A lot of people wonder: how much do bondsmen make from their service? To answer this question, we must understand how bail bond agencies make money and what they’re likely to take home from every client.
While impossible to provide concrete figures on how much a bail bondsman earns, we can give some estimates based on different examples to show where the money is made. To learn more, keep on reading…
How Does A Bondsman Make Money?
A bail bondsman will make money by charging a service fee. If you understand how bail bonds work, you’ll know that they help arrested individuals post bail. In many ways, the defendant is receiving a loan to cover the cost of bail.
The difference is that the defendant doesn’t necessarily have to repay all of the money. Instead, following the conclusion of their trial, the court will release the bail amount back to the bond agency. Therefore, they receive all the money they paid - but how do they make a profit?
In the above scenario, the bail bond agency has posted bail and received the full amount back. They’ve not actually earned anything - but this is where the service fee comes in. The defendant has to pay a fee to obtain the bond, and that’s how a bondsman makes money.
How Much Do Bondsmen Make Per Client?
Honestly, it goes up or down on a case-by-case basis.
The standard rate across the bail bond industry in California is a 10% service fee. This can be paid all in one go or via a 1% bail bond payment plan. If the latter is chosen, you will pay 1% of the bail bond now and then cover the remaining 9% in monthly payments. Either way, you still pay 10% total of the bail amount.
Our experience and statistics show that the average bail amount in California is $50,000. As a general rule, bail increases with the crime severity. We have seen some crazy bail sums in the past, with some amounting to well over 100 million dollars.
If we take the average amount in California - and use the average bail service fee - we can conclude that a bondsman will make approximately $5,000 per client.
Remember, this is an estimation using averages, so there could be more or less money made depending on the bail amount and service fee.
Why Might A Bail Bond Fee Be Over 10%?
10% is the lowest someone will charge for a bail bond, but it’s not uncommon to see much higher fees.
Why might this happen?
Well, a bail bond fee is how much of a bond you will pay. In some cases, 10% may be too low given the situation. More often than not, we’re talking about cases when the defendant in question is a big risk.
The bond agency wants to make money and avoid chasing payments. If their client is a high-risk individual, there’s a big chance they won’t attend court dates or may continue committing crimes when released on bail. In extreme scenarios, this could mean they flee the country or become hard to track down. As a result, the bail bondsman has no way of obtaining the full bail amount from the court. They will keep the money as the bail bondsman agreed to present the defendant in court - and also agreed that they would follow all bail conditions.
So, a higher bail fee can help to compensate the bail bondsman and mitigate losses. Here’s a quick example to make sense of this:
A defendant has $50,000 bail and they only pay a 10% fee. The bail bondsman receives a $5,000 payment, but then the defendant forfeits the bond. Consequently, the bondsman is out $45,000.
Imagine the same situation, but the fee is tripled to 30%. This is very high, but the bail bond agency deemed it necessary based on the client. Instead of a $5,000 fee, they’re paying $15,000. A large amount, but significantly less than the full bail amount. If bail is forfeited in this scenario, the bail bondsman only loses $25,000. Yes, it’s still a loss, but things have been significantly mitigated.
What Puts A Client In The High-Risk Bracket?
Clients are risk-assessed based on their criminal history. If someone has a history of committing crimes and skipping bail, they’ll be charged a much higher service fee than average.
First-offenders are likely to secure the 10% fee because there’s no history of them committing more crimes while on bail in the past. In very extreme cases, a bail bondsman may even turn down a client. This is usually only when they’ve been arrested multiple times with a clear history of being released on bail, and then not attending court appearances.
Can Bondsmen Make Money In Other Ways?
We mentioned earlier that you can get 1% bail bond payment plans - but many other bond payment plans are available. At Mr Nice Guy Bail Bonds, we provide various ways to cover the cost of bail so it’s as affordable as possible for clients.
This can open a new way for bondsmen to make money. Primarily, money is earned via interest through these payment plans. You make a downpayment and then repay the rest as a loan. Like all loans, interest is used to compensate the lender, so they can make money. In essence, the bail bondsman earns money for the service fee plus interest on finance payments.
Contact Us For Bail Bonds in California
If you need help financing bail bonds or wish to cosign a bond for a loved one, contact us today. We have a range of options for every situation and can help you get the help you need. We’re open 24/7 and cover the entire state of California!