Frequently Asked Questions
Please refer to the Terms and Conditions in the solicitation for special details but in general a subcontractor is usually required to carry General Liability and Workers Compensation while a prime contractor will be required to have General Liability and Bonding.
As a subcontractor on a contract you are working directly for the prime contractor. In some instances they may provide bonding for you as a subcontractor and in other instances they may ask that you obtain your own bond.
The individual firm must contact their own personal insurance company for a bond.
Disadvantaged- and Airport- Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE) certifications are used for federally-funded transportation, aviation and highway projects. To include: Austin-Bergstrom International-Airport, Texas Department of Transportation, and Capital Metro to name a few.
Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) is used for City of Austin funded projects and contracts in construction, professional services, nonprofessional services and commodities.
For more information, call our Certification division at 512.974.7645 or email SMBRcertification@austintexas.gov
The Certification review process can take up to 60 days once all information has been uploaded into the portal.
For more information, email SMBRcertification@austintexas.gov
Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) certification is valid for four calendar years from the date of initial certification.
Disadvantaged and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE/ACDBE) certifications have no expiration date, maintaining the certification(s) is contingent on an annual review submission along with a few required documents.
Certification as an MBE/WBE provides greater exposure for work opportunities on City of Austin projects.
- Certified firms are listed on SMBR's Certified Firms Directory
- SMBR provides bidders/proposers an "Availability List" of certified firms for primes to solicit
- Gives firms an opportunity to bid on City of Austin projects as part of a team
To learn more about MBE/WBE Certification call (512) 974-7645 or email email@example.com
After certification, your business name is shown on The City of Austin's Small & Minority Business Resources' (SMBR) depatment's website vendor database as a certified Minority- or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise. An availability list is generated from the database on specific services needed on a City of Austin project. If your company's services match a particular solicitation, you will receive a notice either by fax, email, or mail to submit a bid.
A Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) is a business that has it's day-to-day operations at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more minority persons.
A minority is generally defined as an individual who is African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, Native American. A woman is defined as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).
There are no fees payable to the City of Austin for certification.
The City of Austin requests the minimum documentation needed to determine if an owner is socially and/or economically disadvantaged.
This information includes documents that will demonstrate ownership, management and control.
We will also need documentation that demonstrates the owner and/or owners' expertise and the Personal Net Worth (PNW).
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512.974.7645.
Yes, your firm will be placed on Availability List whenever the scopes of work that you are certified under appear on a contract. To ensure that Prime Contractors and Prime Consultants are able to contact you, keep your email address and contact information current on Vendor Connection so that your company will not miss any opportunities to do business with the City or with a prime..
Keep in mind that Certification does not guarantee a contract with the City of Austin.
The City of Austin only recognizes Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification from the Small & Minority Business Resources (SMBR) Department for our locally funded projects.
Small and Minority Business Resources (SMBR) staff will contact you and let you know that you have been identified as a subcontractor or subconsultant on a Compliance Plan to confirm the anticipated scope of work and contract value. You can also contact the Prime Contractor to verify if your company has been selected. You may also review City Council agendas for contract award information here.
Contact SMBR without delay.
SMBR will follow up with the appropriate City staff to determine if the City has made payments to the Contractor.
If the prime has been paid by the City, then SMBR will research further by gathering additional information and coordinating meeting with all parties to determine non-payment issues.
DO NOT DELAY IN CONTACTING SMBR, the phone number is (512) 974-7600. If you are requesting a copy of a project Payment Bond or have questions regarding a claim, contact the Financial Services Department Capital Contracting. You may view Claim information at https://www.austintexas.gov/department/procurement-programs.
You can also review City of Austin payments on the eCheckbook function of Austin Finance Online. Keep in mind that this database is only updated once a week.
A document that is a signed agreement between a certified subcontractor and prime contractor to work on a project.
The Letter of Intent also defines the contract amount and the services to be performed.
SMBR asks that you attend as many Pre-Bids and Pre-Proposals that you can while trying to grow your business.
Pre-bid and Pre-Proposal meetings give you an opportunity to learn about the details of the project and to ask the Project Manager or the contract manager questions. As a business owner, be prepared to market your company. Having business cards and marketing materials available will assist with networking to engage in discussing your skills and experience to future Primes.
Mandatory Pre-Bid Conferences are a really great networking opportunity, as every company that wishes to bid as a Prime Contractor must attend. Be sure to get a copy of the attendance sheet and contact those companies. Pre-Bid and Pre-Proposal attendance sheets are available on Austin Finance Online (AFO) for each individual procurement solicitation here. Let them know who you are and what you do. Good luck!
SMBR Plans Room
The Plan Room receives hard copy plans from the City of Austin for local projects, Austin Independent School District (AISD) projects, Travis County, and The University of Texas at Austin.
The Plan Room also receives plans and specifications on CD format from Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and other local entities.
No; however, you can bring a USB memory stick to download needed plans and specs.
Call 512.974.7799 for more information about our Plan Room.
Yes, free training is available by appointment only. Call JuaQuin Gonzalez, Plan Room Manager at (512) 974-7799 or 974-7745 to schedule an appointment.
A database of construction projects (plans and specifications). Vendors can access this database using the Plan Room facilities. On an average there are 200 projects available in the Austin and South Texas area.
The function of SMBR's Plan Room is to provide access to business owners who wish to locate, view, and print local construction project plans.
The Plan Room receives both hard and soft (electronic) copies of construction project plans from the City of Austin, Austin Independent School District (AISD), Travis County, The University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).
In addition, SMBR subscribes to the McGraw-Hill Construction Plans online service which allows Plan Room visitors to see electronic plans and specifications for 100 Texas counties.
The Plan Room is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (512) 974-7799 for more information.