JW Surety Bonds

January Freight Flow Affected by the Harsh Winter

futureatlas.com / Foter / CC BY

3.4% is the decrease of freight flow this January in comparison with January 2013. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, this is the biggest fall since November 2009.

The negative change is 9.9% for rail freight and 4.9% for truck freight. Air freight is also decreasing, but pipeline and vessel trade are on the rise.

Statistics shows that in January this year, trucks remain the main transportation for U.S.-NAFTA trade with 59.9% of all freight. The financial expression of this percentage is $28 billion in exports and $25.7 billion in imports. 81.5% of all NAFTA freight was moved by truck, pipeline and rail transportation.

As for U.S.-Canada trade, trucks took care of 52.2% of the freight. Trucks carried 68.1% of the U.S.-Mexico trade with top commodity consisting of electrical machinery.


Read the full article at Truckinginfo.

The Ultimate Washington Contractor Licensing Guide

Do you know how to get registered in the State of Washington?

Do you know how to get registered in the State of Washington?

In Washington, there are 63 kinds of specialty contractor classifications available. Unlike in other states, where there are only about 40 contractor classifications, here contractors are required to be very specific about what they do. For example, if you repair not only closets, but also gutters and downspouts, you’d need a separate specialty classification for each.

The specificity of the Washington classification system means that if you are planning to operate as a contractor, you need to get accurate information about the licensing process in advance.

First things first: if you want to operate as either a general or a specialty construction contractor, you have to obtain a Washington contractor license. Note that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, the licensing authority, refers to this process as registration, not licensing, but it is essentially the same procedure. The process is called licensing only in case you want to work as an electrician or plumber.


Contractor Licensing Requirements

Let’s get down to business. How, precisely, do you go about the licensing process in the State of Washington, you’re wondering? Well, the first step is to gather a list of the required documents.

As in other states, the best resource for the requirements is the authority in charge of licensing — in this case, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. You can consult their Construction Contractors guide for detailed information.

Construction work in Washington, DC

Contractors need to get licensed to do construction work legally

If you are licensing for the first time, you will need to define your business structure before anything else. What will you operate as?

  • Sole-Proprietor
  • Corporation
  • General partnership
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)

If you are going to operate as a Corporation, LP, LLP or LLC, you have to register with the Washington Secretary of State for a $180 fee. You can download all necessary forms here. It’s possible to get expedited service as well.

Step number two is obtaining your Uniform Business Identifier number (UBI#) by completing a Business License Application. Next, if you are going to have employees, you will need to get an IRS Employer Identification Number, as well. Then, fill out the Application for Construction Contractor Registration. The fee for a 2-year registration or a renewal is $113.40, so you should be prepared to pay it when submitting your application and documents.

To complete your licensing documentation, you also have to obtain:

  • a general liability insurance coverage of $50,000 property damage policy
  • a $200,000 public liability policy
  • a surety bond

Unlike other states in which contractors need to pass an exam or present proof of professional experience or related education, in Washington you are spared from this step.

Washington Contractor’s License Bond

One of the licensing requirements is obtaining a surety bond. More precisely, you will need to get a Washington continuous contractor’s bond.

For general contractors, the bond amount is $12,000, while for specialty contractors registering in one trade only, the amount is $6,000. But don’t be fazed by the numbers – the price you have to pay for the surety bond is only a percentage of the bond amount.

Construction work in progress

Construction work in progress

If you are going to bid on public projects, you will also have to obtain contract bonds such as bid, performance and payment bonds, which will be tied to the specific project only. To protect yourself from employee dishonesty, you can also get fidelity bonds, which are a type of insurance for your business.

The purpose of the contractor’s bonds required in the licensing process is not to protect your business, but the public. The bond acts as a guarantee that your company will abide by state regulations and laws in its operations. This ensures that your clients’ interests are secure.

It’s possible to get a Washington contractor’s bond even with bad credit. You can apply here to get an exact bond quote.


Get Started Today

After you have read through the steps and consulted the Department of Labor and Industries guide, you’ll be fully armed with the necessary info to tackle the Washington contractor licensing process.

Ready to get rolling? Contact us to get an instant quote for your Washington contractor’s bond.

30-year mortgage rates at a new high

wwiwsky / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


Up from 4.32%, the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages reached 4.4% this week. The steady increase means that the costs of borrowers, logically, are going up. Home prices also increased with 13.2% from January 2013 to January 2014.

With higher home prices and increasing mortgage rates, new house purchases are dropping. In February, they reached a five-month low. Purchases of already owned homes also fell to an eight-month low. The difficult winter conditions across the country were a strong factor in the slowdown as well.

As the Federal Reserve is changing the rules of the game by removing the stimuli that kept the borrowing costs down, the mortgage rates are bound to keep going up. The monthly bond purchases are down to $55 billion, from $85 billion last year.

Read the full article at National Mortgage News

Construction industry regains strength in Las Vegas

seier+seier / Foter / CC BY

While experiencing the effects of a post-recession population boom, southern Nevada is also seeing an increase in employment and overall better economic conditions. This means that construction is also on the rise, as with more people living there, more homes are needed.

Even though the construction industry was seriously affected by the crisis, it seems to be picking up strongly now in the presence of positive economic stimuli. Many companies are adding new staff, especially since the beginning of 2014. The employment growth in the sector is 8.3% over the past year. People who moved because of losing their construction job are now coming back as well, as the industry is back on its feet in southern Nevada.

Not all work that construction companies get involves new building. In this revival period, their projects are often focused more on remodeling and repairs.

Read the full article at 8NewsNow.

Nissan Recalls 1 Million Vehicles Due to Airbag Malfunction

TheCarShooters / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Due to a software problem preventing the front passenger airbag from deploying in an accident, Nissan Motor is recalling more than 1 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.

The company said that is not aware of any accidents or deaths caused by the malfunction.

There are sensors in the front passenger seats that should detect whether an adult or a child is sitting in the seat. Studies indicate that the risk of injury or death to a child is often greater from an airbag than from an accident.

So if the sensors detect that there is not enough weight in the front passenger seats, the airbag will not deploy.

In case of the Nissans, even if an adult is sitting in the seat, the sensors are shutting off the airbag.

The company recalls most of its best-selling Nissan and luxury Infiniti models from the last two years. Among them are the
2013-2014 Altima, Leaf, Pathfinder and Sentra, the model year 2013 NV200 cargo van that’s also known as the Nissan taxi, the 2013 Infiniti JX35, and the 2014 Infiniti Q50 and QX60 cars.

Read the source article at CNN Money

In 2013 Trucks Moved $679 Billion in Goods Between NAFTA Member Countries

jack satta (fnb) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

According to data provided by the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2013 the trucking industry moved $679 billion worth of goods between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This is more than half of the total of $1.138 trillion in transported goods between the countries of the NAFTA agreement for that same year.

Even though the total share of NAFTA trade saw a light decrease (0.002 percent) compared to 2012, the amount of goods transported by truck grew by 2.2 percent. Going back in time, we can see that in 2013 trucking “moved 49.4 percent more NAFTA goods than in 2009″.

Both trade with Canada and Mexico grew by 2.6 percent, but trucking’s share of trade was different in the two countries. In Canada it fell by 1.1 percent, while in Mexico it grew by 3.8 percent.

Michigan ($74.6 billion) and Illinois ($60 billion) were the states with the highest share of trade with Canada. Trade with Mexico, on the other hand, was led by Texas ($195.7 billion) and California ($60.2 billion).

Read the full article at the Commercial Carrier Journal.