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Does a Personal Assistant Need to Be Bonded?

by Melody Dawn

As a personal assistant, you will help your boss in any professional aspect he needs, so it is a good idea to apply for a surety bond to protect yourself against any accidental loss or damage that can occur while you perform your duties. Personal assistants act in much the same way as an administration assistant or a secretary. You will organize files, schedule travel arrangements, write reports and even make coffee. As you gain experience, you will receive larger responsibilities, including having access to bank accounts and personal belongings.

The Purpose of Bonding

A surety bond for a personal assistant is a guarantee of the assistant to pay a certain amount if she fails to meet contractual obligations, according to JW Surety Bonds -- one of the largest U.S. bonding agencies. Some bonds, including business service bonds, help your client feel secure by ensuring protection from employee dishonesty, such as theft and misrepresentation. Bonding is not necessary to operate legally as a personal assistant, but a bond can offer you an advantage over your competitors because clients will feel better protected against fraud.

Financial Accountability

If you handle large amounts of cash or expensive personal items, it is worth your time to get bonded. During the application process, you will go through a thorough background check to see if you have any type of criminal history including theft. Generally, you must have good credit to be bonded. Clients will not want to trust someone with irreplaceable items and fortunes to someone who has stolen in the past, so a bond lets your clients know you are trustworthy.

Who Benefits

The person who requires the bond receives the most benefit. In the event of personal loss, your boss will receive compensation and you can avoid a lawsuit. If your boss requires the bond, he will receive compensation if you are at fault for any damage or loss. For you as the personal assistant, the low cost of surety bonding is one of the main benefits you want to apply. You will not have to pledge your own money if your boss files a claim for poor performance. It's important to understand, a surety bond is not an insurance policy. If the bonding company has to pay your boss, the company will seek repayment of the claim from you. Basically, the bond is a short-term loan ensuring you can pay.

How to Apply?

Bonding only takes a few hours if you know what to do. Choose a local bond company in your area or locate one on the Internet. Fill out an application for bonding. You will need to answer information on your personal assistant business, including what services you offer and how much of a bond you need. The amount of your bond should cover the value of property you are responsible for, and you should apply for a performance bond, which states you will perform your job as specified. You will need to sign a release for your background and credit information. After the bonding company processes your paperwork, they will notify you if you qualify. If you receive the bond, sign it and give a copy to your employer. If you do not have the funds to back the bond, you will be unlikely to receive bonding.

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