Start an online job board business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. 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.
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 are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
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.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your online job board business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
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!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
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
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Find the right bank for you, read our review of the Top 5 Banks for Your Small Business
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
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.
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.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
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.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
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.
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.
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: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start An Online Job Board Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
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).
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.
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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.
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.