Can You Make Money by Bounty Hunting?

Make Money by Bounty Hunting

I’m the first to admit that I constantly dream of other jobs that I could do. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my job. In fact, I love my job. However, I have a wild imagination. Therefore, I’m always curious about what other jobs are like. Moreover, I know that there are a lot of fun jobs out there that you might be able to do as a side gig to make life more interesting. So of course I’ve found myself wondering, “can you make money by bounty hunting?”

Bounty Hunting Sounds Exciting

I’m a huge fan of true crime books, shows, and podcasts. Plus I also like the fictional crime dramas on TV. So, naturally I get curious about all of the jobs that show up in that media. I’ve wondered, “what does it take to be a private investigator?” As someone who enjoys online research, I’ve considered learning more about digital forensics. And yes, although I question whether or not I’d be up for the work, I’ve wondered about how to make money by bounty hunting.

What Exactly Is Bounty Hunting?

A bounty hunter helps find, detain, and transport people who have failed to appear in court for criminal charges. Typically, a person who allegedly committed a crime gets out of jail on bond. The bonds business accepts a small amount of money from the alleged criminal, usually ten percent of the bond. For example, if the court sets a $10000 bond, then a person can get out with $1000 by working with a bail bonds program. Unfortunately, sometimes those people choose not to show up in court. In that case, the bail bonds business is on the hook for the money. Therefore, they want to get those people to court. As a result, they hire bounty hunters to locate those people and bring them in to court.

Is It Dangerous?

That sounds potentially dangerous, right? After all, alleged criminals who don’t show up to court probably don’t want to go to jail. Therefore, you take risks when you show up to apprehend them. Plus, you’re still only a regular citizen working with a bail bonds business. You aren’t a police officer. On one hand, this means you can do more. For example, you may not need a warrant for search and seizure like a cop would. On the other hand, you’re limited in your own backup and protection.

This Vox article seems to give a fairly realistic picture of what it’s like to be a bounty hunter.

Can You Make Money as a Bounty Hunter Without Training?

Since there are risks, it’s important that you get proper training if you want to make money as a bounty hunter. However, what that means varies a lot from state to state. How to Become a Bounty Hunter explains:

  • There are four states that completely prohibit bounty hunting.
  • Moreover, there are four other states that have no private bail system. Therefore, there aren’t bounty hunter jobs in those states.

That leaves 32 states where you can make money as a bounty hunter. In 18 states, you’re allowed to self-regulate. In other words, you can more or less start the job. However, in the other 24 states, you need to comply with some form of licensure or training.

For example, in California prospective bounty hunters complete at least 60 hours of various certified training in order to begin to make money as a bounty hunter.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Bounty Hunter?

The aforementioned Vox article says that the couple makes 10-20% of the total bond amount. So if the court had set the bond at $10000, then they would make $1000 – $2000 on that job. They said that the highest they’ve ever made on one job was $15000. On average, they make anywhere between $3000 and $10000 per month, working full-time as a team.

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