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Government Contracts & What You
Need to Know When Disaster Strikes

When a natural disaster strikes, it’s safe to say most people do not see it as an opportunity. But where there are natural disasters, there are also recovery efforts that must be carried out. And for businesses who are a part of that recovery? A disaster can sometimes be turned in to an opportunity in the form of a FEMA contract.

What is FEMA and Why Are They Important?

FEMA stands for – Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency – coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror. (https://www.fema.gov/about-agency)

FEMA’s recovery efforts usually require a large amount of supplies and services. This includes everything from portable toilets and debris removal equipment, to office supplies, translators and everything in between. FEMA procures these goods and services through SAM, the System for Award Management. And with an annual budget in excess of $41B, it’s easy to see why a FEMA contract could be a good thing for your business.

How can I become eligible for a FEMA contract?

To be eligible for a FEMA contract, you must be registered with SAM. And since it can take 2-12 weeks to complete and activate a SAM registration, the sooner you start the process, the better.  After all, if a disaster occurs, time really is of the essence. In fact, FEMA has special contingencies for procurement during “exigent or emergency” circumstances. That means the normal procurement requirements may be reduced, to allow a quicker response to emergency disaster needs. So, getting your SAM registration up and running is critical. Once your registration is active, you’ll be added to the Disaster Response Registry.  FEMA buyers and other procurement officers will now be able to find your business when a disaster occurs. 

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How long does it take to get a FEMA contract?

The answer to that is – it depends. FEMA’s emergency exception procurement policies allow for immediate action when necessary. Depending on the service or product your company offers, that could mean a quickly-landed opportunity if you’re already active in SAM. For example, if you’re the only contractor in the local area offering a specific but necessary service, FEMA could opt to sole-source a contract to your company. It’s also important to note that firms local to the area affected are given contracting preference.

Where else can I look for disaster recovery opportunities?

You can search the Federal Business Opportunities, (FBO) website for open solicitations. However, simply poring through the government’s database may not get you to the right opportunities at the right time for your business. That’s why the Select GCR Pro Tool was developed. To help business owners cut through the fog and establish a more direct, clear path to federal contract opportunities.

It’s also a good idea to get to know your local state and municipal procurement officers. Many times, they end up handling local procurement during a disaster. Having an established relationship can improve your chances of winning an opportunity.

Where can I get help with the bid process?

Registering in SAM and knowing where to search for FEMA contracts is only part of the process. Understanding the bid process and successfully putting a compliant response together is essential. And unfortunately, is not always an easy task. Just registering in SAM can be difficult without the right tools and knowledge in place. Some companies have reported that the SAM registration alone, took upwards of 15 hours to complete. If you’re a business owner, you may not have the time or resources to manage a time-consuming registration or bid process. But again, winning a federal contract starts there. And it ends with the submission of a compliant bid response, that results in a contract award.

Fortunately, there’s help out there. Select GCR provides comprehensive support and assistance to small businesses seeking to establish themselves in the world of government contracting. Let’s face it, your time is valuable. Dedicating it to time-consuming paperwork, processes and government red tape, can keep you from focusing on what matters most. Running your business.

Our team of dedicated, experienced professionals have helped countless businesses just like yours. It’s not just about paperwork and compliance. Our staff has in-depth experience, gained from actually working inside government procurement. It’s why we’re able to maximize your chances for an awarded contract. Contact Select GCR today to learn more about how to grow your business with government contracts.