When you think of a “repo man,” you probably imagine a crew hunting down late-model sedans with a tow truck, hauling away vehicles with infant car seats in the back while tears stream down the struggling deadbeat’s face. Orlando-based repo man Ken Cage used to do that work, but found that it was bad for his soul. So he got into a different business: recovering private planes and yachts from the overleveraged 1%.
Bloomberg Businessweek followed the luxury repo crew on a few jobs not long ago. Of course, taking back a Cessna requires a different skill set from taking back a Camry. No tow trucks here: at minimum, a boat captain or a licensed pilot needs to come along. Cage’s targets might not have the resources to pay back their loans, but they do have the resources to move their property around. To obscure regional airports and other out-of-the way locations. He got into the business by locating an antique plane, but not at an airport: he convinced the owner to give up the location. It was hanging from the ceiling of a steakhouse in Cleveland.
Does this sound like it would make a great reality TV show? It would. Cage’s second-in-command recently left the company over a dispute over appearing on television. BusinessWeek didn’t say which man took which side on the issue.
Update: Thanks to reader Lee, who pointed out that there already was a reality TV show on this theme, Discovery Channel’s Airplane Repo. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for at least two or three more copycat shows on other networks, though.
The Luxury Repo Men [Businessweek]