answer.

Our client Backwoods Promo provides outdoorsy, motorbike-loving girls. Specific? Yes. Brilliant? Yes! If I were a Red Bull rep and looking for some knowledgeable staff to get the crowd going at my next dirt biking event, Backwoods would be my first port of call.

This is by no means an exhaustive list; setting up an agency will require much your time and dedication before being up and running. But these three points are a good place to start and, I hope, will offer a helpful hand along the road to starting a staffing business.