Prisons are often too full to function properly. If someone is stuck on the inside where they might not have access to their lawyer or probation officer, they stand to get in a lot of trouble. When they can get out on bail, they can prepare for their court dates with the help of their families.
As a bail bond agent, you have the chance to help those people (who are eligible for bail), manage their case from the comfort of their own homes. While it may not always work out for you to get your money back, you know that you will be helping people while having a flexible schedule and earning an income.
You won’t regret taking this chance when you see just how much you can make a difference in the lives of these people, every day by going into the bail bond service. Continue reading to learn how to start a bail bond business.
Why Do We Need Bail Bonds Agents?
What is a bail bond? A bail bond allows an individual to be released from jail on the promise that they will show up for their court dates. The bail amount gets determined by the judge on whether the defendant is a flight risk. Way too often, these individual’s families can’t afford the bail amount. This is where a bail bondsman comes into play.
So, how do bail bonds work? The bail bondsman will front the bail amount for the release of the defendant. When the defendant keeps his or her promise and appears in court, the bail bondsman gets the money back. However, when the defendant refuses to show up, they may cause the bail bondsman to forfeit the bail amount. Then, the bail bondsman has to track them down.
Having this ability to keep several defendants out of jail means that jails aren’t overbooked and resources aren’t spread too thin for everyone in incarceration.
How to Become a Bail Bond Agent
There is a process to becoming a bail bondsman. The requirements in South Carolina include:
- Being 18 years of age and a South Carolina resident
- Completing a 30-hour pre-licensing course
- Taking and passing the Bail Bondsman test
- Applying for a license through NIPR
- Getting fingerprints, background check
- Filing the ‘Bondsman Initial Application Additional Questions’ form
The bail bondsman requirements include the Pre-licensing Course for Bail Bondsmen. For professional bondsmen and runners, it will be a 20-hour course. For surety bondsmen, it’ll be 60-hours.
Once completed, PSI Exams can proctor The Bail Bondsman test. The test taker has one hour to complete 60 multiple choice questions along with 10 survey questions. The test taker must get at least 70% to pass the test.
South Carolina requires you to go through the Department of Insurance to be considered a professional bondsman. Once you pass the exam you can apply for your bondsman license through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR). The insurance that you pay to become a professional bondsman will cover you when your client skips on their court hearing.
While you are handling this, you also need to make an appointment for fingerprinting. Once you have your background check completed you are one step closer to becoming a bail bond agent in South Carolina. Next, you will have to fill out the ‘Bondsman Initial Application Additional Questions‘ form and then submit it to Specialty Licensing.
As a bail bond agent, you will need access to the money to front the bail fees. Your application for bail bondsman will require that you submit proof of a $10,000 pledge.
For the first year after becoming a licensed bail bondsman, there are some stipulations to your bail bondsman abilities. All first-year licensees must operate under the supervision of a professional bondsman. Amistad Bailbonds & Associates will assign someone to you for that period of time.
Renewing Your Professional Bondsman License
Every year after becoming a bail bondsman, you will have to get your license renewed by:
- Completing an 8-hour continuing education course
- Getting fingerprinted again
- Renewing your license through NIPR
- Filing the ‘Bail Bondsman Renewal Application Additional Questions’ form
Make sure that you’re prepared to do this every June to stay compliant with your local laws on bail bonds.
Launching a Bail Bond Business
When you are considering launching your bail bond business, you need to have the right agency helping you. Amistad Bailbonds & Associates can help you become one of the best bail bond agents in South Carolina. Under our direction, we will prepare you for your licensing exam and then set up your business.
We educate potential bondsmen on:
- Setting up the business
- Maintaining accurate records
- Posting bonds and dealing with forfeiture
- Skip tracing
- Client relations
You need to get familiar with the business requirements within South Carolina. Prepare to invest a lot of time and money into the future of your business as a bail bond agent. You need to register your business name with the Secretary of State.
You will need a functioning website and business cards to promote your business. You have to be able to advertise to the families of those who can’t afford bail for their loved ones. Millions of people are invested in their social media outlets. Use this to your advantage with a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile.
Once your website is up and running, you may want to invest in PPC advertising and content that will help you rank on Google via search engine optimization (SEO). You may also want to use physical advertising for your services, i.e., billboards and bus stop benches.
You have to decide if you will be running bonds on your own or if you are going to hire someone to help you with everything that it entails.
Eventually, you will want to have an office of your own. If you have the funds, you can think about leasing an office space. This will help to give you that independence and the space you need to start making a profit.
We Can Help!
It isn’t easy to start a business, in general. Starting a bail bond business can be confusing and, at times, frustrating. Amistad Bailbonds & Associates wants to see you succeed. We want to help you make it through the application process and eventually launch a successful bail bond business.
Join our team today to get started. We look forward to working with you. We want to make your dreams of owning a bail bond business your reality.