Overview of Washington State Surety Bond Requirements

Surety bonds are often required in the state of Washington for businesses and individuals that apply for a license from the State Department of Licensing or other authorities. Contractors who wish to work on federal or state construction projects are also frequently required to get bonded.

Why do I have to get bonded?

Surety bonds are a guarantee that in doing business the bonded party will comply with the laws and regulations in the state. Such laws include the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). They are a typical licensing requirement for many businesses.

Contractors must also get bonded when performing work on federal, state, or even private projects above a certain contract amount. Bonds for contractors guarantee that they will perform in accordance with the conditions of the contract, and that they will pay their subcontractors.

In guaranteeing compliance, bonds also extend protection. If a bonded party violates the bond agreement and thereby causes harms or losses to the protected party, the surety will compensate such losses.

To learn more about how bonds work and why you need one, see our ‘What is a surety bond’ guide.

For more information about the types of bonds available in Washington, their cost, and how to get bonded, see below!

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Types of Surety Bonds in WA

Typically, one of these three main types of bonds are required in Washington:

  • license and permit bonds
  • contract bonds
  • court bonds

License & Permit Bonds

Washington state requires many businesses to obtain a business license when opening a shop, dealership, or other establishment. To get licensed, many of these businesses must also obtain a license bond.

Whether or not your business must be bonded is determined by the state government, and the respective licensing agencies, such as the Department of Labor & Industries or the Department of Licensing.

The bond is a guarantee to your customers that your business is licensed and allowed to offer services or products to the public. It also guarantees that in performing business you will comply with state laws.

Looking for a bond? The table below can help you find it. Want to know more about its cost? See the cost section further down.

Find the Bond You Need

The table below contains a list of only the most popular surety bonds. If you can't find yours, fill out our online application and select "Not in the list".

Agricultural (Non-Livestock) Bond WA State Dept of Agriculture Agricultural Dealer Apply Now
Contractor License Performance & Payment (State) Bond Dept of Labor and Industries, Contractor’s Registr Continuous Contractor's Surety Apply Now
Contractor License Performance & Payment (State) Bond State of Washington Dept of L&I Electrical/Telecommunications Contractor's Apply Now
Contractor License Performance & Payment (State) Bond Island County Health Department Commercial Installer and/or Maintenance Service Pr Apply Now
Contractor License Performance & Payment (State) Bond Fire Protection Bureau-Sprinkler Licensing Program Fire Sprinkler System Contractor's License Bond Apply Now
Contractor License Performance & Payment (State) Bond Dept of Labor & Industries Employee Standards Sec Farm labor Contractor Bond Apply Now
Excess Weight, Other Highway & Street Permit Bond City of Seattle, Department of Planning & Developm Side Sewer Contractor Registration Apply Now
Excess Weight, Other Highway & Street Permit Bond City of Redman Side Sewer Contractor Performance and Warranty Bon Apply Now
Investment Advisor (Blue Sky) Bond WA Securities Division Investment Adviser Surety Apply Now
Check Sellers Bond WA Department of Financial Institutions Check Seller Business Bond Apply Now
Collection Agency Bond Business and Professions Division, Collection Agen Collection Agency Apply Now
Professional Fund Raisers Bond State of Washington - Secretary of State Commercial Fundraiser Apply Now
Insurance Agents/Brokers Bond Insurance Commissioner Insurance Broker's Bond Apply Now
Insurance Agents/Brokers Bond State of Washington Insurance Agents/Brokers Bond Apply Now
Mortgage Broker (1st & 2nd Mortgages) Bond Dept of Financial Institutions Mortgage Broker Business Apply Now
Mortgage Broker (1st & 2nd Mortgages) Bond Dept of Financial Institutions Mortgage Broker Business w/ Independent Contractor Apply Now
Mortgage Broker (1st & 2nd Mortgages) Bond Washington State Securities Division Mortgage Broker Dealer Apply Now
Mortgage Lender/Banker (1st & 2nd Mort.) Bond Dept of Financial Institutions Consumer Loan Business Apply Now
Mortgage Lender/Banker (1st & 2nd Mort.) Bond Dept of Financial Institutions Residential Loan Servicing Business Bond Apply Now
Small Loan Companies Bond Dept. of Financial Institutions Consumer Loan Business Bond Apply Now
Small Loan Companies Bond DEPT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS Small Loan Endorsement Bond Apply Now
Title Insurance Agents & Escrow Officers Bond State of Washington D.F.I. Escrow Agent Business Apply Now
Auto & Mobile Home Dealers (New & Used) Bond Department of Licensing Vehicle, Vessel, Vehicle Manufacturer, Apply Now
Auto & Mobile Home Dealers (Used Only, No New) Bond Department of Licensing Vehicle, Vessel, Vehicle Mfgr, Reg Tow Truck Oper Apply Now
Motor Vehicle (Non-Dealer, Not Listed) Bond Department of Licensing Vehicle, Vessel, Vehicle Mfgr, Reg Tow Truck Oper Apply Now
Sport Permits Bond Washington State Department of Licensing Professional Boxing, Martial Arts, and Wrestling Apply Now
Auctioneers (Other than Livestock) Bond WA State Dept of Licensing- Auctioneer Section Auction Company Apply Now
Detectives Bond Public Protection, Department of Licensing Private Investigative Agency Apply Now
Retail Stores & Service Shops Department of Fish and Wildlife, License Division Recreational License Dealer Bond Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Washington State Department of Health Hearing Aid Business License Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Washington State Department of Licensing Bail Bond Agency/Branch Office Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Washington Dept of Licensing - Business & Professi Appraisal Management Company Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond State of Washington Waste Tire Carrier Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Department of Ecology Bond of Registered Waste Tire Storage Site Owner Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Convenience Retailers LLC Lease and Commission Agreement Bond Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond Department of Agriculture Structural Pest Inspector Bond Apply Now
Professional Licenses (All Other) Bond WA Department of Agriculture Warehouseman/Grain Dealer Bond Apply Now
Schools (All) Bond Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board SURETY BOND - DEGREE-GRANTING INSTITUTIONS Apply Now
Schools (All) Bond Washington Department of Licensing Cosmetology, Barbering, Esthetics, and/or Manicuri Apply Now
Travel Agencies Bond Washington Department of Licensing Seller of Travel Surety Apply Now
Cigar/Cigarette & Tobacco Tax Bond Special Programs Department Wholesale Cigarette Dealer Bond Apply Now
Fuel Tax (All Others, Sellers & Users) Bond Washington State Fuel Tax Bond Apply Now
Indemnity (Miscellaneous - Not Listed) Bond The Port of Port Townsend Port of Townsend Lease/Contract Bond Apply Now
Fringe Benefits Only Bond Board of Trustees of the Fringe Benefit Board Local Union 191 Welfare Traning Fund Apply Now
Money Transmitter Bond Department of Financial Institutions Operate Money Services Business Apply Now
Appraisal Management Business & Professions Division Appraisal Management Apply Now
Appraisal Management Real Estate Appraisal Management company Appraisal Management Company Bond Apply Now

Contract Bonds

Federal and state law require contractors in every state to obtain contract bonds before they commence work on certain construction projects, especially government or public projects. Contractors will often also be asked to obtain such bonds when working on private projects.

These bonds guarantee that contractors who have been awarded a contract will comply with the conditions of that contract, as well as adhere to professional standards and state regulations for contractors.

Title 39, Chapter 39.08 of the RCW specifies the conditions under which contractors in Washington must get bonded to perform work on state projects.

Types of contract bonds include performance and payment bonds, bid bonds, maintenance bonds, and a few others.

Court Bonds

When appealing a court ruling in Washington, an appellant may be required to obtain a court bond before they can appear in front of the appellate court. Similarly, when a someone is appointed a fiduciary, they often must obtain a fiduciary bond as a form of guarantee that they will care for the interests of the person they are representing.

Not sure what kind of bond you need or how to get yours? Call us at (866)-450-3412 to speak to our surety bond professionals and get help with your application.

How Much Does a Surety Bond in Washington Cost?

Bond cost vs. bond amount

In order to get a Washington surety bond, you need to pay a surety bond premium. This premium, or bond cost is based on the total amount of the bond you must obtain, and is a percentage of that amount. This percentage is determined by the surety you apply with.

Which factors influence the bond cost?

Your personal credit score is the main factor determining your premium. Credit score is strongly relied upon by sureties when setting a bond rate, because it is considered accurate in predicting how financially reliable applicants are, and what the likelihood of a claim against their bond is.

Sureties also take into account a number of other factors, such as:

  • Personal financial statements
  • Business financial statements
  • Applicant asset profile
  • Industry experience

Based on your credit score and the above criteria, sureties determine your premium. Premiums for applicants with a high credit score, one of 700 FICO or more, range between 1%-3% of the total amount of the bond. This is called a standard market rate. Applicants with slightly lower scores are typically offered a quote upward of 3% but not as high as applicants with bad credit.

What’s the bond cost for applicants with bad credit?

Premiums for applicants with a lower credit score range between 5%-15% of the full bond amount. Yet, applicants in this category can improve their bond cost significantly over time by improving their credit score and other financials.

Get an estimate of your surety bond rate by using our surety bond cost calculator below.

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How to Get Bonded in Washington

Follow the bond application instructions that apply to the type of bond you require.

License bond application

To apply for a license bond in Washington state, complete our online surety bond form. Most applications for these bonds are processed quickly and we will soon contact you with a free quote on your bond.

Contract bond application

To apply for a contract bond, download, complete and send us a contract bond form. We’ll soon contact you with more information about getting this type of bond.

If you want to clarify anything or need further assistance, call us at (866)-450-3412 anytime.

Further Reading


About the author:
Todd Bryant
Todd Bryant is a graduate of Germantown Academy and the University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration Honors College. He has been President of Bryant Surety Bonds, Inc., an A+ rated Business with the Better Business Bureau, since 2007. Licensed as a producer with the Department of Insurance, he has been published in the National Association of Surety Bond Producers newsletter and on numerous authoritative publications such as The Washington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Azcentral.com and many more.