How to Become an Asset Locator
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Though there are resources available to the general public to help people find unclaimed money and other property, it takes expertise to located hard-to-find assets, which is why many people hire asset locators. Asset location is a business than can be run on a full- or part-time basis, and the startup costs are low since there is no need for inventory. If you're interested in becoming an asset locator, there are several things you can do to ensure the success of your venture.
Learn all you can about finding unclaimed property. Read books such as “How to Do Financial Asset Investigations” by Ronald Mendell, or take a course from an organization such as the Recovery Industry Services Company.
Contact your state's office of the attorney general or board of professional regulations to see whether there are any laws regulating asset collectors in your area. Some states place a limit on the fee that asset collectors can charge clients, while other states require that asset locators post a bond.
Obtain the permits needed to operate a service business in your state. Depending on where you live, this may include an assumed name certificate, Employer Identification Number or sales and use tax permit. In order to run your asset location service legitimately, it is essential that you have the right business documentation.
Become familiar with the tools you'll need to effectively do your job, such as state revenue department databases of unclaimed property and the IRS, which is where you can turn to locate unclaimed tax refunds.
Develop a contract for your asset location business. Each client should sign a business agreement, which can serve as a receipt as well as a contract. Include important information such as your fees, any disclosures required by state law and a service timeline.
Market your asset location services. Use the Internet and social media by launching your own website or informational blog, and opening accounts on social networks. You can also place fliers or brochures in complementary businesses, such as tax preparation offices, funeral homes, and the offices of estate attorneys.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.