Last month, President Donald Trump yielded to pressure and supported a deal to fund federal agencies for three weeks until February 15. The lifting of the government shutdown last January was a welcome relief not just for federal workers but for small businesses as well.
The 35 days was too much to bear especially for companies using Small Business Administration (SBA) bonds. They’ve been out of work or without pay since the shutdown began on December 22.
The Bolding family which owns Bolding Construction in Haskell and one of the many small businesses affected by the government shutdown across the U.S, experienced zero pay during the 35 days. Bolding specializes in directional drilling, underground utilities, and demolitions.
Jacob Bolding, the owner of Bolding Construction said, “The well is going to run dry after a while, and then my business is under and many other businesses are going to go under.” The small family-owned company takes on big construction projects and some state-funded. But to be able to proceed, they need to obtain a surety bond from the SBA.
The surety bond is the contractual agreement that assures the project owner that business guarantees the project completion. The worst part is that the project is stalled when no federal worker is available to sign off on the bond and/or check.
The financial consequences are grave without an SBA bond approval as small businesses need to use their own funds to complete jobs and pay wages. Hence, Bolding Construction can opt to work without pay or face a stalemate. According to Bolding, employees in a small business like theirs have to go to work every week.
The business owner dips in his own pocket to pay employees because they need to for their families. When his savings are depleted, it means the business is without funds. Bolding is finding it hard to tell his five employees there’s no work after Christmas and maybe for two years. He said, “I’m going in on a prayer hoping it opens and they start getting along.” His prayers must have been answered.
Many small businesses are hoping a resolution is reached before February 15 and that the government will open for good. Business owners face financial dislocation, if not closure without SBA funding during a shutdown.