Most bounty hunters work independently. Many run their own businesses and contract their services to bail bondsmen and other individuals. Some bounty hunters are also bondsmen, and they combine the services into one business. These bounty hunters are part timers, because most of their time is spent on bail bonding or investigating. Bondsmen either hire bounty hunters on a case-by-case basis or they hire them as full- or part-time employees. Some bounty hunters are also hired by private individuals for other services, such as recovering missing persons, finding persons who are not paying child support, and uncovering insurance fraud.
Although most bail enforcement agents own their own businesses, the majority start out working and learning the business from bail bondsmen or other bail enforcement agents. The best, most direct way to get started in the fugitive recovery field is to approach several bondsmen or bail enforcement agencies in your area. Most bounty hunters start out as research assistants or skip tracers. Skip tracers do the background and frontline interviewing to try to find the general location of the fugitive. The more training you have, the better chance you will have at landing that first job. You may have to start off in some form of law enforcement before you will be considered experienced or skilled enough to go into bounty hunting for a bondsman. Some starting points include jobs such as security guards, campus police, and researchers for private investigators.
Because most bail enforcement agents own their own agencies, they are at the top of their business with no higher position to be had. However, because of the competition within the fugitive recovery field, there is a drive to be the "best of the best" and have the highest fugitive recovery rate. Bail enforcement agents want to be able to maintain and advertise a very high rate of return, and the best and highest paid in the field are able to produce over 90 percent of the fugitives they track. Many bail enforcement agents chase the goal of perfection as strongly as they chase each fugitive.
Bounty hunters who work for other bail enforcement agents or bondsmen can work toward owning their own agency. Usually success in tracking down fugitives is the path toward the recognition and marketability necessary to start a new fugitive recovery business.
Tips for Entry
Land an entry-level job at a bail enforcement agency to learn about the field and make industry contacts.
Join the Bail Bond Recovery Forum (http://www.pimall.com/nais/bailr.html) to network with other bail enforcement agents.
Conduct information interviews with bounty hunters and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.