Small Business:

Construction Firms' Access to Surety Bonds

RCED-95-173FS: Published: Jun 26, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO surveyed small construction firms' access to surety bonds, focusing on the experiences of minority and women contractors.

GAO found that: (1) 7.2 percent of the minority-owned firms surveyed had obtained surety bonds before 1990; (2) the minority-owned firms tend to be smaller, have less construction experience, and are more likely to have obtained their first bond before 1990; (3) minority- and women-owned firms were routinely asked to provide certain types of financial documentation and collateral to obtain a bond; (4) minority-owned firms were more likely to have been denied surety bonds, and often lost opportunities to bid for bonds because of the length of time it took to obtain a bond; (5) the minority and women-owned firms that did not obtain surety bonds were usually not required to have bonds; and (6) the minority and women-owned firms surveyed rarely bid on projects that required bonding.

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