How to Become a Repossession Agent: Step-by-Step Career Guide
Repossession agents contract with individuals or businesses to recover property when a purchaser fails to pay. Recovery agents may repossess cars, boats, furniture and other property for the legal owner. The requirements vary for each state for becoming a repossession agent.
Should I Become a Repossession Agent?
Repossession agents are responsible for taking possession of items such as yachts, RVs, private jets, cars, and furniture when the buyer fails to pay. Similar to bounty hunters, repossession agents are commission based.
|Education||No formal education required|
|Certification and Licensure||Licensure required upon completion of training courses; laws vary by state. Some agents are required to obtain a tow truck license for repossessing vehicles.|
|Other Requirements||Background checks and a driver's license may be required.|
|Salary||$33,700 (median salary for bill and account collectors as of 2014; salary for repossession agents unavailable)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete a Training Course
Training for repossession agents varies by state, and those interested in the field should check with their state licensing department for requirements. One option may include taking a collections agent training course, which teaches repossession laws, telephone techniques, and computer skills. Students also learn skip-tracing methods so they can use databases and public information to locate individuals holding the sought-after property.
Another option may require completing the Certified Asset Recovery Specialist (CARS) national certification program. In the program, students learn about state and federal laws, the recovery and post-recovery process, contract law, skip-tracing, personal and property crimes, defensive driving, ethics, and insurance.
Step 2: Gain Professional Experience
Some states require repossession agents to have qualified experience before obtaining licensure to work as an independent contractor. Entry-level repossession agents can gain hands-on experience by working under the supervision of licensed repossession agents or agencies. Internships or apprenticeships are also offered at some recovery agencies.
Step 3: Buy a Surety Bond
State licensing boards may require repossession agents to purchase insurance in the form of surety bonds. Surety bonds protect repossession agents and their clients from the cost of any damages during the retrieval process.
Step 4: Obtain State Licensure
States typically require repossession agents to register or obtain licensure. While requirements differ for each state, they usually include being of a minimum age, passing a criminal background check, having a valid driver's license, and completing an approved training course. Some states mandate that applicants have prior recovery experience or pass an examination. A processing fee is usually due when submitting the application and renewal of the license or registration is generally required.
Step 5: Acquire a Tow Truck Operator License
Some repossession agents recover vehicles, which requires them to operate tow trucks. These professionals must adhere to state regulations and obtain the appropriate driver's license for operating a tow truck. Additional requirements such as having sufficient insurance coverage or registering with the consumer affairs department may also be required.