Ok, so I have read this post a couple times and I must respond.
This is an independent contractor service. It is to be expected to pay your own way. PaRR pays for us to get to and from the disaster site, I am assuming that comes out of the “overhead” expenses. They also compensate for the out of the way travel (if needed) to the headquarters, with a physical address, in Virginia. As an independent contractor, you do have to have cash or credit card and a vehicle, this should be obvious. As far as William Chandlers comment. I will ask you to speak for yourself. I am not sure which disaster you are talking about specifically, but that situation of losing $1500 a week is not the norm. $200 a day in expenses and $57.50 a day in payment is again, incorrect. That is only 1 inspection a day and for Hurricane Sandy in New York, there was mulitple people I was with and not one of us had either one of those parts of your equation. Also, let me add in, the pay was also raised to $62.50 for this disaster and there was a per diem paid out of $50 a day, everyday you turned in work, just to help with expenses. Granted this will not cover all your expenses, as then you would not be an independent contractor, that was generous of them to do in the first place. Other inspection companies do not do this, nor do they pay up front for travel costs. Not to mention, PaRR pays one of the best rates in the business. Any way, there was not a shortage of work until the end was near and our expenses were not that high. You have to be willing to be out of your comfort zone and adapt to the enviornment. If that means a lesser hotel, a FEMA tent, or eating only once a day. Then so be it. I had about $100 a day in expenses and that was with a rental car. I stayed with people I’ve never met before and I worked everyday, without a break, from sunrise to sundown. That’s how it must be done.
Nowhere in our contract does it state you will DEFINITELY be given a minimum of 25 inspections per week. There is a clause that states if you do not receive this number they will consider giving a “downtime” payment to compensate. But this is done per disaster at PaRR’s discretion. Also in the contract/guidelines, it states that you do not get paid for no contact inspections. So this should not have been a surprise, when only 31 out of 37 inspections were paid. If the applicant was not contacted after 2 weeks, you would receive payment for the 3 phone calls and visit to the home. Easy money in my opinion. However, if contact is made, either you or another inspector will be called back to that residence in order to do the inspection. It should not be expected to get paid for an inspection you did not complete. It is also not PaRRs responsibility to decide who is fraudulently filing FEMA applications, that’s FEMA’S responsibility. We are inspectors. We have them sign a waiver stating everything is accurate to the best of their knowledge, if they proceed with the application, then they are held accountable for any monies they receive and will be required to pay it back and possibly with fines and/or jail time.
I have no problem with people not liking the work. It is very difficult, being away from family, friends and your regular life. But for those of us who can tolerate that, this is not a scam. If you do what your supposed to do, then it is actually very fulfilling work. There has been inspectors who have been called out, got to the disaster area and then turned away immediately. Yes, that’s awful, but its the nature of the beast. You want to go out there and make thousands of dollars and be there for months on end, and your released after only a month. (My personal situation) and again, awful. But ya know what, I learned a lot, I met great people, and I made a lot more money then if I was at home. There is certain things that come with being an independent contractor and you must read all the guidelines, do all the tutorials and be fully informed on what you are getting yourself into. If you have done all this and you still want to go, I say go. It was a great life experience! I miss it and can not wait till I get deployed again. It’s the federal government your working for, if everything is easy and makes sense, then your probably doing something wrong in the first place.