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Should I File a Bond Claim?

Are you waiting for payment on a public project? Bond claims are available to contractors and suppliers on state, federal, and municipal construction projects to claim payment for work provided on a job.

Will a Bond Claim Get Me Paid?

Similar to mechanic liens, bond claims are inexpensive to file and very effective. A properly filed bond claim provides your company security in receiving payment, as it obligates a surety company (usually a well-funded insurance company) to your claim directly, and it puts substantial pressure on the prime contractor’s relationship with their surety.

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Easy As 1 - 2 - 3

1. Answer a few simple questions about your job and the money owed to you. This will take 10 minutes or less.
2. Your document is assembled and sent appropriately according to the requirements stipulated by the county where they project is located. Any filing fees are included in the $349.
3. You get paid. You'll have access to a copy of the claim that was filed. Then, just work out with the surety, lender, or other contractors to get paid and collect on your claim.

What Exactly Is The Bond Claim Process?

This is a very common question, and it’s understandable, because the bond claims process is a bit confusing. We’ve written a helpful article on this subject titled “How Lien and Bond Claims Against State Projects Work.” Essentially, these are the stages of a typical bond claim:

STEP 1: FILE BOND CLAIM
The first step in filing a bond claim, is of course, filing the bond claim! This step is simple enough, but because of the complexity of state requirements and the chance of error, it’s worth using a reputable bond claim processing technology like zlien to file the claim for you.

The biggest mistake you can make when filing your bond claim, however, is not getting the claim filed on time. Each state has separate deadlines for when these bond claims are due. You must get the bond claim prepared correctly, and filed in the right place all before the state’s deadline. To determine the deadline to file a bond claim in your project’s state, consult zlien’s industry leading state bond claim resources.

STEP 2: REPLY TO BONDING COMPANY WITH BACKUP
After your bond claim is filed, you’ll be contacted by the surety to advise that a claim has been opened, and to request you reply with backup materials about your claim and a sworn statement of claim. Your next step is to return this sworn statement and any backup documentation you have. Return these documents as quickly as possible to keep the claim moving along, as your claim will be delayed as long as you delay returning the materials.

STEP 3: FOLLOWUP WITH THE BONDING COMPANY
After you file your bond claim and return your bond claim sworn statement and information, the bonding company will contact their customer (the prime contractor) and notify them of the claim. They will also give the prime contractor an opportunity to respond to the claim. Prime contractors often delay responding to the bonding company, which delays your claim.

Move your claim along by following up with the bonding company and pushing them to approve the claim.

STEP 4: FILE AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION
If the bond claim doesn’t produce payment right away, and your claim is either denied or delayed unreasonably, it may be time to file a lawsuit against the surety to enforce your bond claim. That is the last step, if necessary.

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Go Ahead & Ask. We have Answers

  • When unpaid on a public construction project, contractors can file a claim against the project's payment bond. Filing a bond claim is an effective way to secure payment.
  • Bond claims are available to contractors and suppliers who provide labor or materials to public construction projects.
  • Bond claims are typically due a few months after finishing work on a job. Visit our Deadline Calculator to see when a claim is due on your job.
  • Check out our article on What to Do After You File a Bond Claim to learn what steps come next.

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    The Difference Between a Bond Claim and a Mechanics Lien

    When you’re unpaid for materials or labor furnished to a private project, the law allows you to file a lien claim against that property. When working on a state, county or municipal project, of course, the government isn’t going to tolerate claims against its interest in the land.

    Therefore, to protect contractors and suppliers on the job, prime contractors working on these projects are required to post a payment bond. The payment bond is secured by a surety company, who must meet certain qualifications to guarantee they have the finances to secure the value of the project. When someone goes unpaid on the state, county or municipal project, they can make a claim for payment directly against the payment bond.

    So, while a mechanics lien filing attaches to and is secured by the physical property, a bond claim attaches to and is secured by the payment bond. In a lot of ways, since properties can be over-leveraged and complex to foreclose upon, claims against payment bonds are cleaner, simpler and faster than mechanics lien claims.

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    Marisol Velasquez

    A/R Manager| Bay Plumbing

    When doing collections, it wasn’t unusual for it to take 20 calls and emails just to get a customer’s attention about a past due invoice. Now, when I use the zlien platform, my customers call me and ask, “how can I pay?"

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    Miller Act Statutes

    Bond claims are governed by the Miller Act Statutes. Federal jobs are covered by the Miller Act.


    Each state has its own Little Miller Act which covers state, city, and municipal projects.
    View Your State's Little Miller Act

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    Filing a Bond Claim Is Affordable & Easy with zlien

    When you use zlien to file your bond claim, you'll get a time-consuming and technical task completely off your plate, and you'll be confident that the job is done and done right.

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