How does a bounty hunter make money?

Bounty hunting is a dangerous but potentially lucrative job. To be a bounty hunter, you must be willing to put your life on the line to apprehend criminals who have skipped bail. In this job, you are essentially working for the bail bondsman. If you are successful in bringing the fugitive back to justice, you will receive a percentage of the bail money that was posted. 

Bounty hunting is not for everyone. It takes a special kind of person to track down fugitives and bring them to justice. If you are interested in becoming a bounty hunter, there are a few things you should know about the job before taking the leap. Here’s an overview of how bounty hunting works and whether or not it’s a good way to make money.

How Does Bounty Hunting Work?

When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, they have the option of posting bail and being released from jail until their day in court. Bail is typically set at a high amount to deter offenders from skipping town before their trial. If the accused does not have the money to post bail, they can contact a bail bondsman. 

The bail bondsman will post bail on behalf of the accused in exchange for a non-refundable fee—usually 10% of the total bail amount. The bail bondsman will also require collateral, such as property or jewelry, to ensure that they do not lose their investment if the accused skips town. When someone posts bail through a bail bondsman, they are essentially taking out a loan with very high interest rates. 

If the accused does not show up for their court date, the court will issue a warrant for their arrest. The bail amount will be forfeited, and the bail bondsman will be out of pocket for both the collateral and the non-refundable fee. To recoup these losses, the bail bondsman will hire a bounty hunter—essentially a private investigator—to track down and apprehend the fugitive so they can stand trial.

Can You Make Money as a Bounty Hunter?

Most bounty hunters work on commission—receiving 10-20% of the total bail amount when they return the fugitive to justice. So, if someone has posted a $10,000 bond, the bounty hunter will receive $1,000-$2,000 for their trouble.  

While this may seem like easy money, it’s important to remember that tracking down fugitives is very dangerous work—and often requires working long hours for little pay. In most cases, bounty hunters only get paid if they are successful in apprehending their fugitive; if they come up empty-handed, they walk away with nothing.

Is Bounty Hunting Worth It?

Whether or not bounty hunting is worth it depends on your risk tolerance and your ability to handle stress. If you’re comfortable putting your life on the line for a risky payout, then bounty hunting may be right for you. However, if you’re looking for a steady paycheck and 9-5 hours, you’re better off looking elsewhere. 

Looking for more bail bond resources?

We’ve got you covered. At Cowboy Bail Bonds, we help people throughout Kern County post bail fast, and we’d love to help you understand this process better. Check out our additional resources below and reach out to us if you have any lingering questions.