How Do Bail Bond Companies Make Money?

Bail bonds companies play a crucial role in the criminal justice system by providing a service to individuals who are unable to pay the full amount of their bail. When an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, they have the option to post bail, which allows them to be released from jail until their court date. However, many people do not have the funds to pay the full bail amount, which is where bail bonds agents come in.

So how does the bail bondsman make money? A bail bonds agent acts as a surety and pays the full bail amount on behalf of the defendant. In exchange, the defendant is required to pay the bail bonds agent a fee, typically 10% of the bail amount, along with any other applicable fees. The bail bonds agent keeps this fee as payment for their services. It's just a quick run down, but will go into more later. 

How do Bail Bond Companies Get Paid?

Bail bonds agents require you to pay a minimum of 10% of the bail amount along with any additional fees that apply to your case. For example, if the bail amount is $4,000, you would need to pay the bondsman $400. The bondsman makes money by working with multiple clients and receiving the 10% payment from each one. The bondsman pays the full bail amount to secure the defendant's return to court for their hearing. You must prepare for the court and then the bail money is returned after the hearing is completed, but the defendant must attend the court date. The bondsman is responsible for ensuring the defendant attends the court date, including providing transportation if necessary.

Risks When Paying Someone's Bail

When you go to a bail bond agent, the first thing they do is figure out whether it's a risk to help bail you out or if they can trust that you'll be honest with their dealings. They check things like background history, employment history, criminal history, and financial history. Usually, first-time offenders that have a low flight risk are an excellent catch for bondsmen. If they deem you worthy, they will pay off your 10% bail fee with a promise that you will pay the premium once the hearing has been completed. If a person doesn't show up to their court date, they will have to pay the full bail amount to the court, and because the bondsman paid the 10%, they are partially to blame if someone skips don't show. However, if this does happen, it gives the bondsman the legal right to arrest the person who has skipped bail. 


Collateral in Bail Bond Agreements

When a bail bond is issued, the bail bondsman may require collateral as a form of security to ensure the defendant's appearance in court. Collateral is anything of value that can be used to back up the promise that the defendant will attend all required court dates. What happens if the defendant fails to appear, the collateral can be seized and sold to cover the bail amount. The types of assets that can be used as collateral vary widely but typically include:

  • Real Estate: One of the most common forms of collateral due to its high value. This can be a house, land, or other property owned by the defendant or a cosigner. The property must have equity, and the amount of equity available often determines whether it can cover the bail amount.
  • Vehicles: Cars, motorcycles, boats, and other vehicles can serve as collateral. The vehicle must be owned outright or have enough equity to cover the bail bond amount. The title of the vehicle is held by the bail bondsman until the court case is resolved.
  • Stocks and Bonds: Financial securities like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds can also be pledged as collateral. These assets are valued based on their current market price, and the defendant or co-signer must transfer them to the bail bondsman's control until the case concludes.
  • Jewelry and Valuables: High-value items such as gold, diamonds, luxury watches, and other precious metals or stones can be accepted as collateral. The items are appraised for their current market value, and like other forms of collateral, are returned upon the fulfillment of all court obligations.
  • Electronics and High-End Equipment: In some cases, electronics like laptops, cameras, or professional equipment can be accepted as collateral, especially if they have a high resale value.

This is just a small list. There are a lot of other items that can be used as collateral and you can check that out here.

Returning Collateral

The collateral is returned to the owner once the defendant fulfills all court obligations, regardless of the case's outcome. This means that even if the defendant is found guilty, the collateral will still be returned as long as the defendant appeared at all required court dates. It's important to note that the bail bond fee (typically 10% of the bail amount) is non-refundable, but this fee is separate from the collateral itself.

Important Considerations

  • Agreement Terms: Always read and understand the terms of the bail bond agreement, including the conditions under which collateral will be returned or forfeited.
  • Value Assessment: Be prepared for the bail bondsman to assess the value of the collateral. This might include appraisals for property or high-value items.
  • Risk of Loss: The collateral can be sold to cover the bail amount, potentially at a loss compared to its market value. And you must pay the bail amount in full


So this is how bail bondsman make money. Bail bonds agents provide a valuable service by allowing individuals to be released from jail while they await their court date. By posting bail on behalf of the defendant, the bail bonds agent helps to ensure that the criminal justice process runs smoothly and that the defendant is held accountable for their actions.

If you or someone you know is in jail and needs help being bailed out, Sportsman's Bail Bonds is the place to go. We have the best agents in all of Utah to help you with everything you could need. We do our best to get you fast results with love.