It’s an unfortunate reality, but there will always be someone who ends up on the wrong side of the law. For them, getting out of jail becomes a priority, and in order to do that, they need a reliable bail bondsman.
Starting your own bail bondsman business is a way to set your own schedule and make extra money. It provides high job security, and with a small financial investment and a few steps, you can be on your way.
Here are the requirements on how to become a bail bondsman in South Carolina.
The Basic Requirements
In order to be a South Carolina bail bondsman, you must be show proof of being at least 18 years of age. You must also be a South Carolina resident.
There can be no felony conviction on your own record for the past ten years. There must also be no conviction for crimes that involve moral turpitude in ten years. An example of this type of crime would include fraud, immoral, or depraved acts.
Did you know there was a difference between federal and state bail bonds? Here is the information you need to know.
There is a certified course that all bail bondsmen must complete. There are offered through providers approved by the South Carolina Insurance Department.
The course is 20 hours for those applying to become a professional bondsman and includes all the information needed to pass the licensing exam.
When you have finished the course, you will need a signed certificate from the provider to submit with your application for a license.
The Bail Bondsman Exam
The next step in the process is the Professional Bail Bondsman exam. There are three parts to the test.
Insurance regulation takes up 10% of the exam, followed by 29% for the legal section, and the last 61% is used for bail bond practices and principles.
The cost of the exam is $45 and consists of 60 questions. It can be scheduled through the PSI’s website. It takes about 60 minutes to complete, and there are several locations that offer the exam throughout the state including, Charleston, Beaufort, Columbia, and Greenville.
Applying for the License
After you have passed the exam, it is time to apply for your official license. You are not required to apply immediately after the exam, but it is only valid for 12 months, so you must do it within that time frame.
You can complete the application online and must provide the following:
- The $400 licensing fee payable to the South Carolina Department of Insurance
- The certificate from the education course you completed
- An original copy of your exam
- A small passport-sized headshot
- Two fingerprint cards certified by law enforcement and filled out completely
- A current bank statement to show proof of net worth
Once the application has been submitted, you just wait for the approval!
Your Bail Bondsman Business
Once approved, you are ready to start up your business.
There is a $150 filing fee required to do business from your home county. In addition, you will need to pace a cash security deposit of at least $10,000 with the clerk of court of your home county. This amount must be maintained as a minimum in order to continue writing bonds.
For each additional county where you will do work, there is another $100 filing fee required.
If you are curious about the job, here is what an average day looks like.
Advertising Your Services
It isn’t enough that you have gone through the education and passed the exam. It doesn’t do anyone, or yourself, any good to be a bail bondsman if no one knows how to find you.
It is a crowded market in the field of bail bondsmen and you must do your part to stay ahead of the rest.
The first thing you need is great response time. Word of mouth travels fast and if you are not reliable in crunch time, the word will get out. You also need to provide exceptional customer service.
People coming to you will be stressed and confused. Use compassion and honesty to help them sort out the important details.
The next thing you need is a website. There are free website services out there that can lead you through the process of setting up a basic site. You need to provide information about your pricing, requirements and, most importantly, how to contact you.
You should also try to answer the questions people have when they find themselves in the situation of needing your services. This tends to be crisis mode for most and having information on your site to help guide them through the process will be good for your business model.
You should also include a section for referrals. If you provide great customer service, most people are willing to share that information.
Maintaining Your Credentials
Once you learn the steps on how to become a bail bondsman in South Carolina, you must maintain your license in good standing.
You are required to fulfill 8 hours of continuing education every year. You need to provide proof of the complete work to the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
Every bail bondsman’s license expires on June 30th of each year. You can renew your license online. The price for the renewal is $400. You will also need to pay the $150 filing fee annually for your home county and $100 for each additional county where you do business.
A Great Opportunity
If you are looking for a job where you can help people and also have a flexible schedule and good earning potential, then a job as a bail bondsman just might be a good fit.
There is a time investment for online education, and then an exam to complete, but then you can be on your way to fulfilling career meeting a need in the community.
Great customer service, along with client referrals, will set you on the path to success.
If you need more information on how to start your own bail bondsman business or join our team, please reach out.