Bail Bond Confessions Blog

Day 1 of Training | July 1, 2009

In my state, you are required by law to complete 20 hours of classroom training before you are allowed to take a 60 question test to become a bail bondsman.  I’m not really clear on the math seeing as how Day 1 lasted from 8:30am-5:30pm with 1hr lunch and probably 30 minutes for breaks and the last day (Day 2), is scheduled from roughly 8am-4pm with a lunch break.

Anyway, there are only 4 instructors in the state licensed to teach the class.  My instructor has been in the business for 25 years and as near as I can tell is likely a multi-millionaire.  The dude carried two cell phones and took so many phone calls during class that I lost count.  But on almost all of the calls, he put the phone into speaker mode so we could hear.  I found the majority of the calls to be quite illuminating to say the least.

There were 5 or perhaps 6 participants in my class today, depending on how you look at it.  One guy showed up late and the instructor clearly asked him if he was there for the 2 day class and went through what this means with the guy.  The guy insisted he was in the right place.  At 4pm, he discovered that he was not in the right class and had signed up for an 8 hour/1 day course for a different test.  By the time he figured it out, that other class had finished and I guess he was SOL.  The kicker?  This dude has been a practicing bondsman for 5 years!

The rest of the class broke down like this:

  • Woman who has been assisting her brother for years in his bail bonds business.  The brother has recently been subject to some Federal charges for something.  The woman has a regular day job in the Education sector.
  • Young guy who used to be a jail guard, but isn’t doing that any longer.   But his daddy is the #2 guy at the jail. Apparently, he is hooked up with some Mexicans and plans to expand into bounty hunting for them.
  • Older guy who works as a repo guy and is looking to expand into human repos (i.e. bounty hunting).
  • Guy in his 30’s, it, clean cut, ex-military.  Owns his own business, but is getting pushed out by illegal workers who can undercut his services by 70%.  Looking to change careers and figured with bail bonds, his military training will come in handy.
  • Me.

I wore jeans, a nice white button down shirt, and sport coat.  I was the best dressed guy there, and it worked out for me.  I explained to the instructor that I am looking for a mentor figure to employee me short-term (up to a year) while I learn the business.  After that, I told him I wanted to open up my own firm.   The instructor told me he would be willing to take me on. Later, I discovered that I would be like bail bondsman #120 working under him.  The guy has quite an empire.   Hmm…no wonder he is only “semi-retired” and still teaches the classes!

He also put me and the ex-military guy (I think he gets the same offer) in touch with local Surety company.  The company representative was in town and came by for a visit.  We talked a while and he told me that I could expect to make up to $100,000/yr if I listen to them and avoid dumbass mistakes.

What was interesting to me is that a month ago, when I was writing my business plan, I had a lengthy e-mail conversation with the president of the Surety company (fairly small operation).  That guy refused to answer any of my questions until I was licensed, yet here is this other guy who is practically kissing my ass and answering every question I had!  Something to be weary of, to be sure.  On the other hand, there is no law requiring me to work with only a single Surety company, so I can (and should) sign up with a couple of different ones.  In any case, the guy invited me down to his HQ (approx 2 hr. drive) next week to spend the day learning about them and what they have to offer.

The training class was at times mind-numbing boring as the instructor just read the text on the page…for roughly 35 of the 52 pages we covered today.  But then at other times, he would take a call or tell us a story based on his experiences and everyone would perk up.  We lucked out in that tomorrow he has to be in Federal court at 10am to write a $50k bond (took him 3 weeks to put it together) and he is going to take us with him so we get a “hands-on” experience!

-bbc

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