How to become a "BAIL BONDSMAN" • PUBLIC SECTION • Open Discussion • Fugitive Recovery Network (FRN) Forums
FRN Banner

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: How to become a "BAIL BONDSMAN"
 Post Posted: Sat 09 Sep 2017 08:24 
in memoriam
User avatar

Joined: Fri 02 Mar 2007 10:51
Posts: 5055
Location: South Central Virginia
FRN Agency ID #: 1474
Experience: More than 10 years
I can't recall if I ever posted this on this site before... but even so, I think it may be something that you may find interesting. Anyway, here's some food for thought... that I wrote a few years ago... I updated it with some current info... just more advice... free... and worth every penny... you decide if it can help you.


How can I become a “Bail Bondsman”?

When was the last time someone ask you… “How can I get into the bail bonds business?”

A lengthy book can easily be written answering that question. What I have written here is the short version, based on my personal experiences, just to get you started.

What I offer you here, is free advice and as I always say… “worth every penny”.

Allow me to clarify several things about me personally, so you have a clue about the quality or relevance of my advice. I am a retired OTR trucker with just under 30 years over the road. I have dealt with people on a one to one basis all my life and to that end I think I have a fair handle on evaluating people and their character. That is a very important aspect of the bonding industry. You need to be able to “read” people.

In late 1999 I was “talked into” becoming a bondsman with some good friends that were in the business. I completed all the requirements and dove in, feet first. I had no training and no help and frankly, it was a rough road for several years.

After I retired from the trucking business, 2007, I continued in the bond business and recently added Private Investigation to my shingle. So that is my experience.

I would offer the following two statements to all that enter this industry. Please keep these in mind as you move forward in your endeavor.

“This business is filled with charlatans and as such
everyone needs to be extremely vigilant.”

"Good judgment comes from experience,
and a lot of that comes from bad judgment." "Will Rogers"

Take nothing as gospel, from me or anyone else.
Check out all information given you with reputable and reliable sources.


Over the past 18 years, I have seen a very wide variety of new bondsman enter, work and often leave this business. It is a very difficult, time consuming, frustrating business that has many pitfalls. It can also be extremely rewarding. The distance between those two extremes is quite wide and often difficult to maneuver but if done with vigilance and hard work can provide you with a very interesting and profitable career.

I am sure, that any member of this industry, who has more than a few months in the business, is certainly aware of the ups and downs involved. Everyone has a story… some serious, some humorous but all interesting in their own light. Success as a bail bondsman relies on many things but I believe the focus can be narrowed somewhat for the new member. I believe there are a couple of very basic points that a new entrant into this business, needs to put in front of him and keep on the top of his list for success.

#1. Are you really serious about entering this business?
That is, I believe, the first question you need to ask yourself… it is paramount to your success. I get calls quite often requesting information on our business… most are just simple curiosity but some appear to be quite interested. Before you take the first step, you really need to think about whether you are serious and how hard you want to work to make your move into this career. Unfortunately, too many people are looking for the easy road… not just in the bail industry but in life in general. This is not an easy business and those that are not serious will not make it very far. So… look at yourself and make a very serious determination about where you want to go and how hard you are willing to work toward that end.

#2. Compliance in your AO:
Obviously, you need to have all the necessary licenses that your state requires for you to be totally compliant. This can usually be accomplished by simply taking a close look at the state organization that regulates your industry. In Virginia, it is DCJS; the Department of Criminal Justice Services, which has a website outlining all regulations, codes and requirements to enter and remain legal in our business. Most states have a similar site that will provide all necessary info. Just do a little search on your computer and the answers to that question will surface rather quickly.

***Outside of the state regulations and licenses that are needed, you will want to get involved with some sort of training regimen that can help you set up shop and give you a leg up on “how to” be a bondsman. This can be a very tricky aspect of the business. As said previously… and this is extremely important… “This business is filled with charlatans and as such everyone needs to be extremely vigilant.” My recommendation in this area is to seek out old school bondsmen in your area, bondsmen that you can determine have been around for more than a year or two… bondsmen that you personally may have seen or observed in your research since becoming interested… bondsmen that you feel are professional in appearance and also, their dealings within the bonding community… in other words, do a bit of investigating and approach those that you feel are professional and ones that you would like to immolate in your move into the business. If you approach them correctly, most of them will be willing to give you some insight and maybe provide you with training or schools that could aid you greatly in your quest. You will also find that as you move into this business, NETWORKING will become a very important aspect of the business. Associations you make along the way will always come in handy and provide much appreciated support as your career progresses.

#3. Deciding who you are going to “hook up” with:
There are basically two types of bondsman. In Virginia, you can be a “Property bondsman” or a “Surety bondsman”. The only difference being that a property bondsman relies on his personal assets to back him and the surety bondsman, in addition to needing a P&C insurance license, writes for a surety company and as such gives up some of his/her income for that right. I am a surety bondsman but that is a personal choice you will have to make on your own. There are advantages to each.

There are many surety companies nationwide and their reputations vary greatly. Ordinarily and until you have enough experience to qualify for a “direct contract” … you would write under a general agent and that is a very major decision in the overall scheme of things. I can tell you from experience… as pointed out in the quote from Will Rogers… “bad experiences often precede good judgments” and I have had a few. My present surety took years to find but so far I am quite satisfied. That may change tomorrow but so far, so good. I will not mention names because you need to do the research on that… no easy answers in that direction.

#4. Hanging out the “Shingle”:
Once you have decided that you are serious; once you have become compliant by obtaining the necessary licenses; once you have decided where you want to operate and the type bondsman you wish to be… and once you have “hooked up” with whomever you choose to align yourself with… you move to the “setting up shop” faze.

I will tell you, in my experience, all you really need is a cell phone, paperwork supplied by you and/or the surety if you go in that direction, a decent automobile and some professional business cards. I would probably invest in a very professional set of magnetic signs for your vehicle. You then hit the streets.

I have seen many new bondsmen rush out… open an office, stock it with furniture and even a phone answering secretary… stick up some very expensive billboards, run expensive ads in the phone books in their AO… and then sit and wait for the phone to ring… then, after maybe a year… after they have gone through a ton of money… they shut the doors and tell everyone that business sucks and it was someone else’s fault that they didn’t make it. Well, take it from me… doing all this and then simply waiting for the phone to ring is not how you make it. You all should be aware of the “KISS” principle… “keep it simple, stupid” … will work 99.99% of the time.

That is not to say that if you have the money and you want to throw a lot of it at your career… go ahead… set all that up, but sitting and waiting for the phone to ring is probably not gonna happen and to be very honest… you really do not need all that to succeed. “Wait till you’re in the chips before you branch out.”

What I did was go to every jail, every courthouse, every jurisdiction and try to put my name where it was legal to do so (laws pertaining to where you can hang out and what you can do in terms of cards and advertising vary greatly by not only different county jurisdictions but states as well). Research the laws as they pertain to your AO and abide by them to the letter. You will see other bondsmen that do not follow directives… you cannot change their habits but you can be honest and compliant in your actions… this is often very frustrating but trust me… in the long run you will be better respected and accepted where it counts.

In the early years and even now, I go to the local courts and just sit quietly in the back listening to cases and observing procedures. You ordinarily cannot solicit inside the courthouse but if you are approached by a client, you can take it outside to continue the business. I often wear my DCJS ID card that identifies me as a bondsman, that is usually legal. I also have a jacket with the words “BAIL BONDS” printed on the back… sometimes I sit on the second row from the front and my back is visible to all behind me… that may not be legal in some jurisdictions… I only offer this as a tool that may or may not work in your local.

#5. Maintaining a professional “image and attitude”:
Recently, at a conference I attended for NABBI (National Association of Bail Bond Investigators) I was asked to give a talk on “Image and Attitude”. It didn’t take me a long time to put that little talk together. I think, in the overall scheme of things, this is probably the single most important aspect of success in this and frankly, any personal business that you decide to enter.

I won’t spend a lot of time getting into the details of image and attitudes… I will simply try to point out a couple of key points… IMHO.

Your Image: When you are viewed by the public; your clients, the magistrate, the judge, the attorney, the courts or by anyone in life in general or your professional connections; the first thing they see is what determines their immediate assessment of you and what you stand for as relates to your business with them. Their first impression of you will be there forever and sets the stage for your reputation.

That’s a mouthful but extremely important and as said… is probably the single most important aspect of your reputation in this business.

Image is formed by so many aspects of life that cataloging them is rather difficult… how you dress, how you comb your hair, your speech… look in the mirror before you step outside and ask yourself… “Would I be impressed if I were to meet this person on the street”?... if you hesitate to answer that positively… you may want to spruce up a bit…

Your attitude: How you present yourself, the way you stand, the tone of your voice, the look on your face… the smallest of gestures that you make in your approach to anyone… will be immediately observed and cataloged by the person you are approaching… it is not even a conscious thought, it is automatic and takes place by everyone when meeting or observing another, whether in business or simply in you first meeting.

I have tried to provide some short, key points that may help you move in the right direction toward a rewarding career in an unusual business.

Take your time, consider all options… decide if you’re serious, check your compliance, hook up with the right people, keep a good attitude and image and open shop in a realistic manner.

This is not a complicated process but one that requires diligence and persistence toward a goal of being successful. You can do it if really want to…

Good luck.

Bill Marx, Sr.

DCJS: 99-176979
Cell: 434-294-0222

"Endeavor to Persevere" "Lone Watie"

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that , comes from bad judgment" "Will Rogers"

 Post subject: Re: How to become a "BAIL BONDSMAN"
 Post Posted: Fri 17 Nov 2017 15:00 
Advanced Poster
Advanced Poster
User avatar

Joined: Thu 06 Jul 2006 14:22
Posts: 3982
Location: Maryland and Virginia
FRN Agency ID #: 455
Experience: More than 10 years
Nice piece of work Bill.


R.E. "Scott" MacLean III

"Leaders are like Eagles, you never see them in a flock, but one at a time"

Chesapeake Group Investigations, Inc.
Chesapeake Bail Bonds
301-392-1100 (fax)
301-392-1900 (Office)

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 

FRN Forums » PUBLIC SECTION » Open Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Fugitive Recovery Network

FRN Forum
Forum FAQ