Abstract This paper investigates the multi-mode resource availability cost problem with recruitment and release dates for resources. This problem is a more realistic model and extended case of the resource availability cost problem. The project contains activities interrelated by finish–start precedence relations with zero time lags, which require a set of renewable resources. First, a mixed integer programming formulation is proposed for the problem. Then, simulated annealing (SA) algorithm is proposed to obtain a satisfying solution for this NP-hard problem. The effectiveness of the proposed algorithm is demonstrated through comprehensive experimentation based on 300 test problems. The results are analyzed and discussed.