It is that time once again where the hurricane season is quickly approaching. It is prudent for North Carolina businesses to start their efforts now in order to be able to win government contracts post-hurricane.
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. 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 Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act requires FEMA to contract with businesses located in the affected area when feasible and practical.
- State and local government agencies control a large proportion of disaster response activities, so many of the contracting opportunities will come through these offices. At the time of a disaster, they may initially rely upon contracts already in place.
- Potential contractors must be registered in the appropriate federal, state, and/or local databases to be eligible for contract awards.
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, email, and web addresses). This will make it easier for government agencies to cross-check your information. Note: your SAM registration must match your IRS and DUNS information.
- Make sure your company is well represented online with an up-to-date website that clearly describes the goods and services you offer and, if possible, includes a link to your catalogue. Especially in emergencies, agency buyers may rely on the internet for market research.
- Actively research contract opportunities and then pursue them. See below for information on federal agencies (like FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers), as well as for state and local agencies in North Carolina.
Look for Federal Government Opportunities
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 all applicable state and local databases – not only those local to you, but those in areas you might travel to in response to a disaster.
North Carolina State Contracting Sites
North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) is another great source of information for businesses in the state looking for assistance in the aftermath of a disaster. ReBuild NC
We provide a wide range of government contracting help! There are never shortcuts in government contracting. Your local Government Contracting Assistance Program (GCAP) counselor can help you—at no cost—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.
Assistance topics include (but are not limited to!):
- Determining suitability for contracting
- Securing necessary registrations (including SAM registration)
- SDB, 8(a), HUBZone, and other certifications
- Researching procurement histories
- Identifying bid opportunities
- Proposal preparation assistance
- Contract performance issues
- Preparing for audit
Locate your local GCAP counselor for assistance with your government contracting efforts.