So, you’ve been burning the midnight oil at a large executive recruiting firm, and you finally had that thought — “Maybe I should start my own firm.”

Next thing you know, you start working out all of the details in your head, like:
How will you get clients? How will you market your business? What will you even name your business? And then, of course, the costs. How much does it cost to start a staffing or executive recruiting firm?

Here’s the cost breakdown for starting your own recruiting firm.

Basic operational costs:

Trademark and LLC Filing Fee
Using LegalZoom, pricing starts at $149 for LLC filing fees. If you want to trademark, then you’re looking at a $69 application fee, and an additional $225 application fee for the USPTO depending on the class.

Website Registration and Hosting
So, you’ve come up with the name for your firm. Now you have to register your website domain name. On GoDaddy, you can pay for a domain name for $11.99, but that depends on the popularity of the terms you’re using. Keep in mind, this will only cover your registration for a single year, and you’ll need to pay for hosting. Hosting will cost you $59.98 for one year of economy hosting.

Website Design and Launch
For your website, you have two options: buy a template (we recommend WordPress) or hire a designer. If you’re buying a template, is will cost roughly $59 for a WordPress template, but keep in mind you’ll have to spend hours designing and setting it up yourself. However, a WordPress developer and designer will run you roughly $4k to setup and launch your site.

Custom Email Platform
Most people use Google Apps. Costs run around $5-10 depending on the number of users you have, but it’s well worth it. Custom domain name and the shareable google docs, spreadsheets, and slide decks are well worth the price.

Logo Design
If you don’t have any design chops or any friends with any, then 99 Designs is the way to go. $299 for a competition to design the logo for your new firm.

Business Card Printing
Every executive recruiter will need some great looking business cards. Check out Moo cards for 50 business cards starting at $19.99.


Invoicing software
Some business owners choose to create manual invoices, but that’s ridiculous. WaveApps is a free option that lets you easily invoice your clients. You can automate and track the process, saving you hours in the long run.

eSignature Software
Using eSingature software for contracts is a no brainer. We recommend HelloSign. There’s a free version that’s perfect for your search firm as you start, and will easily scale with your needs as your requirements grow.

Sales and Marketing

CRM and Executive Recruiting Software
For the best bang for your buck, we recommend using Pipedrive. It has all of the features you need for CRM and project management. You’ll need a tool like this to build your sales pipeline.

Marketing Automation
As you’re starting your new recruiting firm, you’ll have a lot of tools thrown your way. Don’t listen to all the noise. Autopilot and MailChimp are the only options you should consider. Autopilot is an incredibly powerful tool starting at $20/month and MailChimp is a serviceable backup for creating email campaigns at $15/month.

Web Conferencing
As a startup, you shouldn’t have to spend a dime here. has a free version which should cover your needs, or try Uberconference.

Lead Lists
Unless you have a list of clients ready to jump when you leave your executive recruiting firm, then you’ll most likely look for a lead list to help you build your business from scratch. These lists can be purchased from a number of providers starting at $500 and going up into the thousands.

Recruiting Tools
LinkedIn Recruiter
Last time I checked, Recruiter Lite ran at around $119/month. If you’re doing your own candidate search, then you’ll probably need a seat for this tool.

Contract Sourcers
If you want to keep your costs really scaled down, then you can do without your own contract sourcers. Depending on the number of projects and scope of work, these can cost over $1,000/project.

Misc. Costs
Coffee (for the sleepless nights)
Run of the mill stuff or small batch beans? I prefer small batches myself. This will cost $12.99/bag.

Amazon Prime
This may seem silly, but after you launch your business you’ll find yourself needing to order miscellaneous supplies. The free net day shipping alone is worth it. $99 for the year, but I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth within a couple of months.

Dedicated Office
I think office costs are unnecessary especially for a startup executive search firm. If you are looking for a dedicated workspace, then WeWork’s start at around $220/month for a Hot Desk. Choosing a WeWork will benefit you because you’ll be able to connect with other startup companies which can be great opportunities to build a business.

Total Costs:

One Time Fees: Minimum of $600 (some fees reoccur on a yearly basis)

Monthly Recurring: Approx. a minimum of $362/month or $4,344 per year (at least). But costs can go up exponentially if you require a dedicated office, contract employees, or lead lists.