Surety Bonds FAQ, Part 2

At SuretyBonds.com, we understand that most business professionals don’t know about surety bonds until they need one. That’s why our experts go the extra mile to explain the intricacies of bonding, from what a surety bond is, to why you need one, to how much your bond will cost and everything in between. Today, we’ll answer some frequently-asked questions about surety bonds in part 2 of our 3-part series. Read part 1 here.

What is the difference between license and permit/commercial, construction and court bonds?

There are 3 categories of surety bonds:

License and permit bonds, also known more simply as “license bonds” or “permit bonds”, are a specific type of commercial bonding. Government agencies require business owners in certain industries to purchase these bonds before they can be legally licensed. They protect consumers by guaranteeing businesses adhere to laws and other regulations enforced by federal, state and local government agencies. Commercial bonds are typically purchased by companies and working professionals who need surety bonds for purposes unrelated to legal issues, construction projects or other contracted work. Most commercial bond types are used to reinforce laws such as license and permit regulations. They’re generally less risky for insurance companies to underwrite than contract and court bonds, so they’re relatively easy for most individuals to qualify for.

The terms “contract bond” and “construction bond” are essentially two different names for the same thing. A contract bond is a type of surety bond that guarantees contracts are fulfilled. If the contracted party fails to fulfill its duties according to the bond’s terms, the project developer can make a claim on the bond to recover financial losses. Although they can be used for many reasons, contract surety bonds are most commonly used in the construction industry to ensure projects are completed according to contract. For this reason, “contract bond” and “construction bond” are often used interchangeably.

Court proceedings often require certain parties to file surety bonds to verify their personal credibility and financial integrity both in and out of the courtroom. A bond might be required for one of many reasons, such limiting the potential financial loss following a court ruling or ensuring completion of a court-appointed task.

Although they fall into different bonding categories, the price you’ll pay for a license and permit/commercial bond, a construction bonds or a court bond is based on the following factors:

  • bond type
  • bond amount
  • applicant’s financial credentials, in some cases

Do surety bond costs vary for different states?

Most surety bonds are regulated by various government agencies at the state level, so your required bond amount and, therefore, the premium you’ll pay for your bond varies by state and by bond type. Although the state you do business in does not directly affect the rate you pay (that is determined by your financial history), each state has its own surety bond amounts and requirements. For example, motor vehicle dealers in Alabama must post $25,000 surety bonds, while motor vehicle dealers in Michigan must post $10,000 surety bonds. This means that an an applicant in Alabama will pay more for his or her auto dealer bond than an applicant in Michigan with the same credit score will.

Does it cost to apply for a bond?

It does not cost anything to apply for a surety bond. If you’re not satisfied with your free surety bond quote, you’re not obligated to pay a dime. You’ll pay for your bond once you accept your surety bond quote and are ready to purchase your bond quickly, easily and accurately.

When do you pay for your surety bond?

Typically, you’ll pay your bond premium upfront before or on the effective date of your surety bond. In some cases, financing is available to break up your bond premium payments into smaller, more manageable amounts. Paying by credit card is the fastest way to ensure your payment is received so your bond can be issued quickly and easily. Checks are also an acceptable form of payment, but take a little longer to process.

Do you need to renew your surety bond?

It depends on the bond. Since many contractor bonds are project-based, they expire after the project is complete and there is no need to renew them. License and permit bonds oftentimes remain in effect for a fixed period of time or for as long as the bondholder’s license is valid. If there is an expiration date for the bond, you have to renew your bond before that date to remain in compliance with the laws of your state and industry. If you’re unsure about the terms of your surety bond, you can contact the government agency in charge of licensing and registration for your industry to clarify.

Have more questions? Our experts are ready to assist you with all of your bonding needs. Give us a call at 1 (800) 308-4358 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CST Monday through Thursday and between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST on Friday. Or, you can submit an online contact form, and one of our surety specialists will get in touch with you right away. For more information from SuretyBonds.com, check out our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles. You can also peruse our YouTube video library and online answer forum.

Surety Bond FAQs, Part 1

At SuretyBonds.com, we understand that most business professionals don’t know about surety bonds until they need one. That’s why our experts go the extra mile to explain the intricacies of bonding, from what a surety bond is, to why you need one, to how much your bond will cost and everything in between. Today, we’ll answer some frequently-asked questions about surety bonds in part 1 of our 3-part series.

Why do you need a surety bond?

Surety bonds serve as a barrier of entry to certain industries. Specifically, surety bonds guarantee that business professionals conduct business ethically and in accordance with the law. As such, most surety bonds are required by government entities responsible for an industry’s licensing and registration. These bonds are generally referred to as license and permit bonds.

Some bonds, like contract bonds, janitorial service bonds and business service bonds are not required by a government agency, but instead by a construction project owner or the business professional himself.

If you’ve been told you need a surety bond, you must post the bond and submit it to the obligee (the entity requiring the bond) prior to registering for your business license or beginning work on a construction project.

How much does a surety bond cost?

The cost of a surety bond varies depending on several factors, including:

  • bond type
  • bond amount
  • applicant’s financial credentials, in some cases

Certain bond types carry more risk than others. Typically, higher-risk surety bonds, such as auto dealer bonds, require a review of the applicant’s personal credit report and, at times, other financial credentials. Lower-risk bonds, such as notary bonds, can usually be issued instantly without a credit check for a flat rate. Some surety bond are issued for multi-year terms.

For surety bonds that are subject to underwriting consideration, standard-market rates typically fall between 1% and 3% of the total bond amount. So, a $10,000 surety bond could cost a qualified applicant as low as $100-300. Applicants with lower credit scores can expect to pay $5,000-10,000 for their bonds.

Do surety bonds cost more for new business owners?

There is no bias held against new business owners when it comes to getting bonded, so new and seasoned business professionals can expect to pay similar premium rates depending on their credit reports and other financial credentials. Often, owning a business can help build credit over time, so business owners might see their credit scores improve as their business ventures mature. Still, SuretyBonds.com offers a bad credit bonding program through which we approve 99% of applicants for the surety bonds they need quickly, easily and accurately.

Can’t you just buy an insurance policy?

No, insurance and surety bonds are two completely different realms of coverage.

Insurance involves a negotiation between an insurance company and an individual to help relieve the financial impact of unexpected problems that result in severe financial burdens for that individual. There is car insurance for accidents, home insurance for property damage from natural disasters, and more.

A surety bond  is an agreement between three parties: the principal (bondholder), obligee (entity requiring bond) and surety (underwriting company). Surety is considered to be very low-loss coverage because bonds are put in place to ensure that business professionals conduct business according to the rules and regulations of his/her state and industry. If the principal fails to comply with the terms of the surety bond contract, a claim can be filed against the bond. If the claim is proven, the bond protects the state (obligee) and/or consumers from financial loss.

Insurance transfers financial risk; surety helps ensure performance in compliance with the terms of the bond.

Have more questions? Our experts are ready to assist you with all of your bonding needs. Give us a call at 1 (800) 308-4358 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CST Monday through Thursday and between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST on Friday. Or, you can submit an online contact form, and one of our surety specialists will get in touch with you right away. For more information from SuretyBonds.com, check out our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn profiles. You can also peruse our YouTube video library and online answer forum.

Washington revises bonding requirements for charitable solicitors/commercial fundraisers

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Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman recently revised surety bond requirements for commercial fundraisers.

Who is affected?

The new regulations require contract employees, independent contractors and other individuals who are not bona fide officers or employees of a commercial fundraiser and who receive compensation for soliciting or receiving charitable contributions to register independently and post a separate surety bond unless exempt.

“Any religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purpose or any other purpose that is beneficial to the community, including environmental, humanitarian, patriotic, or civic purposes, the support of national or international amateur sports competition, the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, the advancement of social welfare, or the benefit of law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and other persons who protect public safety,” and anyone who receives compensation for soliciting for charitable purposes must post a surety bond.

What are the bonding requirements?

Currently, commercial fundraisers must post $25,000 surety bonds to file with the secretary of state.

Washington commercial fundraiser surety bonds ensure that the state of Washington and any individual or entity who is harmed by a principal’s (commercial fundraiser’s) conduct during solicitation activities is protected from financial loss. By posting this surety bond, solicitors pledge to abide by all obligations and requirements imposed by Chapter 19.09 of the Revised Code of Washington and all supporting regulations.

For a complete list of licensing requirements, visit the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ website. More information can be found at the commercial fundraiser section of the Secretary of State’s website.

For more information about this change, or to request a free quote on your Washington commercial fundraiser surety bond, visit our designated page to submit an online bond request. Or, you can call 1 (800) 308-4358 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CST Monday through Thursday and between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST on Friday. You’ll be connected with an expert surety bond specialist who will walk you through our fast and easy bonding process.

Are you a college student with small business experience? We want to read your story!

Omar Ziadeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SuretyBonds.com is currently accepting applications for our annual Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program. To encourage participation in the 2015 scholarship opportunity, our scholarship committee caught up with our past winners to learn about their experiences with the program.

For a brief summary of the 2015 SuretyBonds.com Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program, check out our recent blog post and our scholarship webpage.

Meet Omar, 2014 Scholarship Winner

Omar Ziadeh was 1 of the 3 scholarship recipients of the 2014 SuretyBonds.com Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program. In his essay, Omar shared how his dad’s small business — Inline Metrology Solutions — helped him “mature as an individual.” Read about Omar’s small business experience here.

Our scholarship committee caught up with Omar to talk about the steps he took to become a winner of $1,500.

“I found out about the SuretyBonds.com Small Buisness Success Student Scholarship Program through an internet search for scholarships. Being a business major, I thought this scholarship would be something I’d be able to relate to. I felt great sharing my experience with my dad’s business because it has helped shape me into the individual I am today. When I found out I was selected as a top 10 finalist, I spread the word through a lot of Facebook statuses and then through a connection to a local news station that gave me 2 minutes of airtime. When I found out I was a winner of $1,500, I was ecstatic. I was so happy that so many people were there to support me and help me, especially coming from a small town in the middle of nowhere.”

“This scholarship was an amazing experience. I became closer with many members of my community through the support they gave me. I got to be on TV. It was completely worth it.”

Would Omar encourage other college students with small business ownership experience to apply for the SuretyBonds.com Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program? “Of course!”

In closing Omar had this to say:

“Good luck to all the future participants, and thank you, SuretyBonds.com, for providing such an awesome scholarship to thousands of college and incoming college students every year!”

If you’ll be a full-time college student in the fall 2015 semester and have experience with small business ownership (whether personally or through a parent, grandparent or legal guardian), we want to hear from you! You could win a $1,500 scholarship to put toward your higher education endeavors just like Omar.

For the official scholarship rules, visit www.suretybonds.com/scholarships/official-rules.

To share your story, submit a completed entry form at www.suretybonds.com/scholarships/apply by March 31, 2015.

For further information about the SuretyBonds.com scholarship program, email Scholarships@SuretyBonds.com.

SuretyBonds.com digital marketing director Mike Henderson featured on St. Louis BBB blog

mikeSuretyBonds.com’s digital marketing director Mike Henderson was recently interviewed for an article about how having an accredited Better Business Bureau rating — and therefore an official BBB logo on a website — makes a difference when it comes to turning website visitors into clients. The article ran this morning on St. Louis BBB Blog The Torch as part of the “Look for the Seal” campaign. The article can be accessed online here and originally appeared in the fall issue of BBB’s Torchlight magazine.

In the article, Mike says that the “BBB seal ‘brings a lot of authenticity to our site.'” In fact, “more than 230 customers have clicked on [SuretyBonds.com’s] dynamic seal this year.” “’We’re in the business-to-business space, and it makes us more human,'” Henderson says.

SuretyBonds.com is proud to be included in the article as a positive example of being accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

Whether you’re a customer of an online company or the owner or employee of a BBB-accredited business, how has having the BBB seal on a website impacted your buying or selling experience? Customers, is the seal something you look for when determining which company to give your business to? Businesses, is including the seal on your website an important element of design?