If you're looking for a rewarding, white collar business that can either be operated full or part-time from home or premises, debt management franchise €urodebt is worth further scrutiny. Rachel Spaul reports

With the popularity of TV programmes such as 'Your Money or Your Life', and more recently 'Bank of Mum and Dad', debt has been brought into the open as a growing nationwide problem needing urgent attention. Founded in 1996, €urodebt is tackling this issue head-on through its network of franchisees, who have already helped thousands of individuals and families regain financial control through its debt management services.

Debt management is a highly sensitive issue that requires personable, empathic and professional people capable of communicating on a one-to-one level with clients. Financial expertise is not a pre-requisite, as €urodebt has its own legal team and provides full training and support for all franchisees.

While franchising provides the means to succeeding on a different career path, it can also be a way of working within the same or a similar field, but as your own boss. Take Craig Bullock for instance. Disillusioned and de-motivated by his career as an Independent Financial Adviser, Craig decided to make a career change.

However, to his surprise he found that he had around 80 per cent of the skills needed to become a licensed debt adjuster with €urodebt. He expects to earn more in his first year as a franchisee than he did as a Senior IFA working for a national company at the top of his trade.

'€urodebt is a white collar business that's not very different from working as an IFA,' he clarifies. 'The role also involves interviewing clients and solving problems, the only difference is the product and the fact that I now work for myself.'

A naturally cautious person, Craig thoroughly researched the €urodebt franchise and after asking the company a long list of questions, he reports finding the head office team 'efficient and friendly'. He adds: 'They explained that I would get a 'business in a box' with everything included to run a successful business, and that's exactly what I got.'

As part of the franchise package Craig was trained in how to set up and run his own business and how to deliver the €urodebt service. National Sales Director Graham Dennis confirms: 'We provide one week of residential training for all new franchisees where they are taught every aspect of the business.

Further mentoring support for a month from highly experienced head office staff members helps franchisees cement the confidence and knowledge gained through the training.' Additional head office support is provided via telephone, internet, visits and branded presentation materials. Marketing and promotional strategies are all provided to maximise brand awareness and generate business for franchisees.

Craig praises: 'So far the business has been everything €urodebt told me it would be and the training covered almost everything I've come across, which is fantastic.'

As part of the support package franchisees benefit from €urodebt's fully equipped Legal Service Department, which in particular cases has even succeeded in securing full and final settlements for a fraction of the total amount owed to clear the debt.

Franchisees can also monitor the progress of any case forwarded to head office via a computer system.

'Every case earns the franchisee an initial payment of approximately £500, in addition to a monthly residual income,' explains Graham. 'One of our franchisees generated £26,000 in a single month and existing franchisees are earning in excess of £100,000 in their second year. When compared with an initial investment of just £21,950, the earning potential is impressively high.'

Craig currently averages four cases per week. After only six months he is bringing in his own business from direct marketing, in addition to appointments made by the head office sales team, and anticipates achieving targets set for his second year in year one. The flexibility of the franchise means Craig has the option of growing his business by taking on advisers and administration staff, or continuing to operate the business from home as a one man band.

€urodebt franchisees are at the coalface of the business and as such receive immediate gratification from helping clients ease their debt burden. 'Debt is a modern phenomenon, which can bring potentially devastating consequences to individuals and families through stress, repossession and foreclosure,' explains Graham. 'More than a business, debt management is a mission. Whatever the problem, franchisees provide understanding and support as well as helping clients to find manageable solutions without the need to borrow money or put their home at risk.

'The demand for our services is growing everyday and we are looking for suitable people to join us. There is a huge potential for debt management companies in the UK. Through franchising our aim is to expand our services to new regions. The latest figures show that at least six million people in the UK are struggling to make their debt payments and they are all potential customers.'