Empowering Small Contractors with SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Surety Bond Guarantee Program is designed to assist small and emerging contractors, often minority or woman-owned, in obtaining surety credit. In partnership with Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions, Merchants Bonding Company issues surety bonds for these contractors who have the knowledge and skills necessary for success, but might not yet meet all of the criteria other sureties require.

The process of applying for bond guarantees from the federal government can be a daunting task for contractors. Peter Gibbs, president of Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions and former director of the SBA Office of Surety Guarantees, provides his expertise to help contractors find success through the SBA. Gibbs works directly with contractors to gather needed documents, supply necessary data, and ensure sufficient documentation – his knowledge of the system, and how to navigate it, is invaluable to contractors seeking credit.

What Types of Contractors Could Benefit from Surety Bonds Through the SBA?

• Startups and firms in business less than three years
• Small businesses with limited capital
• Small businesses with internally prepared financial statements
• Small businesses that want to increase their current bonding limits

What Types of Bonds Are Guaranteed by the SBA?

The SBA guarantees bid, performance, payment, and maintenance bonds.
• Up to $9 million for government and private sector contracts.
• Up to $14 million for federal contracts.

10 Tips for Building a Successful Construction Business

While obtaining surety credit is an important accomplishment, Gibbs is also committed to contractors' longevity and helping them build a strong business that will grow and flourish. To that end, he distilled his years of experience into a simple list of best practices:

1. Build a strong team to support your business, making a construction accountant a priority.
2. Establish a bank relationship to secure a bank line-of-credit for working capital purposes.
3. Partner with a professional surety agent to assist in the development and growth of your construction company.
4. Expand your sales volume through gradual and controlled growth.
5. Concentrate on a specific trade and master that class of business.
6. Do not expand into areas you do not have the experience to perform.
7. A joint-venture structure is not always a viable path to expansion.
8. Know your competition and be familiar with economic cycles.
9. Become familiar with government contracts and operations prior to expanding into that sector.
10. It may be beneficial to perform a mix of public and private contracts.

For more information on working with the SBA Surety Guarantee Program, contact Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions


How do I Apply For A Bond Through The SBA?

Contact your local insurance agency to find out if they are an authorized SBA surety agency or Foundation Surety & Insurance Solutions. They will guide you through the process, informing you of what documents and information are needed by the SBA and the surety company to underwrite your bond.

What is a Surety Bond?

A surety bond is a three-party agreement that ensures the fulfillment of a commitment or contract. For instance, the surety (Merchants Bonding Company (Mutual)) may provide a surety bond to a construction company (the principal) which is required by the state (the obligee), ensuring the construction company will perform the duties as outlined in the contract. In bonding the construction company, Merchants assumes the risk should the company default or not fulfill their contract. A surety bond is different from traditional insurance in that the principal is obligated to pay back the surety company on any claims paid out.

All information provided is subject to change.