Do you have a knack for being persuasive? Maybe you are good at talking to people one-on-one. Maybe you're passionate about making money or helping those in need? A great way to make money is by starting your own bail bonds business. The bail bonds industry is a lucrative and rewarding business to get into; however, you need to understand that there are a lot of legal implications in this business that you should know.
This article will look at what you should know before starting your own bail bonds company.
According to Prison Policy Initiative, the median bail amount in America for a felony charge is $10,000. Since most people getting arrested are already living paycheck to paycheck, this can be impossible to pay without help.
A bail bonds business will pay the bond on the individual's behalf and charge a premium for the services offered. This fee can range from 5% to 20% of the actual bond amount. The bail bondsman will receive the bond amount back in full when the individual shows up for court while keeping the individual's 5%-20% service charge.
However, if the individual doesn't appear in court, the bail bondsmen won't get the bail amount back. Therefore, Bounty Hunters exist to ensure people show up for their court date.
The first thing you'll want to do is familiarize yourself with what bail is, its purpose, and why a judge will set bail. Someone looking for help with their bond will likely have many questions about what happens next and why things happened the way they did.
This way, when someone comes asking for help, you will lead them in the right direction.
In the bail bonds market, you need to know that there are many players in this business. It's a competitive market that can also quickly become unethical. You'll want to fully understand the legalities and procedures involved with your clients before you can start making any money.
The amount of money you need to start a bail bonds business depends on the amount of risk you'd like to take on. The more money you pay on behalf of a client, the more return you can get. However, paying a bond for the wrong client that disappears can mean you lose your entire investment.
Once you have established how much money you need to start and maintain the business in the first few years, you need to think about ways to get the right financing. At first, you won't have to purchase office space or have any significant expenses outside of the actual bond you're paying for. Still, not everyone has that sort of money lying around, and it is always better to diversify your investment to mitigate risk.
A surety company will loan a bail bond agent the cash necessary to post bail for the defendant. While the bail bond agent is often still taking on the burden of the risk, the surety company can generally be more flexible than a bank or cash loan.
Using a surety company essentially allows you to take out multiple "loans" at once on behalf of your clients.
Running a bail bond company involves working closely with those who broke the law, were wrongfully accused, or are desperate for help. You'll want to learn how to de-escalate situations, negotiate with individuals who don't want to go to court, and crisis management.
Remember, your career will be asking people at risk of spending years, or even the rest of their lives in prison, to show up in court. They may run away after getting the bail, and you may never get your money back until and unless a bounty hunter catches them.
Legally, you can't provide a service and accept money without registering your business with the state you're performing business in. You'll want to register your business before working with clients to mitigate your risk.
Not every state requires a pre-licensing course, but some do. The course is designed to prepare you for the bail bond licensing course and can be helpful even if your state doesn't require it.
In most cases, the course prepares you to take the exam and prepares you for the essential duties of being in the bail bonds business.
Most states have a one-hour exam and 50 to 60 questions. The questions can cover anything from the state's bail bond laws to best practices and general knowledge.
Independent test proctors generally give these tests and can cost anywhere between $40-$100.
It's essential to make sure you bring all of the necessary materials and payment to the test to ensure you aren't turned away. Since every proctor is different, make sure you contact the company or review their information to have everything you need for test day.
As you've probably noticed, there are often bail bond offices within a stone's throw of jail or courthouse. This proximity helps with marketing your services and allows you to close by if you need to quickly solve any problems. A physical location will also help you strengthen your reputation as a reputable bail bond service.
You should have a business website in place as well, and like many businesses these days, they are more inclined to work online. You might also think about setting up a website. Working only through a website may be cost-effective, but it doesn't seem like a good option in this line of work. So it is better to have a physical office for your bail bonds business.
If your client runs away or goes missing after getting bailed out, you should have a procedure in place for this type of situation. While contacting the defendant's family, defendant, or friends is always a good first step, sometimes that isn't enough.
You'll need to hire a bounty hunter who will hunt down such bail jumpers. Bounty Hunters will track down individuals and hand them over to the proper authorities, ensuring you get your money back. However, you may also want to write into your contract that you are owed more money if this situation occurs.