Contractors looking to do work for the government need to get their ducks in a row - and there's help for that.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Gabriele Schutster says get ready to work.

Whether you have a business idea or you are already in business, do you have your business approach set up for success in the future? Are you ready for business?

As a small business owner you wear many hats. You might still be employed or you might have made the transition to being only a business owner. Either way, there are many tasks you need to be on top of in order to assure smooth operation of your business. Business owners naturally focus on the quality of the product or services they want to provide to their customers. In order to make your business a successful way to make a living, there are additional administrative responsibilities, such as back office work, scheduling, taxes and compliance requirements.

Depending on the type of industry you are in, you might need a license to legally conduct your business in the State of Oregon.

As a public agency Metro is required to verify compliance with license requirements before we put a contract in place. We can only do business with someone who is ready.

Just to mention some examples, architects and engineers need to be licensed with the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying; construction firms need to hold a valid Construction Contractors Board license; farm and forest labor contractors need to be licensed with BOLI's Bureau of Farm/Forest Labor Unit. This is not to scare you, but to make sure your business is in compliance and properly covered.

A common public agency requirement is also a $1-2 million umbrella liability insurance. Depending on the risk of the type of service your business provides, an agency may or may not wave that requirement.

COURTESY: METRO - The Oregon Convention Center Hotel is partly a Metro project.

For example a consultant who travels to a public agency office to provide services that don't pose much risk to their client might be able to negotiate to be covered by auto insurance that covers bodily injury and property damage instead of being covered by umbrella liability insurance.

It depends on how much risk a public agency is willing to accept. However, you probably want to make sure to manage your own risk. If your business has employees you want to be able to demonstrate compliance with employment and nondiscrimination laws. All public agencies have to comply, which means they also need to make sure their contractors do.

Be ready to present your business or business idea. Some agencies are open to inviting you to their offices to meet staff in their contracting departments. You might be encouraged to do a presentation.

Make sure you are prepared, have your material and any technology ready to conduct your presentation and sell your product or service. Be prepared for the question on why a potential client should purchase from you. What makes you competitive? Hopefully your expertise and the fact that you are fully prepared makes you ready for business.

Once you are ready to do business with a public agency, put yourself out there. Go to networking events, open houses and be in touch with chambers and business communities. Are you ready? Ok then: Let's get down to business.

Gabriele Schuster is the procurement manager for Metro. She can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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