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Small & Emerging Contractors

SFAA has a longstanding commitment to assist small and emerging contractors with bonding.   You can find out about our Model Contractor Development Program® on our website and our partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bonding Education Program.

Bonding: Why and How | Access | Empowerment Programs | Education Resources | Protection | Success Stories

The Holy Trinity for the professional services group for Beverly Thomas and her successful business:  Banker, Insurance Bonding Agent, Attorney.  "They all need to work together".

Bonding:  Why and How

Surety is a unique form of insurance in which the surety company’s financial resources back the contractor’s commitment to enter into a contract with an owner. Surety bonds are a three-party agreement among the owner (obligee), the contractor (principal), and the surety company, and the surety company is obligated to both the obligee and the principal.

Surety bonds provide financial security and construction assurance to project owners by verifying that in the surety’s opinion the contractor is capable of performing the work and will pay certain subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers. This is especially important on public projects where taxpayers’ dollars are at risk.


Fast Track and Easy Application

Some member companies have found ways to provide surety bonds up to $400,000 in an expedited way simply based on your credit score. There are exceptions based on the terms and conditions of the project and the type of work but bonds are largely available for contractor with acceptable credit scores.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program provides surety bond guarantees for small businesses on federal, state, local, and commercial construction, service and supply contracts and subcontracts in direct partnership with surety companies and their agents. A list of surety companies and bond agents and producers participating in the SBA program is provided at

SBG Program Overview

The SBG Program helps small and emerging businesses 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, payment and performance bonds issued by surety companies and reimburses the surety 80% or 90% of the loss if the small business defaults. This government guarantee allows sureties to write bonds for businesses who do not otherwise meet their minimum standards, providing small and underserved businesses with increased contracting opportunities.


Our Partners:

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC)

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC )

Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC )

Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO)

National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC)

National Association of Surety Bond Producers

National Forum for Diversity in Construction (NFCD)

National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

Small Business Administration (SBA)

United State Department of Transportation - Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (USDOT-OSBDU)


Empowerment Programs

SFAA is committed to providing resources to fulfill its education mission. Our flagship Model Contractor Development Program (MCDP) and the Bonding Education Program.

Bonding Education Program (BEP) Tracking Map

States where SFAA has completed a BEP session.

BEP Tracking Map from SFAA Communications on Vimeo.

Link to U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (USDOT OSDBU) Bonding Education Page

Model Contractor Development Program (MCDP)

The Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) understands that an important aspect of surety market development and a major strategy in promoting the advantage of surety bonds over alternative products is the effort to increase availability of surety bonds to those small, minority and women contractors who currently might have difficulty qualifying for bonds or obtaining the size bonds they desire.

The Model Contractor Development Program® (MCDP®) is a dual strategy of this effort and involves working with producers and underwriters to make bonds more available and, at the same time, working with these small and emerging contractors to make them more bondable. For example, under the program, local surety associations (LSAs) are being encouraged to meet and develop activities and initiatives that increase bond awareness and availability for women, minorities and other small contractors. Some LSAs have established both formal and informal programs of information, outreach and support.

In addition, SFAA has entered into several partnerships with state and local governmental jurisdictions, trade associations, and non-profit organizations around the country that utilize the MCDP® as a model in designing and implementing contractor development, bond education and bonding assistance programs in their locales.

MCDP Summary Description

Bonding Education Program (BEP)

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) Bonding Education Program (BEP) partners with The Surety and Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) to help small businesses become bond ready. Becoming bondable is a challenge for many disadvantaged businesses and this program aims to help businesses grow by obtaining or building bonding capacity.

The BEP is a hands-on, multi-component program designed to address what businesses need to do to become bond-ready, as well as one-on-one sessions with local surety bonding professionals to help in assembling the materials necessary for a complete bond application. This program is tailored to businesses competing for transportation-related contracts.

Since its inception in 2010, the BEP has educated contractors on what they need to know and the steps they need to take to build strong businesses that are bondable, resulting in more than 135 BEPs and more than $760 million in initial bonding capacity. The one-on-one consultations and prescriptive plans prepared for each contractor provide focus on what issues provide impediments to success and what needs to be done to correct the issues.

 U.S. Department of Transportation's Bonding Education Program

Education Resources

Contractors & Subcontractors

Design Professionals

Educators & Students

Public Owners

Private Owners & Bankers

Surety Professionals

Bonding Empowers Diversity Summit from SFAA Communications on Vimeo.


Claims Resources

SFAA has a collection of claims resources to learn about how surety and fidelity bonds provide protection.



AGC Surety Claims Guide

The contract surety bond claims process, developed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).



Success Stories

Small & Emerging Contractors News

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Surety Bonding: the DBE Ticket to P3 Opportunities PDF (2.4 MB) Administration 2/3/2015
Spring 2014 Issue of American DBE Magazine Link Administration 9/23/2014

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Phone: 202-463-0600 • Fax: 202-463-0606