Do you want to start an immigration consulting business ? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start an immigration consulting business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample immigration consulting business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample immigration consulting marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for immigration consulting firms.
Table of Content
- Why Start an Immigration Consulting Business?
- Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Starting Your Immigration Consulting Firm from the Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
- Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting an Immigration Consulting Business
- Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Legal Matters
- Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Immigration Consulting Business?
- Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Technical and Manpower Details
- The Service Delivery Process of an Immigration Consulting firm
- Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – The Marketing Plan
- Possible Ways to Increase Client Retention for your Immigration Consulting Business
Why Start an Immigration Consulting Business?
If you are a lawyer or someone who has background in immigration matters, and you intend starting your business, then you should consider starting your own immigration consulting firm. There are many migrants who are trapped because they don’t know who to talk to when they have challenges with immigration issues, that is why it is important to set up your own immigration agency.
Being an immigration consultant or attorney means that you will help your clients handle all their immigration concerns, you will help defend your clients who have deportation cases with the government, you can also help them obtain work permits in their new country of residence; you can help then start a business, and solve any other immigration related issues.
Starting an immigration consulting firm is not too expensive except for the money required to rent and furnish an office space. Running this type of business requires that you should be trained as a lawyer and it is indeed a very lucrative business in the united states because of the inflow of migrants from different parts of the world.
So, if you have been tinkering with starting your own immigration consulting business, but do not know how to go about it, then look through the following measures provided in this article.
How to Start an Immigration Consulting Business – A Detailed Guide
- Industry Overview
Players in the immigration consulting industry offer services relating to the legal status of individuals, including permanent residency and visa services. These services include submitting visa applications, providing visa advice, and preparing for and representing before a court of review authority in relation to visa applications and related matters.
Immigration lawyers and attorneys who are major players in this industry assist individuals in obtaining visas and gaining US citizenship, defend the rights of immigrants, navigate the issues of illegal immigration and assist businesses in understanding immigration issues.
In spite of high levels of immigration, the growth experienced in the industry was stifled due to falling per capita disposable income and corporate profit, causing individuals and corporations to find alternatives to industry services. Nevertheless, revenue is expected to rise as post – recessionary conditions benefit corporate profit and stricter federal and state immigration laws are implemented.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 6,171 registered and licensed immigration consulting firms responsible for employing about 39,677 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $6 billion annually. The industry is projected to grow at 0.1 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that there are no establishments in this industry that has a lion market share.
Revenue in the industry is based on population levels and business locations. Immigration consulting firms tend to be located in areas with high populations, as such areas tend to have higher migrant levels, which can lead to visa applications for family members and for students. As businesses use immigration consulting firms for employer sponsored visa applications, many industry firms generally tend to locate near business regions.
Immigration consulting business will continue to blossom because more potential migrants are beginning to realize that somehow, they would need the services of immigration consulting agencies to help them make the right decisions. From all available statistics, it is safe to say that the industry is growing steadily despite its competitive nature.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own immigration consulting business could be that the business is easy to set up and the startup capital is indeed affordable; you can actually start your own immigration consulting business from the comfort of your house. All you need to do is to create an office somewhere in your house. People usually pay you for the result you can help them achieve as it relates to their immigration related concerns.
One thing is certain about starting an immigration consulting firm, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies, you are likely not going to struggle to secure clients because there are always individuals, and corporate organizations who would want to hire your services from time to time.
Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographics composition of those who require the services of immigration consulting firms is not restricted to people who intend migrating from one country to another, but it is all inclusive.vSo, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your immigration consulting business, then you should make it all encompassing.
It should include expats who are looking towards migrating to work in another country, families who want to visit a country strictly for tourism, refugees, asylum seekers, spouse and children who want to re unite with their family members and students et al.
List of Niche ideas Within the Immigration Consulting Industry That You Can Specialize in
Although most immigration consulting firms tend to operate a general immigration consulting business that involves all services that a standard immigration consulting firm is expected to offer. That is why it seems that there are no niche areas in the industry.
But on the other hand, some immigration consulting firms may decide to major in some key areas such as;
- Providing legal advice on immigration
- Collect and submit appropriate documentation to prove a case
- Helps obtain the type of documentation needed to legally reside within the country
- Obtain immediate access to citizenship in emergency situations
- Assist with citizenship tests
- Defend a person’s case to prevent him or her from being deported
- Handle family-sponsored immigrants, employment-based immigrant visas, Diversity programs, Refugees and other categories
The Level of Competition in the Immigration Consulting Industry
The level of competition in the immigration consulting industry to some extent depends largely the location of the business and of course the niche of your immigration consulting business. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your immigration consulting firm, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
When it comes to immigration consulting firms, distance is never a barrier when competing for clients especially international students. What most migrants want is result, hence they are ready to hire immigration consulting firms no matter the part of the world they operate from as long as they have good track record and can deliver excellent results when it comes to handling any immigration concerns.
But over and above, there are several immigration consulting firms scattered all around the United States and in the cyber space. So, if you choose to start your own immigration consulting firm in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions not only amongst immigration consulting firms in the United States, but also all over the globe especially if you choose to specialize in recruiting international students.
Besides, there are larger immigration consulting firms and even institutions that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for clients.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Immigration Consulting Industry
These are some of the leading immigration consulting firms in the United States of America;
- Mona Shah & Associates
- Stevens & Associates Immigration Services
- Trident Immigration Services
- Siskind Susser, PC Immigration Lawyers
- Bretz & Coven, LLP
- The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC
- Wildes & Weinberg P.C Law Offices
- Audrey Allen Immigration
- Harlan York and Associates
- Brooklyn Immigration Attorney
- Klasko Immigration Law Partners
- Charlotte Immigration Law Firm
- Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group
- Yazdani Law, Immigration Lawyers
- Immigration Solutions LLC
- Immigration Law Group PC
- The Shulman Law Group, LLC
- Kaplan Immigration
- Edgerton Immigration Law
- Merrick Immigration Law PLLC
As an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking for a business that requires less stress and perhaps minimal startup capital, then you can consider starting an immigration consulting business. The cost of running an immigration consulting firm when compared to the turnover you get can be poles apart (this is applicable when you have been able to establish your feet in the industry).
Entrepreneurs that venture into immigration consulting can start the business from their homes and still make headway in the business. One thing is certain when it comes to immigration consulting firm and most consulting related businesses, you are sure of making profits when you successfully produce results that are measurable for an organization.
Again, the cost of running the business process from start to finish could be restricted to the cost of making phone calls, transportation and internet subscriptions, PR and in some cases materials such as fliers and handbills et al. With that, it is easier to place a projection on the profits you are likely going to make if you are able to secure a deal to handle immigration consultancy job for potential migrants.
Starting Your Immigration Consulting Firm from the Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise. Before you can secure an immigration consultancy job or before migrants can hire your services, your profile will be scrutinized even if you are operating the franchise of a successful immigration consulting firm brand.
Besides it is expensive and perhaps difficult to come buy a franchise of an immigration consulting. Please note that most of the successful immigration consulting firms around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting an Immigration Consulting Business
If you decide to start your own immigration consulting business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established immigration consulting firms and the only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on small migrant communities and asylum seekers who can’t afford the high – end fees charge by well – established firms.
Other potential threats for a business like this are unfavorable government policies, bad publicity and of course the arrival of a competitor within your location of operation.
Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for an Immigration Consulting Business
Starting an immigration consulting business is indeed a serious business so the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big you want the business to grow. When it comes to choosing a legal entity for your immigration consulting firm you have the option of choosing from general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or a “S” corporation.
It is important to clearly state that these forms of legal structure have their own advantages and disadvantages; which is why you must weigh your options properly before making your choice.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your immigration consulting firm business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to study the various legal entity to use for your advertising agency business, you will agree that Limited Liability Company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or a ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your immigration consulting firm so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for an Immigration consulting firm
When it comes to choosing a name for a business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own immigration consulting firm, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Global Trotter® Immigration Consulting, LLP
- Excel® Immigration consulting firm, LLC
- Safe Haven® Immigration Consultancy, Inc.
- James Leesha® Travels and Tours, Inc.
- Molly Joules® Immigration consulting firm, LLC
- Perfect Edge® Immigration Consulting Group, Inc.
- Hilton Josh™ Immigration Consulting, LLC
- Jake Murphy® Immigration Consulting Services Co.
- Garry White® Educational Recruitment and Immigrations, Inc.
- Green Rovers® Immigration Consulting, Inc.
- Terry Gray® Immigration Consulting Company
- Mike Dean™ Immigration Consultancy Ltd.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your immigration consulting business.
Here are some of the basic insurance cover that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own immigration consulting firm in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own immigration consulting business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Immigration Consulting Business?
Aside from the results you produce, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some immigration consulting firms stand out. If you want to make an impact in the industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own immigration consulting firm business;
- Certified Immigration Consultant
- The Immigration Specialist Paralegal Certificate
- Certified Immigration Forms Preparer
Please note that the higher your qualifications and experience (expertise), the easier it is for you to secure high profile immigration consultancy contracts from multinational organizations and institutions.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run an Immigration Consulting Firm
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own immigration consulting firm in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Immigration Consultant Disclosure form with the Secretary of State.
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
Financing Your Immigration Consulting Business
Starting an immigration consulting business can be cost effective especially if you choose to run the business from your home, share office space with a friend or make use of a virtual office. Securing a standard office is part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your immigration consulting firm business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Immigration consulting firms and most services based businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of an migrant community if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and maximize profits from the business.
The fact that you can operate your immigration consulting firm from your home does not mean that location has little influence on the success of an immigration consulting firm. If you have taken your time to study the immigration consulting industry, you will realize that the businesses are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a busy district; a place where student activities are at its peak.
It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your immigration consulting firm, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting up.
Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – Technical and Manpower Details
There is no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for customized educational recruitment software and social media management software applications. In the bid to work out testing and monitoring solutions and also lead generations for your clients, you might be required to design a customized software application.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard immigration consulting firm, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office.
As regards the number of employees you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or President (you can occupy this role), Immigration Lawyer, an Admin and Human Resource Manager, Marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer or Front Desk Officer, and Accountant.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 8 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard immigration consulting firm. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high – profile immigration cases especially as it relates to court processes.
If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with other immigration lawyers/experts that operate as freelancers.
The Service Delivery Process of an Immigration Consulting firm
The way immigration consulting firms work varies from one agency to another, but ideally, an immigration consulting firm is expected to first and foremost build a robust company profile before sourcing for jobs; it will give them an edge over their competitors.
Most immigration consulting firms welcome people who are interested in migrating from one country to another, get them to fill the required application forms and submit all the needed documents and processing fees.
Thereafter, the immigration firm will handle all aspects of the services like, assisting the applicant in obtaining visa or gaining US citizenship, defend the rights of the immigrant, navigate the issues of illegal immigration and assist the organization in understanding immigration issues in a global marketplace amongst any other services that is required by the client.
So, it is expected that an immigration consulting firm will deploy all their expertise to produce results for their client.
Starting an Immigration Consulting Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
As an immigration consultant, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before you can be awarded any contracts. So, if you have plans to start your own immigration consulting firm, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the industry.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your immigration consulting firm services;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the multinational organizations, migrant community, households and international student community in the United States
- Advertise your business in relevant travel and tour magazines, radio and TV stations
- List your business on local directories/yellow pages
- Attend related expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors
The immigration consulting industry is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of tackling challenges in the industry.
Organizations and people will always run to you if they know that you have a better option especially as it relates to producing results. Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and certified immigration consultants and attorneys.
Possible Ways to Increase Client Retention for your Immigration Consulting Business
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.
Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service providers is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to improve on the quality or your immigration consultancy and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
Strategies to boost your brand awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them.
If your intention of starting an immigration consulting firm is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both print and electronic media and also social media (the internet). As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brands, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching. Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your business;
- Place adverts on community based educational and related newspapers, radio and TV stations.
- Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Badoo, Google+ and other platforms to promote your business.
- Ensure that we position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around your neighborhood
- Contact migrant communities, multinationals, and households et al by calling them up and informing them of your organization and the educational support services you offer
- Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Brand all your official cars and ensure that all your staff wear your branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.