By Amber Hayden – Start A Credit Repair Business MBA, Financial Business Research Specialist
So, you want to learn how to start a credit repair business?
If you want to start a credit repair business or a credit score improvement business –-just know that it is easy and a lot simpler than you think. However, if you follow youtube and other social media platforms, there are so many sources with information that makes selecting the right training extremely difficult. Don’t worry, though; you will learn how to start a credit repair business and save lots of money if you keep reading.
When searching online “how to start a credit repair business” or “credit repair training,” the results will usually show credit repair software companies. They outspend everyone, just to be on the first page of every medium. However, often taking their advice is the most expensive approach to starting a credit repair business.
If you take the time to read this post, you can learn how to start a credit repair business or company. I will explain the process and the best approach to getting started right from home and saving you many headaches and money.
First, you don’t need a degree or a special government license to be a credit repair specialist. However, compliance is critical. You should be a member of a credit repair trade association that ensures high standards and policies in the industry, as suggested by the CFPB and FTC. They have encouraged this industry to police themselves. There are two great associations that support credit repair industry standards: the Credit Consultants Association (CCA) and the National Association of Credit Services Organizations (NACSO). These organizations have two different approaches to certification.
CCA is the oldest and has the largest membership. They have a very affordable annual fee, take complaints from consumers, certify individuals rather than companies, and go undercover to check and weed out bad credit repair companies. They require individuals to pass an exam and vow to follow ethical guidelines. Because they address individual business owners, the CCA is launching a criminal/civil background check system for credit repair consultants and company owners. This system will also check education and other certification credentials. This will fully go online in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to officials, they believe that bad business actors are good at disguising themselves and their intentions, and they are usually adept at having their documents in order. However, one can’t run away from a quality background and credentials check. The association is expanding to address more local-level issues where credit repair companies are located.
NACSO makes sure credit repair companies comply by checking their contracts, sales scripts, and paperwork. Getting their certification can be a tedious process because one must make sure all its paperwork and sales scripts are in order. They also have monthly fees, and these fees go to pay for a Washington lobbyist (Magnolia Strategy Partners) to help the industry. Officials reference their success in fighting against legislation that hurts the industry, and they have relationships with Washington regulators. They also have plans to take on more issues.
Both are essential organizations, so it is wise to be a member of both if you can afford the fees. I only recommend that you get your certification and initial credit repair training from a trade association.
IT IS BEST NOT TO TAKE ANY CERTIFICATION TRAINING THAT IS NOT TIED TO TRADE ASSOCIATIONS IN THE CREDIT REPAIR INDUSTRY.
In other words, that training source should promote and offer certification with either CCA OR NACSO. You can take the training but make sure you get certified by one of these organizations.
Starting a credit repair business can be extremely lucrative, especially in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemics; the credit repair industry will explode within the next 18 to 36 months from those seeking help. The credit Repair business or Credit Score Optimization services also has a very low startup cost if you are SMART and do your research. DO NOT be persuaded by HYPE or any FREE TRAINING listings because nothing is free unless a non-profit or trade association provides it. The FREE will attract you, but in most cases, it ends up costing you money. In this case, it will cost you $150-$500 per month just to start with no clients. Also, watch out for some of the YouTube videos and personalities on social media that talk about making lots of money in the credit repair business. If you have low startup capital, you will be wasting your money getting started with them because of the cost. There is a source that will include that same information FREE in their materials. These sources will have you spending $500-$1500 just for their training or to purchase their software. YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS TO START and be successful from the outset!
Watch Out For Unverified and Unnecessary Financial Hype
I’ve seen a MILLIONAIRES group listing those who earned a million dollars in the credit repair business. Our research firm was NOT able to verify this information. Based on their name and company, some of those listed did not make a million dollars or had other businesses outside of credit repair. It may be possible that their collective business income was used instead of their credit repair business. This discrepancy is concerning, and we feel that the source’s credibility to verify financials may be in question. Also, we were not able to match sales or income with public government records.
It is important to know that you can make seven figures in the credit repair business and a great living of six figures or more. However, hyping a business, as I’m told it is called, to boost sales or brand is unnecessary, especially in the credit repair industry. This could bring more unwanted scrutiny from local state AG offices. Also, it can be embarrassing if a researcher gets involved and is unable to verify such claims.
There are several seven figures credit repair firms out there successfully and quietly servicing their clients. You never see them on social media boasting about being a millionaire or flexing expensive things such as vehicles. What we see in social media is unfortunate for this industry and has brought unwanted scrutiny to these showboaters.
Who Should Consider A Credit Repair Business?
If you love helping people and can grasp credit concepts, you should consider a credit repair business. It has a low barrier of entry, and the ONLY possible obstacle is affording your bond if one is required in your state. Bondexpress.com can help with this.
Also, attorneys, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, car salespersons, tax professions, and financial planners should consider adding this service to their current business practices.
Your license may cause a conflict of interest with mortgage brokers, BUT creating a service outside of your company aligned with another business owner could be advantageous. Credit-challenged individuals hurt many sales for most of these services mentioned. Also, many brokers and others get direct leads from dealing with customers with credit problems in their normal business environment. Why not channel these individuals to your own credit repair business or one you are affiliated with for an additional profit center? It’s just smart business.
What Do You Need To Start A Credit Repair Business?
All you need is a smartphone, a computer with internet access, an email account, a word processor program to write letters, AND thorough credit repair concepts training. Thorough credit repair training is the key and can cost under $99 from the right source. You can then seek a mentor after your initial training, and they are readily available at reasonable costs. YOU WILL HAVE TO DO SOME READING!!!!! Let me repeat: Reading is required. You will not be able to learn this business and become a credit consultant completely just via videos. If you cannot get through reading this post, you most likely will have some problems getting a detailed grasp of the dos and don’ts in credit repair concepts. All you will know how to do is send letters but NOT why. The smartphone is helpful to place reminders for the letters you have written on behalf of your clients. To grow, you will need a website, BUT not starting out, unless it is very inexpensive. You can have a FREE Facebook page instead, and it will work for a long time in some cases.
So many believe that they need a credit repair software program to start and manage their credit repair business. This is NOT necessarily true. However, to save money, you can purchase this later and use a word processor to write letters. If you can afford software, go for it because it will help. There is a software package that is extremely reasonable that one may consider that I’ve listed below.
Most of the training you see online and on social media are from credit repair software companies, individual personalities, or gurus. Their training is geared towards marketing and branding and is NOT about the thorough training you need to be an effective credit consultant. Selling is extremely important, but someone must do effective work for the client. These individuals and companies are simply steering you towards their software company with free trials and seeking monthly fees afterward. You are also being pushed to take their training to build your business. Your startup cost can be as high as $5000 just for training, and you will also find yourself with $100 to $400 per month in expenses before you have any clients. This can be a recipe for failure for many just starting. Also, many people go out of business because the initial expenses were too high.
What About Outsourcing?
Yes, you can outsource a credit repair business, but I do NOT recommend doing this when you first start. Why? Because you need to understand how this system works and know how to do the work yourself. What if something happens to your outsourcing service? Many of them may have one person who is the guru, and their virtual assistants just follow their instructions. There was a case where one person was doing outsource work for several small companies but became extremely ill. It was tragic because the credit consultants that hired them for outsourcing services went out of business. This was because they did not know how to do the work themselves. Why did they shut down? They had many requests for refunds because they did not have the skills to do the work themselves and couldn’t afford to hire another outsourcing firm in time. Also, the consultant could not hand it over to another source as they did not know what work had been done. However, If you are looking to outsource, there are several sources available. Trade associations can help you find a source.
Learn how to do the work yourself, and you can outsource the credit repair services later if you desire. However, it’s OK to outsource while you learn the process. Keep in mind that credit repair is a personal business, just like going to a hairstylist. Each client has different dynamics as to why their scores are low and need personal attention. Also, your clients will want to feel that you are focused on them. This is just as important to your long-term success.
What About Credit Repair Automation?
Please do not over automate your credit repair business. Yes, automation is excellent and is the way to go to take on more customers in an effective manner. But, only if you can serve your customers with custom and personalized work. However, it is not always cost-effective for startups with most credit repair solutions. One has to be careful not to create customer dissatisfaction with too much automation. There are less expensive solutions to help you get started.
The automation I’ve seen in this industry requires multiple applications with monthly fees for each to implement them. Therefore, they may seem impressive, but not as advantages as I’ve uncovered. Customers can become frustrated with receiving lots of emails, texts, and no personal contact. There has to be some direct personal contact with your customers. Before Covid, I looked at ten (10) startups, and six (6) purchased special automation. However, only one (1) out of the six are still in business as of May 2021. The one business was able to move on to more affordable solutions. When asking what happened, not enough capital to maintain the payments. In addition, the automation was so impressive to them that if they could not afford it, they no longer wanted to be in business without it. What they did not know is just how unnecessary the automation was for them to be successful. In addition, many just wanted an easier way to earn money instead of having a hands-on approach to working in this business. In other words, those who stayed in business did not maintain the automation fees and look for more affordable sources. Just having a solution to handle leads, communications, import credit reports from monitoring sources, generate letters, and deliver them to CRAs and furnishers is all that is needed. There are affordable solutions that have these capabilities.
PLEASE NOTE: Some people are not clear regarding the limitations of credit repair software. Just know that credit repair software can NOT legally pull consumers’ credit reports or load them directly from the credit bureaus. One must have a permissible purpose to do so, and a credit repair company does not fit this legal standard. There are huge ones that have arrangements with monitoring services, but your small credit repair business will NOT be able to do this. The software companies available to you can import credit reports using credit monitoring services like Smart Credit, Identity IQ, and others that can display negative or positive accounts, including public records. Therefore, credit repair software is an effective management tool for a growing company, but only if you are fully trained in this business.
If you want to start a credit repair business and be successful, you must separate yourself from all the nationally advertised firms. You must brand yourself differently by offering a personal touch to your services in your credit repair business. This is because you won’t compete with the big firms that advertise on the radio and TV. Many consumers that live in your community may feel more comfortable with you instead. You can brand yourself by saying that you offer custom credit repair correspondence for each client instead of cookie-cutter templates. For this, you will need a custom letter writing system.
As I stated in the beginning, you also should want to be a member of a trade association that police the credit repair industry and ensure that their members maintain standards. In my research, the public does not trust certification from credit repair software companies or individuals: they ONLY respect certificates from an industry trade association.
So, if anyone says that you don’t need to be certified or show any certifications, it is important to know that this is true, but it is NOT wise to be without one. Just think, if something happens, or someone sues you, they could make the argument that you did not have any proper training credentials within the credit repair industry; this has happened before. If you have credentials from the industry’s associations, no one can make that argument against you. That’s why you should want to be certified by a credit repair association, as it will say that your service has ethical standards. Besides, the public ONLY feels comfortable dealing with individuals and companies aligned with their industry’s associations and often calls them to verify their membership and credentials.
How Much Can I Make If I Start A Credit Repair Business?
A credit repair company can make from $500 to $8,500 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 on the intake process of initial contact with the client. You can earn $95 to $500 at the first contact stage or what is called an enrollment fee (customer acquisition), based on evaluating a credit report and producing a plan to boost your client’s score in the initial stage. If you are above average, you can earn $10,00.00 to $25,000 full-time, and some are earning even as much as $100,000.00 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 startup company that will cost under $500 to get started with a website; or under $1000 if you decided to have a complete startup system? Many software-based companies say that you can spend 15 to 20 minutes per client initially and be successful. Yes, you will make money, but most of the time at the expense of getting good results for your clients. I believe this is NOT enough time to offer your personal touch to each of your clients. The service you should render may take up to 30 to 40 minutes for an individual and up to an hour for a couple, and you SHOULD charge for that time. This is the only way to be successful and maintain a GOOD name in your local community and industry. You should spend as much time as necessary to discover what affects the client’s scores and develop a strategy to improve the scores.
The big credit repair firms like Lexington Credit and CreditRepair.com already have huge clients due to heavy advertising, and they have account representatives. This is great for you because their advertising helps you in your local market. However, some people feel that the reps of these firms have so many clients that it is hard to feel connected with them. Many consumers prefer to find someone close to them for help. Therefore, you should create a “personal services” type brand, demonstrating that your clients will not feel like they are just a number among many. If you offer the same quality service as these big firms while providing a personal touch in your community, your business will grow.
How Much Should I Charge for My Credit Repair Company?
Most credit repair companies charge a flat fee of $500 to $1500 or $59 to $199 per month for their services, and some charge per item deleted, and there is a reason why, which I will share after I show both methods.
That said, a popular method some are using is called: “Pay-for deletion.” You are charged per deletion or per points increased. For example, some companies charge $50-$85 per deleted item off a credit report for each account deletion and $10-20 for inquiries and late payments. Some add more for deleting collections or public records accounts. Also, some will charge a flat fee of $85 for all items.
Here is how this works:
Let’s say you have one client, and they have five (5) challengeable accounts on their credit reports and three (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. Having two clients per month will earn you over $1000 because most clients will have at least 7 to 15 account 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 10-15 minutes per old client, getting paid for another round of deletions until you complete them.
Here is an example: Say that you have ten 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 seven challengeable account items on their credit reports. If you delete three items for all a client’s credit report, that’s 30 x $85. You will earn $2 550, but you 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 ten 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.
Here is the issue with this method: A federal statute (Telemarketing Sales Rule) comes into play that will prevent you from collecting funds for six months after the work is done by using this method: this applies to when conducting business over the phone. It hasn’t been enforced yet and may never will– but it’s there if someone ever wants to shut you down. BUT regulators like this method because you are only getting paid for success. Just know that it can be tricky, but many are still using this successful method. It is also why most credit consultants choose the monthly payment method and only charge after the work is produced for a client.
How Do I Get Started?
As I stated before, one does not need a special license from the government or a degree to start a credit repair company, but there are federal rules and guidelines for each state. A good credit repair training source will provide this information.
I would get my initial training from a trade association source where credit repair training is their primary business model, and they have the interest to protect the industry with standards. They will not attempt to sell you anything but will provide you with a solid foundation on the process of being a successful and in compliance credit repair consultant. After your basic training, seek a mentor or coach to help you take your business to the next level. Just spending two hours of a mentor’s time can do wonders for your business. This can range from 90 to $150 per hour.
Again, it is BEST to get certified by one of the credit repair industry’s associations so that the public will have the confidence that you can do the job and are trustworthy. Certification from any other source other than these two associations is not valid certifications, neither in my opinion nor in the eyes of officials I’ve spoken with. You want to be a member of an association and vow to adhere to the industry’s standards. Before you start your business, you want to comply with your state and The Credit Repair Organizations Act. (CROA).
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 or training service. Therefore, many people are now getting involved in this business without a clue about 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 either of the two industry’s trade associations: the CCA or NACSO, because they make protecting the public their mission.
Where to Get Credit Repair Training and Credit Repair Certification
I am recommending the CCA, The Credit Consultants Association, Inc. I have no affiliations with them, but I like their low-cost program and mission. Additionally, their startup credit repair training material is in-depth. I am aware that there are some new strategies available. But their core training provides you the necessary knowledge to be an effective consultant. I recently reached out to the officials there, and they are working on a new manual for tactics… to be added to their current manuals for the industry. It will be available by the end of July 2021, I’m told. They are a trade association offering credit repair certification, membership, and they provide excellent self-paced thorough basic training via manuals or advanced training via their coaching services.
Many of the top successful credit repair professionals and the individuals selling their training in social media and YouTube received their initial training with this organization. They are a perfect source for starting your credit repair business with training for under $80. They also offer one-on-one phone coaching services if needed and free email support for members. Besides, they are like the Better Business Bureau of the credit repair industry that collects and resolves complaints from the public. If you know of a company that is not following the guidelines, alert them, and they will follow up and take action. Also, they will keep you abreast of various industry changes. It is their goal to police the industry and provide its members with compliance information. You should become a member, get your training and certification from them. They are extremely affordable and an excellent source to learn how to start a credit repair business with a strong foundation. They also have the FCRA and FDCPA certification programs.
Credit Repair Software?
As I stated, you don’t need a software program. However, let me share more information about an affordable application that is feature-rich and Perfect for Startups. In my opinion, the current monthly fees of Credit Repair Software can be a struggle to pay for many new to the industry; therefore, I am sharing this affordable one and give it some ink over the most well-known applications. This is to help you have a better chance when starting. But first,
NEVER USE CREDIT REPAIR SOFTWARE FOR INVOICING OR BILLING!!!!
Use it for everything else from processing letters, lead management…but not billing.
One may ask, “What!?” Why would you get industry software and don’t use it for billing? Let me share why when it comes to credit repair. Most credit repair software companies are just one or two individual owners. NOT HUGE companies. Your needs can change, your company can grow larger, there could be a conflict between you and the software company or the owners, the software could go through ownership changes, make application changes, or get hacked. Your billing clients can NEVER be transferred to new credit repair software. You can import your client’s information BUT not the billing. This means that you will need to have your client reenter all billing information in a new solution. I recommend using an outside accounting or billing software for your credit repair business, such as Quickbooks. Actually, Quickbooks is what I recommend. You NEVER would be faced with trying to get your billing and invoicing back on track if something happens.
Most Affordable Software:
Credit Letters Software is the powerful, low-cost solution I mentioned earlier that costs as low as $27.00 per month for a business plan. This is a limited version but good for credit repair startups, advanced consultants, or any consultant that desires to automate their complex credit repair letters. THIS SOFTWARE IS FOR SMALL CREDIT REPAIR COMPANIES with 1 or 4 employees. I do not recommend them for larger ones because it can be sluggish for them. PLEASE NOTE: 97% of credit repair companies are just one or two people working. They do not work with more than 175 active clients per month. The average is actually less than 50; therefore, this solution is perfect for those users. You can still earn mid to high six figures income with just a few active monthly paying clients.
They also have a Pro plan package for only $47 that is three to four times less expensive than other credit repair applications out there; it easy to use and flexible. Although you don’t need software to start your business, this software package is so extremely affordable that it can be advantageous to use. Mainly because it is a tremendous time-saver, it is also a robust automation solution. In Full Disclosure: the pro plan had a few bugs after my initial posts in 2019, BUT they have been resolved. I’ve tested the software recently and had NO ISSUES!!!! Additionally, I noticed that they have virtually all of the features as the expensive package and many features they do not have.
The best part of Credit Letters Software is that users can create complex letters; their Security Freeze/Suppression Module is one-of-a-kind, but there is an add-on cost to having this feature for business or pro-plan users. Other features like Smart Evaluation, Quick Dispute System, Online portal for clients with a free mobile app. Also, their system is fully integrated with Letter Stream. This allows users to send letters via first-class and certified mail directly from their dashboards; this is My favorite part.
PLEASE NOTE: I’m not getting paid one dime or anything for recommending these or any other solutions. There are NO affiliate links in my posts. I provide information. If you need credit repair automation for less, this solution is perfect! By the way, I’m not in the credit repair business; I am a researcher. However, I do help family and friends with their credit. I am using their Credit Letters Automation Personal version. It is $15 per month. But I have tested the professional and White Label version, and it is excellent.
Credit Detailer is another package that startups are using, and it is a very nice flat-priced one-time fee solution.
Software raging from $100 to $399 per month
Credit Repair Cloud is the number one selling software package out there. It’s a good software package and user-friendly too. It is one of the most popular software, and its marketing model guarantees its success. They are everywhere in their advertising.
Client Dispute Manager software is a popular solution. It is a business-in-a-box solution with built-in training. It’s an excellent solution for credit repair companies. The owner is a marketing genius.
Credit Money Machine has been around for 30 years, so it is probably the oldest, and it is very robust. It’s an excellent product. They do have a lite version that’s under $100, but it is limited.
Credit Admiral software is an excellent package that I also love. They specialize in third-party disputes. It was designed by credit repair specialists and the product is owned by the organizer of Credit Con, the industry’s best credit repair conference. He is also a brilliant source of information.
ScoreCeo is a package gaining traction. We will gain access to better review the application.
Disputebee.com is an affordable solution gaining traction. I haven’t been able to review this package but they have a strong ad campaign.
Dispute Suite is a solid package that many credit repair companies use, and it has a support team.
There are many more good startup packages on the scene, and as I take a closer look at them, I will update this post accordingly.
Just make sure you get good basic training and credit repair certification before purchasing any software program, but if you can afford to do both, it’s OK to be aware that the software cannot do all the thinking for you.
Credit Repair Website?
Sales are essential to making money in any business, and one will need leads. If you are serving people you don’t know; you will have to get a website eventually. Even if you have a social media page, potentials clients will want to learn more about you or your business. A website is the best way to do this. However, a professional website that represents you properly can be expensive.
Here is a good source I’ve recently found: www.creditrepairtemplates.com to get a website for $150.00 down and $19.99 per month for 12 months and $10 per month after a year. They are a website wholesaler and do amazing work. You can connect these sites to any software program. Again, I do not earn anything by sharing this information. My goal is to save you money from whatever credible source I can find.
Please be aware that credit repair is a personal business. It can NOT be fully automated because people’s skills are part of it. It is hard to connect with a machine and feel connected. Customer dissatisfaction is usually high in this business when it is too impersonal. Just as if a person is going to a barber or hairdresser, they want suitable results for their situation and requirements. This automation rhetoric I hear in this industry is great. But, it can be a recipe for disaster if NOT done properly. Automate your communications and use time-saving processes. However, make sure you maintain human contact with your customers at least once a month. Automation can do many things for your business BUT handle the human connection part. Successful credit repair firms with great satisfaction ratings have excellent person-to-person contact with every client.
Finally, let me say again, make sure you know how to do the work before selling this service unless you will use an outsource service 100%. However, the goal is to get certification and training still first. You must learn how to develop strategies that will help your clients and not hurt them. These steps will protect the credit repair industry and keep this type of business lucrative. Again, I like the Credit Consultants Association (ccasite.org) for membership, certification, and startup basic training and support. For $59 or less, you can get started and become a board-certified credit consultant and on your way to a lucrative business.