How Much doJudgment Enforcers charge?

August 11, 2023


Q: How much do Judgment Enforcers charge to enforce my judgment?

A: Most judgment enforcers charge you nothing out of pocket, you only pay a portion of what is recovered from the debtor. Most judgment enforcers (JEs) charge 50%, because most judgments are difficult and expensive to enforce.

The best judgment enforcers usually stick to 50%, as they often use lawyers and PIs to go after the debtor to recover your money much quicker. However, everything is negotiable, and every judgment situation is different.

When a judgment is tough because the judgment debtor has no assets showing, and has deeply hidden assets that are very hard to reach, an enforcer might charge much more to recover a judgment, we have seen 90%. The reason the original judgment creditor accepted 90% was the risk, costs, and difficulty of recovering the judgment was very high. 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Some JEs keep the interest a successful judgment recovery can earn – and some split the interest with you. (Laws may be coming that reduces the interest rates debtors have to pay. Also, interest is not always collected in real life.)

We know many people with a new judgment think 50% is too much to pay. And in some situations, 50% may be too much to pay. How much you pay is between you and the judgment enforcer. If you want your judgment enforced for 25% and you have a large judgment on a rich debtor – perhaps 25% is fair. (Bill Handel says 20% at most – what is he smoking?) JudgmentBuy stays out of it, it is between you and the judgment enforcer.

Note that when the judgment debtor is overseas, or is going to very hard to collect from, sometimes 80% for the judgment enforcer and 20% for you is fair!

First let us save you some time. (JudgmentBuy saves you a lot of time and money.) If you want your judgment to be enforced for less than 50%, or want to sell your judgment for cash up-front only, or have any other request, just tell us.

We work with the best judgment buyers, enforcers, agencies, and collections attorneys. The best charge 50%. If you want to pay less than 50%, or have any terms or preferences, please tell JudgmentBuy and we will tell you our experience and suggest your best options.

Every judgment and situation is different, but (especially on small judgments that are not easy) 50% is an average fee. There are many reasons why 50% is usually very fair – including:

  • There are many ways for judgment debtors to make enforcement difficult and expensive.
  • The economy means fewer judgment debtors have available assets.
  • Enforcing judgments takes lots of time – and many years of (always ongoing) study.
  • Court, Sheriff, postage, and process-serving fees are higher now.
  • Often the time, work, and money spent on judgment enforcement is not recovered, that is the risk taken on by the JE.
  • Professional judgment enforcers have full access to – and must pay for expensive private databases and information services that are not available to the public – or on any “web detective” sites. Experienced and verified JEs that own judgments, are authorized to use “restricted” databases – similar to those used by law enforcement and investigative agencies.
  • To have access to the above, a JE must meet several requirements – including passing a background check, having an office, passing a site inspection by a licensed private investigator, having a business license, etc.
  • Enforcing judgments is a business with expenses and overhead.
  • New laws that protect debtors are being created every year.
  • Bankruptcy is rising at an exponential level.

JudgmentBuy refers judgments to professional JEs, to better go after judgment debtor’s assets. Upon a successful recovery from the debtor – the Original Judgment Creditor (OJC) always get their share. JudgmentBuy only saves you time and money, you never get paid less by starting with Judgmentbuy. The JE (who worked hard to recover your money), perhaps a Finder, and JudgmentBuy, split any leftover net profits only you are paid.

If judgment debtors have assets, they sometimes live “under the radar” paying cash for everything – and working under the table. Sometimes they get assets out of their names, into the name of someone else – or offshore, etc.

The work to find debtors and their assets, and perhaps undo asset hiding is laborious, costly, time consuming, and requires many court appearances at least, and major investigations.

Even “easy” and “quick” cases have court-related and other costs.
Judgment enforcers (not you) pay all the expenses of enforcement. The best judgment enforcers pursue the judgment debtor until all current assets are seized, past assets are put back into the judgment debtor’s name and seized, and future assets are recovered to satisfy the judgment.

When the judgment debt is large and the debtors are hiding massive assets, Judgment enforcers sometimes work with lawyers and receivers (see our Receiver and our Finding The Right Lawyer articles), to uncover and seize hidden assets. (Also see our National Lawyer State Bar List).

If the judgment debtor changes their name and moves overseas and hides their assets – the judgment enforcer will likely return the judgment back to you, as nothing can be done unless the judgment is huge and the debtor has lots of assets.

You get paid after the judgment enforcer recovers money from the judgment debtor. You get (e.g.) 50% of any money they recover from the debtor.

Fifty percent is usually the necessary and standard rate for experienced Judgment Enforcers (JEs). 50% enables JE to cooperate (share rewards, see our Coop article) with JEs (near the debtor) – to follow the debtor no matter where they go. 50% allows JEs to dig deep, hire lawyers and PIs, and spend lots of time and money to discover and take debtor’s assets.

While there are some JEs who enforce average judgments for less than 50%, such JEs may be new, or may give up on and return all but the easiest-to-enforce judgments. In general, a JE at 50%, is more likely to get you paid. If your large judgment really is easy to enforce, a discount from 50% should be considered.

Every situation, debtor, and JE is unique. If you assign an easy-to-enforce judgment to a JE and it really is easy-to-enforce, the JE may reduce the 50% charge. If, and how much the JE reduces the charge depends on many things (up to the JE alone to determine.) Most JEs are fair, and do not benefit from unjust enrichment.

Note that when the debtor is overseas, or is going to very hard to collect from, sometimes 80% for the Judgment Enforcer and 20% for you is fair!

Even if you think your judgment enforcement will be easy, e.g., you know where the debtor works and banks, most of the time it is not so easy.

The bank account almost always has less than the amount owed. Debtors can lose their jobs. There can be other creditors ahead of you. The debtor can file for bankruptcy protection. (Even if they “can’t” go bankrupt, nothing stops them from trying again.) Hundreds of other things can happen to make your “easy judgment” require money, expertise, and persistent efforts over a long time – to enforce.

Rarely, “easy” (larger) judgments are really easy to enforce. In those cases, JEs might choose to reduce their fee. It is up to the JE. Generally, JEs do not believe or participate in, unjust enrichment.

Q: What about discounts if I sent more than one judgment ?

A: Each judgment is unique. Sending more than one judgment does not save any significant time, or any money for us or a judgment enforcer. You can ask for a discount, but please do not argue, Judgment enforcers do not discount rates on average, tough-to-enforce judgments. Discounts are usually not appropriate on small (under $7,000) judgments, or with non-rich judgment debtors.

Q: What do you think if I send just one of my judgments, and see how you do? If you successfully enforce the first judgment, then I’ll send you the rest of my judgments.

A: Each judgment is unique. “How we do” depends on the debtor. Whether a judgment enforcer can recover one judgment has nothing to do with how they can enforce the next judgment. Either with JudgmentBuy’s advantage and expertise, or without – holding onto your other judgments only reduces the chances you will be paid, and delays how fast money might come to you.

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