JW Surety Bonds

Truck Tonnage Increased in March

Credit: ATA

According to the American Trucking Associations, the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index gained 0.6% in March. The increase for February was 1.9%, although the forecast was 2.8%. The March index was 127.3, while for February it was 126.5.

The record high, 131, was last November. Still, these results show a good trend out of the lower figures from December and January.

The index has increased with 3.1% altogether since March 2013. This is the biggest gain for 2014.

Analysts say that tonnage is still not at its best levels, but is showing signs of general improvement. They don’t expect the same increase as in 2013, which was 6.3% annual gain.

Read the full article at TruckingInfo.



Loan climate getting riskier

401(K) 2013 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to recent findings of the International Center on Housing Risk, the housing loans climate is getting more unfavorable and riskier. The Center’s indices measure how mortgage loans originated at certain points in time will be dealt with under stressful conditions. The results show that lasting market stability apparently has not been reached yet.

About 24% of purchase loans have a debt-to-income ratio exceeding the 43% QM limit. This is especially true for the Federal Housing Administration, which has 45% of loans that don’t meet the limits.

All housing loans under the NMRI have a down payment of less than 5%. Almost 25% have a debt-to-income ratio above the QM limit.

Read the full article at HousingWire. 

Bidding for Municipal Construction: 4 Great Tips for a Winning Bid

Wilmington Hospital transformation - December 2010

Hospital construction is often done through public bidding projects


If you’re running a construction company, chances are you’ve already thought about construction bidding for municipal projects. But do you know how to prepare a bid that the municipality simply can’t refuse?

The public bidding process for construction projects is complicated and requires thorough preparation and strict legal compliance.

What does this mean for construction companies hoping to win municipal construction projects? That you should get well-acquainted with the bidding process and the intricacies of presenting a winning bid. When you’re taking part in a public bidding, keep these four important tips in mind:


1. Choose projects carefully and know who the decision makers are

Learn who the decision-makers in your local municipality are

Learn who the decision-makers in your local municipality are

Do your homework in advance and research your nearby construction marketplace. Check the volume and location of bidding projects and find the best market niche in which your business can fit and thrive. This way, you’ll only bid only on suitable projects.

Part of winning the bid is making sure you win the votes. So it’s a great idea to identify the decision makers voting on behalf of the municipality.

Know who is legally entitled to evaluate your bid. Not all parties have the authority to make decisions on competitive bidding. To avoid disappointment, focus on convincing those who have the right to reject your project.


2. Be the Lowest and Best bidder

The main principle that guides the municipality’s decision is the “lowest and best” standard. It’s not enough to offer lowest priced bid. You also need to match every requirement and demonstrate your advantage over your competitors by adding extra value to the project.

Included in the municipality’s evaluation are criteria such as your business’ financial status, company size, and the professional experience of your employees and of the company as a whole. Carefully presenting your company strengths is crucial to matching the bidding standard of municipalities.


3. Hire a construction CPA

Hiring a CPA can be of great help during the bidding process

Hiring a CPA can be of great help during the bidding process

A construction Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm is not simply a general accounting firm. Its employees are trained to deal specifically with construction companies’ finances.

Since contractors’ accountancy is rather complex, hiring a construction CPA for your bidding process is important. It will ensure your own security and your compliance with legal requirements. Moreover, a qualified construction CPA can be more than an accountant for your company – they can provide a much needed business consultation, as well.


4. Get adequate information about the surety bond requirements

Bidding on public projects involves obtaining a surety bond to accompany your offer. More precisely, municipalities require a bid bond. This is a guarantee that in case you win the project, you will obtain the required construction surety bonds, namely performance and payment bonds.

To get detailed information about the necessary surety bonds for your bid and, should you win, for your project, just call us at (888) 592-6631 or contact us online. Our contract bond experts will help you get bonded fast and at the lowest possible rate.



How to Get Your Illinois Contractor License

Construction work in Chicago

Construction work in Chicago

Are you planning to start your contractor business in the State of Illinois? Then read on for some helpful tips on getting your Illinois contractor license.

First of all, the great news is that general contractors don’t need a state license in Illinois! If you’re planning to work as a general contractor, just make sure you comply with the requirements for your specific county and city to legalize your local operations. Only if you’re a roofing or plumbing contractor will you need to get a state-wide license.

Below we have compiled the most important requirements for getting licensed as a roofing or plumbing contractor in Illinois, which will hopefully help you untangle the licensing process. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the prerequisites before you start applying, so that you are well prepared.


Getting an Illinois Contractor License

If you just plan to operate as a general contractor in Illinois, you won’t need to get a state-wide contractor license. However, you”ll still need to register and get licensed as a contractor with your local county or city. The first step you need to take is to identify the local authority in charge of contractor licensing. Very often this is the local building authority. Then you need to learn its requirements, as they vary from place to place.

Roofing and plumbing contractors, though, do need a state-wide Illinois contractor license. Let’s get into a bit more detail for these two cases.


Roofing contractors

Roofing contractors in Illinois need a license

Roofing contractors in Illinois need a license

Roofing contractors need to get an Illinois roofing license by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. All relevant information and the application form are available on the website of IDPFR. The nonrefundable application fee is $125. You need to renew your Illinois roofing license before June 30 of every odd-numbered year.

One of the main requirements is to have a designated individual from your roofing company who will pass a state examination in Residential Roofing, Commercial and Industrial Roofing or Commercial, Industrial and Residential Roofing. The test is administered by Continental Testing Services, Inc. and costs $216.30 for the first two categories and $267.80 for the third one.

Roofing contractors are also required to obtain $250,000 property damage insurance, $500,000 personal injury insurance and a $10,000 contractor license bond.

Plumbing contractors

Plumbing contractors in Illinois also need to get a state-wide license

Plumbing contractors in Illinois also need to get a state-wide license

Plumbers, on the other hand, need to get an Illinois plumbing license from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The process here is a bit different, as all plumbers need to start as apprentices. You need to have four years of licensed apprenticeship as a plumber.

Once you have this experience, you have to fill in the application and submit it at least a month before the state exam date. The fee for in-state applicants is $100 and $125 for Chicago residents and out-of-state applicants. Plumbing licenses must be renewed before April 30 every year via the online renewal form.

After obtaining the license, you should register as a plumbing contractor and pay the annual $100 non-refundable registration fee. You also need to obtain $100,000 general liability, $300,000 bodily injury, $50,000 property damage, and $500,000 workers’ compensation insurances. You must also secure a $20,000 license bond.


The contractor license bond

As you’ve probably noticed, to get your Illinois contractor license as a roofer or a plumber, you need to obtain a contractor license bond. Again, the bond amounts are $10,000 for roofers and $20,000 for plumbers. However, you need only pay a percentage of the required amount, i.e. your annual premium.

If you are going to bid on public projects as a general or specialty contractor, you will also have to obtain additional bonds. These include a bid bond, a performance bond and a payment bond. They each apply only to the specific project you are bidding on.

If you were wondering what surety bonds do, they act as insurance for your clients, not for your own business. They protect the general public by guaranteeing that your contracting company will abide by the regulations of the state or local area in which you operate. To get bonded and operate legally in Illinois, apply online to get an instant quote.


Get started today

Once you have explored the contractor fields requiring licensing and the specific license details, you will feel more confident when you apply for your license, which in turn will make the process less stressful. Still have questions regarding the surety bonds? Contact us to get them answered now.

Safety in the Construction Industry: An Infographic Explanation

Infographic by Viewpoint


The new Infographic, Safety in the Construction Industry shows that the top four fatal injuries in the construction industry for 2012 are falls (36%), being caught between objects (10%), electrocutions (9%) and being struck by objects (2%). The fatal four make up 57% of the reasons for construction deaths for 2012.

Statistics show that from 2002 and 2012, deaths in the construction industry have decreased, thus also contributing a smaller percentage to the overall number of deaths in the U.S.   Within these ten years, 19.5% of all deaths at work were in the construction field.

The most dangerous types of construction are engineering and building, with equipment and finishing following them.

The overall number of work fatalities in construction for 2012 were 775, which is the highest number of all industries.

Read the full article at Best Practices Construction Law. 

Trucks Carry the Most of the Increasing U.S.-NAFTA Trade

Michael Carter UK / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

According to new data from the U.S. Transportation Department, truck and pipeline were the most used modes in the increasing U.S.-NAFTA trade.

Truck trade increased with 2.6%, while pipeline grew only by 0.1% in February. The other modes, air, rail and vessel, all declined by different percentages. Surface transportation such as truck, rail and pipeline took care of 82.2% of all NAFTA freights.

54.4% of the freight trade with Canada was transported by trucks. 15.6% was transported by rail and 13.2% by pipeline. 83.1% of all U.S.-Canada trade was transported by surface modes.

As for trade with Mexico, trucks were used to transport 66.4% of all freight. Vessel and rail follow with 13.7%, while air and pipelines are much less used. 81% of all U.S.-Mexico trade was carried by surface transport.

Read the full article at Truckinginfo.