In the aftermath of a disaster, potential contractors swarm to the site hoping for a piece of the clean-up and recover effort. For inexperienced players, it can be chaotic, confusing, and cut-throat, as informal subcontracting agreements are made on the ground which may not be enforceable and third-party firms falsely promise no-bid contracts to those who pay big bucks to be on a “priority vendors list” (there is no such list). Government officials in charge of relief efforts are overwhelmed and information may be hard to come by. What is a small contractor to do?
Know the facts:
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act requires FEMA to contract with businesses located in the affected area when feasible and practicable.
Take care of the fundamentals:
Make sure that you are registered in all applicable databases (see below) and that your company information is accurate, complete (including detailed capabilities listings), and consistent across all the various registrations (i.e., use the same company name, address, numbers, e-mail and web addresses). This will make it easier for government agencies to cross check your information. Note: your SAM registration must match your IRS information.
Contact PTAC: There are never shortcuts in government contracting. Your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) can help you—at no cost—to take the steps you need to be eligible, to find, and to bid on government contracts. Disaster recovery is a long process; doing the right things now will position you to take advantage of opportunities that are still weeks or months down the road.
For Federal government opportunities (FEMA; Army Corps of Engineers):
State and Local Government Contracting
Establish relationships with municipal and county governments, as well as state procurement offices. Often these offices control much of the work that is done. In fact, FEMA doesn’t do anything without request and concurrence from the state, local and (when applicable) tribal governments. The type, kind and quantity of assistance FEMA provides is entirely up to state and local authorities. If debris removal contracts are already in place for routine incidents, such as wind or ice storms, those contracts will probably be used for major disasters first. So make sure that you are registered in any applicable state/local databases – not only those local to you, but those in areas you might travel to in response to a disaster.
For help in positioning yourself to take advantage of disaster response contracting opportunities, contact Indiana PTAC.
For additional information about doing business with FEMA, click here.
Original Source: Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, https://www.aptac-us.org/hurricane-disaster-contracting-steps-to-take-now/