By Amber Hayden
MBA, Financial Business Research Specialist.
So you want to start a credit repair business?
Starting a credit business is easy and a lot simpler than you think. Take out the time to read everything in this post and it will save you a lot of headaches and money.
You don’t need a degree or a special license to start. However, it is important to be a member of a non-profit credit repair trade association that ensures high standards and police the industry as suggested by the CFPB and FTC. There are two non-profit associations that supports credit repair industry standards: Credit Consultants Association (CCA) and National Association of Credit Services Organizations (NACSO). CCA is the oldest and largest with a very affordable annual fee and actually takes complaints from consumers and works with elected officials, NACSO fees are monthly and works with a lobbyist. However some firms are members of both. I only recommend that you get your certification from a non-profit organization.
Starting A Credit Repair Business can be extremely lucrative; especially since all of the issues facing the credit bureaus as of late. It also has a very low start up cost. All you need is a phone, a computer with internet access, an email account and a word processor program. However, If you have a smart phone this could be helpful to place reminders for your clients. To grow, you will eventually need a website BUT not to start.
So many believe that they need a credit repair software program to start and manage their credit repair business. This is NOT true. However, you can purchase this much later when you have successfully helped enough clients after your initial training to afford the software. I actually recommend that you get excellent basic credit repair training prior to purchasing software to run your business and this is a must in my opinion. Why should you wait? Startup expenses e.g. cost and it can create MORE problems for consumers with untrained people using software than it helps. YOU MUST GET A FOUNDATION e.g. Advanced credit repair training prior to getting software in order to control it.
You may want to seek a source outside of a software company for your credit
repair training. Let me explain why in details:
Some credit repair software have many different company names e.g. credit repair training school, credit repair business training or academy offering maybe FREE “start a credit repair business books”, low cost credit repair and business training book, but they are still steering you towards their software company with free trials and seeking monthly fees afterwards. You also will find yourself with $149 to $400 per month in expenses before you have any clients. This can be a recipe for failure for many.
I’m not against these companies or think they are bad or anything of this nature, I just know that there is a conflict of interests and they just want to sell software. But because you don’t actually need software to start a credit repair company, you shouldn’t have to incur the expenses during the startup stage.
Many of these companies are disguised as credit repair training centers. They often will teach you in such a manner that you will believe it is very difficult or too tedious to perform the work without software. Some companies will suggest that their software does things it CANNOT do.
PLEASE NOTE: NO credit repair software can legally pull consumers credit reports or load them from the credit bureaus. One has to have a permissible purpose to do so and credit repair company does not fit this legal standard. Therefore credit repair software are only effective management tools to use once you are fully trained in this business.
Just know that the software is NOT the problem but how they are used. You see, a credit repair software program CAN NOT Think for you and if you rely on it to do the job of disputing credit issues, it can actually hurt consumers.
Many are using software as their first source to starting a credit repair business before they are trained to do the work. This is because software companies spend a lot of money in advertising. When searching google to learn how to start a credit repair business, they are the VERY FIRST links you see and their training school is the second links. They have purchased all of the top links. Also to consumers seeking to start a credit repair business will think, “it seems easier to just click buttons that will do the work for you.” However, what they don’t know yet is that this can hurt a client’s effort to increase their credit scores if the consultant is NOT FULLY TRAINED. Software companies are offering these courses but steering you directly to purchase their software. You do not want to do this first in my opinion!!!!
Here is the main reason to learn the business first than buying software: Credit bureaus have caught on to all of these software programs and NOW you have computers that are recognizing computers. This means that if you submit a dispute using a software based generated letter even with a few changes, the credit bureaus computers often recognize them and can stall your efforts to resolving credit problems. Fully customized detailed letters will not face this issue but it is difficult for these software programs to create them.
Also, they may placed a flag on consumers accounts that they are attempting to repair credit using a credit repair company. Why is this important? According to interpretation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the law used to protect consumers rights, Credit Bureaus can refuse to investigate disputes if done by a credit repair company. Yes, you can get them to respond and it is within your right, but they have the right to reject what they consider frivolous claims. Why go through that hassle and time when you can get it right from the beginning to avoid this issue.
If you want to start a Credit Repair Business and be successful, you must separate yourself from all of the nationally advertised firms. You must brand yourself in a different way by offering maybe a personal touch to your services in your credit repair business. This is because you won’t be able to compete with the big firms that advertised on the radio and TV otherwise. Many consumers that lives in your community, will feel more comfortable with you instead.
As I stated in the beginning, you also should want to be a member of non-profit organizations that police the credit repair industry and ensure that their members maintain standards. If anyone says that you don’t need to be certified, it important to know this: Yes, it is true you do not need a special credit repair certification or certificate but you should want to be certified by a non-profit credit repair association. It will say that you are one that is ethical with standards.
A credit repair company can make from $500 to $6,000 per month for the average person working from home part-time spending about 20 to 30 minutes per month for each client. However, you will spend more time in the intake process on the initial contact with the client. You can earn $95 to $250 in the initial contact based on evaluating a credit report and produce a plan to boost your client’s score in the initial stage. If you are above average, you can earn $10,00.00 full-time and some are earning even as much as $75,000.00 per month. Yes, this much! Now think about this, where can you earn an additional $1000 per month with little effort and time for a start up company that will cost under $100 to get started? Many software based companies say that you can spend 5 to 15 minutes per client but this is NOT enough time to offer the credit repair personal touch service that you will need to be successful in this climate.
The big credit repair firms like Lexington Credit and CreditRepair.com already have huge clients due to heavy advertising and have account representatives. This is great for you because their advertising helps you in your local market. However, the reps of in these firms have so many clients that it is hard to feel connected. Therefore many consumers prefer finding someone close to them for help. This is why you should create a “personal services” type brand sharing that your clients will not feel as if they are a number among many. If you offer the same quality service as these big firms with a personal touch in your community, your business will soar.
Some credit repair companies charge $49 to $99 per month for their services. However one of the most successful method is to charge per deletion or per points increase. For example, some charge $85 per deleted item off a credit report for each account deletions and $50 per non-account deletion. Some add more for deleting collections or public records accounts. Some just charge the flat $85 for all items.
Let’s say you have one client and they have Five (5) challengeable accounts on their credit reports and 3 non-account items. You can earn up to $575 with that client: 5 x $85 and 3 x $50. This client will happily pay when they see these results. You can ask for an escrow payment to hold a portion of the funds to be received until the service is rendered. As service is performed, you will get paid. Just having two clients per month will earn you over $1000. Because most clients will have at least 7 to 15 accounts issues.
What if you have three clients per week? This is where you can earn over $6000 per month part-time. You will spend no more than 2 hours per week working on each new client and about 5-10 minutes per old client getting paid for another round of deletions until you complete them.
Here is an example: Say that you have 10 clients for one month. I like to be reasonable because many small based credit repair companies working from home can easily get 10-20 clients per month. Normally they will have 7 challengable accounts items on their credit reports. If you delete 3 items for all clients credit report that’s 30 x $85. You will earn $2, 550 but still have more to earn for the next rounds of challengeable items. Without getting a new client you will still earn another $2550 off the same 10 clients and depending on their accounts this could go on for about 3 to 6 months. The key is that since you are getting results, you will keep adding clients and watch your income soar.
As I stated before, one does not need a special license or a degree to start a credit repair company but there are rules for each state. A good credit repair training source will provide this information.
I would get my initial training from a a non-profit source where credit repair training is their primary business model and have an interest to protect the industry with standards. They will not attempt to sell you software or anything but provide you a solid foundation on the process of being a successful and in compliance credit repair consultant. It is a BEST to get certified by one the credit industry’s associations so that the public will have the confidence that you can do the job and trustworthy. Certification from any other source other than the two associations, are not really valid certification in my opinion and neither in the eyes of officials I’ve spoken with. You want to be a member of an association and vow to adhere to industry’s standards.
FTC and regulators want the credit repair industry to police itself because of past bad actors. However, so many are offering certification and training BUT are NOT expressing concerns regarding compliance, protecting and policing the industry. They are just selling a product. Therefore a lot of people are now getting involved in this business without a clue of how not to cause harm to the public. Again, and this is worth repeating, If you are going to be part of the credit repair industry, align yourself with the either or the two industry’s non-profit trade associations because they makes protecting the public and training their mission.
I am recommending CCA, The Credit Consultants Association, Inc. They are one of non-profit trade association organization offering excellent training and credit repair certification. They a perfect source to in starting your credit repair business. They also offer one-on-one phone coaching services that is advanced and excellent and free email support for members. In addition, they are like the better business bureau of the credit repair industry collecting and resolving complaints from the public. If you know of a company that is not following guidelines, alert them and they will followup and take action. Also they keep you abreast of various industry changes . It is their goal to police the industry and provide their members with compliance information. You should start a credit repair business and get credit repair training from them because they are extremely affordable and excellent.
Credit Repair Software?
As I stated, you don’t need software. However, there are some good software packages available when you are fully trained to do this business manually and ready to manage your business better. Some have cornered the market with their advertising and google searches but it doesn’t mean that that they are the best available package for growing companies. Many packages are great from startups companies with only a few clients but when that company grows and has many clients, some of these packages becomes extremely slow and frustrates business owners. That’s when these business owners looks for other solutions or creates their own software.
Therefore, after you have done credit repair manually and understand how this business works. After you have got some real results, then you should get software to help manage your business. However, NEVER allow these software programs dispute engine do all the work for you. When their simple disputes works for your client, use it but DO NOT throw away your word processor. Some challenges to credit bureaus and furnishers have to be customized for each client.
To sum it up, I’ve looked at all of them and many have great colorful designs and looks great and has many features. But I do have concern about how robust and safe they are once your company grows. I have been aware of software companies losing all of their clients data. Meaning, they lost all of their client’s information. This was with one of the major advertised software companies. Also I have seen customer’s files mixing up when they have lots of clients with some of these packages when the business has grown.
Therefore, I’ve looked a few package: Credit Money Machine has been around for 20 years and a robust package, I’ve never heard of a company that has outgrown this application. Credit Repair Cloud is a good software packages for startups and their software support is good, I haven’t yet seen many large credit repair company using this package. They also advertise more than any other services out there and why many use them first. Credit Detailer is another reasonable price package that many are using. Credit Admiral software is good too and was designed by credit repair specialists. Dispute Suite is another package that many credit repair companies are using. Self credit Repair Dispute Software is a new low cost brand and some find it a good alternative for startups and small credit repair organizations. They also have helpful built-in credit repair training videos. There are many more that are good startups packages.
However in my research, I could not find any mid to large size credit repair companies using many of these software programs except Credit Money Machine and Credit Admiral. Most as I have stated created their own software. But again, those other packages are an excellent startup solution once trained. There are some new packages on the scene lately such as Disco, Credit Score Techs and TrackStar. I will take a look at them and update this post accordingly.
Just make sure you get good basic advanced training with phone support and credit repair certification prior to purchasing any software program. As I stated before, in my professional opinion, one should not use these software company’s training program. I’m repeating this and here is my reason again: it will usually train you to use their software instead of focusing on doing the work necessary for your client.
On a person note based on my research: I ran into an credit consultant that purchased one of these software programs and took training with them too. They ran into a financial situation and asked me for advice. I shared my experience and told them how to handle the issue. The next question was this: “I use ___ software and don’t know where to fill in the code is to help this client.” I told them that this approach requires them to edit extensively any template letter. Also I shared that they should use a word processor if their software program won’t allow major adjustments to their letter templates. They looked at me dumbfounded and clueless. They would have cause harm to that client by not understanding what was needed. This is training!!! Therefore so many are purchasing these business program laced with software in the beginning but they shouldn’t in my professional opinion. It is NOT cost effective for startups and most need good training first.
Finally, sales are very important to making money in any business and one will need leads. But please be aware that credit repair is a personal business just as if they are going to a barber or hair dresser; and people want results for their personally situation.
Make sure you know how to do the work prior to selling this services. The goal is to get certification and training first and don’t mix training with the purchase of software program. You must learn how to not cause any harm to the public. These steps will protect the credit repair industry and keep this a lucrative business.
I like the Credit Consultants Association (ccasite.org) because they can hold your hand to get started with very little costs involved with no other mission but to serve the credit repair industry.