How to Become a Disaster Relief Contractor

In times of national crises, the federal government calls upon businesses throughout the country to deliver emergency goods and services where and when Americans need them most. As the  COVID-19 pandemic showcased, the government’s need for a network of reliable providers has become more apparent than ever. 

Fortunately, any U.S. business owner can do their part and be simultaneously well compensated. With that potentially lucrative compensation in mind, let’s take a look at the benefits of becoming a disaster relief contractor with the federal government.

Disaster Recovery Contracting Benefits 

Throughout the pandemic, emergency relief spending of all kinds skyrocketed worldwide, with billions spent by the United States Federal Government alone

Emergency Government Spending Helps People Get What They Need

The spending expansion by the federal government contributes to multiple industries. Everything from medical equipment such as masks, test kits, and ventilators, to electronics like computers and laptops, digital services like telecommunication platforms, and cybersecurity software is provided quickly to those that need it most. 

Emergency Government Spending Empowers Profitable Business

While the need for such sudden increases in emergency spending in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic was something that couldn’t be foreseen, chaos theory, of course, dictates that disasters will surprise international communities at any time—and that it always pays to be prepared. That’s why every year a large portion of the over $500 billion allocated for federal government contract spending is set aside to fund inevitable disaster relief work.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take up a large amount of our collective mindshare, the U.S.’ rate of spending on emergency goods and services will only continue to drastically increase. Meaning, every day, there are more ways for registered businesses to lend a hand. 

Emergency Government Spending Sets Businesses up for Postcrisis Success

Not to mention after the crisis has been fully quelled, those organizations will have even more to gain from the usual long-term benefits that federal registration provides. In addition to the social and economic benefits of contributing during this pandemic, registered organizations maintain the ability to provide services against disasters that will unfortunately but inevitably strike in the future.

But before organizations can actually perform any of the vital work they’re capable of—or be called upon for aid through the official channels—they’ll first need to complete a registration process with the federal government.

How to Access Federal Disaster Relief Contract Opportunities

Under nationwide regulations, organizations must be registered with the federal government and listed in the SAM database before becoming eligible to provide disaster relief work. For further information on this process check out this article here. Here is a quick look at the process:

  • Register with the System for Award Management

From there a business is free to actively research to find contract opportunities and then pursue them. Some places to look for contract work are Unison Marketplace,, and The Department of Homeland Security Acquisition Planning Forecast System. 

To register with SAM a business must first acquire a UEI number. Learn more about UEI numbers here. From there, any business can continue its registration process by visiting and following the instructions found on the website.

  • Submit for a CAGE Code

Next a business will need to register with the U.S. defense logistics agency to receive a CAGE code. These codes are five-digit designations that are used specifically and extensively by the federal government. 

  • Prepare Your Business’ Web Presence 

A business owner will want to ensure their company is well represented on the internet. The company will need to have an accurate, updated website that clearly describes the goods and services they offer and (if possible) includes a link to the business’ product catalog. In times of emergency, agencies move fast and a business’ web presence can be the difference in winning a contract or not. 

How to Become a FEMA Contractor 

Established in 1979 the Federal Emergency Management Agency is one particular agency that businesses will want to work with to secure emergency contract work. Before a business will be able to work with FEMA they will need to register with the process detailed above. However, there are a few specific steps that must be taken. Here is how to secure contract opportunities with Fema:

  • Complete the Disaster Response Information Section in SAM

This special section within the SAM Registration process is required to be included in FEMA’s Disaster Response Registry. The Disaster Response Registry is utilized by both FEMA and The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to source emergency relief contractors. 

  • Complete FEMA’s Industry Liaison Program Vendor Profile Form 

Next businesses will need to establish a profile with FEMA by filling out the Industry Liaison Program Vendor Profile form. Upon completion of the form, businesses will need to submit it to FEMA by emailing

Registering to Provide Disaster Relief: Alone or with the Professionals?

One of the best parts about registering to work with the federal government by yourself is that it doesn’t cost a cent.However, due to the heavy amount of clerical work involved—and the unfortunate fact that the tiniest filing error during registration can lead to hours of additional headaches navigating a complex addendum process—many business owners opt to take the professional route instead.

From handling every step described above accurately and expediently to guiding businesses on how to master the federal marketplace and the disaster relief opportunities after registration is said and done, there are trusted options available (like our own Federal Award Management Registration) organizations can turn to.Though as with any important service regarding your business, before you consider putting its registration in the hands of anyone else, remember to research reviews and assess their reliability through a trusted source first.

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