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Old 10-07-2015, 11:30 AM   #251
SebastianHalf
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by Brons View Post
Is your original manager still with you? Did he ever get a piece of one of your businesses?
He's still with me. He never got a piece of the business, but he's been very well compensated. He'll make about 100k this year. He is looking into starting his own agency in the 1st quarter of 2016. I hope he does, because he's overpaid at this point lol.

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Originally Posted by The Hit View Post
Andy/Sebastian,

I Just finished reading the entire 17 pages of this thread and i am sooo excited and happy for you. This is a great feeling to see some one starting from scratch in small business with such a limited bankroll and experience and make it big time, well medium time. So CONGRATULATIONS

I have been into several small businesses in the past 10 years of my career and your posts were such an amazing reminders of things that can go wrong. Remember first day the internet wasn't working? I was actually looking forward to see what won't work on first day.

Anyways, i just want to introduce myself. I run a call center in a offshore country and had run a debt settlement company in California for many many years until June 2010 when FTC came in changed laws for debt settlement companies to not charge fee until the debt is actually collected.

I have always been keen to jump into the collections side of the business but have been procrastinating always trying to perfect the current business. Currently, i have about 100 telemarketers on predictive dialer working on different sales projects for US based small businesses.

I would love to chat with you about your thoughts on collection from overseas to cut down the cost. I also think, i can learn alot from you about the art of debt buying, i have never done this before and i know it's not easy.

please PM me your email or phone number to get in touch and perhaps we can talk business, or poker...

Good luck & congratulations one more time

Thanks
The Hit
Thanks man, appreciate the love!
PM sent
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:56 PM   #252
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

Have you read through the consent orders for PRAA and ECPG? Any thoughts? How do you anticipate the CFPB rule making will affect you?
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Old 10-23-2015, 03:33 PM   #253
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

I finally got licensed in Illinois and Chicago. I have my first client who I am handling their receivables first party until I can get a payment system put in place. The great thing about starting a collection agency is the overhead is very low. I have only spent a few thousand dollars and I already have a profit coming in. I worked out a deal with my first client in the next few months when they move to a new space I will be getting an office where I can fit 10 collectors, in the mean time I am trying to get collectors to work part-time for me from home because the software I am purchasing will give me the freedom to do that. I got the website looking pretty good, a lot of the collection agencies have dated websites that look like they are straight out of 1990.

All the debt I am handling for my first client is contingent first party debt. I am looking at purchasing a small portfolio of debt in Illinois. Maybe around $2,000-5,000. I even found at attorney to work with after the debt is worked through my collection agency. The attorney will send demand letters with their letterhead and make calls, working the account for 90 days, for only a 25% contingent fee. I need to find more attorneys in Illinois to work with.
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Old 10-23-2015, 08:43 PM   #254
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by KOP View Post
I finally got licensed in Illinois and Chicago. I have my first client who I am handling their receivables first party until I can get a payment system put in place. The great thing about starting a collection agency is the overhead is very low. I have only spent a few thousand dollars and I already have a profit coming in. I worked out a deal with my first client in the next few months when they move to a new space I will be getting an office where I can fit 10 collectors, in the mean time I am trying to get collectors to work part-time for me from home because the software I am purchasing will give me the freedom to do that. I got the website looking pretty good, a lot of the collection agencies have dated websites that look like they are straight out of 1990.

All the debt I am handling for my first client is contingent first party debt. I am looking at purchasing a small portfolio of debt in Illinois. Maybe around $2,000-5,000. I even found at attorney to work with after the debt is worked through my collection agency. The attorney will send demand letters with their letterhead and make calls, working the account for 90 days, for only a 25% contingent fee. I need to find more attorneys in Illinois to work with.
Question for you....PM sent.
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:43 AM   #255
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Sorry if I'm hijacking your thread for a different topic for a bit. I just have a generic collection agency question and can't find an answer anywhere. It seems you guys may have some opinions on this situation I have.

I have a judgement against a debtor and signed a contract with a collection agency to collect. Their fee is 50% of collections. It has been several years now and the collection agency seems to have found some assets to collect. They sent me a document and they want me to assign all interest, right and title to the judgement to the collection agency. They want this document notorized and will submit it to the court. My question is whether this is standard or are they now trying to keep all the money?
Slider9, how did this work out for you? I also have a judgement, and I've been advised to hand it over to a collections agency for a large piece of what he collects. Large enough to make me want to consider pursuing it myself for a little while before I hand it over to an agency.

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He's still with me. He never got a piece of the business, but he's been very well compensated. He'll make about 100k this year. He is looking into starting his own agency in the 1st quarter of 2016. I hope he does, because he's overpaid at this point lol.
A hundred g's must make for a very comfortable year in friggin' Buffalo.

Congrats on all your success. Had I seen this thread a few years ago I might have suggested leasing phone systems and computers instead of buying. That's what many small businesses do. Smaller cash outlay and you can expense it off your taxes instead of capitalizing and depreciating your equipment.

VOIP is fantastic. Outfits like Google Voice are free or near free. I think the same is true even for business use. I bought a little box and I don't even need a special phone.

Has the quality of employee improved from when you started out? Something you might try with trustworthy folks is to let them work part or most of their time from home. The work is mostly making phone calls, right? Then you can hire housewives, etc part-time to save on benefits. I talked with someone that worked for a well-known outfit in their "call center", which was actually virtual, and they worked from home. All they need is a phone and a computer on the net.
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Old 12-30-2015, 04:34 AM   #256
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

What if people just say, **** it. I'm filing chapter 7."
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:54 AM   #257
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

it's a cost of doing business.

OP, do you have insurance for FDCPA or FCRA violations? Have you been sued or threatened with an FDCPA violation yet? Do you have systems in place for complying with the FDCPA? Just curious because it's a new practice area a law firm I work at added.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:11 PM   #258
SebastianHalf
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by pig4bill View Post
Slider9, how did this work out for you? I also have a judgement, and I've been advised to hand it over to a collections agency for a large piece of what he collects. Large enough to make me want to consider pursuing it myself for a little while before I hand it over to an agency.



A hundred g's must make for a very comfortable year in friggin' Buffalo.

Congrats on all your success. Had I seen this thread a few years ago I might have suggested leasing phone systems and computers instead of buying. That's what many small businesses do. Smaller cash outlay and you can expense it off your taxes instead of capitalizing and depreciating your equipment.

VOIP is fantastic. Outfits like Google Voice are free or near free. I think the same is true even for business use. I bought a little box and I don't even need a special phone.

Has the quality of employee improved from when you started out? Something you might try with trustworthy folks is to let them work part or most of their time from home. The work is mostly making phone calls, right? Then you can hire housewives, etc part-time to save on benefits. I talked with someone that worked for a well-known outfit in their "call center", which was actually virtual, and they worked from home. All they need is a phone and a computer on the net.
I don't like leasing anything; we are actually in the process of building our own VoiP system. We currently use a company called Vaspian, who are pretty good, but we can do it much cheaper in the long run ourselves. The free VoiP providers are way to basic for what we need to do.

The quality of employee has increased considerably. I do not want anybody working virtually for me; it's to hard to keep track of and compliance issues prevent it. Additionally, I don't like the idea of paying people on commission only, as it increases potential to break and bend rules, and I would never pay someone hourly that wasn't in house.

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What if people just say, **** it. I'm filing chapter 7."
Happens occasionally. Plenty of fish in the sea. We confirm with the BK attorney and move on if they do.

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Originally Posted by CohibaBehike View Post
it's a cost of doing business.

OP, do you have insurance for FDCPA or FCRA violations? Have you been sued or threatened with an FDCPA violation yet? Do you have systems in place for complying with the FDCPA? Just curious because it's a new practice area a law firm I work at added.
We have E and O insurance for 2mm, but that rarely works with FDCPA violations; it typically only works for an accidental violation. We get threatened with a suit probably every other month. I've paid out 3 this year so far for about 20k total. We are actually going to be defending ourselves in our first suit next month, so I'm kind of excited to see how that goes, although not at all excited about paying for our legal defense lol
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:21 PM   #259
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

You should look into coverage for that. You can likely get a $2500 deductible policy for like 6k per year. Plus the attorneys the insurance companies get to defend you are like AM top 100 law firms.
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Old 02-09-2016, 07:02 PM   #260
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

I worked for a company years ago doing telemarketing. They have 200-300 employees working for them virtually. The program they use records all calls and keeps track of how long people are on the phone. I have been looking at having a select few experienced collectors I use to work with, work for me virtually. This will cut down on overhead but only work with collectors that have a lot of positive experience, that don't require much training.
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:24 PM   #261
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by KOP View Post
I worked for a company years ago doing telemarketing. They have 200-300 employees working for them virtually. The program they use records all calls and keeps track of how long people are on the phone. I have been looking at having a select few experienced collectors I use to work with, work for me virtually. This will cut down on overhead but only work with collectors that have a lot of positive experience, that don't require much training.
Five9 can to same for any call center type business
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:25 PM   #262
SebastianHalf
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

Pretty much every VoiP provider will record calls and track stuff like that. The issue is if you have people monitoring calls for violations etc. If you don't, you only catch things to late after you've been sued. Off site agents work for some people, but we're still very much a smaller agency, I have 35 or so collectors. There are some pretty cool indexing programs out there that can automatically detect key words and use AI to rank calls, but we haven't invested in it yet, as we are small enough to be able micromanage that stuff... for now.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:25 PM   #263
InWithTheBest
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

Things still going well SebastianHalf?
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Old 05-24-2016, 03:19 PM   #264
SebastianHalf
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

Things are going great, thank you. We are on pace to do over 5mm this year at my collection agency in gross collections. I actually just signed a contract to purchase another collection agency, pending my financing coming through. The bank gave me and a partner a commitment letter for a 5.5mm loan last week, so now we are just making sure legal comes back clean. Reading this thread actually makes me shocked as to how far we've come; from bouncing payroll to getting a $5,500,000 loan.

My debt buyer is currently spending between 100k and 250k per month, and everything is going as smooth as possible. We just leased a new office last month with 75 desks. I have 35 employees currently, and I want to fill all 75 desks in the next 18 months. It's still an exciting ride.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:49 PM   #265
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

such an awesome success story and has been fun to follow over the years. Congrats!
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:29 PM   #266
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

wanted to bump such an awesome thread......congrats on all your success - I had a couple questions

1.is there a way to start to "get my feet wet"? I'm pretty busy with other business ventures but would love to buy a little debt and see how things go

2.do you think its necessary to hook up with someone in the industry when you started? It seems like this is the only way to break in unless you want to spend months/years losing money
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:33 PM   #267
SebastianHalf
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by Z06Fanatic1 View Post
wanted to bump such an awesome thread......congrats on all your success - I had a couple questions

1.is there a way to start to "get my feet wet"? I'm pretty busy with other business ventures but would love to buy a little debt and see how things go

2.do you think its necessary to hook up with someone in the industry when you started? It seems like this is the only way to break in unless you want to spend months/years losing money
Thanks for the congrats from everyone.

1.) Don't get your feet wet. If you don't have a legit buying entity, there isn't any legit debt you'll be able to do this with. Years ago you could have purchased a small package and taken a shot, but today, with the regulations, you can't. Don't get me wrong, someone will sell something to you, but nothing you probably want to buy.

That said, if you have some capital you want to put to work, I have a pair of clients always looking for investors; one is a legit hedge fund, and I'd be happy to put you in touch if you PM me, but it's fairly capital intensive.

2.) Yes, unless you have experience doing actual collections. Even then, it's very helpful to have somebody able to help you navigate through the waters of buying, selling, and just running a business in general.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:39 PM   #268
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

how much gruff have you gotten from people that watched the John Oliver piece? Obviously what he was focusing on isn't what you've described ITT, but i imagine most people just applied that to all collections agencies.
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Old 06-23-2016, 03:44 PM   #269
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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how much gruff have you gotten from people that watched the John Oliver piece? Obviously what he was focusing on isn't what you've described ITT, but i imagine most people just applied that to all collections agencies.
None. I saw the piece. John Oliver is in the business of making a news story. This one was designed to make people feel a certain way. I'm not shy about how I make my living to the people around me, and most have more tact than to come at me about it to my face. My mom did ask me a few questions about it, but most people understand that the show was for entertainment. Oliver missed the point on a lot of it, but again, it's not his business to be unbiased, and I didn't expect him to be.
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:53 AM   #270
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

I went to a bankruptcy hearing for the first time and I was surprised by what I saw. I couldn't believe the whole thing only lasted ~5 minutes per bankruptcy filing and there wasn't really judge (it was a lawyer running the show). I was also surprised that there was nobody there to contest any of the 6 bankruptcy filings I saw - do people that buy debt ever show up for these things?
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:08 AM   #271
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

Just read from start to finish...

I'd love to echo the congratulations.

One thing did stand out though. About half way through all of this you said you were scared to quit your job as it was a gamble but you also wanted to make your business bigger.

You 100% made the right call, regardless of the outcome.

I am a subscriber to the theory that 'You are not an Entrepreneur unless you make atleast one big [calculated] gamble'

I remember quitting my job 4 years ago to become a full time affiliate marketer. Sure, I could have gone broke, but I could have also just got another job if I failed. Now I am in the position where I make $350k each year whilst doing relatively little work.

Keep up with the updates.
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:51 PM   #272
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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Originally Posted by OFA View Post
Just read from start to finish...

I'd love to echo the congratulations.

One thing did stand out though. About half way through all of this you said you were scared to quit your job as it was a gamble but you also wanted to make your business bigger.

You 100% made the right call, regardless of the outcome.

I am a subscriber to the theory that 'You are not an Entrepreneur unless you make atleast one big [calculated] gamble'

I remember quitting my job 4 years ago to become a full time affiliate marketer. Sure, I could have gone broke, but I could have also just got another job if I failed. Now I am in the position where I make $350k each year whilst doing relatively little work.

Keep up with the updates.
proof? thats a pretty bold statement
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:45 AM   #273
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

inspired from the thread, i contacted SebastianHalf through twoplustwo and told him about my call center business offshore, he put me in touch with his friends that are pretty good people to work with.... Ended up flying from India to US to meet SebastianHalf and friends couple of weeks ago, to discuss business and it was a good trip. It was great meeting you, and thank you for putting me in touch with the brothers... wish you good luck for the future

It's pretty awesome how you can find real business connections on real poker forum
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:55 PM   #274
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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proof? thats a pretty bold statement
I made an AMA in this forum a few years ago..

Go find it.

IDC if you believe me or not?
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:42 PM   #275
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Re: Starting Collections Agency

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I made an AMA in this forum a few years ago..

Go find it.

IDC if you believe me or not?
well you must care to some extent to reply to my post and make the original statement
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