Bail Bond Confessions Blog

Exhausted

April 18, 2010
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So yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from a distraught mother located several states away.  Her son and two of his friends were arrested for drug possession on their way to a concert. She needed my help bonding her son out and we started with e-mail and faxing documents. I received most of the documents that I needed by dinnertime and was ready to go get the kid first thing this morning.  Last night, before bed, I ran the credit card and it was denied.  It took hours to get this resolved and I didn’t go to bed until well after midnight, but I knew I had captured the full 10% fee.

This morning, I drove out to get the kid.  He is a couple of counties away so it took about an hour.  I then waited nearly two more hours for the judge to arrive and do his thing.  My part of the paperwork took 5 minutes and I was on my way back to the parking lot.  An hour and a half later, my new client was released and I took him out to Lunch.  It was my treat, not that he could have paid if he wanted to, since all of his cash (over $300) was seized by the police because it was a drug related charge.

After lunch, we drove all over the county looking for the impound lot.  Took about an hour and we finally found it.  The GPS was less than useful in the rural county as it directed us to a big empty farm field.

Once at the impound lot, we waited 2.5 more hours for my client’s Aunt and Uncle to arrive.  They were driving up from two states away to pick him up and take him to his Mother.  It worked out because they were moving up there anyway in search of new work opportunities.  It took another hour to get home after that.  So after fees, I made just about $1,000 and it took a tank of gas plus 10 hours of my day.  Not to mention the 2-3 hours that I’ve spent on the phone with the guy’s mother. Assuring, reassuring, and answering all of her questions is a fulfilling job, but time consuming.

I found the mother and son’s extreme gratefulness quite satisfying and I hope that he keeps up his end of the bargain.  It was those kinds of thanks that reminded why I’m in this business to begin with.  I could have just taken the fee and let the kid out of jail and ditched him to make his own way home.  It would have taken maybe 3 hours of my time, but that isn’t the quality of service I try to provide to my clients and I feel it sets me apart from the competition in a very good way.

-bbc


Busy yet not busy

October 22, 2009
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My attorney initiative has been paying off…sort of.  I have as many as 4 different potential clients that are all attorney referrals.  Except that for one reason or another, none of them have turned into cash business for me yet.  One case, the family doesn’t have $$$ for the fee.  In other cases, they are either pending and/or likely to get a PR bond.

I have one today where I’m driving to an adjoining county to be on hand in a Simple Assault charge.  I don’t see how the judge wouldn’t give her a PR bond since she is very low risk, but you never know.  So I’m going to go out there “on spec” and be available if the attorney and client need me.  I suppose it is as good of a use of my time as any right now.

I’ve greatly curtailed the PAYTEL calls, which will have a decent effect on my bottom line if I can develop this non-PAYTEL related business into $$$.  I also realized that though the busiest time of year is coming up AND I will have a baby, I still need to carve out some time in December to analyze my projected budget vs. actual and create a new budget for 2010. Fun times.

Meanwhile, I’ve been fighting with Quickbooks 2010 and I think I’ve got it 90-95% setup the way my accountant wants.  I’ll need him to advise me on a few things, but hopefully that won’t be too expensive.

I’m also going to be setup for credit cards by the end of next week!

-bbc


Two steps forward, a couple leaps backwards

August 28, 2009
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I picked up 1,000 new business cards last night from Kinko’s since I ran out of my first batch.  I don’t know why I bother.  At this point, neither the insurance company nor the regulator can predict when I will receive my license.  The regulator has been having severe technical difficulties with their website and database, so they seem (unconfirmed) to have halted all appointments for the near-term.  Maybe next week…maybe longer.

Meanwhile, I’ve gained 10lbs from the stress and lack of activity.  I do nothing but sit around the house watching old re-runs and eating while I wait for the phone to ring.  At least I had a little fun yesterday.  Two different credit card processors wouldn’t take “No” for an answer over the phone.  They insisted on a face-to-face meeting to try and sell me on their services.  I figured I might as well perform some due diligence since I’ve only looked at American Spirit.  So I scheduled these two meetings back to back and I didn’t tell them that I work out of my home.  When the reps showed up, I asked if they wouldn’t mind talking to me in the kitchen while I took care of some chores.  So there they are trying to sell me on their product while I unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher, prepared some fruit for dehydration, and hand washed some dishes.  It definitely threw them off balance and helped me cut through their sales bullshit.

-bbc


Still waiting…

August 25, 2009
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I really wish I had something interesting to report. Unfortunately, nothing has changed.  I’m still waiting on the state to issue me a surety license.  At this point, I’m not even clear on what the delay is, but as far as I know there is no problem with me or my paperwork.

In other news, I’m working on my website and business cards. Still spending money and not making any money.  Seems like a formula for failure.  I’m holding off on purchasing bail bond software, accounting software, a new desk, and signing up for credit card processing.  All of that is optional and can wait until I have some income.

Very discouraged right now.

-bbc


I see London, I see France…

August 19, 2009
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So I’m this |>  <| close to getting my surety license.  It is still out of my hands and being processed by a bunch of bureaucrats.  Perhaps by tomorrow afternoon I will have the license and be able to print out the dozen or so copies that I need.

Once I have the copies, I have to take them down to my home county clerk of court and have them “clocked” in.  I get to pay them an unreasonable sum for this.  After that, I have to drive to seven other county court houses and get stamps from each of them certifying me to perform bond business in those counties.  Some, but not all of the counties, will require me to then drive to the respective county detention center to enter my contact info onto the list so inmates can then call me collect and charge me $$$ to talk to me.  Most of the counties will at least do me the favor of putting my contact info up on the “board” fairly quickly.  Not my home county.  They only update their info once a month.  So I won’t be on those boards until after 9/8. So much for the Labor Day business.

In other news, I had a mini-freakout today.  I received back-to-back contracts to sign up with a credit card processor and bail bonds software. Adding all of the monthly fees together along with my other financial commitments (phones, loans, etc.), I would be looking at having to generate 10k in bonds each month just to break even.  This probably is not a lot, heck that can be one bond or even just a fraction of one bond.  However, when you have NO INCOME and no idea how or when your income will start coming in, it becomes a little overwhelming.

-bbc


Vacation time is over

August 14, 2009
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I’m back and sort of ready to go.  Unfortunately, the state has something to say about it.  It took the past week of phone calls back and forth between me, the surety company, the state, and the surety company’s vendor to figure out what the delay is in getting my surety license.  Ultimately, I had to drive downtown and drop off a $25 check and fill out a separate application yesterday.  However, the hope is that today I will be processed and issued the new license.  Finally!

I’ve already started putting my name up in jails, but the phone has not rung yet.  I need to set myself up with some accounts for collect calls, purchase bail bonds software (Captira), get some blank contracts from my attorney, purchase a receipt book, and get setup for accepting credit cards.  Then I will feel confident about really going strong.  On top of all that, I still need my web site designer to design the website and I need to purchase Quickbooks.  A new version of Quickbooks comes out in early October, so I’ll probably hold off until then.

The zoning department approved my home office, so I’ll be getting my business licenses today.  I also need to redo my telephone line.   I’m just not satisfied with it.  Once I get the new numbers, I’ll need new business cards.  It is always something.

Yeah, I know this wasn’t the most interesting of posts, but it does illustrate just how much work and effort is involved in setting up a business before you even open your doors.  Maybe someone out there appreciates it.

-bbc


Two steps forward, and a little back

July 23, 2009
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I’ve been sitting on a bunch of paperwork to file.  I finally got started on it today and am pleased with the results.  After that, I stopped at the bank to follow up on my credit card application and checks.  They told me I was denied for the credit card.  I know we are in a tight  credit market, but this was a little unreasonable.  I have 5 figures sitting in their bank and was ready to personally cosign the application (I have excellent credit).  All I was asking for was a $500 limit on the card.  I pointed this out to the bank guy and more than hinted that I was looking for a bank that would offer me solutions to problems, not cause me problems.  I told him I was more than willing to look elsewhere for my banking solutions if they couldn’t even manage this small issuance of credit.  That worked because he called me back an hour later and told me that they will re-submit my application and then automatically approve it manually.

No such luck with the City zoning department.  It has been over a week since I applied for approval from them to open a home office.  However, the guy that can make the decision is now on vacation as of today and won’t be back until Monday.  He choose not to address my issue earlier this week when I sent him voicemail and e-mails.  I need them to give approval so I can pay for my city business license.

I’m going on vacation for two weeks, but if this isn’t resolved by the time I return, I’m going to have to meet with the mayor.

-bbc


Things to do and things done

July 18, 2009
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I spent a good portion of yesterday picking up my 1st run of business cards and doing research in the law library at our local university.  I found a book that attorneys pay to be in that lists their information.  It’s like Who’s Who of attorneys and it is organized by state/city!  This was an awesome find for me and I was able to compile a list of about two dozen attorneys and build brief profiles of each of them.  I’m going to take this information and use it for sales leads.

At the same time, however, I decided to hold off on the campaign until I have professional stationary, thank you cards, letterhead, etc printed up.  If I’m going to differentiate myself on the basis of professionalism, it doesn’t make sense to have the hodge-podge off-the-shelf stuff.  So right now I’m targeting the first week of November as the start of my campaign.  That will give me time to ease into the business and learn my way around the paperwork and courthouses.

I’m looking forward to the PBUS convention so I can check out various software packages and credit card processors.  I need to have a decent database management system and the ability to accept credit cards, right from the start.

-bbc


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