Individuals entering this industry should be aware of the potential risks involved. These include:
- Working within the criminal justice system: While not everyone seeking a bail bond is guilty of a crime, many clients are, or have been in the past. It can be challenging to work with this population, particularly since many may be living with mental illness or a drug addiction.
- Seizing family assets: Many family members want to do the right thing and will agree to provide collateral to secure a bond. If the accused becomes a fugitive, the bail bond company will have to take those assets, which may be a home, a car or other valuable property. In some extreme cases, the individual who put up the collateral, along with their family members, may become homeless due to home foreclosure. While this practice is necessary for the company to stay in business, it can be emotionally taxing.
- Hiring recovery agents (bounty hunters): Recovery agents have significant powers when trying to track down a fugitive. These powers include operating in multiple states and being able to use force when apprehending a fugitive. Because of this level of authority and responsibility, bail bond company owners need to be careful when hiring recovery agents and set clear parameters regarding their conduct while searching for a client.
- Financial liability: A bail bond company is financially liable for clients who don’t appear in court. The company needs to have enough cash flow to manage the cost of paying the full amount of bail and hiring bail recovery agents to locate fugitive clients.
- Regulatory compliance: Bail bond services are often tightly regulated by state laws. Owners must strive to remain in compliance with laws and regulations that can change over time.