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What do you do for a living?Bail Bondsman

I’m a bondsman, bail bond agent, to be correct.

How would you describe what you do?

I bond people out and I put them back in jail.

What does your work entail?

I deal with criminals on a daily basis. I deal with their families. I deal with their troubles. I deal with everything. I make sure they go to court. If they don’t show up to court, I have to go find them and either make a new court date or put them back in jail.

Quick Fact!

How to become a bail bondsman? For starters you have to have a squeaky clean record. Then you have to take a test and get sponsored by a bonding company to get started. See what else this bondsman said about how to get started and what requirements there are to become a bondsman.

We have rotating schedules where we have several agents in this office and we rotate on a 24-hour shift. I’m on every three days. I come in to skip trace(aka bounty hunting) in between. In this state, we can’t refer to it as bounty hunting. It’s called skip tracing.

How did you get started?

I used to do this a long time ago and I actually did it part-time because I was going to school full-time with my master’s degree in nursing and decided I wanted a real job and went to nursing and worked for 11 years, hated it and then went back to bonding.

What do you like about being a bondsmen?

The rewards would be if you get some of these people that are messing up in their lives and all of a sudden you see them turn around. You’ve got to build a kind of a rapport with your clients, because if you’re a hard-ass to them, chances are they’re not going to want to go to court. They’re not going to step up for you as well. So when you reach out and help one person and it makes a difference in their life, then it’s kind of rewarding.

What do you dislike?

People lying straight to my face. The repeat offenders, we call frequent flyers, that you just keep going out on a limb for and they keep letting you down. There’s also the fear of forfeitures. You have to go in front of a judge because our client didn’t go to court and we’ve got to pay the bond. So we beg for mercy from the judge to get an extension to locate this individual.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

It’s commission. I make money on every bond that I write. For example, on a $1500 bond the bail is $150 plus other fees.  My commission split is 50/50 so I will make $75.

How much money do you make as a bail bondsmen?

About $55,000.

What education or skills are needed to be a bondsmen?

You have to take a beginners education class. It’s an eight-hour class and then you go and take the test, 100-question test and you have to have a 70 in order to pass it. It’s a very confusing test.

You try not to get personal with the clients, but sometimes it helps. You know, if they need a hand to get to court, if they need a ride, they know they can call our office. And most offices are sort of like that. And I think it needs to be like that. But, by all means, we’re not Momma either, they dug the hole, they can get their self right on out of it.

They say the test in this state is one of the hardest in the nation. You’ve got a lot of homers that come in here wanting to be Billy-bad-ass for the day and carry a concealed handgun so you have to weed them out. You can’t just say ‘hey’, I want to be a bondsman, and go take the class and test and be a bondsman. You have to have somebody actually sponsor your license. You’ve got to get hired onto a company before you can actually enter into the bail bonding world. You don’t necessarily have to have been with this company for a period of time. You just got to be hired through the company. You have a FBI background check done too. And it’s very thorough¦I mean, they flip over rocks. They’ll call your references, they don’t screw around. It took four months for mine. The longer it takes, the better off you are. Because they’re actually trying to find something wrong. You can’t have any felonies on your record and a few misdemeanors such as theft and domestic battery.

What is most challenging about what you do?

Skip tracing. Trying to locate the hard ones that are hiding under a rock. From the time they miss court, we have 120 days on a misdemeanor and 90 days on a felony to find them.

What is most rewarding?

Putting the deadbeats back in jail. I mean, if they don’t want to go to court and they don’t want to step up and take care of their crap, the best thing for them is be right back where they need to be. Or at the other end, you’ve got a client that’s been a drug user and you’ll see them six months down the road, they’re clean, they went through rehab, that could be rewarding as well. But…today it would be putting them back in jail, tomorrow it could be different.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

There’s more to it than everybody thinks. We’re not Dog the Bounty Hunter. We’re far from it. It’s not just getting them out of jail and forgetting about them. It’s also about being their friend, not just their bondsman. You try not to get personal with the clients, but sometimes it helps.

You’ve got a lot of homers that come in here wanting to be Billy-bad-ass for the day and carry a concealed handgun so you have to weed them out.

You know, if they need a hand to get to court, if they need a ride, they know they can call our office. And most offices are sort of like that. And I think it needs to be like that. But, by all means, we’re not Momma either, they dug the hole, they can get their self right on out of it.

How much time off do you get/take?

If I want to be off a couple days next week I can. We don’t have a set schedule. We don’t have the-you get one or two weeks off a year deal.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

We are not Dog. We don’t just go and bust down doors on an everyday basis and we’re not all just hard-asses and mean and hard to deal with.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

My own TV show(laughs).  I don’t really want to be the owner and I like what I’m doing.  This is about as good as it gets.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

It’s all based on trust. We go out on the limb to bond you out and we get a feeling that you’re not going to, we’re not going to write it. There’s two people in the world that you really don’t want to piss off when it comes to you sitting in jail. One is the judge and the other is a bondsman. The judge will rake your bond up and if you piss off a bondsman and —- you’re what we call a ‘screwed pooch’.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Chance November 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

The bail bond business is a great business. It’s tough, competitive, and cutthroat. It is rewarding but I don’t recommend being apart of it if your motives aren’t right. For more information on bail bonds and getting licensed give us a call today! 1 877-787-3380

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Wendy September 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hello I am very much interested in a career in Bail Bonds/Bounty Hunting. I have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. I have always had an interest in law enforcement and I believe I can do this. So do I interview Bail Bonds and then choose which one and then the test will be given while working for them? I have people say I can not do it but I know I can. Can you please contact me and explain a little more. Thank you and God Bless you

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Tasanka March 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

I am interested in becoming a bail bondsman, my question is how do I find companies that hire interns?

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Revv April 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Tasanka,
the best place to start is go an introduce yourself to bondsmen on your area. Interview them all. Find owners that your ethics align with. That would be where I would start.

Best

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Janes March 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Just out of curiosity, so if you write a $10,000.00 bond the bail is $1000.00 and the bondsman would take home 50% of this which would be $500.00 for that one bond? And obviously from a $50,000.00 bond the bondsman would get $2,500.00. Am I understanding this correctly?

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Revv March 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Janes,
if the bond is 10,000 you would take into your company 1000.00 (10%* some states are lower premium )from that you would pay your surety and some into your BUF account. If you post it yourself it would be around 750 depending on your surety fees. When I first started as an agent I received 33% with no liability. that was a great deal for me. 25% is fair to do all the leg work and take all the calls. Companies really hate paying like this for the most part. Every year after PBUS conference The topic of putting me on a salary came up. I fought it with everything I had. If you really hustle you can make 6 figures as an agent for a good company. If you have your own Biz you can expect more. I never let a good bond pass me by. It means getting up at all hours but the $$$ is worth it if you have the drive.

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Revv February 27, 2014 at 2:54 am

To add a little more info. You do not need a degree. Each state has it own laws. I have yet to see any really good study material for a state exam. We had to compile it from insurance laws, criminal codes and court procedures for the last two states I licensed in. This takes some time but it is not hard by any means. The exam is usually MC on a computer (PSI handles a lot of states). Just be aware there is real gap in formal state study material. As for schools that teach about bonding I’m sure they will give you a leg up over others that are not familiar with the profession. You still need to pass the State exam. If you are looking to start your own company, you need to have your Surety lined up before taking the test. I don’t mean going the distance but open a dialog so when the test is passed you can move forward. Most states will cancel your lic if you don’t have a Surety appointment within 60 days. If you are interviewing with a company Dress the part ! No para military looks!:) Many are working hard to improve the image of bonding. You can assist by dressing and acting like a professional . When interviewing, ask the Bonding company if they have study material for the State test. Many do have the material for their agents use.

I realize that there is a real lack of information out there for this profession (not by accident) It is a really rewarding career!

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asia williams January 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

This helped alot, Ive had my study book for over a year now, ive been a little under pressure going fourth with it, due to being scared becaus eim self studying not knowing what to expect. as well ahs not getting hired on with an bond agency. i have a degree in criminology, and i would like to ask more questions if that is fine with you to get more details.

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Revv February 27, 2014 at 2:24 am

Asia,
Don’t be dissuaded ! Being a bondsman is an outstanding job. My degree in in Aerospace Engineering. I Love bonding. I love helping people. Nothing is like TV at all. You would be out of business if you wrote as many unsecured bonds as you see on TV. There is a really smart way to run a BB company. The money per year that is shown on several sites is very conservative . It can be a 6 figure job with some hard work and a good company behind you. If you own the company it can be much better. Be aware the industry is filled with some really scummy characters that are borderline criminals. Many of my fellow bondsmen can attest to this. They don’t stay around long , but just long enough to give us true professionals a bad rap. Search for a company with a good reputation to learn from. If you think that things are being conducted in an unethical way, find another mentor.
Also, look for an underserved area to work. LA is an insane market. I would look for areas around 100k in population that do not have too many agents. You can kill those markets.

As licensing goes. Every state is different. AZ is simple, but NM is next to impossible and forget TX. You need deep pockets to penetrate that market with a new Agency. Many states are adopting policies that require being hired and trained by a local bonding Company. I’m sure you can imagine that they are eager to train competitors;).

The real Elephant in the room is the Surety companies that supply the bonds. There was a time where they would supply paper to anyone who had a license. That proved to be disastrous and many went under. You can expect to pay anywhere from 50k to 250k in collateral to put up with an insurance company to sell you paper. They are ensuring that you perform properly and have skin in the game. I’m sure you know that a bondsman in most state is a licensed insurance agent. If you write a bad bond and can’t pay it, ultimately the Surety company is the responsible party.

Each Surety company takes a portion of each bond written for their fees and additional fees that are put into a BUF (build up fund )account to pay forfeiture overages. You have to adopt a good strategy to CYA! If you gain experience without losses to the Surety they will usually take it easy on you when you want to start your own agency. The other option is to find a Surety that will sell you paper without a big deposit. the trade off is that you have to pay them a lot for the paper
2-3% of the face value of the bond. $10,000 bond $1000 premium, 200-300 to Surety ouch!!

There are some other ways, but they are lengthy in explanation.

Outside of that you are looking at around 10-15k in startup costs as a minimum. office phones, websites,marketing corp formation, licensing Etc.

As for Recovery Work., it is part of the job as a bondsman if you want to do it. It is very difficult work and you only get paid ( for the most part) if you return the defendant. For the most part it is an exercise in futility! The RA the we hire are usually ex-police that know the town and have relationships with informants. It is a HUGE liability to an agency to hire a swinging gun off the street. I can’t think of anyone who would do this in todays culture of lawsuits. Pro companies will only hire the best and that means experience!

I hope this fills in a few blanks for you:)

Happy to answer question.

Best,
Revv

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Cynthia December 1, 2013 at 2:53 am

I would like to be a bonding agent. I just need one to support me so I can start the process. I have a degree from university of Phoenix but no relation to position. I would be a great asset to your bonding company.

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andy tran November 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

My name is Andy, I have my private investigators license. I wanted to be a fugitive recovery agent in houston tx. Will any bails bond in houston tx. Hired me as a fugitive recovery agents. I have been looking into this field for 5 years, n don’t know any bails bond company that will hired me. Can any one that can help me out to land a job as a bail agent. Thanks, Andy

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Lynda November 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I am 7 months from completing my Associates in Criminal Justice. I have really enjoyed the classes, but do not want to be a police officer. I am wanting to do a job that may help others turn their life around. I am interested in being a bail bondsman, I feel that I could really help others and not just the person accused but their families. I live in West Tennessee. Do I go in to the bail bonds office and talk to them about getting a job? I would like to get more information. Thank you for the link!

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ROBERT STAFFORD JR November 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

IM LOOKING TO INTERN WITH A BAIL BONDSMEN IN THE CENTRAL FLA AREA, I HAVE ALL MY PAPER WORK READY TO GO… FINISHED ALL REQUIREMENTS NEEDED TO START ASAP PLEASE CONTACT ME SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU INTERESTED IN LEETING ME INTER,,, CONTACT IN (407)556-5888 OR EMAIL ME AT DATDUDEBLKTEAM@GMAIL.COM

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Lindy Wilson April 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

A bondslady told me that she gets all the money for their bonds. Is that true? She also said she averages $100,000 a year. Would having depression in the past hurt me? I have a license but, do not own a gun. Is there places I could check my gun after I take the concealed carry classes so I did not have to keep it at home?

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deseray October 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

i live in texas and i want to work for a bails bond such as answering phones doing paper work ect . i do not want to own one is there a site were i can find out if a bails bond is hiring in my area ?

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Hazel Walker September 5, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I just received my Master of Science in Criminal Justice and I’m interested in opening my own bail bonding company. I just need some solid direction. Thanks

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Craig July 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm

How much start up money would be ideal to start a bail bonding agency…? and what are the insurance rates like?

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Chance July 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

If you have a serious desire for a career Bail please give us a call we are expanding nationwide. 1 877 787-3380. Wonderful industry to be apart of.

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Jesse January 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I see lots of post on here about where do I go to get started. Go to http://www.bailspeak.com this guy Rex is the best in the business for school.

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chyanne January 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I am 17 about to be 18 in 28 days. How old do you have to be to start bonding?

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leslie December 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm

but we are in the state of colorado just google the info i left thank you all again .

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leslie December 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm

to :Kenda Mohler for all your bail bonding need and eud . go to the american institute of bail bonding and bail enforcement contact brett l almy he’s the teacher and trainner this is were i went to get pre lic as a bail bondsman just tell him Mr,Leslie Simpson ref you . thanks . hope this helps out everone out the couse is ? just talk to Brett . or e-mail me if needed to. mixedboricuabailbonds@gmail.com

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Michele December 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I was looking into a career as a bondsman. I live in
Massachusetts and heard it is very hard getting license
and everything else that go’s along with it. Could u tell
me what I need to do in my state to become a bondsman?
I Google it but it’s little confused, every state’s different. Thank you your help.

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Tiffney Dale December 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I am 25 yrs old and this is what I want to do. I know that you have to be insured and that you have to work for a company. My question is, what are some things that i need to know before I take the test? I have never been arrested and only have a few minor tickets on my record, could those hold me back? Also, if a family member is has 2 felonies, will that stop me from becoming a bail bonds agent?

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Nikki October 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I am currently in school for my BS in human service/child & family welfare with a minor in criminal justice (I know sounds crazy, but just worked out that way). Anyway, I am interested to know what education (classes) need to be taken if you have already obtained a degree in criminal justice? I know you need to pass a state test (expected), but if anyone could help me out with that question I would appreciate it so much.

Thanks

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Flame7826 October 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I am really interested in beginning a career in bail bonds so where do I go to get started as far as taking the test? I will graduate in May 2012 with my Associates of Arts in Criminal Justice so I am sure this is a plus when looking for a place to sponsor me. Just let me know where to begin so I can get started because I already have a company to sponsor me and have to go there next week to talk to the gentleman. Thanks in advance!

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MS BONDSMAN July 19, 2011 at 12:22 am

To my knowledge bail Bonding is not allowed by the state of KY. The defendant is not allowed to post bail as far as I know.

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Tiffanie M -Criminal Justice Student November 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

You are correct Ms. Bondsman: in the State of KY, you can not be bonded out by any type of bail bonds agency. In KY., you are given an amount to pay by the judge or arresting officer at the time of booking. In most cases in KY., you show up in court on the next morning or the next business day. Pay or stays, or 10% of the total amount paid in cash, KY. also does signature bonds in misdemeanor cases.

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Rees:) July 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

is there a bonds office in every town? i live in a small town in kentucky so i didnt no if there was one in our town or not.

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MS BONDSMAN July 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I seriously find some of the comments amusing, I’ve been a Bondsman for about 6 years now n we aren’t poor by far us you are a good agent! We work the streets n hoods n questionable areas so we dress the part. We can make a huge difference in a persons life if They want the second chance at life.

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saintlazy June 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Perhaps they look poor because they do not want to appear rich. Odds are they are located near a jail. Odds are its not a great neighborhood. It wouldn’t be wise to park your Audi out front. You also want to be able to seem approachable to your clients.

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Huh? May 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I still dont get how these ppl make money… whats the poin of going through all that crap just so u can mak 150 off of your own 1500??? and then have to split that tiny bit of money… no wonder all bail bondmen look poor

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Kenda Mohler May 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I have an Associate Degree Criminal Justice & Investigation. Who do I get in touch with to get more Info.on How To Become a Bail Bonds Man? Well actually I hope you can help me.I know by watching “Dog” that this field career is not easy,but in a sense of away,it is rewarding. I have found out that I do need to take 40 to a 70 hr. class than take a state test. Would happen to know of any bail bonds man in the Pomeroy,Middleport & Gallipolis,Ohio area or any area in that vicinity? What other steps are there for me to do? I really need help!!! I’m ready to get started & I’m excited to get started. Contact me @:berettawoman2005@yahoo.com

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Lauren Owens March 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I am 14 & the other day one of my mom’s friends asked me what i wanted to be & then it hit me i didnt have a clue what i wanted to be but i know i want to help people & make a difference but i cant stand blood & the stuff that doctors have to do & i know i dont wanna be a police. so i looked into this & i think that this is the thing for me & i think most of my inspiration is dog. & i am in 9th grade. is there any class i could take to get to this. & there is no bonds business near my town as far as i know.. this is what i really wanna do i think.

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Sandy Guzman May 25, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I was wondering if I could still apply for a position as a bondsman if I have a DUI on my record.. It has been 5 years since that happen and I already have a A.S. degree in criminal justice what advice can you give me

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trave45 March 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I’m the owner of the site and interviewed the person in this interview. I really don’t know the answers to your questions. Keep doing your research and perhaps shadow a bail bondsmen in your hometown. Good luck, hope the interviewed helped some!

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ty jones March 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I am a very young man,still in high school. but it has been an aspiration of mine to someday own a bail bond co. i know you have to start as just a bondsmen,so what are some of the first steps to moving in that direction. What degree should i go for in college?Is it hard to get a license?

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brittany Cook May 1, 2008 at 8:10 am

Im trying to get in touch with bails bond becauce I like to become one. I like to get in touch with you so I can learn more about this job.

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