Most people know that a bail bondsman is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But what is their day really like? Do they go to work from 9-5? Or do they just have the best job ever and wait for people to call their phone to get bailed out, meanwhile sitting by the pool, lounging around, living a life of stress-less happiness?
The obvious answer is the right answer. A good bail bondsman will constructively provide themselves with a daily regimen for many reasons. They have a business to run and there are many things that need to be taken care of throughout the day when running a business, especially a Bail Bonds company.
A typical day starts out by arriving at the office. This is probably where things are a little different for this industry, the bail agent can set their own hours, so arriving at the office at 10am is fine. Some of the bail agents that we interviewed do the normal 8-5 or 9-5 or similar. Most of the office work is similar to other small business owners. Open the daily (junk) mail, sort between incoming money and bills. Check email and any pending emails that need follow up. After the normal office work is done, its time to get to the industry specific work.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ll have many file cabinets of files from all the people you’ve bailed out. All of these people usually fall in to a three categories; Payments pending, case pending, and exonerated.
These are bonds where something has happened that the judge has ruled that the bond no longer carries any responsibilities and all parties are no longer responsible for the defendant. Usually it happens because the case has either been dismissed or the case has finished. The bond can be exonerated if the defendant is sentenced and incarcerated in a prison because their case was concluded.
This is a bond that was written, is still in effect, and the defendant is currently paying off the premium that is charged for a bail bond. When a person uses a bail bonds company they pay a fee for their services. The state regulated fee for working with a bail bonds is 10% of the total bail at the time they bailed out. A $50K bail is $5000 to get bailed out using a bail bonds company. When the costs are that high, a lot of people usually don’t have that amount available and they work out a payment schedule with the company.
The reason a court assigns bail to a defendant is to provide a reason for them to return to court and attend their trial. Once the defendant bails out, they still have to attend a few court dates, whether to get their case dismissed or go to trial and finish the case out that way. During this time the defendant is considered “out on bail.”
Back to the file cabinets and the work needed concerning the contents of these files. All of the previous scenarios need attending to:
For the bonds that have been exonerated, there’s paperwork with the courts that needs following up. Paperwork needs to be filed with the court showing the exonerated bond. If there was collateral issued by the defendant, this needs to be returned. If property was put up for collateral, i.e. Deed on their house, paper work needs to be filed with the county recorder to take the lien off the house. Paper work needs to be filed with the Surety (insurance company backing the bail bonds company) to show that they are relieved of the responsibility.
For the bonds that have payments pending, calls to the defendant need to be made to have them come in and make payments. Payments need to be filed and recorded in the bail bond’s software that organizes the records and payment schedules for the people out on bail.
For the bonds that have cases pending; each defendant has a “next” court date and its a good idea to call them and remind them. If they miss the court date, they are considered, FTA, or failed to appear, and their bond is now in default. This becomes a big problem if the defendant doesn’t quickly report to the court and set another court date. A warrant will also go out and if the defendant gets pulled over or for any reason a police officer runs their name, they get remanded to jail again and the judge might even set a new, higher bail. If the defendant misses the court date, the bail bonds company is quickly notified and the agent is on the phone calling to find out what happened or where the defendant is. Did they skip bail and start running, what was the reason for missing the court date? One can see that its a good idea for the bail agent to make sure the people they bailed out are notified of their next court dates.
If the company has a lot of clients (people they bailed out), they are usually on the phone quite a bit for the days at the office. Then there’s the normal job of bailing people out. Throughout the day the office will receive calls either from newly arrested individuals or friends or family of the people in jail. This is their primary job. A call will be taken and if the defendant qualifies for doing business with them, they will start the paper work needed for bailing them out. Qualifying means that, the defendant and the indemnitor (additional person signing responsibility for the defendant) need to be in good standing. They need to have relatively good credit scores and the best is if they own a house with some equity in it. The qualifications are usually most important for the indemnitor, since they are signing responsibility for the bond. If the bond is $50K, the indemnitor usually needs to have collateral equaling that, unless their credit is squeaky clean, i.e. 750 fica or higher.
The bail calls can come at all hours of the day, so even when the bail agent leaves the office, their cell phone is still receiving forwarded calls from the office. People get arrested at any hour of the day and the most important task that a bail agent has is to field every call that comes in. One missed call can mean thousands of dollars to the agent. A bail agent’s job is really never done seeing that they are on call 24 hours a day. Its normal for a bail bonds company to have a few people on staff for this very reason. Imagine if you tried to run the business all by yourself, up all night dealing with bail calls or bailing someone out, then back to the office the next day facilitating all the paperwork and follow up calls, its possible that the agent wouldn’t get sleep for days. In the old days some bail bondsman would have cots or couches in their offices for late night naps. Nowadays with cell phones and better technology, agents can field calls from their house