Starting a repossession service in Missouri is a promising venture, especially in a struggling economy, as individuals are often behind on payments and creditors need repo men to repossess merchandise. Anyone doing business in the state of Missouri--that is, providing goods or services to the public for a fee--must register the business with the state. Should you choose to provide repo man services in Missouri, you will need to register, even if you plan to run your business solo.
Register Your Missouri Repo Man Service
Determine what type of business entity you will register your Missouri repo business under. Among the available possibilities are sole proprietorship, corporation, limited partnership, general partnership and limited liability company. You can find more information on each of these entity types on the Missouri Secretary of State website (see StartUpBizHub link in Resources).
Search the registered business database on the Missouri Secretary of State website ( see Resources) to make sure that the name you choose for your Missouri repo man business is distinguishable from other registered business names, foreign or domestic. You can reserve the business name you choose for 60 days (up to three times) by sending a request in writing and the appropriate fee to the Secretary of State’s office:
Missouri Secretary of State Corporations Division PO Box 778 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0778
You can download the form from the website by visiting the Resources link below.
Acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the Internal Revenue Service website (see Resources). You will need an EIN for various business registration purposes.
Register your Missouri repo man service online if you choose to make it a limited liability company (LLC) of use a fictitious name registration (such as “John Smith d/b/a Smith Landscaping). As of May 2010 these were the only online filing services available through the Secretary of State website. You can find links to the online registration forms in the Resources below.
Download, fill out and submit the appropriate registration forms (available through the Resources link below) if you choose a business entity other than LLC or fictitious name registration for your Missouri repo service. Send forms to the address listed above. Additionally, some larger Missouri cities such as St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield have local Secretary of State offices, where you can hand deliver the documents and have them processed immediately.
Check with the city offices where you plan to do business. Many cities require a city business license for local tax purposes, so you will also need to register your business on a local level. The city office can give you all the information you need.
Begin Providing Services as a Missouri Repo Man
Decide what services you will provide and how much you will charge for them. Some repossession businesses specialize in recovering one item, such as automobiles. However, you can expand your clientele if you will repossess additional items such as appliances, furniture and even farm equipment.
Compare your services and prices to your local competitors. You will need to make sure that your services and prices are compatible, in the least, and competitive if you want an edge over the market. It would also be helpful to know what businesses your competition provides services to, so that you know where to start.
Purchase the equipment your business will need, including a large truck with towing capabilities. You may also need a storage facility just in case your clients don’t want the items you recover delivered immediately.
Check into possible locations for your business. While you may be able to operate your Missouri repo service from your home, you need to make sure that doing so meets zoning laws for the city you’re in.
Promote your business to potential clients such as banks, rent-to-own centers and car title loan companies. Visit these locations in person so that the management can meet you directly, giving them a better idea of the type of person you are and the quality of service you’ll provide. Be sure to provide them with a print out of your prices and services for reference.
When deciding on a business name, keep in mind that under Missouri statute every for profit corporation must have the word “corporation,” “company,” “incorporated” or “limited” as part of the business name, or an appropriate abbreviation of one of them.
Individuals use a “fictitious name registration” when they are doing business under a name different than their legal name, but do not intend to incorporate the business. For example, if John Smith was doing landscaping, he would register the fictitious name of his business as “John Smith d/b/a Smith Landscaping” (d/b/a means “doing business as”). However, if you choose not to incorporate your business, a fictitious name registration directly connects your personal assets to your business assets, which can be a problem if someone sues your business.