Surety bonds

The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees bid, performance, and payment surety bonds issued by certain surety companies.


SBA guarantees surety bonds

Surety bonds help small businesses win contracts by providing the customer with a guarantee that the work will be completed. Many public and private contracts require surety bonds, which are offered by surety companies. SBA guarantees surety bonds for certain surety companies, which allows the companies to offer surety bonds to small businesses that might not meet the criteria for other sureties.

How the SBA Surety Bond Program works

  • Surety bonds are requested

    Businessman and contract
    Some contracts require that the business doing the work be properly bonded.
  • Surety partners with business

    Business and contract
    Authorized surety companies provide surety bonds to businesses that meet their qualifications.
  • SBA guarantees

    SBA guarantees surety bonds for private surety companies, so more small businesses can qualify.
  • Small businesses benefit

    Small businesses get SBA-guaranteed surety bonds so they can get to work.

The right surety bond for the project

Some contracts require surety bonds that cover specific situations. SBA guarantees surety bonds that cover several major categories of work.

  • Bid

    Ensures full payment and performance bonding from the contract bidder.
  • Payment

    Cash in hand
    Ensures full payment to the suppliers and subcontractors.
  • Performance

    Checklist and magnifying glass
    Ensures full completion of a contract by small business.
  • Ancillary

    Wrench and gear
    Ensures completion of requirements outside of performance or payment, such as maintenance.

Bond Guarantee Fee

All performance and payment bond guarantees require small businesses to pay SBA a fee of 0.6% of the contract price. If for some reason the bond is cancelled or not issued, SBA will return the guarantee fee. SBA does not charge a fee for bid bond guarantees.


Determine your small business’s level of eligibility before obtaining a surety bond. Does your business meet the following requirements?

  • Be a small business

    Qualify as a small business according to SBA’s size standards.
  • Have a small contract

    Up to $9 million for non-federal contracts and up to $14 million for federal contracts.
  • Pass evaluation

    Meet the surety company’s credit, capacity, and character requirements.

Find authorized agents

Contact a surety bond agency

Check the database of surety agencies that offer SBA-guaranteed bonds.

Are you a transportation-related small business?

Explore the Department of Transportation's Bonding Education Program.

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Last updated March 28, 2024