Get Ready to Bond: Prepare Financial Statements for the Building Boom

Get Ready to Bond: Prepare Financial Statements for the Building Boom

While waiting for Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) projects to get underway, it’s a good time to consider whether your construction company can and should get bonded for upcoming projects and, if so, to get your financial statements in order.

The construction industry is facing one of the most challenging and exciting eras in its history. It’s challenging as a result of supply chain issues, material shortages, increased cost of materials, project delays, and the tight labor market. It’s exciting because of the coming building boom thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). (Even firms not interested in IIJA jobs will no doubt benefit from the sheer volume of jobs competing for limited construction resources.)

Construction companies interested in bidding for federal and state projects (per the Miller Act/Little Miller Act of NY) – and even a growing number of private jobs – should be getting their financial statements ready to secure the bonds that can help them be eligible to apply for and win new work.

Construction bonds are issued per project and protect the project owners from financial losses (whereas insurance protects the construction company). Typically, the cost of securing the bond is passed on from construction companies to project owners, and can add an estimated 1% to 3% to final bills. Although a construction company may feel like this makes it less competitive, bonding actually provides project owners with added peace of mind that work will be completed and comply with federal, state and municipal regulations, while mitigating risks.

What kinds of risks? There are a variety that can impact a job, from companies walking off a project or going out of business to not paying vendors so timing and supplies are delayed, or not having enough funding to complete a project.

When your company applies for a bond from a surety company, that company is going to do rigorous prequalification checks on licenses, past work, current workload, and finances to ensure your company can deliver what it promises and is a good risk. Because of this screening, project owners get an added level of confidence that they have the right contractor for the job. (Not being bonded can be inadvertently construed as a sign of weak finances, an inability to complete jobs, poor performance, and more.)

There are different types of bonds, with two main ones being for performance (delivering what was promised on time and in budget) and payment (ensuring suppliers, laborers and subcontractors get paid). Others include bid, maintenance, public works, site improvement, and more. The premium for a bond is typically 1% to 5% of the total value of the bond, but can be as high as 20% if a construction company has bad credit.

So, what do you need to have in hand to apply for a surety bond? A bonding company will typically look for your annual financial statement for each of the last three years, including balance sheet, income statement, and cash-flow statement. They’re interested in factors like profitability, net worth, cash flow, billing, debt, and more.

If you need help getting your financial documents ready to secure a bond, give RBT CPAs a call. We are a leading accounting and tax firm in the Hudson Valley and have extensive experience supporting businesses in the construction industry. Plus, we like to bond with our clients, and help them grow.