The search for a job has moved to the internet. A Pew Research Center poll from 2015 found that 79 percent of job seekers had searched online, and that percent has likely only increased since then. When people search for jobs online, they frequently look on job boards.
Online job boards list open positions that employers have. Unlike job search engines, job boards don’t usually compile listings by searching other websites. Instead, listings are entered directly by a manager or employer. This helps ensure that listings are accurate, relevant, and concise (i.e. no duplicates).
According to IBISWorld, the online recruitment sites in the United States bring in $4 billion annually and are growing at an average rate of 14.6 percent. For online job boards that find successful niches, there is plenty of potential available.
Learn how to start your own Online Job Board Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
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Start an online job board business by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Online Job Board Business
- Form your Online Job Board Business into a Legal Entity
- Register your Online Job Board Business for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Online Job Board Business
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Online Job Board Business
- Get Online Job Board Business Insurance
- Define your Online Job Board Business Brand
- Create your Online Job Board Business Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
We have put together this simple guide to starting your online job board business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What will you name your business?
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Online Job Board Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
What are the costs involved in opening an online job board business?
The startup expenses for an online job board business are minimal. They primarily consist of domain registration, web hosting, website design and software expenses. While businesses can build their own software, there’s little reason to because many good options are already available.
Most business owners end up selecting an existing software-as-a-solution (SaaS) option that bundles software expenses with the other website startup costs. These solutions have multiple benefits:
- Business owners don’t need coding knowledge to use the available templates
- Business owners save time because they don’t need to code and debug
- Initial expenses are kept minimal because SaaS providers charge monthly fees instead of large one-time payments
The Job Board Software Buyers Guide details the many different SaaS options that are available.
What are the ongoing expenses for an online job board business?
Since most business owners sign up for an SaaS solution, the main ongoing expense is normally the SaaS provider’s monthly subscription fee. SmartJobBoard’s rates of $79, $179 and $299 per month are similar to what other SaaS providers charge.
Who is the target market?
An online job board needs between 5,000 and 10,000 monthly visitors who are searching for jobs to begin charging employers for listings. With this amount of traffic, employers will begin asking about placing listings because their listings will provide applicants. With fewer job seekers visiting each month, listings may not get any applications.
How does an online job board business make money?
The majority of an online job board’s revenue comes from selling job listings. Employers pay to post their open positions, purchasing listings either individually or in bulk packages.
SmartJobBoard reports that many job boards supplement this primary revenue with several additional sources of revenue: traditional ads (10 to 20 percent of revenue), resume access for employers (5 to 8 percent once established) and commissions from job search sites (less than 5 percent).
How much can you charge customers?
Online job board businesses frequently charge between $50 and $500 for a 30-day listing. Where within this range a job board falls depends on the size of the job board, the industry it’s in, and other factors.
How much profit can an online job board business make?
Even a small online job board business can make a nice profit. ProBlogger charges $70 per listings and had 16 listings in March 2017. That equated to a revenue of $1,120 for the month.
For a job board that’s a side business, ProBlogger’s brings in a decent supplemental revenue. Larger boards that have a few dozen or hundred monthly listings can make much more.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Established online job board businesses can slowly grow their revenue by expanding into related fields. A job board that listed openings for coffee baristas might add a coffee roaster section, for instance.
Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your online job board business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate an online job board business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Online job board businesses should consider requiring clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and so on.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
FInd out what types of insurance your Online Job Board Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Online Job Board Business.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market an online job board business
Business owners can employ several strategies to attract job-seeking visitors. Search engine optimization, pay-per-click ad campaigns, and social media feeds can all be useful.
How to keep customers coming back
Focusing on a specific niche will help keep job seekers visiting an online job board. The board will be distinct from small boards in other niches, and it’ll be able to provide a level of relevancy and precision that generic boards can’t attain.
Some of the most successful small job boards have chosen very specific, and even obscure, niches. For example, ProBlogger lists jobs specifically for online bloggers.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
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Is this Business Right For You?
Anyone who is interested in running a web-based business might like owning an online job board that’s related to a subject they’re interested in. Little technical knowledge is required, but it helps to be interested in a board’s field because part of the work involves building a community around the industry (see How to Keep Customers Coming Back).
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at an online job board business?
A typical day running an online job board business includes confirming new listings, collecting new listing payments and responding to inquiries. Business owners may also need to review marketing campaigns. Confirming a listing takes 2 to 3 minutes. Finding businesses to post ads and running marketing campaigns can be time-consuming when a job board is new, though.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful online job board business?
While running an online job board business doesn’t require much advanced knowledge in a particular area, but business owners should familiarize themselves with all aspects of online job boards. Job Board Secrets and Job Board Doctor both have ebooks that discuss relevant topics.
What is the growth potential for an online job board business?
An online job board business might remain a small site or it can grow to be a large site that has millions of visitors each month. Monster.com and CareerBuilder are two lager job boards. A couple of smaller boards are JournalismJobs.com and Problogger’s Jobs.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting an online job board business?
Employers usually won’t submit or pay for listings until an online job board is established, so business owners must find and create listings themselves when starting out. Business owners can find position openings on relevant employers’ websites and link to those sites directly at first. If more listings are needed, they can be sourced from a job search engine like Indeed.
Once an online job board is established, these free and self-sourced listings can be replaced with employer-submitted, paid ones.
How and when to build a team
Online job board business owners can start out running their job boards themselves. As the workload becomes too time-consuming, an employee can be hired to help check and manage listings.