Pentagon: 'Considerable earning potential'

Recently awarded bfa Associate Membership, Pentagon (UK) Limited is offering 30 professionals the opportunity to develop a rewarding business providing debt management services. Rachel Spaul interviews National Sales Director, Graham Dennis

Now in its 10th year of operation and having recently been awarded bfa Associate Membership status and moved into new premises equipped with state-of-the-art training facilities Pentagon (UK) Ltd, trading as EuroDebt Financial Services, has embarked on a recruitment drive to bring on board its final 30 franchisees.

What is the Pentagon (UK) Ltd concept?

Pentagon (UK) Ltd, trading as €uroDebt Financial Services, has helped many thousands of people regain control of their finances without borrowing more money or putting their homes at risk. With total UK personal debt in excess of £1.2 trillion and levels of unmanageable debt rising, there is a clear need for services like ours and this provides an important opportunity for individuals who can work to our exacting customer service standards. Now in our 10th year we have a network of 65 franchisees, who are licensed debt adjusters trained to assess and offer advice to consumers struggling to manage their finances. Franchisees make an initial visit to a potential client to assess their financial situation. They then compile financial evidence to support the case and pass it to our team of Account Managers and Legal Advisors who will negotiate with the client's creditors.

What differentiates the brand in the market?

Pentagon is the UK's only debt management company to focus on home visits as a core component of its client liaison. We have established almost 200,000 agreements with creditors and over 15,000 active Debt Management Plans with UK consumers and have a strong track record working with creditors to freeze interest and charges. We also provide a unique pre-paid credit card for people in debt.

What training & support do franchisees receive?

We provide a comprehensive training and support package, which includes an initial four-day residential training course. This is complemented by one month of mentoring from an experienced franchisee including a training de-brief and accompanied client visits. Once the franchisee has completed their first 10 cases they are assigned a Regional Manager, who will provide ongoing motivational and moral support.

Franchisees are also supported by a call centre, which generates initial leads, and a team of Account Managers and Legal Advisors, who regularly succeed in securing full and final settlements for a fraction of the total amount owed to clear the debt.

What is the earnings opportunity for franchisees?

Every case earns the franchisee an initial payment and a monthly residual income based on what the client can afford, calculated on their income and expenditure, and a percentage of the payment to each lender. Franchisees can potentially turnover in the region of £60,000-£70,000 per year. Some of our franchisees are achieving turnovers of £200,000 plus. The amount franchisees can earn depends on the individual and their commitment to the business, but compared with an initial investment of just £24,995 plus VAT, there is considerable earning potential. We also provide franchisees with a retirement plan, so that when they retire they continue to receive an income.

What are Pentagon's plans for the year ahead?

We have recently moved into new premises in the university town of Bedford, which is equipped with new computerised and classroom training facilities. We're looking to bring on board our final 30 franchisees this year and are looking particularly for people from the Midlands, Wales and the North West.

Do franchisees need financial experience?

While experience in the financial services or consumer advice sectors is desirable, it is more important that franchisees possess good interpersonal skills, are empathic and comfortable meeting people face-to-face. They must also have the ability to take charge of a situation, be professional and well organised.

Unmanageable debt can bring potentially devastating consequences to families and individuals though stress, repossession and foreclosure. Therefore debt management is a highly sensitive subject that requires a sensitive approach.
Helping people manage their debt problems is hugely satisfying. The Pentagon approach means that whatever the problem, we provide understanding and support as well as helping clients to find manageable solutions. In the short-term we release our clients from creditor pressure and in the long-term help them to regain control of their finances.