The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is part of Homeland Security that exists to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States. FEMA awards many contracts for goods and services every year. The annual budget for FEMA is usually in the billions, with a large portion put aside for subcontracting work throughout the U.S. If you have a business that offers products or services that FEMA needs, you can subcontract with them by following the required steps.
Register your company in the Central Contractor Registration database (CCR). The federal government uses the CCR as its primary registrant database. By registering your company in this database, you make it a lot easier for FEMA to find your company.
Get your company listed in the various government electronic catalogs. The more places that your business is seen, the better your chances are of having the right person within FEMA locate your company. Some examples of electronic catalogs are Pro-Net and GSA advantage.
Market your website. Link your website to all your government catalog listings to increase your site's visibility and make it easy for interested buyers to get to your website. Include information on your website that would help interested parties make the decision to use your services. Describe your company's products or services, give detailed testimonials and provide a positive service record.
Find new Requests for Proposals. Whenever contracts are completed, brand new ones take their place. These are called Requests for Proposals (RFP). You can get an advantage by supplying a new RFP before they are posted on the Federal Business Opportunity website. Track the current contract's expected completion date that you are interested in and submit an RFP for it early.
Track the drafts for Requests for Proposals. According to FEMA.gov, "The agency will often indicate if it is leaning towards your competitor." Fortunately, any changes or additions to proposals FEMA requires can be viewed by everyone because the subcontracting process is transparent. By observing what is being asked for from your competitor by FEMA, you can change your current proposal to fit these needs and stay competitive.
Accept payment for completed projects from the government credit card. According to FEMA.gov, "The government buys more than $5 billion in goods and services annually with the purchase card. Most COs will choose the purchase card over the paperwork to make a buy." Letting the agency know that you accept the government card can only increase your chances of being awarded a contract.
Form a partnership. By joining with another firm, you increase your years of experience and your product offering which will make you more attractive to FEMA.
Research and market to the decision makers. When sending in your RFP, it is always good to also talk to someone in person who helps to make the ultimate decision to award the contract. Find out who these people are in the relevant department, and tailor your correspondence to them specifically.
Fax and email your company's information directly to FEMA offices to increase the visibility of your company, its qualifications and the services it provides.
Remember to follow up to make sure that your information has ended up in the right hands.
Always budget for slow payments when dealing with the government as there is usually a lot of red tape.
An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.