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The Job Description of a Recovery Agent

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Recovery agents find and retrieve people and property. Some recovery agents work for repossession agencies, while others work as independent contractors to law enforcement organizations, lending institutions and credit card companies. Recovery agents repossess bank-financed items that the purchaser has not paid for and fugitives wanted by law enforcement. In either sense, the job is both challenging and potentially dangerous.

Job Profile

Recovery agents locate and retrieve both people that failed to appear in court per the terms of their bail agreement and unpaid property used as collateral for loans. In both scenarios, recovery agents research the nature of the case, locate the property or person and develop a recovery strategy. They follow strict legal procedures during the recovery process. After recovery of the item or person, recovery agents deliver it to a location authorized by the creditor or law enforcement agency.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The competencies required to carry out the responsibilities of a recovery agent include knowledge of state statutes relating to bail regulations, procedures for surrendering defendants and seized property into custody, legal principles for identifying and locating people and property, as well as skills in surveillance, observational awareness and mental alertness. The ability to react quickly during dangerous situations is particularly useful during the seizure and recovery of both property and people.

Education and Experience

There are typically no formal education requirements for recovery agent positions. Individuals with backgrounds in physical security control and law enforcement, and previous experience with tow truck and heavy equipment are ideal candidates for recovery agent positions. Some states require licenses for recovery agent jobs. Many employers require a valid driver’s license, clean driving record, drug screen and criminal history background check.

Training and Certification

Individuals can take training to qualify for a career in property and fugitive recovery. While the training and certification requirements vary by state and employer, in general, verifiable training in civil or criminal law, use of force and restraint, safety techniques, defensive tactics and certification in the use of tasers, batons and Oleo capsicum resin sprays or foams, prepare and qualify individuals for jobs as recovery agents.


Independent recovery agents typically are paid a percentage of the recovered item’s total value. Recovery agents employed by repossession agencies may experience steadier work, plus benefits; however, the earnings per job are lower. According to earnings data from Direct Protective Services, in 2009, the median annual earnings of recovery agents in the United States ranged from $75,000 to $250,000. Alternatively, reports $52,000 as the median expected earnings for repossession agents in the United States, as of 2010.


Alyssa Guzman has written online content for eHow and Answerbag since 2010. She is a "journalist of all trades" and writes on many subjects including travel and leisure, animal health, informaton technology, business etiquette and exotic flowering plants. Guzman was a communications studies major at the Florida State University.

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