As you pursue your contracting business, you’re going to have to face the need for bonds of various types sooner or later. Every contractor needs to be bonded to bid on certain types of project. In fact, at the Federal level as well as in many states bonding is legally required for any public project. Virginia is no different.
If you’re working in Virginia, you’ve probably come across the Little Miller Act at some point in pursuing contracts, bids and bonds. The details of this act can be confusing, but overall it’s a pretty basic requirement for bonding. Learn about the Virginia Little Miller Act, what it is, what it means for you as a contractor, and how it affects your need for bonds and payment bonds.
Virginia Little Miller Act
The Virginia Little Miller Act is based on a federal counterpart with the same name. In essence it requires that contractors post procurement and payment bonds on any public project for which they bid which is worth over $100,000. Such bonds secure your ability to pay subcontractors, and to back up your performance and complete the job satisfactorily. This bond functions as a substitute for mechanic’s lien that subcontractors might otherwise place on the projects.
Bonds vs. Liens
When you take on private projects, you’re not always required to take out a bond; however, any subcontractors you employ may place liens against the project to ensure that you pay them and complete your work. This is not permitted on public projects in Virginia; instead, the Little Miller Act requires bonding to serve a similar purpose.
Little Miller in Detail
If you fail to pay a subcontractor or material supplier for their services within 90 days of those services being provided, Little Miller allows them to call upon your bond to collect what they are owed. They simply need to prove that they provided the services in question, and they can collect their payment due off of the bond company, unless the contractor or company has some sort of defense against the claim.
To take advantage of Little Miller provisions, it’s required that the service provider file a claim within one year of the last date of services provided, if they remain in direct contact with the contractor. If they are not in direct contact with the contractor, it is required that they send a notice to the contractor, in writing, within 90 days of the work delivered. This period was originally 180 days when the act was first passed, but in 2011, changes were made that halved the original notice period.
National Surety Services, Inc.
Getting bonded doesn’t have to be a nightmare of confusion and arcane paperwork. Keeping in compliance with the Virginia Little Miller Act or any other state, local or federal statutes can be simple and fast if you choose the right surety service to help. For well over 2 decades, National Surety Services has been helping businesses just like you to get the bonds they need to balance the scales and grow their business. Read about us, and drop us a line to get started today!