Being a bailiff can be a rewarding way to earn a good living with the potential for self-employment, even though enforcing court orders to collect debts may not have been your childhood ideal job.
You will visit people who have outstanding debts at their homes, such as county court judgements, council tax, parking tickets, or court fines.
Usually, you won’t be able to push open the door or enter. However, if access is allowed, you will need to remove stuff to pay off the debt and any related expenses.
TVs and video game consoles are allowed items to bring, but essentials like mattresses, refrigerators, and cookers, as well as tools needed for work or belonging to a partner, must stay behind. Sometimes it’s necessary to remove objects from the residence, including automobiles, with the help of bailiffs.
Private bailiffs work for themselves, a business, or the local government to recover unpaid council taxes, among other employment opportunities. The magistrates’ court frequently employs private bailiffs to collect money to pay criminal and non-criminal fines, such as traffic tickets.
It is only permitted for certain types of bailiffs to enter people’s homes to collect unpaid fines for crimes, VAT, or income tax. This is only done in exceptional circumstances.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- visit and write to people who owe money to ask for payment
- offer money advice
- arrange for people to repay what they owe
- attend court to ask for permission to enter properties
- give court documents
- take items and arrange to sell them at auction
- keep accurate records.
- Apprentice starting salaries start around £18,000 a year. This can rise to £40,000 with experience.
- Many companies pay a basic rate, which is topped up by commission or incentive payment.
You will typically work 35 to 40 hours per week, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays on shifts.
You could work in a court or in an office.
Your working environment may be physically demanding and you’ll travel often.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice actuary include:
- Level 3 Advanced Credit Controller and Debt Collection Specialist – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
On a bailiff apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of public safety and security
- sensitivity and understanding
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With experience you could lead a team of bailiffs.
You could also become a senior manager or move into business development.