4 Ways to Determine if You Are Getting Top-Notch Service From Your Surety Agent

Whether you’re new to the bonding process or have been working with a surety agency for a significant amount of time, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re getting the service you deserve. Working with a surety company is a long-term partnership, so unlike getting your car worked on or some other transactional service, the quality isn’t always easily determined quickly. It’s an unfortunate truth as bonds are one of the most important parts of the construction business. It has a huge influence on the success and growth of your company, so working with a top-tier surety agency is wildly important.

With that in mind, we want to discuss some ways you can determine if you’re getting good service from your surety agency and some of the signs to look out for that denote poor service.

The 4 Ways You Know You're Getting Good Service

THE FIRST WAY

Do you know your bonding capacity?

Guessing isn’t a game to be played with bonding and no contractor should have to wonder whether they can bid on a project. A good surety agent takes the time to clearly understand what your needs are in terms of bonding support so that you can operate your business and execute your plans successfully. Once that is understood, the agent’s job is to establish parameters with the surety company and communicate that to you so you can focus on your job- getting and building construction projects.

THE FIRST WAY

THE SECOND WAY

Do you spend a lot of time managing your own bonds?

Once a bond program is in place, obtaining the actual bonds should be fairly seamless for routine requests within your normal size and scope projects. Of course, there are times when questions come up with things like jobs that are unusually long or a long-term warranty requirement but those are unusual characteristics. With a typical construction job, there shouldn’t be a bunch of questions. A good surety agent should be able to issue all routine bonds within 24-hours.

THE SECOND WAY

THE THIRD WAY

Is your surety agent responsive?

There is no reason to have to check in on your surety agent, the bonding process, or what to do next. They should keep you updated, respond quickly, and get you the answers you need, so you can move onto the next item on your to-do list. Consistency and being treated as a priority shows you’re getting good service from your surety agent. This is simple things like getting calls back or responses to your emails the same day, so you can move on to get things done.

THE THIRD WAY

THE FOURTH WAY

Is your surety agent proactive?

It’s important to understand what you as the contractor need for bonding today, but it’s also important to know what you’ll be needing in a year or two. Knowing where you want to take your contracting business and the hurdles ahead gives you and your surety agent time to collaborate on how to increase bonding capacity. It takes time to get a line of credit or a CPA financial statement. A good surety agent should be creating a roadmap for you to follow so you know exactly what steps to take to move forward and achieve your goals.

THE FOURTH WAY

If you’re working with a surety agency that has these behaviors, then you’re getting the top-notch service you deserve and it’ll help ensure that your contracting business thrives. On the other hand, what are some signs that you’re not getting good service?

The 3 Signs Indicating Bad Service

Here are 3 signs to look out for that mean your surety agency could do better for you.

  1. You’ve received bonds with errors in them or received bonds too late. 
    • People are human and mistakes happen, but they should happen VERY rarely if ever on bonds. Frequent errors or last minute delivery of bonds is a sign that an agent doesn’t have either experienced staff or quality control processes to ensure things are done right. You shouldn’t have to manage that for them.
  2. The surety agent puts you in a position where you’re unsure what’s going on or scrambling to get a bond due to unexpected requirements.
    • A surety agent should know the bonding process and what you need ahead of needing it. If you find yourself constantly doing things last minute, rushing to get financial records for example, then your agent isn’t providing good service. A good surety agent is upfront with you regarding what they need, any uphill battles you may face, and helps you find solutions to them before they come knocking. 
  3. The surety agent is condescending, acting as if they run your business rather than a supporting role in it. 
    • It’s important that the difference here is understood. A surety agent isn’t your boss, they’re a partner in a particular part of your business and that partnership is only to help the business YOU own get bonded and thrive. You know the construction business. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be where you are and a good surety agent knows that. They don’t talk down to you or dismiss your knowledge or expertise on a matter, they listen to you. 

If you’re currently working with a surety company and see any of these behaviors above, you can be sure that you’re not enjoying the full scope of what a surety agent can do for you. This means your business is suffering and may not fulfill its potential.

The CSBA Difference

At CSBA, we understand the importance of bonding to contractors, and because of that, everything we do is in the pursuit of supporting your business’s ability to succeed. In short, we focus on bonding so you can focus on your business.

We are committed to providing top-notch service to our clients by getting to know you and your company’s needs, guarantee to issue all routine bonds within 24-hours, are upfront regarding challenges you may face, and help develop a roadmap to grow your contractor business. As one client said:

"We have enjoyed a great relationship with Commercial Surety Bond Agency for the past 18 years. They are always professional, knowledgeable, and willing to put in the extra mile to ensure a smooth process. Our relationship with CSBA and the bonding capacity they have negotiated for Slater Builders has allowed us to pursue increasingly larger opportunities and strategically build business. Commercial Surety brings to the table a spirit of urgency and cooperativeness. Working with Dan and his staff, we never have to think about bonding."
Liz Slater
CEO at Slater Builders, Inc.

We invite you to experience what working with a top-notch surety agent feels like and why contractors both new and established, of varying sizes, have partnered with us for over 35-years. Let us worry about your bonding needs so you can focus on building California.

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