A rewarding franchise financially & personally

Helping those with unmanageable debt has proved to be a financial success for Pentagon franchisee Craig Bullock. Derin Ibrahim interviews

With an increasing number of people trying to cope with unmanageable debt, assisting them out of financial trouble has become a valued and profitable industry. By helping those in financial difficulty, Pentagon has created a business concept that has enabled its franchisees to run successful businesses throughout the UK.

One such franchisee is Craig Bullock who came across Pentagon while looking through The Franchise Magazine. 'I used to work as a senior independent financial advisor for a large national company,' Craig reveals. 'I got to a time of life where I wanted to work for myself and chose to look into franchising as it provides everything you need to get your business started - it's like a business in a box!'

Pentagon franchisees are licensed debt advisors who assess and offer advice to consumers unable to manage their finances. Franchisees make an initial visit to a potential client to assess their financial situation and then compile a financial evidence report to support the case and pass it to the Pentagon head office team.

With a background of working in finance, Pentagon was an obvious choice for Craig. He explains: 'This franchise stood out for me as I knew I had a lot of the skills required already. I also liked the fact that I would be able to hit the ground running and would be able to build up my own client base.'

Prior to launching his West Sussex-based franchise in November 2004 Craig received four days of one-to-one training with Graham Dennis, one of Pentagon's Directors. Once he had launched his franchise Craig was mentored by an existing Pentagon franchisee, and since the launch of his franchise he has enjoyed an ongoing commitment of support from the head office team. For example, says Craig, 'one of the main benefits of this franchise is that head office provides a lot of the initial appointments. This is great, especially when you first start, as it means that you don't have to build up your client base from nothing. I find that now I get a lot of my new work through referrals from my existing clients.'

Business has proven financially successful for Craig as he is earning more now than in his previous role. Additionally being self-employed has enabled him to control his working day which, as he has a young family, is very important to him. This is not, however, the only satisfaction Craig gets from his job. 'When you have helped someone out of financial difficulty it is very rewarding,' he reflects. 'I get letters from people thanking me for helping them and I've become friends with many of them. People get into debt for numerous reasons and a lot of the time it is through no fault of their own.'