A risk all bondsmen and women face are fleeing clients. If one of Awald's clients misses a court date, the court requires that either the bond or the client be provided within 365 days. If the bond's indemnitor skips out, the cost falls to Awald. For 15 years, Awald was a non-liable bondswoman. She wasn't financially responsible if a client ran, but did have a responsibility to help the insurance company she was working with recover its expenses.
Awald is going on her third year as a liable bondswoman. This means she has a more direct responsibility if a client runs. A percentage of each bond goes into a build-up account. If Awald is ever ultimately responsible for paying the remainder of a bond, the money comes from that account.
If she ever comes up short, Awald's insurance company will pay the bond.
Awald says the average for fleeing clients is roughly 1 out of 17. She estimates her rates are better, at 1 out of 35.
When clients do run, typically recovery agents — bounty hunters — are dispatched to find them. All certified bail bondsmen and women are recovery agents, but the 5-foot 2-inch-tall Awald typically doesn't play an active role in retrieval.
If a client runs, she contacts a recovery agent, or has her insurance company contact one. Occasionally Awald has tagged along for recoveries, but when she does, she likes to wait in the car.
Awald rarely has the same day twice. She works whenever the phone rings, and whenever the jail will schedule her to bond out a client. Some weeks she'll have three days and nights filled with work. Other weeks will have days without phone calls, but Awald says it all averages out in the end.
Part of the bustling workload is connected with the competitiveness of the business. She does make a point to take breaks with vacations, but those involve passing clients — and business — along to other bondsmen. Her success depends on her availability.