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What does a Repo Man do?

By Summer Banks
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A repo man helps to recover items for a business or financial institution. Repo men, or women, repossess cars and other high-cost items when scheduled payments for the goods in question have not been paid according to legal contract terms. Usually, reclamation is a step that helps businesses or financial institutions avoid potentially costly and time-consuming court cases to get the item back. By taking matters into their own hands and hiring a repo man, a company can recoup lost income and reclaim what they are owed.

A purchase contract, which was signed at the time of the original transaction, often contains a stipulation that allows for repossession of the item. If a payment is missed, or 30 days have passed without payment, repossession of property can typically begin. This safeguard enables a repo man or woman to complete a recovery job within legal bounds.

Most repo men tend to specialize in recovering vehicles. The ability to operate a tow truck or large pickup truck may be part of the skill set for this job. Strength, good physical fitness, and an ability to communicate well are also important factors that can assist a repo man in successfully carrying out key duties.

Familiarity with state laws regarding repossession is very important to repo men. Courses can be taken online, and materials can be studied, to ensure proper understanding of legal processes related to taking back automobiles and other property. Generally, people begin a career in this field by training with a more experienced repo man. This apprenticeship ensures all facets of the job are learned from a trained professional.

This type of work is also known as the collateral recovery business. A license may be required to begin repossessing vehicles. Knowledge of local laws and licensing requirements are typically researched before starting such a business. Each state or country may have different laws and licenses, so it is important to be thorough when preparing a business plan. Repo men may also need organizational skills to keep clients and contracts in order.

Dealing with difficult people is a common problem with this type of employment. A successful repo man may have skills like intuition, research and investigation knowledge, and the ability to repossess items quickly and covertly. Since most people do not want to lose a vehicle or other valued, expensive item, there can be elements of danger associated with this job. Displays of anger, verbal protests, and physical confrontation are common reactions of some delinquent customers, when repo men attempt to seize control of possessions.

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Discussion Comments
By anon993421 — On Nov 13, 2015

Be it for cars, home appliances, or even cable equipment, a bill is a bill. Someone has got to pay it. I meet and greet with smile nothing short of manners and respect, but let's cut to the chase. This is a business and this my job.

By SarahGen — On Aug 09, 2014

@AnswerMan-- I had a similar experience. We can't blame the car dealer or the repo man for missing our payments. When we take out a loan, it's a responsibility that we agree too. It's our fault for not making wiser decisions.

I guess what hurts the most is that the payments that were made until then are lost. I think this is what most people are upset about.

By literally45 — On Aug 09, 2014

@stoneMason-- It is difficult. It's definitely not a job that someone will be praised for being good at, except the business that hired him of course. As difficult as it is and despite being disliked by many, the repo man has an important job. This is something that has to be done. People who don't make their payments can't expect that nothing will happen. They will have to lose their car or whatever it may be. It's just how it is.

When a repo man comes to the house, people need to understand that he's just doing his job and work with him.

By stoneMason — On Aug 08, 2014

I don't think I would want this job simply because of the potential reactions of the customers when their vehicle is seized. I'm sure some people would accept the situation and hand over the keys without issues. But many will at least raise their voice and some may even be violent. It's definitely not an easy job.

By Reminiscence — On Aug 06, 2014

After watching a reality show about a repo man, I decided that wasn't the line of work for me. I don't know if it would be any better than being a collection agent, but at least the repo man can actually retrieve the item and give it back to the bank. I suppose people who get that far behind in their payments have to assume a repo man will get the vehicle eventually.

By AnswerMan — On Aug 05, 2014

I've only had to deal with a repo man one time, but it was enough to scare me into fiscal responsibility. I was young and dumb, but I had a steady job as a kitchen manager and I qualified for a car loan through a local dealer. I thought I could handle the payments, even though it was almost a full week's salary at the time.

One bad idea led to another and I got behind on a lot of payments, especially the car loan. I woke up one morning and the repo man already had the car chained up to his tow truck. He was actually really professional about it, He let me get some personal items out of the trunk before driving off. I never did get that car back, but I made sure to live within my means from that point on.

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