The Contracts tab of USAspending.gov allows searching for data relating to all federal contracts. The side bar functions as the main navigation interface for users. There are three main categories of searches: by contractors, by locations and by contracting agencies.
Contractor searches can be performed by simply entering a search term in the cell and clicking go. You can search for all companies that include a search term by simply entering an asterisk before the term. The sidebar also provides quick tables for Top 100 contractors per year, as well as contracts totals based on the state or congressional district location of the company (which is not necessarily where the actual work is done). The advanced search allows users to modify the name search with other factors such as amount of total contracts, industry code, etc.
Location searches allow users to find out how much money is being spent on contracts for work in a location. The sidebar permits quick searches by congressional districts or states. The advanced search uses counties, cities, zip codes as well as other search modifiers.
Agency searches can be done by either selecting a major agency from the sidebar menu or by selecting a year total for an agency from the "Overview by Major Agency" table. The advanced search allows modification of searches by changing the year, product or service contracted for, level of competition allowed in the bidding process, etc. The advanced search also allows you to search for sub-offices within major agencies and departments as well as minor agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission or the National Endowment for the Arts.
Other searches include exploring contracts based on the level of competition permitted during the bidding process. Under the "Other" category, users may also review contracts based on the products and services purchased by the contracts.
A federal contract is an agreement between the federal government and a private entity, for-profit or non-profit, to execute mandated services for a fee. Federal contracts data contained here are based on the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). FPDS includes procurement contract transactions reported by approximately 65 federal government departments, bureaus, agencies, and commissions and summarizes who bought what, from whom, and where.