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Although many specialized staffing companies have been around for quite a few years (MRI for 35 years, NurseFinders for 25 years), clients are just now fully realizing the value of using staffing for more than crisis situations.

"A lot of our clients are no longer just using our people to fill in during emergencies; rather, they're starting to budget [for it]," explains Arrowood, whose company offers franchised territories in secondary markets like Minneapolis, while keeping company stores in primary markets like Washington, DC. "There's no reason for a small law firm to hire a permanent tax associate if it only needs that person two months out of the year."

Another selling point for clients of franchises like NurseFinders and LawCorps is the avoidance of overstaffing. Hospitals and nursing homes can staff to meet their usual needs and then have a pool of talent to call on when busy. Law offices can hire extra lawyers and clerks when working on a huge merger and not worry about retaining those employees when the work is done. The employees are happy to add the experience to their resumes and move on to other challenging assignments.

So as more clients are educated and more employees seek the flexibility of working with staffing firms, specialty staffing franchises are poised to carve out an even larger piece of the industry pie. MRI seeks to open 50 to 60 new franchises every year and expand on an international level. NurseFinders, which currently has 56 franchises and 65 company-owned offices, plans to expand 20 percent both this year and next. LawCorps plans to expand on a smaller scale, adding as many as three offices to its existing three this year.

Specialized staffing services account for about $2.8 billion in wages paid. With jobs becoming more specialized and fewer employees available for hire, that number should only increase. "Because specialized staffing is still less than one-third of the staffing industry, the long-term prospects for it remain very good," says Steinberg. "I think it's coming into its own."

Find a list of staffing franchises on our Franchise 500®.

Contact Sources

LawCorps, 1819 L St. N.W., 9th Fl., Washington, DC 20036, http://www.lawcorps.com

Management Recruiters International, (800) 875-4000, http://www.brilliantpeople.com

NurseFinders, fax: (515) 225-7143, essential2@aol.com

NurseFinders (corporate headquarters), (800) 445-0459

Bruce Steinberg, (650) 948-9303, http://www.sireport.com

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hire Learning.

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