Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Info for Becoming a Gate Attendant

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 85 degrees

People often ask questions about our jobs as gate attendants and want to know the process for getting this type of gig.

I’ve covered a little bit of this information in previous post, but will give a little more detail for those interested.

The first step is to apply for and receive a DUN Number, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of your business.

D-U-N-S Number are FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants.

The DUNS will be needed to begin your registration prior to entering SAM.

It may take several days or more than a week to receive your DUN number.

My experience was with Dun & Bradstreet was not pleasant. After waiting for over a week, I had to make several calls and talk with several people over the course of a week in order to finally receive my Dun number.

Once you have obtained the Dun number, you can proceed to the next step.

Next you must register with SAM to receive a number.

The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. There is NO fee to register for this site.

You can register your Entity (business, individual, or government agency) to do business with the Federal Government. To register, you must first create a user account.

This registration takes time, so be prepared to sit at your computer for a couple of hours. (also, this is a government website and you must have a secured connection in order to be able to complete the application) I tried using my laptop with air card and it did not consider it a secured connection.

Your SAM number must be renewed annually. Failure to renew on time will cause you to have to go through the entire process again.

Keep these numbers handy so that you can access them. These numbers are your lifeline to government jobs.

Once you have you have completed these two VERY important steps, you can now go to Federal Business Opportunities website

This is where you search for government business opportunities.

Once you find the items you wish to bid on, the real FUN begins!

You will select the opportunity, open the presolicitation. Look at the synopsis which will explain in detail what the contracting office is asking for.

These can be very lengthy. I believe the last gate attendant bid we did was almost 200 pages. There is a questionnaire and a lot of legal jargon!

By the way, you will be bidding on a particular year and season with an option period. For example, if you bid for next summer the option period will include the following summer. That makes for 2 summers! Generally they exercise the right to accept the option period as a done deal.

You’re required to fill out the questionnaire. You’ll be instructed to submit the questionnaire, a resume, application and bid document. This will be submitted to the contracting office via email as a PDF file by the deadline posted on bid.

The bid amounts are different from season to season and from park to park. In this area, summer bids pay more than winter bids.

There is also an evaluation form that needs to be filled out by a recent former employer. That evaluation form will be submitted separately by the person preforming the evaluation.

The information I just gave you applies to the US Army Corp of Engineers Fort Worth District.

I know that some districts require pictures of your RV be submitted with your bid.

I realize this can be very overwhelming. It certainly was for us the first time.  

Meanwhile, you’ll need to obtain a VIP (Volunteer in Parks) surety bond. This is not as easy as it sound.

Not every insurance company has underwriters that do these kinds of bonds.

The bond requirement is $5,000.00 and the cost is about $100.00.

You will have to periodically have to check the FedBizOp website to see if there any changes or updates to the presolicitation. You will have the check on it after the deadline to see if it has been awarded.

You will be notified via email if you are awarded the bid. Once you are awarded the bid, you will then be instructed to have your surety bond and a copy of your auto insurance available for submission to the lake manager.

Besides being paid monthly, we are furnished a covered RV site with full hookups. They also provide a 10x12 storage building at our site.

Duties for gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers at this lake are required to collect money for Day Use and Camping, make reservations for walkup campers, patrol the park several times per day (in your vehicle using your fuel) reporting any problems and maintenance issues.

We work 4 days on and have 4 days off. Our hours are 6 A.M to 10 P.M. someone must be in the gatehouse at all times during your shift. You’re actually on duty for 24 hours a day during your 4 day shift. You’re on call in the event anyone has a problem.

There are periodic police and park ranger patrols from 6 A.M to 10 P.M.

You will be evaluated periodically on your performance. There is the occasional audit of cash drawer. Gate attendants are required to have their own opening cash. We started with $50.00.  

At the end of our 4 day shift, we take the monies collected and buy a money order. That money order and reports are mailed the NRRS.

We are required to buy our own office supplies, money orders, cleaning supplies (cleaning supplies are for the cleaning of the gatehouse) and postage.

We have enjoyed the work but would not want to make a career of it. The hours are crazy long and during the week, the days can be very slow.

The gate houses vary in size. Some are very small and some larger. Our current gate house is roomy enough that we aren’t sitting on top of each other.

This gate house is equipped with a computer, printer, cash drawer and a safe. We have a restroom too. That is important!

We brought in a microwave and the other gate attendants brought in a mini fridge.

There are different requirements for each district and I have experience only with the Fort Worth district.

I hope this information has been helpful for those of you that are considering being gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers.

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