Are you considering setting up a bail bond company? If so, you might be wondering about the requirements for legally operating as a bail bonds business. Let’s take a brief look at how to start your own bail bond company.
Business Registration and Licensing
All businesses are required to register to be able to do business within a state. This is a requirement that applies to all businesses, large and small, no matter the industry. And the bail bonds industry is no exception. Inquire at your local legislature about the requirements for business registration – this often consists of filing the requisite paperwork and the payment of registration fees. Registered businesses will also be filing business taxes, which means that you will also be getting a separate TIN for your bail bond company.
Licensing requirements, on the other hand, are industry specific. Not all businesses are required to get a license to be able to operate, and the licensing requirements for bail bond companies vary depending on what state you’re in. That is, some states require bail bond agencies to be licensed in order to operate, some states do not require a license although they do regulate the operations of bail bond companies, while some states outlaw bail bond practices altogether. You would need to do independent research on the requirements in your state regarding licensing processes.
In general, however, a license is issued when the bail bond agent meets certain requirements, including suitable age (18 years old and above), a high school diploma, a clean record, and financial capacity. In some states, they also require the person to have obtained appropriate training, or to have attended requisite classes, and to pass the requisite exams. Also, states may require you to be insured with an insurance agency that covers bail bond agencies, to give better assurance of your capacity to meet the financial requirements that are par for the course in the regular operations of a bail bond company.
Build Your Business
The requirements above of business registration and licensing requirements are the basic foundations upon which you can build your bail bond business. Ready to go into operation? Start with setting up your office, having the necessary forms prepared, and then decide on your manpower requirements. The latter may include hiring office staff for administrative and accounting work. You may also begin to network with bail recovery agents or what has traditionally been referred to as bounty hunters whom you can tap should you need their services.
Then you can begin to build your business. This phase is all pretty much up to you and how you play it. Should you advertise? Should you keep your offices open 24 hours? Do you need to network with court and law enforcement personnel? Are there advertising spaces in detention centers? It’s also a good idea to find office space located near courthouses and detention centers to make things more convenient for you and your clients.
Stay on top of legal requirements and case developments
You might think that the bulk of your work will center around finding and signing on clients, and liaising with the courts when it is time for you to put up surety bonds on your client’s behalf. But a lot of your efforts are likely to go into staying on top of administrative details. When the state explicitly regulates your business, you will want to be informed quickly should there be any changes or modifications in the rules and regulations that directly affect your operations; for instance: licensing requirements, state-mandated fees, and insurance requirements.
On the other hand, you will also want to keep yourself updated regarding the progress of the court cases of your clients, whether or not your client is adhering to all the conditions of his bail, and even making sure that your client appears in court for all his trial dates. Should your client break the condition of his bail or skips town and disappears, you will also need to be able to act quickly, perhaps requesting time from the court to have the chance to bring your client back to the court’s jurisdiction before the bond is declared forfeited.
Resolve possible difficulties as quickly and as efficiently as possible
There are inherent risks to operating a bail bond company, which includes the possibility that your client will jump bail. When that happens, you can act quickly to try to bring him back to the court’s jurisdiction as quickly as possible – you can either speak to your client yourself and appeal to his good reason or hire a bounty hunter to do the work for you. In any case, should the surety bond you put up be considered forfeit, there is also the added responsibility of seeking reimbursement from your client, as well.