Repo men are immensely unpopular, and receive little credit, despite having a dangerous job. Repo men make sure that a debt is collected – by repossessing the vehicle of those in debt. This job is both dangerous and stressful, as those in debt can often very angry at the repo man and can be violent, and the repo man himself has to witness hardships and many people down on their luck. Still ,this job can pay very well, and for many – the trade off is well worth it.
Job description: The Repo man has an unpopular, difficult and often dangerous job. A repo man (also known as a repossession agent) will be tasked with collecting the property (usually a vehicle or boat) of a debt owner, who has not paid his debt and fallen behind on his payments. Repo men are the last resource, and are called in after all else have failed at retrieving the debt.
The repo man will receive his “target”, usually the vehicle or boat he must repossess. It is then up to the repo man to locate the correct vehicle, and repossess it.
To locate the correct vehicle, the repo man will perform title traces, backwards traces, and license plate investigation.
To repossess the vehicle, the repo man will usually need locksmith skills, so that he may break in to the vehicle (legally of course). Repo men will need to know how to pick locks and duplicate keys. Another method of repossessing the vehicle is to simply tow it away.
The dangerous aspect of this job is to confront the debtor – who will in most cases be very upset, and can become violent. Also, repo men must also notify the police about their activities, so that they are not arrested for theft.
Work environment: Repo men, like bounty hunters, will work in the area that their targets live in. This will mean that in most cases, the neighborhoods will be of lower income and sometimes rough, and repo men must always be aware of their surroundings. Repo men can find themselves interacting with very angry people from the lower parts of society, and they can spend many hours doing investigative work to assure that the vehicle they are repossessing is the correct one.
This job can take a repo man anywhere, and repo men may have to change their location quickly.
Fatality rates: There are no official statistics collected on repo men fatality and injury rates, but this job, like other dangerous jobs, has a large potential for injury on a daily basis, as each repossession can turn violent.
Gender: This dangerous job is a male dominated profession.
What makes it a dangerous job: Repo men have dangerous jobs because they often come in contact with angry debtors, who can be physically intimidating, and can become very violent, as their property is being repossessed. Another threat to Repo men is being accidently indentified as burglars.
Repo men are mainly subject to injuries caused by angry debtors, and includes blows, kicks, knife and even gunshot wounds. Repo men also have to face the stress of dealing with the hardships of the debtors, and must develop a thick shell.
Hours / Lifestyle: Repo men can have long stretches of time with little or no work, and be working very hard at other times. Repo men may have to work on weekends and holidays, at night and through bad weather. This job has no schedule, and Repo men work as much as they need to in order to get the job done.
Pay: Repo men usually get paid by the job, and jobs pay between 100$ – 450$, depending on the reputation of the repo man, the vehicle that must be repossessed, and other factors. Some repo men can make over 100K$ annually, as they can usually do several repossessions each night. However, this profession can have it’s ups and downs, and repo men can also find themselves out of work of long periods of time.
Requirements: There are not many requirements to become a repo man. Each state has different regulations, and it is important to check the requirements relevant to you before becoming a repo man. 3 states license and monitor repo men – California, Louisiana and Florida.
A basic requirement is to have a driver’s license, preferably a tow truck license. Also, a candidate must be over 18, and have no criminal background.
Skills which are important to have to succeed as a repo man include people skills, the ability to keep your nerve and head as others are angry and furious at you, and problem solving and investigative skills.
Training: Training to become a Repo man is done on the job, as candidate repo men join a repossession company and accompany an experienced repo man to learn the ropes.
Career opportunities: This job does not offer many career opportunities. Many Repo men work steady jobs as tow truck drivers, and moonlight as repo men. Repo men can either work for a repossession company, or open their own business and be contractors.
Job opportunities: Rep man jobs can be found in large urban areas, where there is a natural market and demand for this occupation.
Further reading material:
Other dangerous miscellaneous jobs:
Photo by: Diaper / flickr