BONDING INFORMATION AND EDUCATION
Surety Information Office (SIO)
SIO’s free resources are especially helpful to new and emerging contractors. CD and print materials include:
• How to Obtain Surety Bonds
• The Importance of Surety Bonds in Construction
• Surety Companies: What They Are and How to Find Out About Them
• Surety Bonds Versus Bank Letters of Credit
• Surety Bonds: A Guide for Contractors CD
Additional information is available on the SIO Web site at www.sio.org/contractor_main.html. To order free materials, visit SIO’s online store at www.sio.org/fstore.html or contact SIO at (202) 686-7463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Surety Association of America (SAA)
SAA offers many useful tools and education materials for new and emerging contractors including:
• Model Contractor Development Program
• Contractor Development Program Educational Modules
• Introduction to Surety Bonding for Contractors
• Construction Accounting and Financial Management
• Business and Project Management
• “Why Contractors Fail”– 10 Pitfalls to Avoid and 10 Ways to Avoid Them
For more information, contact SAA at (202) 463-0600 or visit www.surety.org.
National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP)
To find a professional surety bond producer, go to www.nasbp.org/bond.cfm. For more information, contact NASBP at (202) 686-3700 or email@example.com. Copyright 2006 Surety
Ongoing Programs at State and Local Levels
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide technical assistance to contractors in many locales. Similarly, local educational institutions may offer workshops and other educational opportunities to small businesses. To find out if programs are available in your area, contact your Local Surety Association (LSA) by visiting www.sio.org/LSAdirectory.html. To learn more about Small Business Development Centers, visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) Web site at www.sba.gov/sbdc/index.html.
Bonding Support Programs
Many federal, state, and local governments have developed or are developing bonding support programs for new and emerging contractors. Surety companies, SAA, and local surety associations around the country have assisted with several programs that provide technical assistance, surety bonding, and working capital loan assistance services to new and emerging contractors. For more information on bonding support programs, visit the SAA Web site at www.surety.org or contact SAA at (202) 463-0600.
Bond Guarantee Programs
SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program
For more than 30 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) program has helped small and emerging contractors who have the knowledge and skills necessary for success, but lack the combination of experience and financial strength to obtain bonds through regular commercial channels. SBA guarantees bid, performance, and payment bonds issued by surety companies to small and emerging contractors and reimburses the surety a percentage of loss if the contractor defaults. This government guarantee allows sureties to write bonds for contractors who would not otherwise meet their minimum standards—thus providing small and emerging contractors with contracting opportunities for which they would not otherwise qualify.
The SBA Office of Surety Guarantees (OSG) administers the SBG program as a partnership between the federal government and the surety industry. For more information on SBA programs, visit SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/OSG/ or call (202) 205-6540.
Department of Transportation
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a bond guarantee program for transportation and transportation related construction projects. The Bonding Assistance Program (BAP) offers new and emerging contractors an opportunity to obtain bid, payment, and performance bonds. For more information on BAP, visit the Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Web site at http://osdbu.dot.gov/ mrc_services/capitalAccess.cfm.
Some states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee, have established surety bond guarantee programs modeled after the SBA program. To learn whether surety bond guarantee programs are offered in your state, contact a local surety association.
Mentor-Protégé & Training Programs
AGC Stempel Program
The Stempel Plan is a mentor-protégé program implemented through Associated General Contractors (AGC) chapters nationally to build effective working relationships between leaders of mature established companies and new and emerging contractors. The mentor focuses on developing the protégé’s business plan and implementing actions necessary to help the protégé become a successful businessperson and contractor. Building on its origins with the AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter’s work with the Port of Portland mentor program, the plan has since become a national model for several agencies and organizations. For more information, visit www.agc-oregon.org/ public/board_councils/cioc/mentor-protégé.shtml.
Other Mentor-Protégé and Training Programs
Many states have established mentor-protégé programs to improve emerging contractor participation in transportation-related projects. Programs may provide opportunities for new and emerging contractors to hone their business skills through close work with established contractors. Some programs are designed to increase minority participation in state highway construction projects or transportation-related contracts. Other programs aim to elevate the volume of projects emerging contractors are capable of bidding on and profitably performing. To learn whether mentor-protégé programs are offered in your state, contact your state Department of Transportation.