Disaster Contracting in Iowa

Written by:
Samantha I. Ferm-LeClere, CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist

Every year, without fail, there are disaster declarations in Iowa and other states, and our APEX team helps businesses prepare to do business with the government to help in recovery efforts. Our goal is to prepare your business now to be able to respond to disaster contracting opportunities in the future. Below are some basic next steps but each business is different, and your APEX counselor can work with you to ensure you’re looking at all the possible resources out there.

Most people think they just need to ‘work with FEMA’ but in reality, you need to be connected to where the emergency is taking place on a state and local level as well! Each county is the epicenter of where some of the disaster work starts.

Below are steps on both the Federal level and also for the state of Iowa

For the Federal government:


Step 1: Register in SAM.gov

First, besides registering on SAM.gov, you must check the correct box on the Disaster Response page to be publicly willing and ready to be contacted in a disaster situation.

Second, on your Points of Contact page, there is a ‘notes’ line for each point of contact. If you’d like a specific person in your organization to be the main emergency point of contact, you should add a note to that person’s information, identifying to be contacted in an emergency.

Third: Ensure your Dynamic Small Business Search profile is updated with the correct keywords and info of what you sell so that emergency contracting personnel can find you quickly.


Step 2: Fill out a FEMA Vendor Profile form

Depending on the goods/services you sell, there are various ways to work with FEMA. However, the main way to potentially set up a meeting in advance of a disaster is to fill out the Vendor Profile form: https://www.fema.gov/business-industry/doing-business/vendor-profile-form

They did say if you never hear back, fill out the form again, it does not guarantee you a meeting, but if they are busy managing a disaster, they will not be able to get back to you immediately, and want you to fill this form out again, if possible.

Step 3: Register with the Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers are usually some of the first boots on the ground to help in disaster work and debris hauling. Make sure you are connected to you’re the Army Corps and are engaging with the small business office. Your APEX counselor can help prepare you for this!



For state and local contracting:

Step 2: Register with the state of Iowa

First, you must be a registered vendor to sell your products or services to the State of Iowa. This differs from the Secretary of State, where you registered your business formation documents. For Iowa, it is the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). This registers you as a vendor directly with the state for you to sell your products or services to state agencies: https://das.iowa.gov/how-do-business-state-iowa.

In addition, you need to then register directly with the Department of Homeland Security, which manages a Qualified Vendor List for disaster procurement.

Department of Homeland Security for the State of Iowa: https://homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/vendor-opportunities/

In addition, you could reach out to your local county personnel and ask how they’d like to meet and manage potential vendors:

Individual county emergency personnel list: https://homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/county-EM/


As a reminder, these are just some of the basic steps to take in advance of a disaster declaration. Each state has its own rules/regulations on how it manages disasters, and you can work with your APEX counselor to get more info for a specific state if a disaster is declared there.

For more information about Government Contracting, contact your CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist or complete our Request for Counseling form.