Contractor License Bonds

What is a contractor bond?

There are several types of construction bonds, but the surety bond known as a contractor license bond is the one that’s specifically required in most states to get a contractor’s license. It is a legal contract among three parties:

  • The principal, who is the construction professional.
  • The obligee, which is the federal, state, county or local government requiring the bond.
  • The surety, which is the company issuing the bond.

In general, here’s how a construction bond of this type works:

  • If a contractor (or principal) violates the terms of their contractor license bond, the obligee makes a claim against the contractor.
  • If damages are awarded, the contractor is then required to reimburse the surety for any money it distributed to settle the claim.

Depending on the state in which you’re applying for licensure, you may know this surety bond as a “general contractor’s license bond" or a “home improvement contractor bond." Residential construction professionals in Texas are required to obtain a building contractor’s bond.

Why do I need a contractor license bond?

These license bonds protect customers (not the contractor) from financial loss by guaranteeing that the contractor agrees to follow the regulations in the contractor license. Most states require this kind of general contractor bonding in order to issue the proper business license.

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How much does a contractor license bond cost?

The price of surety bonds for construction businesses depends on both the bond amount and the applicant’s credit. Bond amounts, which provide coverage to the contractor’s customers, can vary from $10,000 to more than $100,000.

Applicants with excellent credit can pay a premium as low as 1% of the total bond amount. So, if the bond amount is $10,000, the premium would be just $100 for the bond’s term.

Even with an average credit score, applicants frequently receive a rate of 2% to 5% of the bond’s full coverage amount. A low credit score could raise your premium to 15%.

Cost of Contractor License Bonds
State Bond Amount Cost
(Annual Premium)
Alaska $5,000 $100
Alabama Varies Varies*
Arizona Varies $100-$1,000*
California $15,000 $70-$1,500*
Colorado Varies Varies*
Florida $25,000 $125
Georgia $25,000 $125
Indiana $5,000-$20,000 $100*
Louisiana Varies Varies*
Minnesota Varies Varies
Mississippi $1,000–$5,000 $100*
Nevada Varies Varies*
New York Varies Varies*
North Carolina $2,000-$25,000 $100-$250
North Dakota $5,000-$15,000 $100*
Ohio $5,000-$25,000 $100*
Oregon $20,000-$75,000 $200-$2,625
South Carolina Varies Varies*
South Dakota $10,000 minimum $100*
Tennessee $10,000-$50,000 $100-$500
Texas $25,000 $125
Utah $15,000/$25,000/$50,000 Varies*
Washington $6,000/$12,000 $100*
Wyoming Varies Varies

* Cost can vary depending on the bond amount required and your credit rating

How can I qualify for a contractor license surety bond?

Before issuing a contractor license bond, the surety needs to evaluate your financials and business, to ensure you (as the builder) can succeed at fulfilling the obligations of the bond.

Here are a few simple steps construction professionals must take to qualify for a contractor license bond:

  1. Apply for a free quote to find out how much your bond will cost.
  2. Fill out the contractor’s license bond application.
  3. Sign the contract.
  4. Pay your premium to the bonding company.
  5. Receive your bond.

Get bonded in your state

Contractor and builder license bonds are available through NNA Surety Bonds in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

What else should I know about construction bonds?

This type of surety bond encourages compliance with the stipulations of the contractor’s license. However, if a construction professional needs a bond to guarantee performance on a specific job or individual contract, other types of construction bonds are required and must be applied for separately.

Questions? Call NNA Surety Bonds at 855-215-2160
Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT)

Providing Bonds and Insurance Since 1957