I believe, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, is that the person wanting bail has to pay a fee to the bondsman of about 10% of the bail order.
The bondsman then puts up the full amount of bail, and when the trial is done, the full amount is given back to the bondsman, who keeps the 10% fee as a 10% profit. It also falls upon the bondsman to make sure they show up for court, because if they don't, and the bailee doesn't show, then the court keeps all the bail money.
Correct, except the bondsman doesn't actually pay the money in when the person bonds out..he's liable for it if the person doesn't show up. He has to pay over on the forfeiture date, which is 150 days after the person fails to appear. He can deliver his bondee over before then (or prove that the bondee was dead or incarcerated on the court date, among other things) and get the forfeiture stricken.
I always wondered about that, like where do they get the money to put up for all the people they bond out. So, they agree to be completely liable for it in case the person doesn't appear. No wonder they hunt them down like that to make sure they appear. They could lose everything they own and then some if even one doesn't show up.
My only experience with bounty hunters, I'm ashamed to say, is TV. I like THE show though, crazy that it is. But, they always end up taking the person back to the police that fail to appear and then save the bond (as I understand it). But I have read a little bit about them and seen other shows and it does appear that they have more leeway than the police do when they're looking for someone and especially, when they find them. They don't seem to be bound by quite as many rules. Interesting.
I too have had only "TV experience" with them. Take the Casey Anthony case in Florida, for instance. When she was arrested for suspicion of murdering her child, "bounty hunter"/bondsman Leonard Padilla from California put up her bail. His reasoning was that her sitting in jail was counterproductive to the child being found. Although it turned out to be a waste of time in getting her to talk, it resulted in a huge amount of publicity for him across the country. I would doubt that most bondsmen get that involved with their client's case.