When trying to decide between different bill consolidation programs, one of the biggest factors that you're going to look at is their rates. There isn't any sort of standard among the bill consolidators, so the rates are going to vary a lot from one to the next. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to make sure that you get the price that you want from bill consolidation.
In most cases you will have to request a quote from a bill consolidator to see what their rates are going to be. This is a tedious process that will usually take a few days for each. You will fill out all sorts of forms, sign a lot of papers, and jump through hoops to get all of this done. A great way to speed this process up is to talk to your circle of friends and family to see if any of them have experience with bill consolidation programs. You'll be able to get an idea of whether or not companies are expensive this way, and narrow your list of programs to check out rather quickly.
An average price for bill consolidation service is around $50 a month, so use that as your baseline for shopping around. Also, shy away from the companies that charge you for a quote, this is ridiculous, and if they really wanted your business the quote would be free!
Another tip for saving money on your bill consolidation is to check with companies to see if they have flexible rates. This will usually work by them reducing your payments as time goes on, assuming that you've made all of your payments on time. Obviously, this doesn't help much now, but it is a great thing to look forward to a few years down the line when you're getting closer to getting out of debt. They either do this by reducing their rates, or reorganizing the payments to your creditors, either way it will save you money.
Once you are a customer, most bill consolidation programs will have some sort of referral program that will either credit your account or pay you for referring them customers. This is an added bonus that most of the reputable companies will offer. It is usually a onetime payment of $50 or $100, but all you have to do is help a friend out by making a recommendation.
Getting out of debt shouldn't bust your budget, so be sure to research bill consolidation programs to find the best prices. Taking on the responsibility of your debt is a big decision; make the smart move by following the steps above to save as much money as possible while doing it.