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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 contractors 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

ServitekOpen in a New Window

Servitek, a certified C-10 Electrical Contractor, is a multidisciplinary professional engineering and electric services company founded by Geoff Reyes in 2007. Prior to the founding of Servitek, Geoff Reyes began his career as an Aircraft Electrician with the U.S. Navy and later obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Electric Engineering, followed by a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management. With his years of combined experience and education, Mr. Reyes decided to pursue a lifelong passion of owning a company in the field construction and competing as a Prime Contractor.

Since its inception, the firm’s goal was to compete as a Prime Contractor. To achieve this goal, Servitek sought technical assistance from the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) Southwest Region Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC). After working with the Southwest Region SBTRC through the SFAA/DOT Bonding Education Program, Servitek successfully acquired a $250,000 line of credit, secured an aggregate bonding level of $5,000,000 and was awarded an $821,000 contract as a Prime Contractor.

"With the help of the Southwest Region SBTRC I will be able to not only retain my top-notch team, but also expand it, thus providing more job opportunities on our upcoming projects with Caltrans and Palm
Springs Airport. I am grateful that the Southwest Region SBTRC was able to help the entire team here at Servitek Solutions Inc.”
– Geoff Reyes, President & CEO of Servitek Solutions, Inc.

The California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce serves as OSDBU’s Southwest Region SBTRC. The SBTRC provides services to small businesses in the transportation industry in the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

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Onyx EnterpriseOpen in a New Window

Once again participation in a U.S. Department of Transportation/SFAA Bonding Education Program (BEP) has opened the door for significant growth and opportunity. For over 24 years, Onyx Enterprise, Inc. as offered engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to businesses in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Its founder, Tarolyn Buckles, created the 8(a) Certified Small Business and DBE in hopes of cultivating and sustaining communities. Since its inception, the organization has served clients from all levels of government, independent engineering firms and contractors.

In the past two years especially, Onyx Enterprise has experienced tremendous growth.  In 2014 the  
firm’s revenue increased by 50% and in 2015, it increased by 60% while its number of employees doubled from two  to four.

The organization’s notable advancement came after its participation in the Detroit BEP, which was held in conjunction with the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses program.  The BEP teaches businesses how to use surety bonds to participate in federal projects.  As a result of taking  part in the program, the firm was able to secure a $50,000 line of credit with Chase Bank and a $350,000 bond. The organization’s project-base has also increased in size and scope.

Onyx Enterprise was recently awarded $137,000 for its latest venture, the Detroit M-1 Rail Project which will provide underground utility inspection services. Another one of the firm’s ongoing projects is the Michigan Department of Transportation’s $1 billion plus I-94 Bridge Design Project in which it has been contracted to produce a municipal utility design for the Cadillac Bridge in Michigan. 

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Mundo Verde Irrigation & LandscapingOpen in a New Window

Mundo Verde Irrigation & Landscaping, co-owned by Susanna Guzman and Carlos Palos, is an irrigation and landscaping business based in San Antonio, Texas. The company has been in business for 12 years, specializing in commercial landscape creations and design.

The company was first introduced to the Gulf Region Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) after participating in the SFAA, USDOT, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) 2012 San Antonio Bonding Education Program (BEP). Participating in the BEP afforded Mundo Verde with the tools needed to be more successful. Ultimately, the BEP allowed company owners to utilize key business sustainability practices to successfully and confidently make smarter business decisions.

Prior to its participation in the BEP, Mundo Verde’s bonding capacity was $500,000 with an aggregate of $850,000. After completing the program, the firm met with several bonding producers, received technical assistance from Renee Watson and the Bexar County Small, Minority, Women, and Veteran Owned Business Enterprise (SMWBE) program, and ultimately increased its bonding capacity to $1,000,000 with an aggregate of $4,000,000. Obtaining the increase in bonding capacity allowed Mundo Verde to complete two additional phases of a project at Brooks City Base in San Antonio, TX. Prior to taking the class the company was only able complete the first phase. Mundo Verde believes it gained significant experience and understanding of how to effectively run construction projects due to its participation in the BEP.

The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce serves as OSDBU’s Gulf Region SBTRC. OSDBU’s Gulf Region SBTRC administers small business assistance programs and provides technical assistance to small businesses throughout the states of Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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Moxy Miscellaneous IronworksOpen in a New Window

As a small contractor in a competitive market, Moxy Miscellaneous Metals’ prime focus was on performance and winning the next project. They weren’t focusing at all on obtaining a bond (aggregate or single) or if they were to obtain a bond what their capacity would be. Before the USDOT/ SFAA Bonding Education Program (BEP) Moxy owners Charles and Randy believed that “bonding a project” was synonymous with performing a multimillion dollar project, a sentiment which they later discovered not to be true.

Charles and Randy started Moxy Miscellaneous Metals (Ironworks) in September of 2011, specializing in the installation and fabrication of miscellaneous metals. They were both members of Ironworkers Local #5 with extensive training and were both very knowledgeable of the trade. Their business model was very simple, “provide our customers with union quality work at an “open shop” price.” They worked third tier projects for a couple of years to build up capital then in 2013, took the opportunity to work directly for a general contractor. While very successful, they knew at some point that they needed to start preparing for the next level of construction. To prepare, they both took a management class through Turner, which was extremely helpful in pushing them to that next level. By 2016, Charles and Randy owned two Miscellaneous Metals installation firms and one Metals Fabrication shop.

Although they had not yet reached the project volume needed to bond, they were quite certain that they would need one in the near future.  Through an industry friend, Nyime Gilchrist, manager, Bonding Education Program, USDOT, they found out about the BEP. Ironically, midway through the class they ran into a situation that required a bond. The project that they were working on required a change order that was well within their expertise to perform, but brought the cost up to exceed 250K, requiring a bond for the work. With that missed opportunity they learned two important lessons; bonds are project specific and the dollar value varies.

During the BEP class, they met Josh Etemadi, from Construction Bonds Inc., recalling, “we couldn’t have met a more patient, insouciant, understanding, down to earth and knowledgeable person when it pertains to bonding.” As a new firm, Randy and Charles found that there were important business pieces that they just didn’t have in place (i.e. great accounting firm, financials, profit & loss statements, etc.). Working diligently with Josh over the course of 6 to 8 months, they were able to successfully get all of the financial requirements in place to the bonding agents’ liking. After 9 hard months of work from everyone involved, they were able to secure roughly $300,000.00 in bonds and are currently working on a 1.6 M dollar bond that they are extremely confident in obtaining. “We feel so fortunate to have been a part of the BEP where we met Josh. Sometimes he walked us through, at other times he held our hand and yet other times he pushed us through this process.”

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Gastonia Iron WorksOpen in a New Window

Gastonia Iron Works, a woman-owned business based in North Carolina, actively participated   in the BEP program held in June 2015 with CATS and Balfour Beatty. After successfully graduating from the BEP program, Gastonia Iron Works was approved for bonding capacity of $1,000,000 with Catalyst Surety Partners. After increasing their bond capacity, the company obtained a bond of $500,000 to complete a project.

In addition to obtaining a bond, the company was also able to secure financing. They were approved for funding by 2 different banks, and ultimately  accepted a line of credit from BB&T, for $150,000.

Vice President Jerry Pace believes that while they have attended many small business classes during their 38 years in business, this was the best program they have participated in, according to the note of thanks sent to SFAA, and suggested “the program is so good we would pay tuition to attend.”

Quick Facts

Company Name:
Gastonia Iron Works

Mount Holly, NC

Woman Owned, DBE Certification Pending


DOT/OSDBU Program:
Bonding Education Program (BEP) Graduation June 2015

Metal Fabrication, Structural Steel

11 jobs retained


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Diamond Plumbing and HeatingOpen in a New Window

We are the owners of Diamond Plumbing and Heating from Edmonds, WA, a family and woman owned
firm providing commercial plumbing services. We attended the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Bonding Education Program (BEP) follow-up workshop in June of 2015 in Bellevue, WA. The USDOT partnered with The Surety Association of American, East West Bank, WSDOT and the city of Seattle. We learned about project bidding and estimating and USDOT loan guarantee program for small/emerging businesses. The event helped us to get connected with government agencies as we engaged with the Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) to obtain our bonding by working with the BEP bonding producer, Brandon Bush, from Propel Inc.

After the workshop, we received one-on-one assistance from the bonding producer and Lily Keeffe’s team. In several months, our company increases our bonding capacity from $6,000 to $350,000. It was good to experience and obtain the necessary tools needed to bid on federal government projects such as USDOT funded projects or private projects.

Thank you for all you do to sup- port our firm to get the access to increase our bonding capacity and to get connected with prime and public agencies.

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The PDI GroupOpen in a New Window

Ten years ago Pacific Dynasty International, Inc. now known  as PDI Group,  started  as an LED gadget sales company.  Since then, it has grown in capacity from an LED supplier and authorized distributor to installing lighting and erecting steel on infrastructure projects.

Since installing lighting and erecting steel required bonding,  PDI sought assistance from the Gulf Region Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC). Henry Yiu with PDI says that participating in the 2015 Gulf Region U.S. DOT Women in Transportation Bonding and Access to Capital  Program  took the business to a different level. This hands-on educational opportunity was part of the SFAA/ U.S. DOT Bonding Education Program.

Prior to participating in the program, PDI had no bonding  capacity. PDI learned about  the bonding  process step by step and how to increase its business capacity. As a result, PDI was able to obtain  $2 million in aggregate bonding  capacity. The program helped facilitate and build a great relationship with the surety agency that the SBTRC provided  them with in the program. Having obtained the essential bonding  capacity, PDI has been able to pursue business at a different level and bonding  has opened many doors for them.

Public sector clients PDI has received procurement opportunities with include  Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport  and  the  cities of Dallas  and Fort Worth, TX.

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Rocky Mountain Boiler Services, LLCOpen in a New Window

Rocky Mountain Boiler Services (RMBS), located in Monument, CO, is an SBE- and EBE-certified business specializing in industrial and commercial boiler service and repair. Patricia Mansfield, the owner of RMBS, recently participated  in the SFAA/USDOT Bonding Education Program (BEP) in Denver.

Before the BEP, the company  did not have bonding, and Patricia did not know much about  it. Through the one-on-one meetings with surety professional  during the BEP, RMBS established  a relationship with Ramirez Bonding and now have bonding.  RMBS now is working  on a job with Johnson  Controls at the Denver International Airport central power plant, a job that required  bonding.

Patricia said, “The BEP has been wonderful in terms of the instruction we have received on accounting, bidding, and estimating,  but especially on bonding. I got a call recently from a company  that asked us to bond, and we wouldn’t have known  where to turn without this information. So, it has been fortuitous
in its timing.  Thank  you!”

Please provide some background info (on yourself and business)—education background/ work experience/ reasons for starting your business...

In business since 2004, sons joined in 2008. Growing and expanding as family owned business.

What was the business’s bonding situation before the BEP/What was your perception of bonding before participating in the BEP?

Rocky Mountain Boilers had not been bonded before. They were approved for $400,000 which allowed them to secure a contract with Denver International Airport (DIA). They are working on repairing the boiler that broke down in the central power plant at DIA. Rocky Mountain Boiler Services established a relationship with Ramirez Bonding in the one-on-one meetings with surety agents.

How did you the BEP and what was you experience going through the program? What did you earn?

Prior to being a client of WCSB- TRC, they got an email from Steven Martinez at the City and County of Denver. He works for Denver’s Out- reach for Business Opportunities.

Outcome (in terms of bonding).

Went from never having a bond to being approved for a $400,000 bond. Final bond was $360,000.

Current projects/ upcoming projects/other successes?

Having bonding will help them get more business and more jobs that require bonding. The BEP presenters were very helpful from accounting to safety. It was very beneficial to hear from a GC perspective. Understanding what a General Contractor is looking for really helped to be able to meet their expectations. Rocky Mountain Boiler Services has become a stronger company because of what they learned in the BEP.

(The RTD BEP class graduated on March 4, 2015.)

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JP Hogan Coring and Sawing Corporation, Staten Island, NYOpen in a New Window

Bernadette  Hogan  has a vision for her company  and that is to be the number  one concrete cutting company in New York. So, after picking up the pieces of the business that her father founded  decades ago, and that Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed recently, Bernadette  Hogan  sought to figure out how to gain a share of the concrete cutting market  in the tri-state  New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut region.

“We’d never been asked for bonding,  but the subject came up over and over again at workshops and events we’d go to,” Bernadette remembered.

Then, in 2014, through a mentor- protégé relationship with Skanska Civil, she enrolled JP Hogan  Coring and Sawing in the SFAA/USDOT Bonding Education Program  (BEP).  In New York, the nine-week program was hosted by the USDOT’s Small Business Transportation Resource Center and the joint venture of Skanska Kiewit Ecco (SKE) for the Kosciuszko Bridge Replacement Project.

JP Hogan  understood that in order to grow and move up in the industry, the company  would need to adjust the way they operated the business. The BEP, with workshops led by industry experts in surety, accounting, legal, estimating,  project  management, and others accelerated  JP Hogan’s decision to align with construction professionals while holding on to a team of loyal workers  they had so carefully put together  over the course of two decades.

“We listened to the experts, examined  what we had and what we needed to improve on. The day after the workshops we would measure our strengths  and weaknesses and organize the knowledge  we had acquired  to make our case for bonding capacity presentable and strong,” said Kathleen Makowski, VP for Administration and Finance at JP Hogan.

The effort paid off. By the end of the BEP in December, JP Hogan Coring  and Sawing Corporation, a NY Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), was approved for bonding capacity up to $1 million. The company’s portfolio includes some of the region’s mega infrastructure projects:  The New NY Bridge Project, the Kosciuszko Bridge Replacement Project, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and the Second Avenue Subway among many others.

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Alameda Construction Services, Inc.Open in a New Window

Kevin Ramsy receives certificate of completion from Scott LeslieThis issue’s Spotlight is on Alameda Construction of Compton, CA. President and CEO Kevin Ramsey participated in the Los Angeles Bonding Education Program, which is based on SFAA’s Model Contractor Development Program®.

In 1992, Kevin Ramsey founded a general building construction company in South Los Angeles, which he began by renovating houses, apartments, commercial buildings, and now, general building/ general engineering, roads, highways and public works. In 1997, that company was incorporated as Alameda Construction Services, Inc.

Kevin is the president and CEO of Alameda Construction and participated in the the Bonding Education Program held in Los Angeles. He took the advice of the professionals that led the workshops and his bond agent, Patty Zenizo with Preferred Bonding, in order to increase his bonding capacity and further grow his business. One of the keys to strengthening his business was working with Glenn Gelman and Associates to improve his financial statements. Recently, Kevin increased his aggregate bond capacity from $3.7 million to $5 million. This added capacity is allowing Kevin to pursue more jobs at the same time while adding up to six employees to his crews. Two transportation-related projects he currently is working on are a contract at LAX airport (at about $500,000) and the Expo 2 line with LA Metro (at about $700,000).

Kevin has been active with the National Association of Minority Contractors. His firm is DBE, MBE, SBE, and HUBZone certified. Kevin says, “The resources and direction given to me through the Small Business Transportation Resource Center and the SFAA/ USDOT Bonding Education Program have been invaluable. You helped me find the right tools in order to help me grow my business.”

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G3 Electrical TechnologiesOpen in a New Window

Morre & Durante


This issue’s MCDP® Spotlight is on G3 Electrical Technologies of Las Vegas, NV. Owners Thomas Moore and Ronaldo Duarte participated in the Las Vegas Bonding Education Program, which is based on SFAA’s Model Contractor Development Program®. 

Thomas Moore and Ronaldo Duarte are experienced electricians that both were doing well working for large companies. However, when the market got very shaky in Las Vegas five or six years ago, they were concerned about their future prospects. Therefore, they decided to put their future in their own hands and start their own business, G3 Electrical Technologies. Since inception, they have kept busy, continually growing and improving their business operations. In addition to themselves, they now have three permanent employees and three temporary employees.

They were attending a "How to do Business with Clark County” class when they found out about the Bonding Education Program (BEP). Clark County was a part of the BEP Stakeholder team. When they attended the class, they did not know anything about surety bonds. They knew they had their contractor’s license bond but did not realize they needed surety bonding  in order to bid on larger public works projects. G3 was very pleased with the workshop series held at the Urban Chamber of Commerce Business Development Center. Moore and Duarte say, "We received some great information in the BEP classes, especially by the CPA and by Lisa Stevens (Bond Manger at the Leavitt Group), who we now have a relationship with and is our bond agent. Not only did we obtain valuable information, like the need for surety bonding, but we walked away with some great new connections in the community that we interact with often.”


At the time of the BEP, G3 had no surety bonding and had not bid on any projects that required bonding. G3 has been trying to grow and diversify their business by pursuing public works contracts. They recently set up their bonding line and now are ready to bid on projects that require surety bonds. They have done some work for Nellis Air Force Base and also the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. These contracts have dealt with the electrical aspects of fueling stations, with which they have expertise. They have attended some workshops at the Nevada DOT (NDOT) and are interested in getting work with them. Currently, they are applying for their DBE certification, which they expect to obtain this year, which will help them to get NDOT contracts. "We pursued surety bonding so that our company can be positioned appropriately to execute public works contracts. We are ready.”

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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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