FMI’s first annual survey of surety professionals reveals that bonding will likely remain difficult to secure in the recessionary construction industry. The survey, "Surety Firms Weigh in on Construction Markets and Contractors," provides insights into why sureties are qualifying fewer firms for bonds, and how to improve your chances of obtaining them. A large majority of respondents cited insufficient capital/excessive debt (89 percent), mismanagement (78 percent) and imprudent risk taking (67 percent) as critical weaknesses that keep contractors from qualifying for bonds. Contractors seeking increased surety bonding capacity will want to improve these areas of their businesses and consider how they will meet the sureties' increasingly stringent review process. With sureties scrutinizing contractors more closely, "Surety providers are attempting to assist their clients to improve their efficiencies and mitigate certain operational risks," the report says. If you're in the market for a performance bond, consider asking your surety bond producer and/or financial and legal advisors for tips on improving your bondability. FMI released the survey earlier this month. For more information or to view the report, visit the “Members Only” section of the Amercian Subcontractors Association Web Site or contact David B. Blain at firstname.lastname@example.org.