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Protecting Your Business: How to Get Collateral for a Bail Bond

40% of Americans say they can’t afford an emergency expense of $400 or greater. The average bail in America is set at $500. That means a large number of Americans can’t afford bail if they’re arrested.

Bail bonds are a way for these people to secure their release. If you’re in the bail bonds business, you have to secure your risk. Bail bonds aren’t charity, after all.

You have to collect collateral to protect your risk.

Not sure how to get it? Read on to learn all about collecting collateral to protect your bail bond business.

What is a Bail Bond?

The bail bond business can be a lucrative one, but it depends on how you manage your money.

Here’s how a bail bond works.

A judge sets a bail amount when someone is arrested and charged. The arrested defendant has the option of paying the full amount themselves. If they can’t afford bail, they can seek a loan from a licensed bail bondsman.

A bondsman charges 15% of the total bail upfront. The bondsman then pays the court the bail amount. This secures the defendant’s release given they’ll show for their trial date.

Should the defendant return, the bail bondsman receives the full bail amount. The 15% fee collected is profit.

If the defendant does not return, the court keeps the bail amount paid by the bondsman.

How Does Collateral Work?

Should a defendant skip the trial and run on their bail, you use the collateral to cover the bail amount.

You’re in the business of offering loans to people who can’t secure their release from custody. Unfortunately, a lot of your business is with people of modest means.

What is collateral?

Bail bond collateral is how you protect your business. You hold goods and property that cover the bail amount if the defendant skips their court date.

The amount of collateral you collect needs to cover the full amount of the bail. You protect yourself from any possible losses. You also protect your profit made from the 15% initial fee.

What Makes Good Collateral?

Understanding how to find value in collateral helps protect your business. While people will offer anything they have to get out of jail, you must limit what you accept.

The key is to take possessions that hold real, monetary value.

Bank Account

There is nothing better than cash to protect your bond business. Bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards bring the funds you need to cover skipped bail.

Cash is always king. The unfortunate part is that most seeking a bail bond won’t have enough to cover a significant amount.

Real Estate

Real estate is a great piece of collateral. Homes or commercial buildings carry a real, assessable value.

Livestock and other animals are also considered real estate.

When someone offers real estate as collateral, the judge has the defendant place the deed in a trust. Should the defendant not show up for court and skip bail, the held property is seized and sold.

While this process can take weeks to complete, the property must be 150% of the remaining bail.


You can accept the value of someone’s investments. Stocks and bonds net great value. When you take stocks and bonds, the defendant must sign ownership over to you.

At the case’s completion, you reassign the stocks and bonds to the defendant.


Ownership stakes in businesses can serve as collateral for a bail bond. For example, if the defendant owns a restaurant, they can offer the title and licenses to get a bond.

You should note that a co-signer is also able to put up their business or holdings, too.


Cars and other vehicles make great collateral because they have resale value. They are easily collected. Much in the same way real estate works, the defendant will place the deed into a trust.

Rather than collect and hold the car, you hold the title of the car. If the defendant skips on their bail, you seize the car and sell it off to pay what’s owed to the court.


Diamonds and other precious stones make for fantastic collateral. They hold high resale value. They’re easily sellable.

The same goes for precious metals like gold and silver.

You hold the jewelry in a secure location until the case’s resolution.

Other Pawnables

This category falls into other possessions that carry monetary value. Antique furniture, stamp collections, baseball cards, etc. fall into this category. So do large electronics like televisions and video game systems.

Do You Need to Take Collateral?

You’ll find that many first-time offenders in Virginia receive an Unsecured Bond. This means they sign a contract guaranteeing their appearance in court.

When you’re a licensed Virginia bail bondsman, you deal in secured bonds. While you’re free to work out a payment agreement with any defendant, a collateral requirement locks down your investment.

Make Collateral Work for You

Becoming a bail bondsman is a big investment. You won’t make money if you agree to a payment plan and the defendant skips town. Remember, you’re dealing with people who may have broken the law.

There’s a chance they could run out on their bail and you’re left holding the bag. Don’t let that happen. You have to collect collateral.

Items like real estate, vehicles, and expensive electronics cut your risk and protect your investment.

Is it time for a new career? If you live in Virginia, consider the profitable bail bonds business. Click here to start your next journey.