Are you considering owning your own bail bond business? Did you know that you need a bail bond license to start? If you are looking for more information on becoming a bail bonds agent, you came to the right article.
Learning about what you need to become a bail bonds agent in South Carolina is a great first start in the right direction.
This fast-paced and lucrative industry is not only a necessary service but one where you can inspire change. This brief article will go over what you need to do to become a bail bonds agent and who you can reach out to for more information.
What’s a Bail Bond Agent?
Whenever someone is charged with a crime, they must go to court to appear before a judge. The judge will determine if that person is eligible to be bailed out of jail and if so, the judge will set the bail amount.
Sometimes, the bail amount may be too expensive for the defendant’s family to pay at all at once.
This is where you, a new bail bond agent, come in! The defendant’s family will come into your agency to receive a loan to bail out their loved one. The bail bond agent is responsible for processing the bail loan for the person charged with a crime.
Is The Bondsman Industry for Me?
Before you start your own business in the bail bond industry, you will want to make sure that this industry is the best for you. Bail bond companies deal with people who have just been arrested for all types of crimes.
Some people do not want to deal with that, but if that is something that you are interested in, then the bail bond industry may be a good fit for you. Make sure to do your research on the industry and talk to local attorneys and law enforcement.
Conduct your research on how often people post bail in your area and what your competition is doing. Doing this type of research and fostering excellent relationships will help you build resources that you can utilize later on down the road.
Bail Bond License Requirements
In South Carolina, you are required to complete a 30-hour bail bond pre-licensing course before you can sit for the exam.
You must also be at least 18 years old without any felony convictions within the past ten years. Once you complete your course, make sure you obtain a copy of your Certificate of Completion. You will need that document to apply for your bail bond license.
Take the Bondsman State Exam
Once you complete your course, you are ready to take your South Carolina bail bondsman state exam. You will need this license regardless if you are looking to work at a surety company or a professional bail bondsman.
To schedule your exam, you will have to visit the Professional Bail Bondsman website. This exam is administered by PSI, which stands for Psychological Services Inc.
The exam is computer-based, and it costs $45 to take. Once you are in the room, you only have an hour to complete the test.
Apply for Your Bail Bond License
After you successfully pass your exam, you will have to apply to the South Carolina Department of Insurance to obtain your license. You do not need to send in your application right after you pass, but you do have up to 12 months to send it in.
If you miss the 12-month deadline, you will have to retake the exam. To apply, you will have to send in a completed Professional Bondsman application along with a cashier’s check of $400.
Other items needed to obtain your license are:
- A passport-sized picture of yourself
- Certificate of Completion from your course
- Your PSI exam report
- Fingerprint cards
You also will need to show proof of your current net worth. You can show this by sending in a copy of your bank statement.
Once you send all that information in, you will have to wait to hear back about the status of your application. There is no definite turnaround time for how long this takes.
Maintain Your License
To maintain your bail bond license, you will need to pay $150 each year to your home county clerk. If you work in counties other than your home county, you will have to pay $100 each year to that county clerk.
In addition to this fee, you will have to complete at least 8 hours of continuing education. Every June 30th of each year, your license will expire if you do not renew it. You can renew your South Carolina bondsman license online.
Contact a Surety Company
When you are starting your bail bondsman business, you are going to want to reach out to a reputable surety company. When you post bail for your client, the money is typically returned to you when the client appears for their court date.
Unfortunately, there are many cases that the client will skip out on their court date and flee. When a defendant flees, the money posted for bail is forfeited, which is not good for you or your business. A surety company will be able to provide you with any additional money needed to pay off the bail.
Start Your Bondsman Journey Now!
Becoming a bail bondsman in South Carolina is not only an easy process but is a necessary one. Whenever someone needs to post bail for their loved one, you will most likely be the first one they think of, especially if they don’t already have the funds needed to bail them out.
If you are ready to start your journey to become a bail bondsman, apply with us now! We here at Amistad have the experience and knowledge to point you in the right direction and obtain your bail bond license. Our team is dedicated to helping you get started, so you can be on your way to owning your own bail bonds business.