Bounty hunters salary

Bounty hunters salary DEFAULT

Bounty hunting is the profession of pursuing and apprehending fugitives who have skipped bail or have shirked a criminal trial or hearing. We will tell you Bounty Hunter Salary here. It’s justice, and it pays, but does it pay enough? The question of what a bounty hunter earns ought to be preceded by where they can even undertake their profession, to begin with, and in the United States, about four states have banned bounty hunting altogether. Oregon, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois do not endorse the transactional structure in which bounty hunters make their living. In contrast, the rest of the United States only endorses it subject to legal contingencies prevalent in each jurisdiction.

Keeping in mind that, it should be obvious that the hiring state partially determines a bounty hunter’s chances of earning below, above, or within the national average pay and how legal contingencies prevail upon the profession in that state. Legal contingencies may include criminal justice procedures, license laws, tax laws, bail laws, credit laws, and even restrictions necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which may interfere with a bounty hunter’s liberties travel or interact with leads. 

Bounty Hunter Salary

Despite the interplay of factors such as legal contingencies on salary prospects, it is generally accepted that bounty hunters make between ten and twenty-five percent of the bail amount for which the fugitive assigned to them is liable. According to Payscale, the current average raking for bounty hunters in America is about $50 565 per annum.

Although that amount tells us what a bounty hunter typically makes, it is not inherently considerate of your average bounty hunter’s costs unique to each case undertook. So it might not necessarily reflect whether or not a bounty hunter has enough profit at the end of a case to finance reasonable living standards. The kinds of costs that a bounty hunter would have entertained to fulfill their mandate take effect as soon as the bounty hunter is assigned a case. Hence, it is also worth mentioning that whatever money a bounty hunter has in escrow after a mandate might have to be reserved for financing some of the costs of a future mandate. So the compulsions of fiscal strategy might tighten a bounty hunter’s wallet all the more.

The bounty hunter is assigned cases by a bondsman or a bail bonds agency. Unless mandate costs are covered somehow by the hiring party, the bounty hunter would be wise to assume responsibility personally because failure to perform with accord to good merit may brand the hunter uncompetitive in their market. That places the bounty hunter at a loss insofar as bargaining power and assignment prospects. That would only force more strain into their fiscal position. 

The typical bounty hunter must, once in possession of all legal rights (a requirement which may come at some cost in some states where administrative acts are necessary on the part of the bounty hunter), must execute the mandate. The bounty hunter’s mandate may include skipping tracing, interviewing leads, physical pursuit, capture, and transportation of the fugitive, with some cooperation and support from the police service depending on the complexity, danger, and logistics of the case. Some parts of the mandate, except capture and retrieval, are not always necessary, but every part of every mandate is laden with cost potential.

Skip tracing is the part of the mandate where the bounty hunter investigates the logistics surrounding the fugitive’s evasion of the relevant juridical process to determine or approximate their location. It involves the use of courthouse records, phone number databases, financial activity, administrative activity, criminal background checks, cyber activity, debt records, tax records, and travel records to infer the result of detected or movements. All this activity might easily impose administration costs, internet costs, software subscription costs, telecommunication costs, travel costs, and labor costs in instances where third-party expertise is necessary.

The bounty hunter might interview leads to canvass for testimonial information to plot out priority areas for inspection. Only once a definite location is determined can the bounty hunter undertake the physical pursuit of the fugitive, capture them and transport them into the custody of the hiring state. Travel costs, telecommunication costs, and even equipment costs resultant of the need for research, tracking, and self-defense devices are a feasible specter fit to haunt any hunter’s lot. That is, without mentioning the possibility of medical costs in cases of significant physical danger. 

In light of everything discussed, it should follow that a bounty hunter’s pay is a toy of chance, and one can only make the best of it depending on how they play. That is to say, how well they maneuver financially between cases and how they finance each mandate, conscious of the impact on their unburdened income. The impact of costs on unburdened income depends on too many factors to put down to a general maxim, but if you’re nuts about justice, you’ll be gladder for your dollar than the next guy- however little or great.

Also read Bounty Hunter Job Description, Duties, Salary


Bounty Hunter Job Description, Career as a Bounty Hunter, Salary, Employment

Education and Training:— No formal degrees required. Certification/ licensing may be necessary in some states.

Salary: Median— $62,500 annually

Employment Outlook:— Fair

Bounty hunters, officially referred to as bail enforcement agents or fugitive recovery agents, capture fugitives in return for a monetary reward which is known as the “bounty”. These unofficial law enforcement agents track down defendants who have failed to appear in court. Their primary responsibility involves executing warrants on people who have skipped or forfeited bail. Bounty hunters work independently, and are often hired by bail bond companies in the case of disappearance of any of their clients.

The profession of bounty hunting is legal only in the Republic of the Philippines, and the United States. In other countries, standard law enforcement agencies are employed to track down and return suspects.

Bounty hunters play the role of police authorities when it comes to capturing bail jumpers and ensuring their appearance in court. They are an important part of the bail bonds system, and in turn, of the justice system of a country.

Bounty hunting, as a profession, involves a number of responsibilities. Bounty hunters have to conduct investigations, perform surveillance, make arrests, and transport prisoners to the proper authorities. The job also requires one to research the state laws and regulations, and work in accordance with those.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to enter the profession of bounty hunting, candidates are not required to possess any specific academic qualification. However, it is advisable to opt for formal education in the field of liberal arts, criminal justice, or business.

Although formal degrees are not mandatory, a number of states require bounty hunters to possess licenses. There are some state-certified schools that offer certification courses to bounty hunters. In addition, it is extremely important to have a thorough understanding of the state laws. Each state has its own specific laws on bail enforcement and bounty hunting. Prior to applying for licensing, it is necessary to know the criteria for application in that state. For instance, in some states, it is not legal for bounty hunters to carry fire arms. Some other states require bounty hunters to wear visible identification tags. Still others, like Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Oregon, consider bounty hunting to be illegal.

Another important aspect of the profession is training. Those wishing to become bounty hunters need to have some kind of martial arts and self defense training. One should learn how to use a fire arm. It is also a good idea to have some knowledge about security measures and negotiation tactics.

Getting the Job

Getting the job of a bounty hunter may prove a little tricky. Since they are mostly recruited by companies in the bail bonds industry, it is a good idea to first approach such an organization to act as a mentor. Local companies may even advertise job openings through job portals on the Internet.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement in this profession comes with experience. It is usually after years of work that one becomes familiar with all the processes of tracing fugitives and apprehending them.

In order to progress in their careers, bounty hunters must maintain friendly relationships with others in the bail enforcement profession. It is extremely necessary to market one’s services since bail bond companies only trust bounty hunters they know well and are comfortable with.

Opting for online courses in bounty hunting can also prove beneficial. These courses provide information on the various techniques of locating fugitives, like “skip tracing”. Attending these courses will make one aware of the more effective ways of conducting background checks, obtaining phone records, and tracing license plates.

Employment outlook for bounty hunters is expected to be fair in the next ten years. They are an important part of the state’s justice system, and help apprehend the large number of fugitives who regularly skip bonds and try to flee the authorities. Job prospects are likely to be favorable for those having formal certification.

Working Conditions

Bounty hunters lead an adventurous life. They have to travel frequently and work odd hours. The job also has an element of danger attached to it. Bounty hunters are required to bring to justice fugitives who are considered armed and dangerous. This job role calls for a great deal of courage and cleverness, and also expertise in self defense techniques. Bounty hunters may have to work in all kinds of weather conditions, and be prepared to chase after a fugitive any time of the day or night.

Where to Go for More Information

United States Professional Bail Bond Investigators Association
P.o. Box 7819
San Antonio, Texas 78207

National Association of Bail Enforcement Agents
P.O. Box 129
Falls Church, VA 22040-0129

Fugitive Recovery Agents Association
P.O. Box 323
Lorain, Ohio 44052

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

Bounty hunters employed by bail bonds companies usually charge a contingency fee for apprehending a bail jumper. This fee is about 10% of the bail bond’s face value.

Entry level jobs in this profession report median annual salaries of $25,000 in the United States. However, with experience, bounty hunters have been known to earn $100,000 annually.

Bounty hunters do not enjoy most of the regular benefits that are offered to salaried professionals. However, those employed by an organization may be entitled to paid leaves, vacations, and life insurance and medical insurance coverage.

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How Much Money Do Fugitive Recovery Agents Make?

A fugitive recovery agent tracks, captures and returns fugitives to bail agents.

A fugitive recovery agent (also known as a bail enforcement agent or a bounty hunter) is an unofficial law enforcement agent who tracks, captures and returns fugitives to bail agents in exchange for a percentage of the bail money, otherwise known as the "bounty." Fugitive recovery agents must meet their home state's minimum requirements for education and training, and often must be licensed and bonded in their state to operate legally.

Percentage Payments

Fugitive recovery agents usually earn a percentage of the total bail owed by the fugitive. Bail amounts range between $500 to $1,000,000,000, with the average bail amount in the United States around $4,000. Most bail agents pay 10 percent for fugitive recoveries within the same state, 20 percent for recoveries outside the state (but still within the United States), and 35 percent for recoveries involving international travel.


A bounty hunter's starting salary for the first year of work is about $25,000. The median income for fugitive recovery agents nationwide is $62,500, according to Become a Bounty Hunter. With additional education and training, a new fugitive recovery agent can increase his annual income to more than $100,000 over time. Because few bonds in the United States are higher than $100,000, a bounty hunter should expect to make several recoveries per month to sustain an average income.

Working Conditions and Job Risks

Bail enforcement agents work odd and long hours, and are required to travel frequently in pursuit of fugitives. Fugitives are often armed and dangerous, and bounty hunters must be prepared to defend themselves from violent or aggressive targets. Bounty hunting is illegal in many countries outside the United States, so international recoveries carry an additional risk of injury or imprisonment by foreign authorities who may view the agent's recovery of the fugitive as kidnapping.


Costs for initial training, certification and licensing average about $1,000 in most states. Subsequent training and certifications vary in cost depending on the program, but some bail enforcement agencies may cover the costs of additional training for their employees. Travel, lodging, food and other expenses related to fugitive recovery are usually reimbursed by the bail agency once the fugitive is returned and is officially in the state's custody.


So, you’re interested in how much a bounty hunter makes? Unfortunately, due to the nature of the career, the actual salary of a bounty hunter can vary dramatically – and will depend a lot on the bounty hunter’s level of training and time commitment to the craft. In a nutshell, a bounty hunter’s salary can be as low as $5000/year to well over $200,000/year and beyond.

A person is arrested, and a bond is set by the court depending on the nature of the crime. If the individual can come up with the cash, he/she is released on condition that they appear for their court date. Many individuals who are arrested don’t have the money to make bail, so they call a bail bond company. The bail bond company pays the court whatever the bail is set at, and the prisoner is released on condition. Their fee is 10-20% of the bonded amount. If the individual does not show up for their court date “jumps bail”, the bond is forfeited. A bail enforcement agent is then hired to track down and apprehend the subject. The fee is 10-20% of the total bonded amount.

For Example: Let’s say the bail bond agent pays $40,000 for their client to make bail. Then, the person doesn’t show up for their court date. A Bounty Hunter “Bail Enforcement Agent is then called in to find the fugitive. Upon capture, the individual is brought back to jail. 10% or $4000 of the total bonded amount is earned.

Just by finding a fugitive and taking him back to jail can yield several thousand dollars in a single day! If you’re tough enough and can handle the heat, then why not give it a try. You’ll never know if you’ll like the business if you don’t give it a shot.

If you talk to any bounty hunter “bail enforcement agent”, they will all say the same thing. If you try it once, you’ll never want to stop.

A bounty hunter, or fugitive recovery agent, is a person who apprehends fugitives in exchange for a monetary reward “bounty”. If a defendant fails to show up for a court appearance, he is then considered a fugitive. When this happens, the bail bond company will hire a bounty hunter to recover the fugitive. The term “Fugitive Recovery” Agent is preferred by those in the industry over the more derogatory “bounty hunter” because the term “bounty hunter” conjures up images of the old west with its “dead or alive posters” and rewards offered in exchange for the fugitive. A fugitive recovery agent works for a percentage of the bail amount, not a reward. Other names include Bail Agent, Bail Enforcement Agent, Bail Officer, Fugitive Recovery Agent, Fugitive Recovery Officer, or Bail Fugitive Recovery Specialist.

In order to become a bounty hunter, you must have experience with how the bail bonds industry works. In addition, the bounty hunter must be proficient in other skills such as detecting deceit, surveillance, skip tracing and negotiation. A bounty hunter must also know how to research and investigate missing persons. He must be able to access and analyze phone records of the fugitive’s family and friends. He will have to know how to dig into the fugitive’s past and find all past residences. He will need to learn the fugitive’s habits, vices, friends, enemies and hangouts. In other words, a bounty hunter must have good investigative skills.

The Math and Logic Behind a Bounty Hunter’s Salary

A full time bounty hunter will usually work directly with a bail bondsman. A bail-bondsmen makes money when they front money to a prisoner that can’t afford to pay their bail fee. For example, if a prisoner’s bail is set at $5000, the bail bondsman can charge a percentage of the $5000. The percentage is a fee (usually around 10 percent) and is non-refundable. This is the bondsman’s fee and is kept in order to allow someone to get out of prison until their appointed court hearing. The $5000 is returned to the prisoner only under the condition which the prisoner shows up for the hearing.

This inherently dangerous yet highly lucrative assignment captures the imagination of would-be bond recovery agents that are looking for the necessary information in this seemingly tight-lipped, secretive industry. The sheer thrill of tracking someone down through cutting-edge investigative techniques, then executing a plan to capture the fugitive is something that cannot be described. The power and control that bounty hunters possess intimidates & overwhelms even the most hardened of criminals who continue to snub their noses at authority.

The process is fairly straightforward, except when the prisoner can’t pay up and skips town (jumpers). Jumpers are a nickname given those who don’t show up to their hearing (uh-oh), and still owe the bail bondsman his fee plus his initial investment. In this case, $5000 dollars + $500. This is where a bounty hunter makes his mark on the world, and their salary. The bondsman hires a bounty hunter to track the jumper and recover his property, so to speak. The bail-bondsmen will then pay the bounty hunter for recovery of the property (this number is usually around 10 percent) in order to avoid losing their $5000 investment. Their profit is then zeroed out because the fee they charged to the bounty hunter. It is a win win situation for all parties involved.

Tips to Increase Your Salary as a Bounty Hunter

Location, Location, Location! The location factor is one of the largest of influences on a salary of a bounty hunter. The name of the game is catching people, and the more people in a city means more jobs or jumpers to catch. This also means the bail amount is raised because a person will be harder to track or the local government has more money to expel. More money is allocated to culprits with a higher level of prior convictions. In New York, a bail may be anywhere between $3500 to $25000 or more for a jailbird with a criminal history. If a bail is set at $50,000 and a bounty hunter has to catch the jumper, the bounty hunter will make $5000 assuming he/she is operating at ten percent.

Currently, there are thousands of training programs & schools across the United States that teach people how to become professional bounty hunters, unfortunately, most them charge thousands of dollars and cannot provide the inside information needed to become a Bail Enforcement Agent or Bounty Hunter.

Women In The Bounty Hunting Business

Women are playing an increasingly active role in the Bounty Hunting Business, especially in the field. There are currently thousands of Men & Women Bounty Hunters “bail enforcement agents” across the United States that have been working together to apprehend fugitives for years, and now there’s even a T.V. program on Women Bounty Hunters.

The fact is, a woman who is interested in engaging in this type of business may choose to operate her own Fugitive Recovery Service where she would act as a manager and set up the captures, work as an administrator at an existing bounty hunting operation, or take a more hands on approach and assist in the capture of bail jumpers.

For fugitive recovery agencies to be truly successful, a female component is needed in the apprehension of fugitives. Our eBook will provide you with everything you need to become successful, regardless of which role you’re looking to play. This is a very lucrative business for women, as it is for men.

Market Your Brand and Reputation

Bail Bond Companies & Freelance Bounty Hunters “fugitive recovery agents” work in sync using the network of backdoor bail bond companies to apprehend subjects. Our reference tutorial and our company act as a gateway to the network of agents so that everybody makes money. Without direct access to bail bond companies, securing contracts “bond forfeitures” will become a daunting task for new hunters.

Bounty hunting is a business just like any other. Making a nice salary includes working hard and building up a clientele. This includes networking and having the most jobs at your disposal. If the bounty hunter in question has a reputation of being fast and accurate then they are more likely to get the best paid jobs from the bail-bondsmen. Marketing one’s abilities will be a big part of this career and it will take dedication to build a reputation which allows for comfortable living.

The key to success in any industry is knowledge, determination, persistence, experience & connections. You can be the best bounty hunter “bail enforcement agent” in your state, but if you don’t know how to capitalize on it, then your business will simply flounder. The bounty hunting industry consists of a circle of businesses and tight relationships. Knowing who to contact to win the next contract is crucial, regardless of which state you plan on working out of.

Private Investigation Plays A Vital Role In Apprehension of Fugitives

In today’s modern world, most bounty hunters, private investigators and bail enforcement agents spend a substantial amount of their time behind a computer.

Skip Tracing: is the electronic means of tracking down a suspect. The Internet has become a powerful tool in the search for fugitives. Skip Tracing, in nearly every case, plays a key role when hunting down a fugitive. Everyone leaves a paper trail and has a history, so by having the proper skip tracing tools on hand, tracking down a fugitive can become a very easy thing to do.

Within our link section, you will find search tools & directories for the following: Email & Phone Book Directories, Online White Page Directories, Phone Prefix Locator, Cell Phones, Cell Phone Carrier Info, Maps, Email Searches, Area-Zip Code Finders, SSN Searchers, Domain Name, Credit Cards, Military Records, Boats and Vessels, Hotel/Motel Locators, Foreign Embassies, Missing Kids, OSHA Accidents, U.S.

By using online skip tracing & investigative tools online, you’ll be able to empower yourself with the tools and resources necessary to track down fugitives at all levels both in the U.S. and Internationally.

Whether you are hired by a bail bond company to capture a fugitive or looking to assist in the capture of a fugitive, you will find these online investigative tools invaluable. As you learn how to use these tools, you will become more efficient, which means you’ll be able to capture more fugitives and make more money.


Salary bounty hunters


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Bounty hunters have strict job requirements to bring fugitives to justice.


Bounty hunters aren’t just reality show stars. They’re real-life criminal justice agents who must be up for a challenging career.

Earning a criminal justice degree or law enforcement degree can help you get started on a bounty hunting career. Since every state has different laws when it comes to bounty hunting, check the requirements on licensing and if it’s legal in your jurisdiction.

What Does a Bounty Hunter Do?

Bounty hunters, also known as fugitive recovery agents or bail enforcement agents, are responsible for the capture and return of individuals that have failed to show up for their appointed day in court. These individuals are now considered fugitives in the eyes of the judicial system.

In order to succeed in capturing criminals, bounty hunters must do several things:

  • Communicate effectively to all types of people, from fugitives to law enforcement
  • Conduct surveillance
  • Investigate and collect evidence to locate a fugitive

Why is a bounty hunter necessary? Generally, it is in the best interest of the bail bond agency to hire a bounty hunter to locate and return the fugitive. Upon the capture and successful return of the fugitive, the bounty hunter will receive payment from the bail bond agency.

Bounty Hunter Salary and Job Growth

A bounty hunter’s salary depends on several factors:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Training
  • Overall reputation

Bounty hunters are generally paid a percentage of the original bail once a fugitive has been apprehended and returned. As a rule, expected pay is approximately 10% of the original bail.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics, the average national annual salary for Recovery Agents, classified under Detectives and Investigators, is $86,030. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.

Employment is expected to grow 8% through 2029, which is faster than average for all occupations.

Whether you want work independently or are looking for an employer, remember that bounty hunting is a business, and not just for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

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