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A Day in the Life of a Bail Bondsman

A day in the life of a bail bondsman includes being on call.

Posted 4 years ago by Jim Titus

Anyone who has watched television shows such as “Dog the Bounty Hunter” has a Hollywood-inspired glimpse into the life of a bail bondsman. Although Dog and Beth Chapman were great at what they did (they’re retired), there’s much more to the job of a bail bonds person than hunting down bail jumpers. So what exactly is daily life like for a bail bondsman?

Always on Call

A bail bonds person is on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Bail calls come through at any hour, so we are attached to our cell phones. People are arrested day and night, so it’s important we answer every time the phone rings. A missed bail call could mean a considerable financial loss to our agency.

Agencies with multiple bonds people may alternate who is on call from night to night, so that does give us a necessary break. In the past, before the days of cell phones and the technologies we have today, it wasn’t unusual to find a cot or a pullout couch for bail bonds people to use at night.

In between bail calls, we don’t just sit around watching A&E, although we do enjoy a number of their shows and will watch when time allows.  We have a business to run and managing an office is a lot of work.

What Happens in the Office

What goes on in a day of the life of a bail bondsman includes checking emails and following up on past cases.Like any other job, a normal day starts at the office. Since most bail bonds professionals set their own hours, the workday starts at different times. We open our mail, pay bills, return emails and messages, and continue with office necessities until it’s time to go home or a call comes in.

Either newly arrested individuals, their families, or their friends will call us for bail. Agents will start paperwork if the defendant and a co-signer have a relatively good credit score and/or some sort collateral, like a home. If they qualify, then the paperwork of setting up the bond begins.

Types of Bonds and What Happens Next

Following up on payment of bonds is important, and this happens in the office when we will contact defendants who are on payment plans. When a bond is written and still in effect, the defendant is responsible for paying on the bond and for various fees to the bonds company. In Michigan the regulated fee for using a bail bonds company is 10 percent of the total bail at the time the defendant bailed out. So, in order to get out of jail, it costs $10,000 on a $100,000 bond. Since most people can’t afford a one-time payment that large, they often work with us on payment plans.

Courts assign bail in order to make sure defendants return to court for their trial. Once they’re bailed out, they still must complete the full judicial process while they’re out on bail. For us, that means more paperwork.

If a bond is exonerated (meaning anyone tied to that bond is no longer responsible for the defendant) by the judge, then we must file paperwork with the court that proves it was exonerated. Collateral, if any, needs to be returned, and paperwork with the Surety (insurance company) needs to be complete.

Bonds that have cases pending need to be watched closely to make sure the defendants are in court on their assigned court date. We will make phone calls to remind them. If they miss court, their bond is in default. A warrant goes out for their arrest and  the defendant is now wanted by police.  Bail bonds agents will call to find out what happened and do everything they can to resolve the case. This is typically where Dog and Beth would intervene on the show, as bail bonds companies don’t want to be responsible in any way, especially financially, if a defendant fails to appear.


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