Russ: This is The BusinessMakers Show, and I’m very pleased to have as my guest today, Monica Crofton, Founder and CEO of Crofton Credit Consulting and Repair. Monica, welcome to The BusinessMakers Show.
Monica: Thank you for having me, Russ.
Russ: You bet. Tell us about Crofton Credit Consulting and Repair.
Monica: Crofton Credit Consulting is a credit repair and workshop company where we help clients in the community repair their credit, help them rebuild their credit, and teach them how to maintain their credit so that they can be approved for credit based purchases.
Russ: Cool, so how long have you been doing this?
Monica: I’ve been doing this for over 14 years now.
Russ: 14 years?
Russ: Have you been doing it at your own company for 14 years?
Monica: Well, no. For the first 10 years of my understanding of credit, I was working within the banking system. I was working for all of the large, major banks in several different positions throughout the banks, but one thing always stood out to me was that it was mostly the ones that could not get approved for credit which stood out to me the most (Russ: Ok). So, I took interest in that and I just started mapping out a way for me to be able to help those clients.
Russ: Ok. Sometimes people think, well they can’t be helped; they spend more than they make. I guess you would say that’s not always the case?
Monica: Yes, that’s not the case. It’s not that they spend more than they make. What I’ve noticed with a lot of the clients that come to our company is that they just don’t know how to pay their bills (Russ: Ok, wow.), and what I mean by that is that they literally pay their bills every month, but they never pay it in full, they don’t pay it on time. So those little fees, like the $5 late fee starts adding up, but in a year, a $5 late fee adds up to $60 a year. That’s another budget for something else, so that’s what I’ve pretty much noticed with my clients. They have the money, they go to work every week, I mean every day and get paid every two weeks, but they just do not pay their bills in full and on time, so that’s how they get in a repetitious cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Russ: Ok. And you know how to teach them what to do, right?
Monica: Oh yes, I love doing that. It’s very much equal with me helping them repair. The first thing I have to repair is their mindset. That’s the very first thing. And once I pull their credit, I’ll be able to see what the issue is. Some people’s issues are that they run their credit too much. For lack of a better word, a credit whore. Literally everyone who says, ‘Hey, can we run your credit, can we run your credit?’ They are just like, ‘Yes, yes yes,’ you know. And so they end up having way too many increase on their report, and so that can damage your credit. The second thing that I notice is sometimes they just don’t pay their bills on time. So, if the due date is on the 18th, they want to pay it on the 30 days late, first of all, and then they never pay it on time. So that’s one way that they can become negative. There’s so many ways that a person can become negatively looked at on their credit just from the behaviors that they do in their regular lives.
Russ: Ok. Well, in talking to you previously I hear you even have some three basic rules that are kind of related to those things that you just said that you share with people. So, you just go by these you’ll be ok.
Monica: Yes, so these are clients that already have open credit, so who have credit cards. So, there’s three rules to credit cards that will never change. One is, you want to always make sure that you pay it on time. Once again, that is not a myth. When you pay your items on time, that shows the creditors that you’re trustworthy. The second thing is you never want to go over the credit limit. So, if they offer you a $500 credit limit, for example, you never want to spend $500.01, because that immediately shows the credit companies that you’re not responsible with the credit that they give you. And rule number three is you never want to go over 50% of the balance. So, for instance, if you have that $500 credit card, you can spend $500, that’s what they honored to you, but when you get ready to pay it back within 30 days, you at least want to pay $250 down. That shows the creditors that you’re not living off of your credit, you’re just using it as a means to build your credit.
Russ: Well those first two really make sense, and I think we probably all kind of knew it. But that third one, I don’t think we did. That’s kind of cool.
Monica: Oh yeah. I have some clients, some of my clients do very well with credit, they just need someone to refresh them on some rules, but when it comes to staying under 50% of the balance, immediately when you pay that under 50% of the balance, the next 30 days your credit scores will rise. So, it’s an immediate fix to your credit problems.
Russ: What about these consolidation loans that you hear about sometimes from people with real bad credit?
Monica: Well, basically what a consolidation company does is they charge you to pay your bills. That’s what they do. So, basically they put all of your debt together and come up with one payment for you to pay them each month. That’s something that we help our clients do by budgeting. So that’s what consolidation does. A lot of clients call and ask, do we consolidate. No, we don’t consolidate, because we’re going to show you how to pay your bills, we’re not going to help you how to pay your bills. We’re going to show you so that you don’t have any credit problems in the future.
Russ: So, it’s interesting, because you had this expertise, and you left the safe confines of a big company to go out and do it on your own. Has it all gone well?
Monica: Oh, it has been great. What I can say is that, you know, most of the time when you’re stepping out as an entrepreneur, a lot of people say, oh, in the first two years it plummets, it goes down. I can honestly say that I’m grateful that my company has not done that. We have soared over the first two years, and that alone let me know that my intuition to do this credit repair in the community was absolutely needed; it was absolutely needed.
Russ: How do you get business?
Monica: So, we market social media. Social media is the new thing, I mean, that is just what we do. So we market social media, we also do radio promotions. We love doing things like this with your audience, as well. We do a lot of street, you know, regular just going out and letting people know about our business, as well as our referral program is wonderful. Everyone whose credit that we repaired has always referred someone back to us, and that’s a compliment.
Russ: Oh, that’s really cool. Ok, so before I let you go, I think you know this, our audience really is a business audience; always curious about the businesses, as well. So, how do you make money? Is it a percentage fee, or is it just an up-front fee? Do this and I’ll fix it for you?
Monica: Well we charge one fee, because we are in the community, and that’s what we pride ourselves in. So, the very first thing we always want to do is a consultation. The consultation is a flat fee of $100. In consultation we pull all three credit reports, all three credit scores, and we go line for line to see if you have anything that is past the statute of limitations, which is 7 years from the day you went delinquent. That should be gone; sometimes it’s still there. We do that, we map out a plan for you to repair your credit, if you like to do it on your own, and we basically give you some guidance on your credit. That’s what we do on consultation. Now, if you actually need credit repair, that’s when we become hands on and we become the aggressor for you when it comes to the credit repair. And if you hire us, that package is $600, and It’s a 6-month program.
So, we don’t just repair your credit and send you out into the world, because you’ll get back in the same situation. So what we do within that 6 months; we repair, that’s all hands on with us; we help you rebuild, that’s when our client has to step back in and we say, ‘Ok, now what type of credit cards do you actually need, not want, but need?’ and then we help them rebuild. And then around that last, the 5th or 6th month, we help them maintain. So, we just monitor their behavior, like, ‘Ok, it looks like you’re doing great.’ And we reward them and compliment them and we check in on them. Even after the 6 months is over, we still check in on them and make sure they’re on the right path.
Russ: Ok, I’m sorry but I can’t resist this; do you let them pay with their credit card?
Monica: I have had some clients that have paid with a credit card that I’m looking at and I see that it’s at the balance already, and I’m just like, oh my god, but they do. I have had clients that do that, but for the most part, they usually budget it out.
Russ: Ok, that’s good news. Well, I really appreciate you sharing your story. Not only is it an interesting business story, but it’s an added value and people got some real good credit advice. So, good luck with your business.
Monica: Thank you so much, Russ. Thank you.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Monica Crofton, the Founder and CEO of Crofton Credit Consulting and Repair. And this is The BusinessMakers Show.
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