Be your own boss as a bail bonds agent! Maybe you’re looking for a new career, and becoming a bond agent is a good fit for your skillset. Perhaps it’s time to set up your own agency with the experience you’ve built working for someone else.
No matter why you decide to build a career as a bail bondsman, some helpful tips can boost your success. It’s not all about tracking down a defendant who failed to show up for court or learning about South Carolina law. Running a successful bail agency requires business knowledge, customer service, and management skills, too.
What do you need to know for success as a bail agent? Check out these seven tips.
1. Make Sure Your Qualify
Are you old enough and have the proper training to be a bail bonds agent? If not, do the work to legally qualify for this profession before setting up an agency.
In South Carolina, a bail agent must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Be a resident of South Carolina
- Have a good moral character
- Not have a felony or crime involving moral turpitude within the last ten years
- Have sufficient training, knowledge, or experience to satisfy the director of insurance issuing bond licenses
- Necessary competency to fulfill the responsibilities of a bail agent in South Carolina
If you meet these requirements, enroll in the pre-licensing examination required by the state. Passing this exam (and meeting all requirements) allows you to become a licensed bail agent.
2. Get Licensed and Insured
Starting and continuing your bail bonds agent career includes maintaining proper licensing and registrations. In South Carolina, bond agents must operate within the law. Make sure your licensing applies to the type of bonds your agency issues and services you provide, including:
- Professional Bondsman
- Surety Bondsman
- Runner Bondsman
Obtaining your licenses requires an application, paying the fees, and following all instructions to maintain those licenses over time.
Running a bail bond agency can be a risky business venture. You’ll also need liability insurance to cover your business operations. If you have employees, consider worker’s compensation insurance, as well.
As a bond agency, your company must also have an insurance company to underwrite bail bonds. Partner with a reputable company that will take you on as a new agency in the area.
3. Find a Good Location
Generating business and serving clients will be easier with a location with proximity to the local jail system. No matter which county (or counties) you serve in South Carolina, having easy access to clients and the courts can give you an advantage over other bail bond services in your area.
Consider security, too. Walking across the street to handle clients at the jail can put you in high-crime areas of town. Your office location should protect you and your staff while delivering a reputable appearance to potential clients.
4. Set Up Your Business Model
Before accepting clients, make sure you define your business model and structure your processes. Efficiency can help you make more money while keeping track of clients as they flow in and outside the jail system.
Think through questions like:
- How will you find and process clients?
- Will you hire a receptionist, or are you a one-person agency?
- If you hire employees, what is your payroll system?
- How will you collect payment or collateral from clients?
- What is your filing system?
You’ll also need to register as a business and pay the appropriate taxes. An accountant and a lawyer can help you keep track of every penny and maintain legal operations for your bail agent business.
5. Market Your Business
Make sure defendants know you’re open for business! Bail bond agents must follow the law about how they can market their services. However, starting with the basics can help you spread the word and begin serving clients.
Develop marketing collateral, including:
- Signage on your location
- A helpful and user-friendly website
- Business cards
- A 24/7 phone line
Being available is one of the best ways to get more business. Bail agents who are available 24/7 can respond quickly to people in need of bail services after late-night or weekend arrests.
Maintaining a successful bail bond business requires a steady flow of new clients. Repeat offenders won’t cover your expenses or help you make money long-term. Follow the law and market your business to build a reputation for serving clients with compassion and efficiency during the bail process.
6. Maintain Excellent Records and Customer Service
Your business operates better with good records and excellent customer service. From working with repeat clients to tracking down FTAs (Failure To Appear), your business succeeds when you have an excellent filing system and plenty of details to keep up with clients.
We hate to see a client need bail bond services for more than one offense, but it’s not uncommon. When you serve someone well, they’re more likely to call you again when they need help getting out of jail—instead of choosing another bail bond agent for help.
7. Stay Up To Date
New best practices and ongoing training can help your bail bond agency stay active and serve more clients. When laws change about how hail agents can operate or apply fees, you must comply or risk losing your ability to operate legally.
Ongoing training is smart for any business. Partner with an agency that helps bail bond companies grow their businesses and stay up to date on current rules, regulations, and best practices. When you build a reputation as the best bail bond business in the areas you serve, new clients will continue to request your services after an arrest.
Become a Successful Bail Bonds Agent With Expert Help
Transitioning from another agency to starting your own business is easier with the right expert help! Build a successful career as a bail bonds agent with insights, training, and guidance of Amistad Bailbonds & Associates.
We help bail agents start and grow agencies throughout South Carolina. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!