As of July 2021, anyone working as a plumber in Washington State must obtain a license. Before you can get a license, however, you need to get a Washington plumbing bond. Since this requirement is still relatively new and unfamiliar, we have created this blog to explain everything you should know.
What is a Washington Plumbing Bond?
All surety bonds work in essentially the same way. There are three parties involved:
- Principal – The principal is the plumber who must obtain the surety bond. As the principal, the plumber must accept financial liability for all valid claims.
- Obligee – The obligee is the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the agency that licenses plumbers. As the obligee, this agency may file claims for damages if the principal violates state laws applicable for plumbing contractors.
Surety – The surety is the agency that issues and backs a plumbing bond in Washington. The surety guarantees to pay the obligee for valid claims if the principal does not pay. However, the principal must pay that debt back later, with interest and fees included, since they are the party with liability for claims. The surety only serves as an intermediary.
Why Are Washington Plumbing Bonds Necessary?
Most states require contractors to obtain surety bonds before granting them a license because contractor bonds help to regulate their behavior. Since a plumber must pay for any damages resulting from unlawful or illegal behavior, they have a good reason to follow all applicable rules and regulations – which is good for the people (and plumbing) of Washington. Surety bonds also help anyone harmed by a plumber to receive a settlement without having to go through the courts system.
Even though plumbing bond requirements create new costs and risks for plumbers, they are a good thing for the industry overall. They make it harder for dishonest or unstable contractors to enter the industry and give other plumbers a bad name. Surety bonds also establish trust for any contractor that obtains one since that contractor proves they are willing to take responsibility for mistakes. It would be easy to feel bitter about bond requirements, especially if you have been a plumber for years. Just keep in mind how surety bonds benefit all involved.
Who Needs a Plumbing Bond in Washington?
Anyone who provides plumbing services in Washington state needs a license and therefore needs a surety bond. There are two different license types:
- Residential Speciality License – This license authorizes a plumber to work on residential properties, small buildings, irrigation systems, and backflow prevention assemblies. It requires 6,000 hours of experience.
- Journeyman License – This license authorizes a plumber to work on any kind of property or plumbing project. It requires 8,000 hours of experience with a minimum 4,000 in commercial work.
Both these license types require a surety bond worth $6,000, meaning the surety that backs the bond will pay up to (but not exceeding) $6,000 to settle claims.
How Much Does a Plumbing Bond in WA Cost?
The cost of the bond will be a small percentage of the $6,000 value. How much, exactly, depends on the bond seeker’s credit score and financial history. Bad credit will result in a higher cost or even a rejection. If your credit makes it harder to get approved for a bond at a fair rate, take advantage of a special program created by Viking Bond Service to help more people – including more Washington plumbers – obtain bonds.
Are Washington Plumbing Bonds Renewable?
Yes, they are upon expiration (12 months after being issued). It’s important to renew the plumbing bond before the deadline because lapsed bond coverage will invalidate a plumbing license and make it illegal to work any longer. During renewal, the surety will reevaluate credit standing and calculate a new bond premium based on any changes. Premiums could go up or down annually. One way to manage surety bond costs long term is by steadily improving credit to lower premiums.
How to Obtain a Washington Plumbing Bond
Since it’s illegal to work as a plumber without a license and impossible to get a license without a bond, your first priority should be getting that bond. First, you need to find a reputable surety agency to work with. Then, you will need to apply for a bond, which typically involves these steps:
- Complete a standard surety bond application. It will ask for details about your background, finances, and plumbing business.
- Submit to a credit check (this won’t affect credit scores).
- Supply a copy of the Washington plumbing bond requirements.
- Provide any other paperwork the surety requests.
The surety will then quote you a price for the bond premium. Bond coverage takes effect after that premium has been paid. Finally, the surety will supply a document proving you have met the bond requirements to get a Washington plumbing license.
Why Choose Viking Bond Service?
Since Washington plumbing bonds are so important for a business, you want to have a true surety bond partner on your side. Viking Bond Service helps people in all 50 states get bonds fast at a fair price. We offer everything you need to satisfy plumbing regulations in WA, along with all the service and support you could want along the way. We are a partner to plumbers across the country. Let us earn your trust and loyalty as well.
Request a Quote Today
How much would a Washington plumbing bond cost you? Find out by requesting a quote at your convenience – you can expect a response in 24 hours. To learn more information about Washington plumbing bonds, call us at 1-888-278-7389 to speak directly with a bond expert or send us your questions on our contact page.