The purpose of the mentoring phase of the program is to identify factors that may impact your business’s ability to obtain surety bonds and meet your goals. This process will help you develop a strategy to address each factor.
Upon registration, SFAA and NASBP will pair you with experienced surety professionals to serve as your mentors to assist you with better understanding the application of the course to your business and your surety bond needs.
After you complete the bonding education modules and register for mentoring and acknowledge and agree to the mentoring program general guidelines and disclaimers, you will be assigned two mentors – an NASBP bond producer and an SFAA surety company underwriter. Each mentor will speak with you and answer your questions; identify factors that may impede your business from qualifying for surety bonds; and provide recommendations to guide you in overcoming those challenges. Once a set of written recommendations are delivered and reviewed with you, the mentoring phase of the program is deemed concluded. This process can be concluded within a couple of months based on the responsiveness of all parties and should not exceed 6-months.
Who Should Participate?
Mentoring is currently available to you if you are the owner, or a chief executive of a construction business interested in qualifying for surety bonding and have not qualified or obtained bonding previously. The program is intended to be of particular benefit to minority-, veteran-, disabled veteran-, and woman-owned construction firms, as well as new and emerging construction firms.
You cannot have a current, established relationship with a surety bond producer to participate in the mentoring process. The mentoring process is not intended for mentees to replace existing bonding relationships, and SFAA and NASBP do not want to cause any conflicts in those relationships.
Before You Can Participate
First, you must successfully complete the Contractor Bonding Education Modules for one of the three pathways before you are able to register for the mentoring process. Once you complete the final module in your selected pathway, you will be given the opportunity to register for mentoring.
Getting Started with Mentoring
A. The process begins when you register for mentoring as the last step in your final module. This means you will be given this option to register at the end of either Module 3 (if you are on Path B) or Module 9 (if you are on Path A or Path C).
B. After you register for mentoring and agree to and acknowledge the general guidelines and disclaimers, you will receive a joint email from SFAA and NASBP within 5-7 business days of the registration. The email will provide the contact information for your assigned mentors, along with details of what you can expect during the Mentoring phase of the program.
What to Expect
A. The NASBP Producer Mentor will contact you within one week of your receipt of the joint email and will set up an initial call to take place within two (2) weeks to set the goals, expectations, and the approximate timeline of the mentoring process. The initial meeting should give the mentor a brief “snapshot” of your business to plan for the mentoring timeline accordingly. You may contact the producer mentor before the NASBP Producer Mentor contacts you if you wish.
B. Within two (2) weeks of that initial meeting, the NASBP Producer Mentor will then advise the SFAA Surety Company Mentor of your initial contact and may share any information from your conversation which may be helpful to the surety Company Mentor’s discussions with you.
C. The SFAA Surety Company Mentor will reach out to you within one (1) week of being contacted by the NASBP Producer Mentor. The Company Mentor will set up an initial meeting to take place within two (2) weeks to set the expectations, your general goals, and the approximate timeline of the mentoring process between the two of you. The initial meeting should similarly give the Company Mentor a brief “snapshot” of your company to plan for the mentoring timeline accordingly.
D. The mentoring process thereafter will essentially run in parallel with the NASBP Producer Mentor and the SFAA Surety Company Mentor with each providing the following:
- Each mentor will establish subsequent times to meet, virtually or in person, with you to learn more about your experience, goals, and your business characteristics. Both mentors will seek to identify factors that may impede you from qualifying for bonding. After each mentor determines it sufficiently understands your business and goals, each will formulate a set of written recommendations for you to review. Upon providing the recommendations, each mentor will schedule a final call or meeting to review their respective recommendations and to answer any further questions, adjusting the recommendations if appropriate.
- Additional Deliverables:
- In addition to the above, the Producer Mentor will advise you on the materials that may be necessary to complete a bond application. As part of that process, the Producer Mentor may wish to have you review and complete a sample bonding application to assess your qualifications for bonding and to formulate specific recommendations for you. Please note, however, that the creation and submission of an actual bond application are beyond the scope of the mentoring process, as such activity should only be undertaken as part of a formal business relationship with your bond producer of record.
- Resource Identification – Each mentor will assess the types of professional services and resources, such as accounting, banking, and legal services, and appropriate referrals, which would benefit your business and your company’s pathway to achieve bonding. However, actual referrals are beyond the scope of the mentoring process. Nevertheless, to the extent possible, each mentor will consider referring you to existing technical assistance providers, such as Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). This may include advising you of potential mentors that might assist in various other aspects of your company’s development.