How to Get Bonded for a Job

by Linda Ray

Contractors, mortgage lenders and car dealers are some of the kinds of small business operators that typically must carry a surety bond for their businesses. Required by the government, the bond helps protect customers from getting ripped off. A surety bond guarantees the performance of contractors per the requirements of their licenses. It's basically a letter of credit saying that you'll cover any damages or insufficient work claims. When you're asked to get bonded, you're usually being asked to secure a surety bond.

Apply online or over the phone with a surety bond company for a contract bond if you work for various clients. You can start by getting a small bond that promises you'll fulfill the requests in a bid. Once you win the bid, you can purchase a performance bond for the job.

Agree to pay the premium and send the money. You can expect to pay between one and three percent of the total bond amount if you have stellar credit, and five to 15 percent if you’re working in a high-risk market or you are considered a higher risk by the surety company.

Sign the forms once you’ve been approved. Your bond begins as soon as the company receives the signed forms.

Items you will need
  • Bond application
  • Premium payment


  • Get help with your surety bond payments through the Small Business Administration’s Office of Surety Guarantees. The department can back your bonds for contracts up to $2 million if you qualify and your surety company agrees to pay the SBA a percentage of the premiums.


  • You can’t get a surety bond through normal channels if you are a felon, have filed for bankruptcy, have poor credit, are on welfare or because you are considered high risk. You can, however, take advantage of the Federal Bonding Program. The government will issue a bond for $5,000 that you can show to employers. The bond basically ensures that you will fulfill your obligations to the company, or the government will cover your boss’s or client’s losses up to $5,000. Simply give the form to your boss to fill out and send in. There's no cost for a federal bond. Applications are available through your local one-stop career center or unemployment agency.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images