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In a struggling economy, a repossession business has the potential to be very successful. There may be many individuals in the Maryland area who struggle to pay their bills, falling behind on leases and other monthly payments on merchandise. When someone gets really behind on payment, the creditor is likely to have the merchandise in question repossessed. That’s where a repo man steps in , picking up the merchandise from the debtor and delivering it to the creditor for a set fee.
Establishing a Maryland Repossession Business
Choose what type of business entity you want to use as a Maryland repo man. If you want to provide these services yourself, even if you don’t plan to have employees, you are conducting business in the state and laws require you to register appropriately. In Maryland, if you choose your business entity to be a sole proprietorship or general partnership, then the state does not require you to register your business out of the necessary licensing/permit requirements and taxation purposes. Other legal entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships, must also register with the state.
Decide on a name for your business. Your repo business name needs to be distinguishable from other registered businesses, so the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation recommends searching the corporation database (see Resources) to make sure the name you want is not already in use.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service website (see Resources). Even if you don't have employees, an EIN number is beneficial for registering your business, opening business bank accounts and even business tax purposes.
Download and fill out the appropriate form to register your business with the State Department of Assessment and Taxation. The correct form depends upon the type of business entity you choose. You can find the forms on the Department website (see Resources) and submit them, with the appropriate fee, to:
State Department of Assessments and Taxation Charter Division 301 W. Preston Street; 8th Fl Baltimore, MD 21201-2395
Using the cover sheet provided through the link below, you can also fax the forms to 410-333-7097, with Visa or MasterCard information for payment.
Submit the Application for Unincorporated ID Number for business personal property tax purposes if your business is a sole proprietorship or general partnership. These forms are available on the State Department of Assessment and Taxation website (see Resources). If you incorporate your business, the state automatically assigns a number to you.
Complete the Maryland Combined Registration online application (see Resources) for federal and state tax registration. This service registers you for all the tax accounts your business will need.
Check the zoning regulations for the city you choose to do business in to make sure that you can conduct your repo man business out of your home or that your office is in a commercially zoned location. Contact the city business office or zoning commission for more details.
Start Providing Services as a Maryland Repo Man
Look into the services your competitors offer and how much they charge for them. This will give you the opportunity to offer new clients better prices and services where possible than the competition.
Determine what services you will offer your clients, such as specializing in automobile repossession or expanding your services to include furniture, appliances, boats, farm equipment and other items. Then determine what you will charge for those services. For example, Thomas Investigative Publications states that the average charge for an auto repossession lasting 30 minutes is $150 to $250.
Purchase the equipment you will need in order to conduct your Maryland repo man services appropriately. That may include a large truck with towing capabilities. Additionally, you may need a storage facility of some type if some clients don’t require immediate delivery of the merchandise you repossess.
Visit potential clients to tell them about your new repo man businesses, what services you offer and the prices of those services. It will help to provide them with a brochure detailing this information. Potential clients include banks, car title loan facilities and rent-to-own centers, to name a few.
Sole proprietorship may seem the most obvious entity choice for your Maryland repo man business, especially if you plan to never hire employees. However, a sole proprietorship will not protect your personal assets if something should go wrong with the business. Incorporating the business will help to protect your personal assets from levy or garnishment if someone sues your business or you owe back taxes.
Michelle Cramer has been writing/editing freelance since 2007, including the Small Business Buzz Blog and articles for Work.com. Cramer's current writing projects include articles for informational websites and several blogs. She has a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Missouri.