Frequently asked questions
We know that the idea of launching your first recruitment business can be a daunting prospect. Even if it’s not your first business, the prospect of potentially sacrificing the comfort and security that working for an established business provides is not for the faint-hearted. But it doesn’t have to be so scary. And you don’t have to do it on your own.
The Bluestones Group has a tried and tested approach to launching new recruitment businesses, investing in talented and ambitious recruiters, and developing and growing businesses so that they can achieve their full potential.
We’re here to help. And in most cases, we’ve answered the questions you’re likely bursting with already. So we’ve captured some of the common questions below and tried to provide some guidance and information to help you make an informed decision about whether this is the right approach for you.
Can I speak to someone about my business idea?
Yes. We’re always willing to listen to people who have business ideas and need investment and support. In the first instance, please use our contact form to get in touch with us and explain a little bit more about who you are, the sector(s) you’re focusing on and provide a brief summary of your experience. That’ll help us direct your enquiry to the relevant team and someone will be in touch with you to discuss your idea further.
What type of businesses do you invest in?
We invest in all types of recruitment and staffing service organisations, whether that’s individual recruiters looking to launch their first recruitment business, recruitment service companies that provide services to other recruitment businesses, or established recruitment agencies that are looking for investment, support and to leverage the power of the Bluestones Group to grow their business.
What experience do you look for?
For recruitment start-ups we’re typically looking for recruiters that are operating at senior consultant, team leader or branch manager levels that know their sectors, their regions and probably already have an established client base and profile with a candidate network.
However, equally important, are the characteristics of the individuals – we want people that are ambitious, entrepreneurial, performance focused and have a desire to build a successful business that we can help support, develop and grow.
For established recruitment businesses that require investment and support, there are so many variables that it’d be impossible to list them all here – so the best course of action is to use our contact form and have a discussion with one of our divisional CEOs. But broadly speaking, we’ll be looking for individuals that have been successfully running their business for a number of years, are profitable, have a good track record and an established customer base. Remember, that these businesses don’t have to just be recruitment agencies either – they can be other businesses that provide services to recruitment companies.
What business sectors do you invest in?
The quick answer is: we will consider all recruitment and recruitment related sectors.
To date, we’ve invested in businesses that operate across four key divisions: logistics, professional services, support services, and technical & specialist. You can find out more about the Bluestones Group divisions here.
However, those divisions do not limit where we will focus our efforts. We’re always considering the balance of the Group portfolio and whether there is adequate representation in other sectors and other locations – so no matter what sector you operate in, please do get in touch with us to discuss your business idea.
How much do I need to invest?
It’s a common misconception that we hear all too often, but unlike franchise arrangements and other recruitment investment companies, the Bluestones Group approach doesn’t require any up-front investment from the people it invests in.
In fact, we go further in working with you to help safeguard your financial security and remove distractions and financial stresses so that you can focus on creating and building your business.
Can I speak to someone who's done it before?
All of our joint venture partners are listed in our portfolio and their contact details are listed on their individual profiles. You can see testimonials that we’ve sourced from them there, but if you use our contact form and tell us a little more about who you are, what sectors you’re focused on and what you want to do, we can have an initial conversation and determine the most appropriate joint venture partners for you to speak to.
Why haven't I heard about Bluestones before?
We’re arguably one of the best-kept secrets in the recruitment industry.
That goes some way towards explaining why you may not have heard from us yet, but we’re confident that within a short time, as our growth continues at the pace it is and we have more and more joint venture partners, new business launches, and success stories to share that you’ll be hearing more about us.
We’re already a Top 500 Recruitment Company, as listed by Recruitment International. And we’re a member of REC too. We’re well established, financially secure and are out-performing the broader recruitment market by a good margin. So with such a compelling story and proposition, we’re confident that you’ll be hearing about us much more frequently in the near future.
Can I choose my company name?
It’s your business, so yes, of course you can choose your company name.
Our in-house marketing specialists will work with you to carry out necessary searches regarding website domain names, trademarks, social media and exploring the meanings and psychology of words and names to help you choose an appropriate name for your business.
How long does it take to launch?
The Bluestones Group has a tried and tested approach to launching new businesses.
Whilst every business is different to some extent, in our experience we know that we can launch a new recruitment business in about a month. This involves all the necessary legal arrangements, marketing, research, IT equipment, shareholder agreements, website, and everything else that’s required to launch and run a new recruitment business.
Some start-ups can take longer and some are even quicker than this, but it’s a good rule-of-thumb guide to go by.
Do I have equity in my new business?
It wouldn’t really be your business if you didn’t own a stake in it, now would it?!
So the answer is – yes, you will have equity in the new business.
You’ll be one of the primary shareholders, registered at Companies House, and eligible to receive dividend payments out of the profits of the business.
If you’re starting the business with colleagues that you already work with then we can look at equity splits to ensure equal ownership or any variation on this. We’re flexible about how this works and know that making sure the deal is right for you is as important as getting the deal right for us.
What happens to the profits of my new business?
As a primary shareholder, you’ll be entitled to dividend payments out of the profits of the business.
Will I have office space provided?
As of March 2019, the Bluestones Group operates from nineteen locations around the UK. In many instances, we’ve been able to accommodate new business start-ups in existing premises as a means of providing an established environment, with existing IT infrastructure and colleagues familiar with working as joint venture partners of the Bluestones Group.
However, there are no restrictions on where you need your business to be set up and run from. You can work flexibly from home if it’s appropriate for the business. Or we can help you identify and set up in shared or serviced offices at any location within the UK. Talk to us about what you want and why (part of the business planning process) and we’ll work with you to find a suitable location for your business.
Do I need to be a "Bluestones" company?
The quick answer to this is – no, you don’t have to be a “Bluestones” company.
Whilst some of our businesses have felt the benefit of visibly leveraging the Bluestones brand and becoming Bluestones Medical, Bluestones One and Bluestones Staffing – it’s not something that we mandate.
As part of the foundation stage of scoping out your new business, we’ll work with you to identify a suitable business name and naming strategy.
Can I vary my stake in the business?
In the process of setting up your business, we’ll need to agree the shareholder splits before filing the relevant documents at Companies House. This is the initial company structure, but it can be varied over time. As your business grows and becomes more profitable, you can opt to increase your equity in the business if you so desire.
What does it cost?
It’s a common misconception that the service the Bluestones Group offers costs individuals money.
This isn’t a franchise arrangement and no up-front investment is required.
The costs of the new business, its premises, website, IT equipment, and your financial security are commitments that the Bluestones Group covers while your business establishes itself.
To be clear, there are no costs for individuals launching a new recruitment business in partnership with the Bluestones Group.
What support does the Bluestones Group offer?
The support from the Bluestones Group is a flexible offering of best practice methodologies, backed up by subject matter experts and underpinned by an established infrastructure of people and systems.
What does all that mean? It means that businesses and individuals that partner with the Bluestones Group have access to specialists in a wide variety of front and back office functions.
Marketing – our in-house marketing team provides digital, graphic design, social media, copywriting, PR and marketing planning and strategic services to businesses within the Bluestones Group portfolio.
HR – whether it’s employment legislation, in-house recruitment, contracts and all things HR related, our in-house HR team provide a knowledgeable service to Bluestones Group partner businesses.
IT – from front office recruitment systems to laptops, mobiles and servers – all the IT equipment, services and support that you need to run your business is provided for you by the in-house IT team.
Legal – from incorporating your company, to advising on employment law – our in-house legal team provides insight, guidance and support to ensure your business is compliant, legally structured the right way and that you go on to build your team and employ them in the right way.
Admin – you might not think it, but you’d be surprised how much paperwork and administration launching and running a recruitment business can involve. This shouldn’t distract you from running your business and focusing on the things that matter to your bottom line, which is why the Bluestones Group will take on this responsibility for you.
Finance – invoice discounting functions, payroll and invoicing can be incredibly time-consuming tasks in any business. With an established finance function ready to take this on for you, you can rest assured the financial support you need to run your business is there from day one.
How long will I be supported for?
We’re in it for the long term, so the support is there as long as you need it.
We’re investing in long term partnerships and joint ventures, and can offer the economies of scale of a larger group that means the services you receive from our in-house support teams are far cheaper and more robust than you’ll typically be able to source on the open market.
Will you help me with a new website?
Part of the scoping process we go through with all new businesses involves determining your marketing needs and mapping out an outline plan for the first twelve months.
An essential element of that in our eyes, is establishing your online presence and helping you build your brand.
To do that, we’ll develop your brand concept, provide you with a bespoke website, host it for you and create a rolling plan of content and promotional activities to build your audience, increase traffic to the site and start ensuring you appear towards the top in search engine results.
Will you provide marketing support?
Yes. Our in-house marketing team provide a rounded suite of marketing services that is available to all partners of the Bluestones Group.
We’ll help define your brand, build a marketing plan and support you throughout as we implement it over the subsequent days, weeks and months. We’re results driven and will be keen to exploit the latest technologies, systems and methodologies to provide marketing tools and campaigns that will support your business and position your brand in front of clients and candidates.
What IT support do you provide?
The IT support that all Bluestones Group partners and JV companies receive is enterprise grade.
We use the latest Office 365 suite from Microsoft, provide mobile phones, desktops, laptops and servers to support your business and the teams within it, and provide day-to-day support for front and back office recruitment systems.
Which recruitment system do you use?
We have implemented the market-leading Bond Adapt into all of our offices – and this will be made available to you and your business from day one.
How is the Group structured?
The Bluestones Group is the trading name of the Bluestones Investment Group Ltd.
The Bluestones Group is the central body where the support functions sit, such as HR, finance, IT, legal, marketing and training, as well as the Board that oversee the Group. Within the Group there are four primary divisions: Professional Services, Generalise, Specialist & Education and Support Services. Each of these divisions have Board sponsors that provide executive support to the brands that exist within the divisions. Each brand is made up of one or more joint ventures.
What turnover is being reported by the Group?
In 2018, the Group reported turnover in excess of £75m.
How much has the business grown?
The Group was only formed in 2012, so in seven short years there’s been some considerable expansion geographically (now 18 locations across the UK).
Where are Bluestones' businesses based?
The Group’s head office is based just outside Chester, whereas our portfolio footprint extends across the UK, covering eighteen locations in all. To see our locations, take a look at our location map HERE.
How many brands are there in the Group?
There are 19 brands in the Bluestones Group portfolio. Some of these brands operate from just one location whereas others, such as Bluestones Medical or The Classroom Partnership, have multiple bases across the country.
What's the difference between a joint venture and a brand?
A joint venture is an agreement we enter in to with an individual or group of people that defines the organisational relationship, equity ownership and terms of business that govern the investment we make. A joint venture may be a standalone brand, a new business within an existing brand (e.g. when we open a new location within an existing brand), or an extension of an existing brand (where the brand typically will operate in a new sector).
What are the expectations for new joint ventures?
We work with our joint venture partners and provide the structure, investment and support to develop new businesses and grow existing ones at pace. The majority of our joint venture investments break even within their first year of operation and are profitable in year two. Besides that, we expect the same passion and commitment that we put into the joint ventures to be reciprocated by our partners. We’re all in this together and want to make a success of every single joint venture and the broader Bluestones Group.
Do you have a referral scheme?
We don’t operate a referral scheme as such, but we’re always keen to hear from interested parties. We think our story speaks for itself and makes for a compelling argument as to why joining the Bluestones Group could be the right option for so many budding entrepreneurs, established recruiters or company owners looking for the infrastructure, support and investment for their businesses.
I'm a supplier, who can I contact?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance. We have preferred suppliers for the services we need, but do review these lists from time to time (note that there’s no fixed schedule for reviews). When we do review, we will look to the market as well as those in our suppliers’ email account to draw up a shortlist to speak to.