How to Start a Credit Counseling Business

With so many people today looking for advice on managing money and getting out of debt, the demand for credit counseling is greater than ever. In fact, it is a relatively simple process to start your won credit counseling business. All you really need is the expertise, a small amount of money for start up expenses, and a few clients to get the ball rolling.

Before you actually begin to promote yourself as a credit counselor, it’s a good idea to make sure you have something of value to offer your clients. For example, if you have a professional background in finance, that is often helpful. A degree in accounting or some branch of financial management does not hurt. However, it may be that you are self-taught, and have a solid working knowledge of how to arrange a household budget to best effect, as well as some expertise in eliminating credit card debt. Because few jurisdictions around the world actually regulate the field of credit counseling, it is up to you to make sure that the advice and support you offer is actually worth the rates you will charge.

Next, there is the matter of taking care of the legalities associated with owing and operating a business. This means acquiring a business license or any equivalent document required in the area where you live and plan to set up the business. In the United States, this means acquiring a Federal Tax ID number, and possibly a state tax ID number as well. It is also a good idea to incorporate your business, as this protects your business name and other assets in ways that no other legal machination will accomplish.

As part of your preparation for opening your credit counseling business, take the time to decide just what type of credit counseling instruction you will offer. For example, will you help people set up workable budgets, giving them a chance to begin living within their means? Are you prepared to act as a liaison between a client and a credit card issuer? Perhaps you would prefer focusing on helping individual clients, rather than offering classes to groups of ten or more. Deciding what services you will offer plays a big role in the next step, which is developing your promotional materials and documents that are used in the actual counseling process.

For basic worksheets and other materials directly connected with the counseling, create basics such as a customer profile, a budget outline, and a worksheet that makes it easy to arrange income and expenses. Other documents may be necessary as part of the counseling, such as handout sheets that customers can take with them for later reference. Ideally, these are documents that are focused enough to keep the process of counseling on target, but also flexible enough to be adapted to individual needs and concerns.

Your basic promotional materials will include business cards, flyer templates, and possibly a brochure outlining the credit counseling services you offer. If you intend to create a web site for your business, make sure the site and your other promotional materials complement one another; far too many businesses do not coordinate these two important publicity tools and thus drive away customers who are confused about what is and is not offered.

Keep in mind that your ultimate success rests in your ability to help people get control of their credit and finances. If you are unable to provide those services effectively, word will quickly spread and it will be difficult to secure new customers. For this reason, make sure the work you do is always accurate, precise, and designed to help improve the credit rating and general financial circumstances of each client that comes through your door.


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