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Frequently Asked Questions

Information regarding City of Austin projects can be found in the public notice section of the Austin American Statesman or on the Purchasing Department's website.

Bonding for Construction Projects

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. 

If you need assistance starting the Bonding process contact Luke Ortega Luper at 512-974-7733 or

The individual firm must contact their own personal insurance company for a bond.  If you need general assistance with a bond, please contact our Bonding Financial Consultant, Luke Ortega-Luper at (512) 974-7733.

Certification Overview

A Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) or a Women-Owned Business Enterprise (/WBE) certification qualifies a business for City of Austin projects over $57,000 involving construction, professional services, non-professional services and commodities.

A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification qualifies a business for federal aviation, highway, and transportation projects such as Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Capital Metro Transportation Authority (Cap Metro).

The Certification review process is sixty days upon receipt of a completed packet.

Certification is valid for three calendar years from the date of initial certification and will be reviewed annually. The certification expiration date will be printed on your certificate.

Certification as an MBE/WBE provides greater exposure for work opportunities on City of Austin projects. Contractors use the MBE/WBE Availability List to solicit minority participation on projects.

To learn more about MBE/WBE Certification call (512) 974-7645 or email

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.

If there are any changes to the business or its structure contact the Vendor Registration team within the Purchasing Department at (512) 974-2500 or (512) 974-2018, you will also need to send an email to the Certification team at to notify them of the changes in writing within 10 business days.

A 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).

A statement of Personal Net Worth (PNW) is required to determine economic disadvantage.

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 MBE, WBE, and SBE certification from the Small & Minority Business Resources (SMBR) Department for our locally funded projects.

Contract Compliance

The City  of Austin has specific deadlines in order to receive payment for work performed. As a contractor for the City invoices must be submitted as specified in the contract documents. If you are a subcontractor, your firm should be paid within 10 days after the prime receives payment from the City. 

You can also use eCheckbook as a tool to see who the City has paid.  Keep in mind that this database is updated on a weekly basis.

The Small & Minority Business Resources (SMBR) staff will contact you and let you know that you have been identified as a subcontractor on a project. You can also contact the Prime Contractor to verify if your company has been selected.

Contract goals are set based on the dollar value of the project and the availability of certified MBE/WBE/DBEs to perform the work which is to be subcontracted. Every attempt is made to establish realistic and achievable MBE/WBE/DBE goals

Contact SMBR without delay.

SMBR will contact 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.

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 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 so bring your business cards and your marketing materials so that you can demonstrate your skills and experience to future primes.

Mandatory Pre-Bid Conferences are a really great opportunity as every company that wishes to bid as a prime contractor must be in the room, so get a copy of the sign-in sheet and contact those companies.  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.

No,  SMBR's Plan Room has computer and technology equipment to access information.

Visitors can view and store the information on a USB flash drive or memory stick for free; however, there is a nominal fee for printing, copying,and fax services.

Yes, free training is available by appointment only. CallJuaQuin 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.

Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (512) 974-7799 for more information.