When disaster strikes anywhere in the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates relief efforts, often with the help of subcontractors. The agency calls on a budget of over $6 billion dollars to farm out a wide range of jobs related to aiding disaster victims or preparing for future events. FEMA regularly invites subcontractors to apply for projects that have been planned well in advance. It also hires companies in the immediate wake of a crisis. Landing a subcontractor job with FEMA involves understanding the agency's unique needs and following its procedures.
Familiarize yourself with FEMA's procedures for awarding subcontracting jobs and how it issues requests for proposals. An RFP describes the scope of the work, eligibility requirements and the resources needed. It also outlines the application process. The information is included on the FedBizOpps website used for all federal procurement opportunities. Look for opportunities that match your company's capabilities when FEMA solicit bids from qualified subcontractors.
Include your company on the U.S. government's Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. This will enable you to secure government jobs. It also allows FEMA and other federal agencies to locate your business. A tax identification number from the IRS and other verifications are required.
Promote your business in online government databanks such as the General Services Administration's Advantage. Also, FEMA operates a Debris Removal Contractor Registry for subcontractors with the personnel and resources needed for a clean-up operation. Construction or landscaping operations with equipment such as bulldozers and dump trucks, for example, can list their contact information.
Offer your services at a Disaster Field Office. These temporary offices are established by FEMA to offer assistance to disaster victims. They often subcontract jobs to companies that can provide transportation, housing or needed supplies. Locations and contact information can be accessed by calling FEMA’s acquisition voice message system or the FEMA regional office where the disaster has occurred.
Seek out subcontractor jobs awarded to businesses hurt by a disaster. In the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, for example, FEMA offered "indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity" contracts. These jobs were aimed at empowering small and disadvantaged businesses to participate in recovery efforts.
Attend a pre-proposal seminar for contractors. The agency offers these workshops when there are a significant number of projects available in a region hit by disaster. Often, these events are aimed at providing opportunities to small or disadvantaged businesses. FEMA's press office issues news releases publicizing these events and includes the information on its website.
- If you fail to renew your Central Contractor Registration annually it will expire and prevent you from receiving payments for past work.
Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.