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Bail Bondsman vs Bounty Hunter Career

Updated on December 14, 2010

Many people believe erroneously that a Bail Bondsman and a Bounty Hunter are the same thing. They equate the terms and believe they are one and the same profession. The confusion comes from the proximity in which they work and the fact they both have arrest authority. In essence they each have their own job description and duties and different licensure requirements and laws to regulate them. Although It is possible to be both a bondsman and a bounty hunter, that is seldom the case.


Bail Bondsman are also known as Surety Agents an are more of an insurance agent. They are licensed and regulated through the Department of Financial and Consumer Services and are backed by an Insurance Company unless they are Professional Bail Bondsman in which case they pledge their own assets and don't need an Insurance company's backing. Either way a bondsmans job is to post bail for a premium to get one that has been incarcerated released from jail. They carry the financial responsibility and guarantee the courts, with backing from their underwriter, the defendants appearance at every required hearing, otherwise they risk losing the total amount of the bail. A bail bondsman as part of his duties can and does perform his own pickups when his defendants fail to show up in court. It is advantageous for the bondsman to do so rather than to contract an outsider such as a bounty hunter to locate and apprehend the skip. Bail bondsmen have complete authority over their own defendants that have failed to show up in court and unless they have run out of leads in going after someone they normally pursue their own fugitives. Sometimes at this phase the bondsman for this purpose might be compared to the bounty hunter and might sport the tools of the trade such as the badge, bail enforcing apparel and equipment. In all reality most of a bondsman's time is spent in an office fielding phone calls, negotiating bail, running back and forth to the jail to post bonds, and to the court house to review court files.

There are times when attemps to locate a fugitive are fruitless. You run out of leads and so you may turn for help to a bounty hunter or you pay the bond to the court. On small bonds and well secured bonds the loss is not major, it is considered the cost of doing business. However on large bonds where even converting collateral you may have for security on a bond may cost you money, an all out campaign is launched to try and apprehend the fugitive. Posting rewards on sites for wanted fugitives can bring in solid leads and with it solicitation from all sorts of bounty hunters.



Bounty Hunters are also known as bail enforcement or fugitive recovery agents . They offer their services to the bail industry. For about 10 % of the total amount of the bond a bounty hunter they will attempt to locate and apprehend the bail bondsman's skip. Alot of their work comes from wanted fugitive websites such as where bondsmen post their skips and freelance bounty hunters are able to see who is wanted, the reward being offered and the underwriting bondsman's information. The bounty hunters job is to locate and apprehend fugitives. They invest in the search their own money and resources with the hope of locating and apprehending the fugitive so that they can collect their bounty. Note that bounty hunting laws are in place in all states and the laws are as varied as the states themselves. See Helpful link

These are the guys most likely seen in combat gear. Since it is a dangerous job they take every precaution and make sure they are well protected, hence the camoflauge, boots, gloves, as well as all the self defense equipment available out there. Not all dress like Dog the Bounty Hunter but I have seen some pretty darn good replicas.


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      rbchurst 6 years ago

      They both sound like equally entertaining jobs. The Bail Bondsman a little less so. I wonder what kind of self defense equipment a Bounty Hunter would need or is allowed to use. It would be interesting to look into.

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      Bail Up ! 6 years ago


      In most states you need a license to conduct business. Every state has different licensing requirements therefore you need to find what those are through your states licensing division. For Florida the answer to your question would be yes. Yes you need to take a test and yes you need to pass credit check.

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      COURTNEY 6 years ago