Being a repo man or woman is a challenging but lucrative and rewarding job. As a repo person, you’re responsible for recovering unpaid property from borrowers who can’t repay their credit or loans to the lenders. You may work for various lenders, including credit unions, banks and financial institutions, that may hire you either directly or via a debt collection agency.
In most cases, repossession agents retrieve property such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and other equipment, including televisions and refrigerators. Typically, a lender has the right to repossess property when the borrower defaults on payment, with no need for police or court involvement as long as there’s no breach of peace.
If you plan to work as a repo agent, you’ll need a knack for investigative thinking, a commercial driver’s license, working knowledge of your state’s repossession laws and a flexible work schedule for nighttime jobs. However, there are many additional requirements for succeeding as a repo agent.
Repo Agent Requirements
The act of repossessing property can be risky business, and the requirements for repo agents vary according to where you’ll be working. For instance, not all states license repo agents, and specific requirements will govern how to get a repo license in each state. Let’s take a look at the requirements for Pennsylvania collector-repossessors:
1. Obtain a Repo Agent License
In Pennsylvania, the Department of Banking and Securities regulates repossession work. To become a repo agent, you’ll need to obtain a license through them. According to the state’s collector-repossessor application for licensure, the Department of Banking and Securities issues licenses based on the Consumer Credit Code relating to motor vehicles.
To fulfill the requirements of a Pennsylvania repossession license, your application will also need to include a $5,000 bond, an initial licensing fee of $350 and annual renewal fees of $250 to the Department of Banking and Securities. The application recommends consulting with an attorney to ensure your repossession operations are compliant with all state laws.
2. Get Insurance
Another must for Pennsylvania repo agents is obtaining insurance. You find an insurance broker specializing in business insurance to obtain liability and wrongful repossession insurance. You might also consider business or commercial coverage for your work vehicle to protect against accident liabilities.
Many trade organizations function as umbrella companies for repo agents, including the American Recovery Association, the National Finance Adjusters and the Time Finance Adjusters. These companies employ contractors and offer advantages such as advertising services and access to bond insurance against financial loss and incomplete projects. Applying to these umbrella organizations requires state licensure and background checks.
3. Become a Certified Recovery Agent
As the repo industry moves toward higher standardization and qualification of its contractors, you might also consider becoming a certified recovery agent. An organization like the American Recovery Association issues certification for candidates who receive on-the-job training, complete coursework and sit for a written test. By becoming a Certified Collateral Recovery Specialist, or CCRS, you offer lenders an added sense of reassurance that will strengthen your repo business.
4. Open a Freelancing Business
Attracting repo contracts can be difficult, especially when you’re first starting out. Before starting to freelance, you might consider working with a high-end repo company to gain familiarity with the business. Assisting, driving and clerking for established repo businesses are all great ways to develop the necessary skills and ease into freelancing on your own.
Once you’re ready to open a freelancing business, you should consider the financial side of repossession work. As an independent repo agent, the going rate for repo jobs on vehicles is $150 to $400, and you can make more money by charging per job and tracking extra fees for locating missing borrowers. You should also consider recording data about the success of your services and developing an online presence that will attract new clients.
A freelance repo business also needs an office space with a yard or storage area large enough to house towing equipment. You might consider investing in a hidden towing system for your truck. With a hidden wheel lift, you can convert your ordinary truck into a tow truck that won’t attract attention from uncooperative borrowers.
5. Learn Repo Techniques
Becoming a repo agent in Pennsylvania requires licensing, certification, knowledge of the relevant laws and the ability to attract and execute contracts. Before jumping into repo work, consider your options as a company agent or freelancer. Personality, skillset and lifestyle may be additional factors in your decision to pursue a career in repossession.
Apart from these logistics, you’ll also need to learn how to recover vehicles and other kinds of property. The techniques you can use may depend on your location. Some states consider removing a vehicle from a closed garage to be a breach of peace. Still, in most cases, you can repossess a borrower’s property at any time without notice and with the right to enter private property to complete the job. The essential question underlying breach of peace circumstances in most repossession law decisions is whether the repo job created an unreasonable risk of violence.
To avoid legal issues, unnecessary run-ins with police and potential physical harm, you should approach repo work with care. The process of physically recovering the lender’s vehicle involves several steps:
- Locating the borrower and driving to the location in your tow vehicle.
- Returning to your office with the lender’s vehicle.
- Running an inventory on any property left inside the vehicle by the borrower.
- Assessing and noting the condition of the vehicle.
- Reporting the repossession to the authorities.
- Notifying the lender and sending an invoice.
Sometimes, upset borrowers may present difficulties for repo jobs. At any point in the process, a borrower might attempt to claim that the repo agent stole the personal property remaining within the vehicle. To reduce the difficulties caused by personal belongings, be sure to report your activities to the authorities and make borrowers’ belongings available to them after repossession. Being transparent with your actions will reduce the risk of issues down the line.
Learn About Our Hidden Wheel Lift Models
To be at the top of the game as a repo agent, you’ll also need high-quality, cost-effective equipment. Lift and Tow provides easy-to-install, American-built towing systems that can convert your vehicle into a full-service tow truck. Even better, our wheel lift systems are completely hidden from view when not in use. You can choose to install the equipment yourself or arrange for installation by an experienced professional. With over 20 years of industry experience, we offer you the edge you need to succeed in the repo field.
Contact Lift and Tow today to learn more about our products.