James Warbuton Associates

We caught up with James Warburton of JWA to chat about his experiences with 3R Start-ups. He’s been in recruitment for 10 years and a customer for five and a half of those. Based in Manchester, James’ areas of focus are Financial Services and Energy & Utilities.


What were your biggest concerns when deciding to start-up a recruitment business?

“Not knowing how to do it! I knew I could bill but wasn’t sure where to start with the running of the business. I relied on support from 3R to help with all of the set-up. Another concern was anything from a legal perspective – from contracts, terms of business to Bad Debt Insurance – I didn’t even know this existed. Also, getting paid was a concern, which I don’t need to worry about with 3R’s automated technology it’s all managed for me so I can focus on getting stuck into recruiting.”

What gave you security and peace of mind about starting up a new business?

“It’s nice to know I’ve got credible, recruitment professionals in my corner.

  • I also know I’m going to get paid
  • my legals are covered and debt is insured
  • credit checks are done upfront – for no extra cost!
  • 3R’s tech promotes good working practice and manage the whole payment process smoothly.”


How did using the 3R CRM impact your start-up business?

“I am the biggest advocate for the 3R CRM (3RM). It’s seamless with the back-office too. I’m not great at organisation – specifically categorising candidates into skill-sets. But the 3RM makes it easy to do and simple to search on.

Our Profit in Year 1 doubled in Year 2. We then ‘invested’ more and moved to a Leading Global CRM. Our turnover went up but our profit plateaued. We did well but got side-lined and ended up with big monthly costs. The CRM we moved to wasn’t as simple to use and to get to vital information required a lot of clicks. We moved to it for Reporting functionality but it’s easy to over analyse and get drawn in. It didn’t actually give us what we needed. I’m glad to now be back using the 3RM. The reporting has been upgraded, is accurate, and simple to use.”

How did using the 3R Back-office impact your start-up business?

“To put simply, it’s easy for all parties, transparent and not over complicated.

We don’t have to do loads of searching or move between pages / select extra fields, the right information is in the right place and we can move around it quickly. It also integrates with the CRM which is massively efficient.”

What would you say are the key benefits of 3R technology and services to your business?

“The ability to categorise in the CRM; we each have our own client and candidate ‘Hotlists’. We can quickly email or text mailshot them – it’s simple and has merge fields – so it will pick up the recipients first-name for example. It’s all done in a couple of clicks and means we can get to a lot of candidates quickly.”

“Real time information on the Back-office dashboard is clearly displayed, updating as it happens. The traffic light system for new contractor onboarding is really handy. I can work down the list and can see if I need to action anything so my contractors can submit online timesheets.”

“Top client visibility – easy to see on the dashboard and it’s great to have the credit limit report there too, so I can see where I need to take action or speak to 3R about client overtrading.”

“Business information discretion – being a business owner I like being able to set permissions relating to confidential financial information to specific users.”

How did outsourcing to a single supplier help you?

“In a start-up it’s all hands on deck, I didn’t want to deal with lots of suppliers and sign up for long term contracts. I wanted to focus on business development and bringing in money. The only admin I need to do is with my accountant. Working with 3R saves time. Gives me consistency for my clients / contractors and peace of mind.”

What additional support did you value?

“It’s those little pearls of wisdom – great conversations with Mike & Chris. I know Mike’s background in Recruitment and Chris has great credentials of business start-ups too. I could call them with any question, and they’d go out of their way to help and advise. Kim has also worked in recruitment and has been great too, especially during the Onboarding (set-up). Their knowledge and support has been invaluable throughout, especially as we scale up and grow. It’s like having a Recruitment & Business mentor there to call upon.”


What was your biggest learning curve in Year 1?

Organisation is so important, and I don’t like admin. But I know that it’s key to managing your time and business. The other lesson I learnt quickly was not to let everyone sell you something – I get pitched all day long if I let it, there is always something new and shiny, but I learned it’s best to just crack on and get the job done.”

How did working with 3R help you grow your agency?

“I couldn’t put a score on it – 3R look out for us and have been invaluable. We couldn’t have grown without 3R’s support in the beginning and now as we evolve. I network a lot with my peers too and when I speak to other business owners who have started up on their own, I find some chase their tails. It’s hard for some to grow quickly as they are doing everything, and they lack dedicated support.

3R’s back-office automation also helps massively, it takes care of itself while I focus on BD. I like their sensible approach to credit control too – the team work with me, and I have visibility of it and can step in and support. 3R don’t take over and are respectful of my client relationships.”

What is your best piece of advice to someone looking to start-up?

“Plan a route – think of goal in 3-5years and work backwards and figure out what you need to do to get there. It’s great to have a focussed goal to aim to. I’m also an advocate of building a network and talking to people. I speak to other 3R start-ups and find it really helps.”


“One more thing – we built up a nest egg in our business current account, enough to keep us covered for 6 months and we opened a separate tax account – we put it all aside to be secure. We then they paid ourselves on a % of net profit. This took a huge pressure off of us.  If you want to scale… save up – don’t get used to having a lot of money. Of course, treat yourself but keep it sensible.”


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