Bailiffs, also known as enforcement officers or enforcement agents, remove and sell people's belongings to pay the debts they owe. They can also take property and evict people if necessary.
If you can be firm but fair, and you understand the law, this could be a good job choice for you.
- visiting and writing to debtors to ask for payment
- offering money management advice
- arranging for people to repay debts in instalments
- attending court to apply for a warrant to enter property, or to transport prisoners to and from prison
- serving court papers such as summonses
- taking away goods and repossessing property
- arranging for goods to be sold at auction
- being responsible for any money and goods recovered
- keeping daily records of actions taken and receipts given
- preparing and planning future activities .
- an assertive and confident manner
- the ability to deal with people from all backgrounds
- tact, diplomacy and good negotiation skills
- the ability to keep calm under pressure, as people may become distressed or aggressive
- good judgement
- the ability to learn and understand the relevant laws
- basic maths skills, for calculating repayments with debtors
- good IT skills for communication and record-keeping
- commercial awareness, for assessing the value of goods
- a reasonable level of physical fitness
- willingness to work alone or as part of a small team.
Average salary (2013):The United Kingdom: £25,000 a year.
Qualifications and training required:
Court-appointed bailiffs and enforcement officers may need some GCSEs, including English and maths or equivalent qualifications. You’ll find it very useful to have a background in dealing with the public and handling difficult situations.
To become a certified bailiff, your communication skills and life experience are usually considered more important than your formal qualifications. You’ll need a Bailiff General Certificate. For this you must:
- get the application form from your local county court
- prove to a county court judge that you are a ‘fit and proper person’ - no criminal or debt record - and have enough knowledge of bailiff law
- put a £10,000 bond in place with the court – you can take out an insurance policy to cover this - it would be used to pay compensation if a judge ever ruled that you’d acted unlawfully
- provide two references.
Some private training companies offer home study courses that can help you with the knowledge of bailiff law.
You may be able to find work as a trainee bailiff, though you’ll need the motivation and ability to learn quickly to gain your Bailiff General Certificate before you can carry out any bailiff duties by yourself.
Some further education colleges and private training providers may offer qualifications that could give you a better understanding of the job. These include:
- Level 2 Award in Debt Enforcement
- Level 2 Certificate in Enforcement - Taking Control of Goods.
You’d need Disclosure and Barring Service clearance as you would be dealing with vulnerable people.