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How to Start a Credit Repair Business

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Published on May 24, 2021

Updated on September 21, 2022

How to Start a Credit Repair Business

Disclaimer: Step by Step Business’ content is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. All of our articles are thoroughly reviewed and fact-checked by our editorial team. Read our editorial guidelines for more details.

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Fast Facts

Investment range

$8,550 - $27,100

Revenue potential

$24,000 - $120,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 - 3 months

Profit potential

$10,000 - $30,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Declining

Commitment

Full-time

How to Start a Credit Repair Business

If you enjoy helping people stabilize their lives and financial future, a credit repair business could be a great fit for you. The credit repair industry, which helps people boost their credit scores, took a major hit during the covid-19 pandemic, losing a quarter of its revenue in 2020. But analysts expect the industry to recover with slow but steady growth through 2026, which means the opportunity is there for the taking. 

Of course, starting any business requires hard work and patience. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place, as this article lays out every step you’ll need to take to develop a strong plan and get your credit repair business up and running and giving people greater financial opportunity!

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Before you dive into starting your business, let’s take a step back and observe what’s happening in the industry.

Pros and cons

The credit repair industry comes with both pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Pros

  • Easy to scale, thanks to software tools
  • Everybody needs good credit
  • Low startup costs

Cons

  • Some clients are wary of fraud
  • Highly competitive due to few barriers to entry

Credit repair industry trends

Economic growth in the post-pandemic recovery could lead to increased demand for credit repair services. As consumers become more confident, they tend to spend more, which results in greater debt and more need for credit repair. 

Industry size and growth

  • Industry size and past growth – The US credit repair industry is worth $3.4 billion, after contracting an average of 6% per year since 2017, according to market analyst IBISWorld.[1]https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/credit-repair-services-united-states/ 
  • Growth forecast – IBISWorld expects to see a turn-around through 2026, as the industry begins to recover from the pandemic slump.
  • Number of businesses – More than 40,000 credit repair businesses operate in the US. The number has steadily declined since 2012.[2]https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/credit-repair-services-united-states/ 
  • Number of people employed – The industry employs more than 46,000 people.[3]https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/employment/credit-repair-services-united-states/
credit repair industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Here are some of the trends shaping the industry:

  • Debt-ridden Americans are filing for bankruptcy instead of seeking credit repair services
  • Increasing use of online credit repair services

Some of the challenges faced by operators are:

  • High level of competition in the industry
  • Distrust in credit repair companies
credit repair industry Trends and Challenges

How much does it cost to start a credit repair business?

If you start from home and negotiate monthly payments for your surety bonds and software, you could launch a credit repair business for as little as $5,000. But if you want to invest more in your business and have a large office with staff, you could spend $50,000 or more to cover startup costs and your first month in business. 

On average, though, most credit repair startups need around $20,000 to open their doors. 

Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300250
Office rent$3,000 - $9,0006000
Office equipment and supplies$3,000 - $4,000$3,500
Surety bonds$1,000 - $10,000$5,500
Insurance $100 - $300200
Website setup$1,000 - $3,0002000
Total$8,550 - $27,100$17,825

How much can you earn from a credit repair business?

The main factors affecting your revenue are the number of clients you have and the primary services they purchase. Naturally, if you get great results for your clients, the more customers you’ll have in the future.

Your clients will usually pay a flat fee or a recurring payment for your services. But it’s up to you to find what structure works best.

Credit repair businesses enjoy profit margins of 25% to 40%, and most charge $79-$129 per month for their services. So if you start out with 20 customers paying $100 a month in your first year or two, you’ll do $24,000 in annual revenue and almost $10,000 in profit, assuming a 40% margin. 

If you’re able to push your customer numbers up to 100, you’ll be generating annual revenue of $120,000. At this stage, you’d hire more staff, reducing your profit margin to 25%. You’ll be making $30,000 in annual profit.

credit repair business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry in the credit repair business. The main one is the high level of competition, because it’s easy to start a credit repair business. On the flip side, many of these businesses fail relatively quickly. So if you’re able to stick it out and build a track record as a credit repair specialist, success may knock on your door.

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

Now it’s time to hone your idea so that your credit repair service can begin taking shape. First, let’s find out how to identify your target market.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Your competition will be credit repair firms targeting the same market. While large companies that target broad demographics will still compete with you, you’ll have an edge in your market due to targeted branding.

Once you’ve got a list of competitors, here are some questions to examine:

  • What are my competitors’ value propositions?
  • How much do they charge for their services?
  • What’s included in their services?
  • What do customer reviews say about these companies?
  • What can I do to differentiate myself from these businesses?

What? Determine your products or services

Running a credit repair business requires a varied schedule. Here are a few everyday tasks:

  • Onboard new clients: New customers are the key to growing your business, so you need to make sure that your clients are informed about the credit repair process. You’ll also need to secure the new client’s credit report as part of this process.
  • Disputing claims: This includes creating and sending dispute letters and communicating with the required credit bureau or lender. Some claims you will dispute include late payments from debt collectors (also known as a collection agency.)
  • Communicating with existing clients: You’ll need to regularly check in with clients to maintain their trust as well as update them on their credit score.
  • Marketing: To get new customers, you’ll need to run marketing campaigns.

How much should you charge for your services?

Most credit repair services charge a monthly fee between $79 and $129. While this is the average, to find your ideal rates, you’ll need to consider your costs and the time and effort it takes to complete your service.

Some credit repair services also charge a setup fee for initial document processing and administration. But, this is a grey area as the Credit Repair Organizations Act prohibits credit repair companies from charging upfront service fees. So, as a budding credit repair professional, you likely want to steer clear of upfront fees.

You’ll need to determine an acceptable price for your local market and then tweak it based on expenses. Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Identifying your target market is vital for maximizing your marketing dollars and the effort you spend on your business. You’ll first need to determine who would benefit from your services. An answer to your target market could be “people with bad credit.” While this is valid, it’s also too broad. You could narrow your market down by factors like age, gender, and earnings. 

For example, you could target millennials who need help improving their credit for first home purchases, or in regards to student loan debt. To market your services to this demographic you might use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

Where? Choose your business premises

Credit repair businesses can be run from home thanks to technology, but it may be worthwhile to an office, as face-to-face meetings are better for building trust than Zoom calls.

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
credit repair business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “credit”, boosts SEO
  • Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
  • Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services: Describe your services in detail.
  • Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
  • Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
  • Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
  • Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
  • Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
  • Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
  • Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to credit repair. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your credit repair business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Venture capital: Offer potential investors an ownership stake in exchange for funds, keeping in mind that you would be sacrificing some control over your business.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best options, other than friends and family, for funding a credit repair business.

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Starting a credit repair business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your credit repair business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.

Strong credit repair software options include DisputeBee, TurboDispute, and Credit Repair Cloud

DisputeBee streamlines the entire dispute process by automating it from start to finish. It allows you to import a client’s credit report to automatically generate dispute letters and track client progress. TurboDispute’s cloud-based software can help you manage everything business-related. From managing your team and clients to your affiliates and leads, they’ve got you covered. CRC provides a robust CRM, automated disputing, and even a recurring billing solution. Their all-in-one platform even helps you scale your credit repair business.

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Marketing

Some of your business will come from the casual passerby or online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness. 

Once your website is up and running, make sure you link to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a particularly good way of promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products: 

  • Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area. 
  • Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
  • Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Avail Now.” This can sharply increase transactions.
  • Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.

Kickstart Marketing

Take advantage of your website, social media presence, and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include: 

  • Competitions and giveaways – Generate interest by offering prizes for customers who complete a certain action, such as being the 10th client on Black Friday. 
  • Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your store and website. 
  • Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events. 
  • In-Person Sales – Offer your products/services at local markets and trade shows. 
  • Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
  • Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
  • Payper-click marketing – Use Google AdWords to perform better in searches. Research your keywords first.
  • Testimonials – Share customer testimonials about how your credit repair service  helped them.
  • Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your credit repair business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your credit repair business could be:

  • Fastest credit repair in your area
  • Better credit guaranteed!
unique selling proposition

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a credit repair business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in the credit industry for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in credit repair. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a credit repair business would include:

  • Credit Repair Specialist – analyze the financial situation of prospective clients
  • Administrative Assistant – handles clerical tasks
  • Marketing Lead – generates new leads

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Start Making Money!

You’re now ready to start repairing credit and improving lives. Now, how will you find your first client? There are many different ways. You can find business through extensive networking, an efficient referral system, or social media. Remember, having a strong social media presence could spell the difference for you. 

On behalf of your clients, you will work with credit bureaus and creditors to remove errors from your client’s credit report. Some examples of creditors include banks and credit card issuers. It’s wise to touch base and establish rapport with these companies first. With these preparations, you should be well on your way to success!

Credit Repair Business FAQs

Is a credit repair business profitable?

The credit repair business opportunity can be profitable, especially if you’re starting from home with minimal overheads. A great part about credit repair is that it’s a recurring revenue business model. Clients will typically pay you a monthly fee for your credit monitoring services.

How to start a credit repair business from home?

If you want to learn how to start a credit repair business from home, here are the key steps you should follow.

  1. Understand the industry
  2. Hone your idea
  3. Create a business plan
  4. Choose a business name
  5. Register your business
  6. Register for taxes
  7. Open a business bank account
  8. Buy any necessary equipment
  9. Secure your licenses, permits, and surety bonds
  10. Get business insurance
  11. Set up your website and credit repair software
  12. Hire staff or freelancers
  13. Start making money!
Is it illegal to charge for credit repair?

While it’s not illegal to charge for credit repair services, it is illegal to charge any upfront fees. The Credit Repair Organizations Act states that no credit repair organization can charge or receive any money or valuables for any services before the service is rendered. So make sure that you don’t charge upfront fees for any credit counseling.