During the 2019 Credit Repair Expo, Derrick Harper shared a powerful, previously untold story. He described his upbringing; growing up so poor that his home had holes in the floor and his living quarters were infested by roaches and rats. Because he was poor, rather than calling for an exterminator, his family used a cat to keep the pests at bay.
Derrick Harper spoke at the 2019 Credit Repair Expo about how credit repair changes lives. (Photo/Nichole Bensel)
If you can put yourself in Derrick’s shoes, you might understand why his current knowledge about finances had to come from experience. Rather than learning about credit responsibility from his family, he had to overcome the vicious cycle of debt on his own after years of struggling.
But Derrick’s story is just one of many filled with difficulty.
There are many scenarios where people in communities around the U.S. have little to no education about how to manage their finances. As a result, they desperately seek answers to help them overcome the financial issues they face.
As a credit repair specialist, you have the opportunity to teach your clients that credit scores are not set in stone. You can empower them to pull themselves out of the cycle of debt.
All they need is a bit of education and a helping hand.
4 Lessons to Teach Your Community about Credit Repair
Beyond basic tips for improving credit like paying credit cards off on time, limiting hard inquiries, and diversifying accounts, credit repair businesses must provide advanced tips that help clients gain a more in-depth understanding of how the credit system works.
Consider the following lessons:
1. It’s Affordable to Seek Help
When your clients face financial issues, seeking help from a credit repair business might feel out of reach. How can they afford professional advice when they’re already struggling to pay the bills?
Derrick explains that through credit repair business software, billing can be automated and customized to fit client needs, regardless of their financial situations. For example, Derrick often charges pay-per-delete. That means if he takes on a client and isn’t able to get an item deleted from their credit score, the client won’t pay a penny. If he does get an item deleted, he charges $50 per deleted item, per bureau.
To make it financially feasible for his clients, Derrick offers payment plans so they have options to pay him back, without feeling the increased financial strain as they start rebuilding their credit.
This business model makes credit repair low-risk and obtainable for people in your community.
2. Credit Repair Doesn’t Need to be a Long, Painful Process
Credit Repair Expo 2019 (Photo/ Nichole Bensel)
Some clients believe credit repair will take years to take effect and therefore lose faith in the process, thinking they’re forever stuck in their financial situations. While it can take time to see credit score improvements, credit repair specialists may be unintentionally prolonging the process. For example, some professionals in the industry won’t submit more than a few disputes per month per client.
Derrick disagrees with this method. He says it’s better to handle client cases faster, as this often provides faster results and builds trust with clients.
There are benefits to a credit repair specialist, too. Working with clients quickly builds the reputation of your credit repair business because it’s apparent you can show results. Positive results lead to increased word-of-mouth referrals. Derrick says, “Rather than dragging my clients out for 10 months, I’d rather have them tell 10 people about my services.”
You can help even more members in your community repair their credit by strategically expediting the process.
3. Credit Reports Often Show Discrepencies
Clerical errors or accounts not updated properly are common in the credit reporting world. In fact, more than 79% of credit reports contain errors.
For that reason, credit repair specialists should pay special attention to their first-round dispute letter and always conduct a factual dispute, or a request an investigation. When requesting an investigation, you should receive three verified reports from each credit bureau that you can compare side-by-side to identify differences. These differences can be anything from interest rates that don’t match, to dates when a loan was originated. Any small nugget can be used as your fuel to dispute —and a ticket to earning deletions — for your client’s credit report.
By finding discrepancies, you’re likely to get a deletion for your client, thus improving your client’s credit score.
4. Hardship Happens, and That’s OK
“Being human is real,” Derrick says, and that reality can come with hardship. Experiencing hardship can hinder a credit score, but it can also create leniency with the credit bureaus which has a direct impact on your client’s credit score.
When working with the credit bureaus, you’re not just working with a scary corporation, you’re also working with people. Real people answer the phones, look over disputes, and handle cases. By being honest about hardships your clients are facing, and how these hardships make it difficult to pay debts on time, you may find that the person on the other side of the line wants to help.
Whether your clients grew up underprivileged like Derrick, or an event like a natural disaster, personal issue, or a health crisis set your clients back, hardships are common. But, so are the number of people willing to lend a helping hand.
At the end of the day, your clients need to know you’re their advocate. Credit scores aren’t set in stone, and there is hope to recover from financial disarray.