Contractors Can Get Bonded in Six Easy Steps

This week, I’m pleased to welcome Danielle Rodabaugh, chief editor at SuretyBonds.com, a nationwide surety provider that works with construction professionals.

Whether you're new to the construction industry or have been working in it for decades, you've probably realized that getting a surety bond can be confusing. To help make the process quicker and easier, this article will outline six steps that will make you more confident when purchasing this special type of risk mitigation insurance.

Step one: Verify which surety bond form you need.

Before you contact a surety provider, you should know the exact surety bond form you need along with the bonding amount. Having this information from the get-go allows the surety provider to issue your bond quickly and accurately. For example, the form for a city of Seattle bid bond will differ greatly from the form used for a California contractor license bond. To get this information, contact the government agency or project owner that’s requiring you to get a bond.

Step two: Apply for a surety bond.

The easiest way to find a surety provider is to search online for one that issues bonds nationwide. This way you'll know that they can bond you no matter what state(s) you plan to work in. When you contact a surety provider, you’ll have to answer basic questions about your professional work experience and personal financial history. Depending on the type of bond you need, you might have to provide your social security number so the surety can review your credit score. If your business has more than one owner, the financial credentials of all owners will be considered.

Step three: Get a surety bond quote.

The exact price you'll pay for a surety bond will vary for a number of reasons. The first thing you need to consider is the bond amount. A $50,000 surety bond will obviously cost more than a $10,000 surety bond. Using the bond amount as a starting point, your surety provider will then calculate a premium that's based on your financial credentials. Applicants with good credit typically pay 1 to 5 percent of the bond amount while those with poor credit could pay up to 20 percent. The best way to determine exactly what your surety bond will cost is to contact a surety company.

Step four: Pay for your surety bond.

After you approve the quote, you’ll probably be required to pay the full premium upfront. Sometimes surety underwriters can offer premium financing to qualifying applicants. For the most part, though, you should be prepared to pay for your premium in full before you can get the bond. Once you’ve paid your premium, the surety provider will execute your bond and then send it to you.

Step five: Verify the information on your bond.

Whoever you file the bond with will require that all information be 100% accurate.

Your bond will be rejected if:

  • your business name is spelled incorrectly
  • your business address is wrong
  • the bond amount is incorrect
  • proper signatures are not present

If you find an error on the form, contact your surety immediately.

Step six: File you surety bond with the obligee.

Once you’ve verified the accuracy of the bond form, file it with the obligee that’s requiring the bond. This is the final step of the process.

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