Jeremiah ChituntuBy Jeremiah Chituntu|September 15, 2022|6 Minutes|In R&G Season II

Risk and Glory

Where theres a debt theres a way.

My name is Jeremiah Chituntu and  I am 33 years of age and a Zambian. I am a lawyer by profession and currently pursuing my masters in Law at Cavendish University Zambia and also hold a professional accountancy certificate.

My story is as follows: , after years applying for a permanent job, I finally got one in 2019. Though, it was not the kind of job I wanted I had no alternative.

I was employed as a debt collector. A few days into the job, I found it boring, hence I went to the management with a proposal.

I proposed my role be changed from that of a debt collector to a legal and collections officer and I further specified what exactly I would do in that position, I further indicated that  I will be the last person to collect debt when efforts  by debt collectors proved fruitless. This was approved and six months down the line I was recognised as one of the hardest working employees in the company.

However, the operations Manager did not approve of my style and corporate politics began. I was faced with a choice: compromise in my work, or be demoted. I decided to go for a third option : quit.

It was 2019 and I was jobless.

I decided to run a tuition centre with my wife, who is a teacher, and it appeared somewhat promising but it was not enough. So, I ventured back into debt collection. In 2017, I had registered a company in Zambia, but did nothing with it. In 2019, I went back to this forgotten company and revamped it

I changed the name of the company from Jeremyrose Consultancy to Evershine Debt Managers. I printed business cards, worked on the company profile and opened a Linkedin account and began to advertise.

How did I raise capital ? The capital for debt collection, firstly, is intellect, which I possessed.  As for the financial capital to help in rebranding and advertising, it came from the tuition fees of our students. There were plenty of obstacles.

In 2019, COVID-19 hurt our business; the tuition center was closed as per a government directive which meant no income from tuition. It also hit the debt collection business; debtors had an excuse of not paying in COVID19 as the economy was shut down. To add salt to the wounds, I had no physical office. My office was online and I had met clients in their offices and in eating restaurants like Hungry Lion, this was tedious and made us lose a lot of clients as in debt collection image is very important. However, I still persisted as this was the only thing I had.

In the year 2019, things couldn’t work, there is nothing more frustrating in business than knowing your debtor has a justifiable reasonable excuse not to pay the debt, which reason by then was acceptable before the courts of law. There was little income coming and this was so frustrating; coupled with not having a physical office at this point I really felt like giving up and going back to job hunting .

There were many problems with debt collection

The major problem is a dearth of law covering debt collection ; hence you have to guide yourself properly, otherwise you may land up in legal battles, further sourcing business despite having the skill for debt collection appears very difficult as  it requires high recommendation for established companies to give you a debt book to collect for them, it’s not that they do not have debt, but mainly it’s due to lack of proper connections to the appropriate people in the company.

Expansion?  Firstly, in the year 2020, there was a breakthrough; we won a tender. This was with one of the major Non-Governmental Organization in the country this tender was worth $46,875, and our commission was 10 percent and administration fees at 1 percent of the debt book this was amazing.

In  2021, the contract was extended for another year and this time the debt book allocated was $50,000.

We aim to expand through acquiring more debt collection contracts with companies such as banks, mines, the government, our plan is to advertise more and apply for tenders we come across in line with our work, we also aim to rebrand more as we intend to buy company vehicles with branded company names as well as recruit five debt collectors train them and equip them with the skill of debt collection.

We have a bright future.