Yes you'll need recommendations but chances are you'll want to get them from people you work with professionally. You'll need 2-3 depending on school so 1 peer and 2 professionals are a good way to go.
If you'd like a study plan - most are between 2-3 months. Usually they don't go for 2 years as you hinted.
One place you can start is the GMATPIll
... and more
What's Inside GMAT Pill?
Zeke Lee, GMAT Pill Study Method (Study Less. Score More.)
GMAT Pill Reviews | GMAT PILL Free Practice Test