Felons find it quite challenging to get a job after being released from prison. There are resources available even though felons may not believe anyone will hire them. Those who have hired felons have learned that they make good employees, but it might be in a different career from one felons had before their conviction.
This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a repo agent.
- What is a Repo Agent?
- What Education/Training Does a Repo Agent Need?
- How Much Does a Repo Agent Earn?
- An Opportunity for Felons?
- Recommended Action
What is a Repo Agent?
A repo agent’s job is to recover or repossess property from someone who has gotten behind in the lease or rent payments. The repo agent locates and legally comes into possession of this property which is usually a vehicle, like a car, a truck, or a boat. The property is then moved to a secure place. Cars are usually towed away, though sometimes a repo agent is given copies of the keys and drives them away. In some cases, the vehicle is legally broken into and moved.
Repossession companies and their agents work with and for a variety of clients like banks, credit unions, and financial firms.
Repossession laws vary in each state, but usually as soon as a borrower is late on a payment, typically between 30-90 days late, the lender has the legal right to take the property back. Most states have “self-help” laws, meaning the lender or agent can take the car without police or courts being involved. Repossessing cars and trucks usually happens from midnight to 5:00 am.
Specific skills are essential to be successful as a repo agent, including:
- Communication skills to deal appropriately with owners of the property in question
- Research skills to locate necessary information (addresses, Social Security Numbers, license numbers, phone numbers)
- Tracking ability to locate the property to be repossessed
- Skip-tracing ability to find owners who have moved
- Towing knowledge and capability to move vehicles as needed
- Time management skills to determine the appropriate time to repossess property
- Organizational skills to manage records of repossessed property
What Education/Training Does a Repo Agent Need?
State licensing laws vary, but most do not require licensing of repo agents. Those that require some form of license do not normally require it of agents, but only for the business they work for. Vehicle repossession companies must have state licenses, federal Department of Transportation licenses (for tow trucks), and other certifications and permits.
Someone wanting to be a repo agent could go to a recovery agent school, but many companies will train employees on the job. A repo agent does not even need a high school diploma in most cases. Previous experience in collections or security work is helpful, but not typically required.
One requirement is liability insurance. Before a bank or other lender will consider hiring someone to repossess vehicles, he or she must carry at least $1,000,000 in liability insurance policy to protect him or herself and the lender in case there is damage to the vehicle or other property while it is being repossessed.
In order to become a repo agent, someone will need to:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Learn about the state’s licensing regulations and laws related to repossession
- Obtain the necessary licenses for that state
- Have a clean driving record
- Obtain a car or a tow truck to repossess cars
- Learn how to locate people
How Much Does a Repo Agent Earn?
Income varies in the repossession field. Some repo men work for companies that pay them salaries with regular work hours. Others are contractors and get paid per job.
Estimates of income per job is between $150 to $350 dollars.
The average annual salary for a repo agent is $26,000. Of course, a repo agent’s salary will depend on whether he or she works full-time and the amount of experience he or she has, as well as the type of clients the company works for.
An Opportunity for Felons?
The challenge is in getting a job as a repo agent. While state laws for repo agents vary, the statutes regarding repo agents clearly indicate that any felony or misdemeanor conviction will disqualify a candidate.
It is important to be honest when filling out an application for a job or when applying to be a repo agent. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check this constitutes as fraud and is punishable by jail time. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.
In order to be successful as a repo agent, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already seen as being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.
Having their record expunged can give felons the chance needed to start over with a clean record and succeed in becoming a repo agent. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.
It is a challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon wanting to become a repo agent. Giving him or herself the best chance for success by having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make a critical difference.
Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life and achieve a goal no matter how difficult it might seem.
What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a repo agent with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.