FAQ about Surety Bonds

FAQ about Surety Bonding

Surety bonds serve as a critical safeguard, ensuring that your responsibilities under a contract, be it a bid bond for tendering or a performance bond for construction contracts, are completed effectively. They protect against financial losses by guaranteeing that obligations are met, making surety bonds essential for business operations across industries.

With surety bonds, you’re equipped to navigate the complexities of contractual agreements, whether it’s understanding what a surety bond is or securing the right bond for your project needs.


Different Types of Surety Bonds

Understanding the various types of surety bonds available is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and protection against financial risks. Surety bonds are divided into two broad categories: contract surety bonds and commercial surety bonds.

Contract surety bonds are essential in the construction industry. They offer a safety net for project owners by ensuring contractors fulfill their contractual obligations. This category includes bid bonds, which secure a contractor’s commitment to a project; performance bonds, which guarantee the completion of a project according to contractual terms; and payment bonds, which ensure subcontractors and suppliers are compensated.

On the other hand, commercial surety bonds cater to a broader range of industries, satisfying the requirements of public, legal, and governmental entities. These bonds are designed to protect against financial loss by ensuring businesses adhere to applicable laws and regulations. Types of commercial surety bonds include license and permit bonds, required for obtaining certain licenses; public official bonds for individuals in public service; and business service bonds, which protect clients from potential losses due to employee dishonesty.


Factors Influencing Surety Bond Costs

The primary determinant of your surety bond cost is the bond’s value, which can significantly vary depending on your business’s scope and liabilities. This means the larger the bond amount, the higher the potential cost. However, it’s not just about the bond value. Your industry’s inherent risk level plays a crucial role in shaping the premium rate. High-risk industries often face stricter underwriting requirements due to a higher likelihood of claims, affecting both the cost and the underwriting process.

The underwriting process itself is a critical factor, and preparation can make a significant difference. This process evaluates multiple factors, including your credit history, business experience, financial stability, and character. Surety companies assess these elements to gauge the risk of default and determine the bond’s cost accordingly.

Moreover, the bond limit, which is the total dollar amount that claims can be filed for during the bond’s term, influences the cost. Bonds with larger limits carry more risk, leading to higher costs.

In essence, understanding these cost factors and preparing adequately can help businesses navigate the surety bonding process more effectively, ensuring they secure the necessary protection at the best possible rate. Should you require final bonds for a successful bid, the typical costs are:

    • Performance Bond $6/$1,000 of full contract value
    •  Labour and Material Bond $4/$1,000 of the full contract value


Getting Started with Surety Bonds: Application

Embarking on the journey to secure a surety bond begins with understanding the prerequisites for eligibility. Principals aiming for a bond must demonstrate robust financial health, a commendable reputation, adequate equipment, and the necessary experience to fulfill contractual commitments.

The process of applying for a surety bond involves a meticulous akin to credit analysis. This includes a deep dive into the applicant’s past performance, financial solidity, and proven track record of meeting obligations.

What information is needed to start the application process?

  • We require a copy of the latest accountant-prepared financial statement.
  • The latest copy of in-house income and a balance sheet with the same date aged listing of accounts payable and accounts receivable.
  • A completed contractor’s questionnaire.
  • Completed work on hard reports matching the latest in-house statements.

Upon receiving a bond quote, the final steps involve signing the necessary paperwork, paying the premium, and then submitting the bond details to the requisite state official or industry organization. This streamlined approach ensures businesses can competently secure the surety bonds necessary for their operations.

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What is the timeline for setting up a bond facility?

  • The review process takes 2–3 days. If everything is aligned, we can set up a bonding facility within a week. If more information is needed, it could take up to two weeks.

Additional Information:

To set up bonding, the company must have a minimum of $50,000 working capital and tangible net worth:

    • Positive equity and profitability
    • Experience completing the jobs you will be bidding on.

Once a facility is set up, we will require updated information every quarter:

    • In-house income and balance sheet.
    • Same dated aged listing of accounts payable and accounts receivable.
    • Updated work on hand report.
    • Annual accountant-prepared financial statements on a review engagement basis.


The Role of Surety Bonds in Protecting Your Business

In the dynamic world of business, surety bonds stand as a beacon of security and trust, safeguarding the interests of all parties involved in a contractual agreement. At the core, a surety bond is a three-party agreement involving the principal, the obligee, and the surety, ensuring that the terms of a contract are faithfully executed. This financial instrument offers a multitude of protections, notably to the obligee, by providing a third-party guarantee that the principal will honour their obligations. The essence of a surety bond lies in its ability to offer peace of mind to clients, often required before engaging in contracts, particularly in sectors like construction or government projects.

The surety bond’s framework extends beyond mere agreement; it includes a legal obligation for the principal to indemnify the surety company in the event of a loss, ensuring that the surety’s financial interests are protected. This indemnification process is fortified by an indemnity agreement, where indemnitors pledge to cover any liabilities, including attorney’s fees and damages, thereby securing the surety’s position. Such arrangements underscore the surety bond’s role not just as a protective measure but also as a tool for financial and risk management.

Moreover, surety bonds transcend the traditional mechanisms of financial security, like bank guarantees or insurance policies, by focusing on performance risk rather than just financial risk. They offer a cost-effective alternative to letters of credit, allowing businesses to allocate resources more efficiently, thus enhancing their operational efficiency and credibility.


Navigating the complexities of surety bonds reveals a clear pathway for businesses to secure their operations and build trust with partners and clients alike. The protective shield offered by surety bonds not only fortifies client confidence but also enhances the credibility and operational efficiency of businesses. As companies move forward, harnessing the benefits of surety bonds, the ethos of reliability, performance assurance, and risk management will continue to be the hallmarks of successful and sustainable business operations. In essence, surety bonds serve not merely as a requirement but as a strategic asset in the ever-evolving landscape of business commitments and responsibilities.

If you have any questions or wish to start the application process, contact us by phone at 306.757.1633, email at hwicommercial@harvardwestern.com.

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