How Much Does a Bail Bondsman Earn Annually?

bail bondsman salaryThe nation’s criminal justice system has many people working not only directly within it but also in professions associated with that system. Bail bondsmen, for instance, rely on the criminal justice system to deliver them customers in the form of men and women needing bail money after being arraigned on criminal charges. Bail bondsmen, though, don’t post bond on behalf of clients for free. Rather, bail bondsmen earn their income from the bond posting fees they charge to clients.

Bail Bondsman Fees

Bail bondsmen run companies designed to generate income from fees charged for posting bond on behalf of clients. In other words, a bail bondsman will pay your bond on your behalf to the criminal court that set your bail amount. By paying a bond on your behalf, the bail bondsman is guaranteeing that you’ll show up in criminal court as directed. However, before your bail bondsman posts your bond, he’ll charge you a fee, typically 10 to 20 percent of your bail amount.

New Bondsman Salaries

Bail bondsmen are licensed by their respective states’ departments of insurance to underwrite bail bonds. According to the Bail Yes website, new bail bondsmen can expect to earn about $25,000 annually. Bail bondsman Greg Rynerson says that newly licensed bail bond agents working for a company make from $10 to $15 hourly. New bail bondsmen tend to work for established bail companies and they’re mostly paid from commissions based on the number of clients they bring to their companies.

Experienced Bondsman Salaries says that experienced bail bondsmen can earn from $50,000 to $150,000 annually. The CareerBliss website lists a number of bail bond companies and salaries of bondsmen within them. According to CareerBliss, the salary of an experienced bail bondsman at one Los Angeles, California, agency was $131,000 while bail bondsmen at a San Jose, California, agency earned about $61,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists bail bondsmen as financial specialists, with 2011 median annual salaries of $59,810.

Bail Bondsman Careers

Most states require prospective bail bondsmen to undergo pre-licensure training and then pass an examination. Bail bondsmen are essentially loan or insurance underwriters and must be good judges of people. Risks for the bail bondsman include that bailed-out clients will take flight or “skip,” possibly leading to forfeiture of the posted bond to the criminal courts. Professional bondsmen like Rynerson also recommend that newly licensed bail bondsmen gain experience and learn the trade by working for an established bail bond company.