How to Start a Repo Business in Florida

by Brooke Ashley; Updated September 26, 2017
Recovery agents in Florida and other states are hired to recover unpaid property.

Starting a repossession business in Florida begins with becoming licensed as a “recovery agent,” who provides or performs repossessions. Repossessed property under Florida Statute Section 493 includes motor vehicles, mobile homes, watercrafts, aircrafts, all-terrain vehicles, farm equipment or industrial equipment. According to the statute, a repossession is complete when a licensed recovery agent is in control, custody, and possession of such repossessed property. The recovery industry in Florida is regulated to ensure that only people with good moral character and proper licensing are allowed to become recovery agents.

Items you will need

  • Florida Recovery Agency Class "EE" or "E" License
  • Florida Recovery Agency "R" License
  • Tax Identification Number
Step 1
The coursework during the required training course covers important issues pertaining to the recovery industry.

Complete the 40-hour Recovery Agent Training Course, which is required under Florida Statute 493. Coursework can be completed in a classroom or online. During this course, you will learn about the recovery industry; chapters include Ethics and Professional Conduct and Repossession Procedures. After you've completed the coursework, you must get a grade of at least 75 percent on a 100-question examination. This entitles you to apply for licensing through the state.

Step 2
Recovery Agents must be able to handle any dangerous or emotional situations that occur during repossession.

Apply for the Florida Recovery Agent Intern “EE” License, and intern for a minimum of one year in the business. Florida requires that all applicants for this license be 18 years of age, a citizen or legal resident alien who is allowed to work in the United States. A felony conviction in any state can bar approval of your application, as can any conviction for a violent crime. After the one-year internship, you can apply for the Recovery Agent “E” License. After obtaining the "EE" or “E” license you will be eligible to apply for the Recovery Agency “R” license. Applications are found on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services web page. Each license application has mandatory application and fingerprint card processing fees, as well as license fees once each application is approved. Submit each application and fees to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Tallahassee.

Step 3
Earnings are substantially higher for Recovery Agents who own their own business.

Apply for the Recovery Agency “R” License. In order to have your own recovery agency, you must have an "R" license. A person with an "EE" or "E" license can own the agency, but only a person with an "E" license can be acting manager of the agency. If you plan to be acting manager, complete the "E" license requirements. The application procedure for obtaining the "R" agency license involves determining the type of business you plan to have (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation) and submitting fingerprints, color photo specifications and name of proposed business. Prior employment, criminal and military histories must be disclosed. Submit the application and fees to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Tallahassee. Once approved, you must hire only “E” or “EE” licensed individuals to handle recovery work for your agency. Administrative work such as secretarial or accounting does not require licensing.

Step 4

Formulate a business and marketing plan, then hire employees. Your business plan needs to showcase expected operational costs as well as expected financial earnings. Recovery agents use tow trucks for repossession, therefore the cost of the tow truck would fall under operational costs. Employee salaries also fall under operation costs. Recovery agents make on average $150 to $250 per vehicle repossession, so quantify how many repossessions per year you will need to make a profit. You must obtain a tax identification number and pay taxes annually. Further questions or concerns should be addressed by a certified accountant or business law attorney.

Step 5

Contact banks, auto dealerships and loan companies to market your agency. Hire employees who are qualified, dependable and most importantly, licensed recovery interns or agents if handling repossessions.

About the Author

A copywriter and publicist, Brooke Ashley has been writing professionally since 1998. Her poetic work has been published in "Maverick Magazine" and her Web content is featured on Autogeek.net. Ashley earned her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Photo Credits