How do you start a copywriting agency

Set up an agency - How to open your own agency


Setting up an agency: requirements

The first step to your own agency: Specializing in one branch

In the start-up phase, as with any business start-up, the first thing that counts is the business idea, i.e. in which specific business area you want to offer your knowledge and expertise to your customers through an agency. First of all, the decisive factor here is whether and to what extent you already have a network of potential customers.

From freelancer to founding your own agency

As a rule, the establishment of an agency is preceded by a successful activity as a freelancer or freelancer in the respective market field. From a certain level of success, freelancers should consider setting up an agency, which has various advantages:

  • Development of further business areas
  • Possibility to realize larger projects
  • Higher fees
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Andreas Munck

For over 7 years I have been advising start-ups on their way to starting their own company. I would be happy to call you and help you with all questions relating to your start-up in a personal conversation.

  • Startup expert
  • 7 years of experience


Open an agency as a UG, GmbH, GbR or sole proprietorship: choose legal form

If you want to start a company, you have to decide which legal form to choose. For agencies, the legal forms UG (limited liability), GmbH or GbR are chosen in most cases. When opening an agency, founding a sole proprietorship is also conceivable. When making your choice, please also note that the individual legal forms also differ in terms of taxation.

Find out more about the individual legal forms:

In principle, there are of course other legal forms available to you.

Establish your agency easily, quickly and without bureaucracy with!
GmbH packages | UG packages | GbR packages | Overview of packages

You want your dream of your own agency to come true, but you don't know exactly how yet? Talk to one of our advisors and arrange one extensive start-up advice plus, in which our start-up expert answers all questions for at least one hour.

Where do I have to register my agency?

Entry in the commercial register

As a public directory, the commercial register documents entries on the registered merchants in the area of ​​a competent registry court. The company forms GmbH and UG require an entry in the commercial register.

Register the agency as a business

Regardless of the legal form you have chosen, you must register with the trade office responsible for your company headquarters. If you open your agency as a sole proprietorship, a simple business registration is sufficient.

After registering with the trade office, the tax office will automatically contact you for tax registration. As soon as your documents have been viewed and checked by the tax office, you will receive your tax number and can issue invoices.

Register your agency with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

If you set up an agency, membership in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry responsible for you is mandatory. Like the tax office, the IHK will be informed about your establishment by the trade office and will then contact you.

Professional association for agencies

Employers' liability insurance associations are the providers of statutory accident insurance for companies and their employees. Please register yourself with the employers' liability insurance association. Even as a small business owner without staff, you are obliged to register with your relevant BG. Agencies usually join the administrative professional association (VBG). If you are unclear which of the numerous BGs you have to register with, the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV) will help you on the phone number 0800 60 50 40 4.

Federal associations for agencies

As the owner of an agency, it is advisable to become a member of an association that represents your interests and those of the industry nationwide. Depending on the type of agency you open, you can join one of the many specialized associations that are relevant to your industry. Examples of this are for advertising and marketing agencies e.g. the General Association of Communication Agencies GWA and the Federal Association of the Digital Economy (BVDW). If you run a model agency, membership in the Association of Licensed Model Agencies (VELMA) is recommended, for insurance agencies the Association of German Insurance Brokers (VDVM). Depending on the business area, find out which association is best suited to represent your interests in relation to the public, politics, etc.


Costs: Establishing an agency with financial vision

Every business start-up should be based on a detailed business plan. After all, thorough financial planning is the pillar on which your successful start into self-employment stands. So take your time to include all relevant cost items in your business plan before and during the start-up. Based on this calculation, you can start the cost forecast for your first financial year in a further step.

You can use the following list as a guide:

  • Establishment costs, permits and licenses
  • Possible consulting costs in the start-up phase
  • Acquisition costs for office furnishings and equipment
  • Cost of a website
  • Advertising costs
  • Ongoing operating costs: rental costs for office space, electricity and heating costs, IT, possibly accounting
  • Personnel, taxes, various insurances
  • Financial reserves for unforeseen events

The costs that you have to cover also result in your prices. Calculate how much brokerage you can provide and sell as soon as your agency starts operations.


Hire or outsource?

Especially in the start-up phase, it is advisable to build up a network with possible cooperation partners so that you can fall back on external service providers if necessary and outsource areas of responsibility. So-called outsourcing has the advantage over hiring permanent employees that it maintains flexibility and keeps running costs low.

If the number of your jobs increases after starting your business and you realize that you have recurring needs for certain areas of responsibility, it may be advisable to hire permanent employees. Please note, however: as you hire employees, so does your responsibility. The prerequisite for the employment of permanent staff should always be that there are enough orders to fill the working hours efficiently. Do you already have specific planning for your agency in the field of marketing and advertising? Read more in our guide on setting up an advertising agency.


The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult an expert in a specific case - we will be happy to put you in touch. assumes no liability for damage caused by errors in the texts.