If you’re thinking of becoming a bail bondsman, you may have images of high-action blockbusters floating through your head. Reality is rarely so glamorous, but while being a bail bondsman may be far more mundane in practice, it’s still a high-pressure field that’s perfect for type a personalities. It even lets you do a bit of good in the world by enabling people to spend more time with their families, and giving them a chance to prepare themselves for their future court dates. Of course, none of this matters if you don’t even know how to get started, so it’s time to learn exactly how to enter the field.
This is a situation where the regulations differ by state. In fact, there are four states in the union that don’t allow bondsmen at all. Before you do anything else, you need to check out the laws within your state to see what they require from you.
One thing that nearly every would-be bondsman will have to do is sign up for the proper training courses. You may need to be in class for a certain number of hours before you’re certified, and the state may or may not require you to put your fingerprints on record. Some states will require an examination at the end of the course where you have to accurately identify or describe bail laws, and each test is scored differently according to the state.
It’s also common for new bondsman to apprentice with experienced bondsman before they’re allowed to practice on their own. The usual time frame is around six months, but some states will require you to apprentice for a year. You can do this in place of taking classes or you can supplement your classes with hands-on training, but regardless, if your state offers bondsman apprenticeships, you should go for it. There’s no better teacher than experience, and this field is risky enough that any bit of direct guidance you can get is more precious than water.
Dealing with Insurance Brokers
Once you’re ready to start working as a professional, you’ll need to negotiate with insurance companies so you’ve got coverage in case someone skips bail. There are too many risks in this profession to even think of operating without a good insurance policy; you’re putting your own money and resources on the line in the hope that you’ll be able to make a profit off of the interest of the bond, and if you don’t pick your policy just so, you stand to lose a lot of cash in the process. Do not rush into this; make sure you hire the best lawyer you can afford, and have him look over every dot on the page until you have his assurance that you’ve got a good and fair agreement.
Entering the Workforce
Once you’re cleared to work as a bondsman, you’ll need to pay into the build-up fund associated with your insurance policy. That money is there to show that you’re able to cover the cost of an unfulfilled bond, and it’s a good practice to deposit a percentage of each successful bond once your role has been fulfilled. Also note that you’ll want to make sure the account is FDIC protected, otherwise you’re on the hook for any unforeseen expenses if the place that’s holding your account experiences problems
If you follow this career path, you can expect to be making around $20,000 per year, and you’ll get more as you work your way up the ladder. This is such a specialized and risky field that you’ll be able to find steady employment for the entirety of the time that you’re in it due to low competition, and once you get into a good rhythm, you can make a fantastic life for yourself. It’s probably a bit much if you’re bad with pressure and stress, but if you like excitement; there are few professions that provide as big of an adrenaline rush as this.
Cedric Silva is a guest blogger for Bailbondsman.org where you’ll find many of the answers to questions you have about bail bonds.