The answer is yes. You need to have some sort of company handbook to set some standard operating procedures (SOP) for your auto repossession business. Having a company handbook will save time in your daily operations because it lessens the possibility of having to answer the same questions over and over again. It will help create uniformity and set a standard in your company, as well as prevent disagreements on how things need to be done.
If you have an SOP for your company, then there will never be a question as to what is expected of your office staff and repossession agents. They can sign that they received and read the handbook. This holds them accountable for their work performance, whether it is good or bad. Your employees will not be able to claim ignorance about a rule when you have to take action on a violation of a rule found in the handbook. This can help protect you and your company from unemployment claims, as well as possible legal action. You can combat claims of favoritism if you simply enforce the written policies of your company equally with all of your employees. It will put all employees on level ground, and this helps create a happy and well-running work environment. A well-drafted company handbook will not only protect you, but also protect your employees, as well.
Having a company handbook is also a valuable tool in marketing your auto repossession services to potential clients. It shows that your company is a professional, efficient company that has guidelines on how to serve them from the acceptance of the repossession order to delivery of their collateral to auction. You can actually share with the lenders your step-by-step written guide on how you get the job done and minimize their (and your) window of liability.
Your handbook should detail all the procedures you want in place for running your collateral recovery operation. It can lay out such things as hours of operation for your office, to medical and sick leave, to drug testing of employees. It can map out the recovery process you want your repo agents to follow in the field, and how you want your office staff to stream information to your lender clients.
You want to be sure you cover all areas to avoid lawsuits from debtors. One area in particular would be the storage of a debtor’s personal property, how it is inventoried and what documentation you have the debtor sign and file upon receiving his personal effects. One suggestion I have for you that was a rule at my company was the storage of liquids. We always disposed of liquids – chemicals, bleach, laundry detergent, gasoline, etc. We did not want a hazardous material spill or chemical reaction to occur at our office. Another suggestion I have for you is to have a rule regarding the storage of firearms and what procedure is set for returning guns to a debtor. One of our members and contributing authors, Bill Meinhardt, posted an excellent suggestion in our auto repossession forum. Bill posted this:
“I always unloaded the weapons and rendered them temporary inoperable with plastic pull ties” in a thread titled Guns and ammo in car – what’s your policy?
I suggest to all of you who do not have a company handbook to get one. it will professionalize your repossession business and help things to run more smoothly at your company.