Robert Adkins (call him Bob) hails from Minnesota, is an amateur weightlifter, and has more than 20 years of experience in the debt collections business. Early last year, Bob wanted to start his own business, The Olympia Organization. The Accounts Receivable Management (ARM) business can be tough for any new player to break into, especially a small business. But Bob has been pleased that TransUnion was there to help him every step of the way. In fact, he's found TransUnion to be an ideal partner for helping his business grow.
Debt vet turned entrepreneur
"I made my first collection call working for Fingerhut in 1993. And every place I worked had reports from the three major credit bureaus," he says. "Maybe this is more of a personal opinion, but TransUnion has always been my favorite of the three, with the best format and information. And I've thought that throughout my career."
While learning the business, Bob worked for the largest debt collection agencies around, servicing clients like Chase, Wells Fargo and Citi Group. His career-long collection total is more than $100 million and growing. Eventually growing tired of the corporate game, Bob decided to try things on his own, but on a smaller scale. Enter The Olympia Organization.
"My first success out of the gate, an elephant if you will, was a referral from a retired doctor whose 'friend' refused to make good on a large personal loan. Nobody thought he was going to get a dollar from this guy, and I recovered $25,000."
"For clients, my bread and butter are homeowner's associations: condos, townhouses and so on. It suits me, as my wife and I have had rental property for about 16 years. So I know how the client can be and the fines, the dues, all these settlements…it keeps you busy."
The best, most frequently updated data
Key to the growing success of Bob's business are TransUnion solutions like TLOxp®. For example, last year The Olympia Organization branched out into the debt-buying business. Bob acquired a portfolio originally owned by a consumer loan company that contained accounts from nationally known brands and numerous regional businesses.
Before discovering TransUnion's TLOxp, Bob tried sourcing contact info from other services but noted, "I was having zero luck and found almost no good numbers," he says. "I sent out initial correspondence and settlement letters, but only around 37% went to actual good addresses."
TLOxp changed everything. After choosing TransUnion, Bob tracked a letter campaign he addressed with information from TransUnion. "My overall good address percentage on all those letters has been 89.9%, which I think is outstanding." The communications that resulted helped The Olympia Organization begin collecting payments on that mountain of acquired debt.
It was quite a change from the days when more than half of his letters came back undeliverable. What's more, of the letters that still come back, after a second pass with TLOxp, he estimates that approximately 50% of those also become deliverable, thanks to TLOxp's continually updated databases. "In my experience with the other products, if they gave me a bad address the first time, there was zero chance of getting a good one."
Economical for any business
Beyond its excellent data quality, Bob appreciates TLOxp's value. Mindful of its wide range of customers, TransUnion offers flexible terms that make sense for businesses of any size. For The Olympia Organization that translated to billing per search, not per seat.
"That's key for me as a small-business owner. I have four very helpful part-time employees, but if TLOxp charged me, say, $100 per user each month, that would cripple me." By charging only for actual usage, Bob and other small business owners can enjoy TLOxp's proven benefits without risking the budget.
Bob is now hoping to leverage other TransUnion products to help grow his business further.
"Considering just how huge TransUnion is, I have to say I'm blown away with the level of customer service they've provided my small business. In my mind, it's the premier of the big three credit agencies, and to be treated so outstandingly is just fantastic. In the end, I just want the best products and services. And after trying TransUnion and its TLOxp offering, it's not even a contest."
For more information about how TLOxp and other TransUnion products can help your own collections business prosper, visit transunion.com/collections.