Do I have to be a financial services specialist to succeed?

Consultants who have a background in the financial services industry will be higher up the technical "learning curve" than those without this experience. However, a more important point is that all new consultants go through an intensive training program that provides them with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver advice and recommendations to clients. Furthermore, the most effective consultants are those who possess a strong ability develop long lasting relationships with clients and networking partners and have a combination of technical knowledge, analytical ability, relationship management experience and communication skills.

Our comprehensive training program is designed to equip new consultants in each of these areas, and demonstrates that while financial experience is helpful, it is only one of several key attributes of a successful consultant. Finally, a primary benefit of the 4 Pillars system is the strength of our consultants to develop professional networks. In some circumstances, our clients may have specific, complex financial challenges. In these cases, our consultants can always draw upon the particular expertise offered by our other consultants and our head office.

Do you provide exclusive territories?

Yes, 4 Pillars has developed a formula allowing only a certain amount of offices in a specific region. This formula is based upon demographic analysis as well as regional insolvency statistics. To ensure the success of all franchisees within each region, 4 Pillars has limited the number of franchisees actively working in a region.

What does a 4 Pillars Consulting franchise cost?

The initial cost to establish an office is quite low. The investment required is between $40,000 to $80,000.

The 4 Pillars franchise fee grants you the right to use the 4 Pillars system. It also gives you the right to operate an office within a region and provides for our extensive training, marketing and operational programs.

What training and support do new Franchisees receive?

Everything you will need to know to operate a successful debt restructuring franchise will be provided to you before you open. You will be provided with resources from which you can draw helpful information. Once you open your office, we provide on-going training and support. You will become part of our team, benefiting from all of our efforts to ensure your success during your transition to becoming a Debt Relief Specialist.

The program begins with intensive practical and theoretical training. You will learn everything about the operational procedures involved in running a successful 4 Pillars office, along with our proven sales and marketing techniques. We will also set you up and train you on all the computer applications and 4 Pillars systems we provide.

We provide you with complete support during your first year and as you continue to grow. A senior partner or area developer will visit your office during your first year and act as a resource for you in all aspects of running and growing your business. We assign each new Franchisee a senior partner, who acts as your own "Mentor" and helps you on an ongoing basis. After year one, we continue to provide advice and support throughout the term of the franchise agreement, in order to ensure that your market share continues to grow.

What do my Royalty fees provide me?

We are a professional, knowledge-based franchise and provide you with ongoing training, access to products exclusive to 4 Pillars, updated software tools, support for client solutions, support in using the tools and manuals, as well as support for the operation of your business, including marketing. The royalties collected from each Franchisee pay for these services. Continuous training, research and support, as well as our profits, are the main inclusions in the royalty stream. Of course, we make no apologies when we make a profit for providing valuable services. Our success is based entirely on your success.

Who is our competition and how are we better?

Our competition is seen to be anyone who is in the debt settlement industry, including Bankruptcy trustees, credit counsellors and debt consolidators. 4 Pillars is different because we act for the benefit of the debtor and are consistently able to actually eliminate large portions of clients' debt and greatly reduce their monthly payments without bankruptcy. Our services are actually extremely complimentary to the Trustee industry and these relationships provide an excellent referral sources to our offices.

How do I build my business?

We have developed comprehensive and detailed marketing tools that have proven to be extremely effective in generating qualified client leads in every region in which we operate. As a Franchisee, you will select the tools to use in your own region - we provide the training, the tools and the support to help you to deliver effective solutions to your clients.

We work as a team to regularly share the latest successful marketing strategies among all Franchisees. One example is our detailed compilation of testimonials from satisfied clients. We also maintain an inventory of "reference stories," which detail different strategies that our Franchisees have employed to help particular clients. These stories and the experiences of our network of consultants, as a whole, become a valuable tool for all Franchisees in identifying new opportunities and methods of marketing. In this manner, our "whole" becomes much more valuable than the sum of our individual parts.

How do I charge my clients for debt restructuring services provided?

Our fees are installment based - we invoice clients during a 60 to 90-day period while we restructure their debts. You will learn about this process as part of our comprehensive training program. It is important to us that you are successful. We are technologically advanced and utilize our proprietary Client Tracking System (CTS) software to track client fees and accounts receivable. One tremendous advantage of the 4 Pillars Franchise system is that all your critical client data is stored and backed up for you - therefore the risk of data loss is eliminated.

Is this a home-based business opportunity?

That is certainly your choice. The majority of our Franchisees start as home-based businesses to keep overhead expenses low. Others decide to rent a small office as soon as they begin franchise operations. This is a professional business where your client interactions usually take place at the client's home or third party location. Consequently, 4 Pillars Franchise consultants can operate very efficiently from their own home offices. If you operate from home you will need office space for your client files, computer, fax, phone etc. Obviously, this strategy is based on the growth of the business and is designed around increasing profitability.

The debt industry appears to be very competitive. How do you know that 4 Pillars will succeed in this market?

4 Pillars is successful because we are consistently able to eliminate large portions of clients' debt and greatly reduce their monthly payments, without client bankruptcy. Our proprietary products and services are complimentary and sought out from many of our competitors to enhance their business. Our market advantages transfer to any market and are sustainable in every phase of the economic cycle. We operate on business-to-business sales - we don't wait for the business to come to us. We are service-driven -so there is never any inventory to worry about.

Why should I consider a debt restructuring franchise over a franchise in another industry?

The debt restructuring industry is one of the very few industries in which the number of clients is increasingly expanding as people go head over heels into debt, due to economic uncertainty and job loss, compounded by the easy availability of credit. We are superbly positioned to take advantage of this rapidly expanding market, with services that have proven to be extremely effective for clients. Furthermore, start-up costs for a 4 Pillars franchises are low compared to many other franchised businesses, and the return on your investment is high, providing that our system is followed. A 4 Pillars franchise allows a Franchisee to utilize and build upon the education, management and people skills gained from previous positions held.

Is this a good time to be getting into the debt reduction business?

This is an excellent time to get involved in the debt reduction industry. Individuals and families need our services now, more than ever. Insolvency statistics demonstrate that an increasing number of clients are being forced to use the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to deal with unsecured debt. In 2010, Canadian consumer insolvencies totaled more than 150,000 and this is only a small fraction of the 'debt industry' with many consumers seeking remedies to their financial challenges outside the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Clients are conditioned to buy now and pay later; however with rising levels of household debt, the ratio of debt to income now stands at 149% for the average Canadian. Low interest rates have made credit easily accessible and in turn has made debt levels unmanageable for most families and this will become an epidemic when interest rates rise. More than 101,000 people declared bankruptcy in 2007. Our clients recognize the need to obtain specialized services, rather than trying to do everything themselves.

What does it take to succeed in this business?

You can be very confident of success, provided that you follow the system. A 4 Pillars franchise is the type of business that needs to be promoted on a consistent basis, to both the business community and to your own pool of clients. A background in sales and marketing, or the ability to develop business relationships, is ideal. The Franchisee needs to be highly motivated and willing to make a commitment to the business.

Success is also about doing the kind of work you love. That is the reason that we maintain numerous safeguards throughout the decision-making process, to ensure that 4 Pillars is the right choice for you. We know what to look for and can identify those strengths that will increase your chances of success.

When you decide that 4 Pillars is among your final choices, providing you meet our criteria, we invite you to visit 4 Pillars head office. You will meet our team and see our operation for yourself. You will learn more about us and we will get to know you better. In this manner, we will all be confident of your success, well before you conclude a formal franchise agreement.

We can provide all of the basics needed to start and run a business, but a 4 Pillars owner needs to have a certain kind of flair. They have to be creative, energetic and innovative - that is what makes us different!