Everything You Should Know about Being a Credit Counselor
With U.S. consumer debt reaching a staggering $4.17 trillion last November 2019, there is no denying that Americans are drowning deeper in debt. This is also the reason credit counseling services are highly in-demand it if you’re an entrepreneur, this is a good opportunity for you to offer such a solution for people wanting to repay their debts and repair their credit.
Do You Need to Be Certified as a Credit Counselor?
In the United States, you don’t necessarily need to be certified to work as a credit counselor or run your own credit counseling business. In fact, some certifying bodies will only offer a certification after you’ve completed a certain number of years in the industry.
But if you want to get a competitive advantage, it’s best to get a certification that’s offered by credit counseling professional organizations like the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).
How do you become a credit counseling service?
If you plan to start a business as a credit counselor, it’s very important to follow these steps:
- Establish the structure of your business. To operate legally, you have to incorporate your business first by filing to form a corporation or LLC with the secretary of state. This costs around $100.
- Consult with your secretary of state if you need any credentials or licenses to offer credit counseling. Some states have certain requirements and knowing what these laws are will help you operate legally and protect your business in the long run.
- Get trained in credit counseling and repair. To be an effective credit counselor, you should have experience in fields like accounting, banking, financial planning or credit analysis. This will help you offer efficient services to your clients. But if you want to get certified, you can obtain training for principles of financial counseling, budgets and balance sheets, mortgages, bankruptcy, credit legislation and debt reduction methods from credit counseling professional organizations like the AFCPE where you can be given the Accredited Credit Counselor (ACC) designation. Although this isn’t strictly required, having this designation will give you a huge advantage over the competition because clients will feel more comfortable working with you knowing that you have the right training.
- Set up your business. The great thing about being a credit counselor is that you have the option to work from home and just meet with clients outside.
But if you are willing to make the investment, you can start by leasing a small office space, furnish it with office equipment and hire a secretary and maybe one other professional to help you run your business.
Now if you are starting a nonprofit credit counseling business, you could receive grants to cover overhead costs. You just need to file a 501(c)(3) to form a nonprofit corporation. Get in touch with an IRS agent to learn more about this option.
Understand The Benefits Of Certification:
As stated above, that certificate may not be mandatory to get hired, but certification in credit counseling makes you likable to potential employers and firms.
The certification also offers exceptionally detailed knowledge and skills that will be valuable for you as a credit counselor.
A certification provides in-depth knowledge and skills that you have learned at your college degree program. All these are mandatory to become a successful credit counselor.
There are various certification programs to choose from, but it’s essential to get certified from a reputable organization. Several credit counseling organizations offer certification programs for starters.
A certificate becomes much more vital if you have any other background than finance as it shows the firms and potential employers that you have all the skills and knowledge regarding the debt and credit.
Is This the Right Path For You?
Managing your finances is getting difficult for many people. Almost on a daily basis, there is a news about lower wages, downsizing, etc.
All these negative news causes people to lose their ability to save money and also to get their debts paid timely.
Finance is not so interesting for everyone. There are only “few” people who understand about financial issues. But the fact is the majority of people rely on the experts and certified credit counselors to get the advice regarding financial matters.
Credit counselors are trained experts who have all knowledge of financial management to help people resolve financial and debt problems. They develop a base for individuals and business owners to stand on so they can have a better and secure future. A credit counselor assists business owners and individuals in creating realistic budgets, teaching business owners and individuals that how they can come out of debt, investing your money, plans for saving for retirement, and, most importantly talk with agencies on behalf of their consumers.
Starting Your Credit Repair Business
Starting a business of any kind is going to be difficult.
Of course, you have to start marketing your business. If you don’t have the budget for big ticket methods just yet, go to online forums for credit issues or place your ads in community boards around retail establishments and restaurants.
You’ll need a high risk merchant account and you’ll likely need an online presence in the form of a web site.
You’ll need to grind it out. Which means you should either have a passion for credit repair, a passion for making money or be good at what you do. With any of those three characteristics, starting a credit repair business should be easy. With more than one, you are in line to make some serious money in this industry!
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