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The best and worst UK cities to open a PR agency

Starting a public relations agency in the UK can be tricky. Research from Avid Panda , a PR agency based in Birmingham, suggests that while around 28% of new businesses do not make it past the first five-year mark, the odds are a bit tougher for PR and communication companies, with about 35% shutting down within that time frame.

Let's take a look at which cities are especially challenging for new PR firms, as well as where they seem to thrive.

Tough cities for PR firms

Edinburgh tops the list and ranks as the city with the least successful new agencies, with more than half of the PR agencies opened in the past five years having already closed shop, at a whopping 51.72%.

The 5 toughest cities to open a PR agency in the UK

Credit: Avid Panda

Coming in second, Reading sees half of its new PR agencies calling it quits within five years, facing administration, liquidation, or dissolution.

Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, ranks third, with a 48.48% business mortality rate for new PR agencies.

Bright spots for new PR firms

Despite the challenges, there are cities where new PR firms are finding success, offering hope for budding entrepreneurs.

Top 5 cities where your PR firm is most likely to last beyond 5 years

Credit: Avid Panda

Topping the list of success stories, Slough boasts an impressive 85.49% business survival rate for new PR firms. Taking the second spot with an 81.82% success rate, Cardiff has seen 22 new agencies open in the last five years, with only four closing down.

Northampton ranks third in offering a prosperous environment for new PR firms, with an 80.95% business survival rate.

At the end of the day, location matters when it comes to the success of your PR agency. While the overall failure rate within the first five years is around 35%, where you set up shop can greatly impact your chances of success.

Methodology

The team analysed data from Companies House, focusing on businesses incorporated under the SIC code 70210 for PR and communication companies between January 2018 and December 2023 and compared this to the number registered as closed, dissolved, or liquidated, in administration or insolvency proceedings. They focused on the top 50 most populated cities in the UK and broke the data down by location. Cities with fewer than 22 new PR firms registered were excluded to ensure data accuracy.

Written by Lance Honeghan, content marketing executive at Avid Panda

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