Knowing When To Bail

Knowing When To Bail

Interview With A Las Vegas

Bail Bonds Woman

By Susan Gonsalves

Intuition. It plays a crucial role in Amanda Doyle’s life and work. In June 2013, it led her to launch Blondies Bail Bonds LLC, and it carries over into everything she does owning and operating a one-woman business in an industry dominated by men. Her company logo, depicting a leggy, scantily clad blonde with handcuffs around her ankles, does its job by attracting clients—people who have broken the law or are reaching out to Doyle on behalf of their family members—but it is Doyle’s compassionate approach that keeps her business going strong.

Knowing When To BailVegas Legal Magazine: Did you always work in the legal field and if not, what drew you to becoming a bail bonds issuer?

 Amanda Doyle: For 15 years, my background was in the spa industry—managing and directing spas— and that involved everything from facials and skin care to massages.

I was working for a company, and decided that I didn’t want to work for anyone else anymore or answer to another person. A friend had a bail bonds business and he needed help running it, so I decided to help him out. You just need someone to show you the ropes and I did that for six months before going on my own.

There’s no special training needed. You’re lending people money and you have to use your gut intuition just to listen to them and feel people out.

VLM: Is it rare for a woman to be a bail bondsman?

 AD: It’s very rare. You’ll find a few women working in the offices, but they are mostly run by men. It’s definitely a man’s business. I did research and that’s what it is like across the board. When I go to industry conventions, it’s about 80 percent male and 20 percent female.

VLM: Are there advantages to being a woman in this field? If so, what are they?

AD: Absolutely! Most importantly, when someone goes to jail for the first time, he or she is scared, and a female has more compassion and intuition when helping that person. Also, I’m a mom and when a mom goes to jail, I’ll certainly take extra time to speak to her and often listen to crying on the other end of the phone. I don’t think a male would do that for very long.

VLM: What is your day like? Is it true most of your calls occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.? What does the job entail?

AD: My day includes getting my son off to school, making lunches, etc., and a lot of times my nights run into the morning, if I’m out at 2 a.m. posting bail at the jail, for example. On average, I get two or three work calls per day so I’m back and forth a lot. It is not always a client that calls. Sometimes it is a family member and it may take several days to get the money. The ones that go easy take one phone call.

Basically, a person calls me and says, `I’m in jail. arrested for DUI.’ I get a co-signer, wake them, explain what forms to fill out and if the person skips bail, the co-signer is responsible.

Work can be done by fax, email or with the older generation, I meet them at home or office. I get payment; drop off bond. After 24 hours, I meet with the client and if he or she shows up, everything is good.

VLM: What is the most difficult part of your job?

AD: It’s repeat offenders, or people who lie to me. I give people chances and some constantly let me down. People don’t show up to court. I have to hunt them down if they’ve gone far off into hiding.

Some scenarios that you see on bounty hunting shows are my real life. When they don’t want to show up and need to be hunted, it’s frustrating. It results in a bad end.

VLM: What part of your job do you most enjoy?

AD: The rewarding part is that it gives me the freedom to be a mom and not be stuck behind a desk all day. I can pick and choose my schedule and be there for my son. Also, I always encourage clients to call me with good news. I become more of a friend to them and offer advice. So, I’ll get calls maybe months later from them saying, `hey, I got a job!’ or they call and we celebrate a length of sobriety time in their lives.

It’s not always, `bail me out.’ I’m a support system for my clients and I get positive feedback.

VLM: What do you deal with in terms of crimes?

AD: In Vegas, it’s a party-24-hour town. Most cases are DUI, domestic violence and armed drugs possession. If the person makes it home, sometimes he’ll fight with a spouse and that turns into a domestic situation.

I’ve had many cases where clients have multiple charges and I become a counselor to them. They are scared. Some have children at home or in a social worker’s care. I not only help get them out of jail, but I’ll assist them by recommending a 12-step program and show them that there is free help out there.

I have addictions in my family, so it is not new to me. If I hear signs that these people need guidance, I’ll point them to programs that have worked for my family and can work for them.

People are scared to death in jail…scared of the inmates. I’ll talk them through it all—through the night if necessary. I know my competition and no one else is doing that because they’re worried about the bottom line.

I still have connections years after with these people. A lot of the time, it is somewhat personal for me.

VLM: What was the thinking behind your logo?

 AD: I’m blonde myself, and I wanted the hot pink-blonde-handcuffs and legs because it goes along with Vegas. I get numerous comments…especially about the legs. The logo is fun, eye catching, and it has worked and been memorable because people talk about it.

VLM: I heard you were approached about doing a reality TV show.

 AD: Yes, NBC wanted to know what life was like for a bail bondsman in Las Vegas. Via email, I sent back answers to a lot of questions sent by producers. I haven’t heard anything back, and that was January, so I assume nothing will come of it. A lot of colleagues have been approached and it doesn’t go anywhere.

Would I do it? Absolutely. It would be neat.

VLM: Do you have any staff members?

 AD: Me, myself and I. If I have to go out of town, I have a friend where I can transfer calls. I’m a control freak and I’ve seen scenarios where employees steal, etc. I’m not at a desk. I carry two cell phones. It is just another cell phone in my purse—not a big deal. That’s what separates my business [from others]. I don’t have staff that could stray from my guidance. I’m the decision maker and clients deal directly only with me.

VLM: What are the qualities of a good bail bondsman?

 AD: First, you have to be a good listener. It’s not just the sell for me. It’s emotional. You need to be caring and compassionate. ‘Therapy is over,’ my husband says at times to me.

VLM: Do you ever refuse to take on a client?

 AD: You never know who you are dealing with. I say `no’ and use intuition. Women are just amazing at a lot of things—multitasking, motherhood…I have a read on people. I may listen to one conversation and then the story might change. I call them out on it, and tell them I’m not interested in helping. I’ve refunded people money. Plenty of bail bondsman will take junk bail but I don’t want to chase people.

VLM: Have you ever been in a scary situation because of your involvement helping clients?

 AD: I had a girl with an abusive boyfriend who I counseled and got help. I told her what he was doing to her was not right and I wasn’t going to bail him out. She had battered women’s syndrome and got upset with me at first. He learned I helped her and ran his mouth off but it happens when you put yourself out there.

VLM: Do you plan to continue in this field long term?

 AD: Absolutely. I won’t ever work for anyone else or at a desk job again.

Susan Gonsalves’ 30-year career in journalism has included newspaper, magazine and higher education work with an emphasis on mental health, business, and entertainment topics. She is based in Massachusetts.