Construction software packages and construction ERP software provide financial accounting and operational modules designed specifically with contractors in mind. Whether your construction project entails residential, commercial, or industrial work, a construction management software will help plan tasks and objectives, create better estimates, and get a better control of your job costs.
With the varying software bundles that exist (such as project management, ERP software, and construction accounting systems), it can be confusing to decide which option is right for you. A busy construction manager or engineer needs to spend time managing project activities rather than doing product research and comparisons.
To help you find the best solution, we’ve conducted research and put together a collection of our 2019 best picks for construction software.
Sage 100 Contractor is a popular choice for small to mid-size contractors. The integrated solution offers construction and accounting to meet your estimating, scheduling, project management, equipment management, and payroll needs.
Sage 100 Contractor is the construction and contractor focused solution from Sage. Many former users of Peachtree or Sage 50c may be looking for improved job costing or a way to better handle their estimates. Sage 100 Contractor also has a large network of dedicated providers who specialize in implementing the software into various facets of contracting, such as plumbing, electrical work, and more.
Contractors Software Group Products provides a complete suite of integrated web applications for builders and contractors. There are four key products in the Contractors Software Group family: job cost accounting, estimating, scheduling and project management, and CRM.
This software is an affordable choice for a small business as you can pick and choose the tools you need, and integrate additional applications down the road. Unlike other construction tools, Contractors Software Group has a strong CRM tool for harnessing prospects and improving your sales pipeline.
Fieldwire is a field management solution for construction teams, powering 500,000 jobsites worldwide. It acts as a hub for coordinating with your team, tracking the performance of jobs, and reduce your overall risk. Features include messaging, task lists, scheduling, and reporting.
The free “Basic” version of Fieldwire is intended for small teams looking to try some core features. The solution is limited to 100 sheets and 3 projects. Given the customization ooptions and the ease of upgrading into a paid plan, the free version of Fieldwire is a great way to see if it’s right for you.
Spectrum from Viewpoint is an easy to use construction ERP software that is completely web-based. It’s fully integrated set of tools includes construction accounting, project management, equipment and materials management, service, HR and payroll, and reporting.
Spectrum was developed originally by Dexter and Chaney before the Viewpoint acquisition in 2017. Because of this, the solution has years of history operating as it’s own powerful tool. It continues to be sold today as a powerful tool in the Viewpoint line of products.
Procore’s strength lies in it’s project management, while also offering a financial management portion if in need of something fully integrated. The project management application includes quality and safety, design coordination, and building informational modeling (BIM). The tool lets construction companies know what needs to get done to stay on schedule, and lets you identify issues before they impact your budget or schedule.
Procore states that 75% of project managers reduce project duration by at least 3 days using their program. The software also offers easy integration with other financial solutions such as Sage 100 Contractor and Viewpoint in case you are not looking to use their construction accounting application.
Want more options? Check out our list of best project management software.
STACK is one of the leading estimating and takeoff tools for pre-construction. The solution helps general contractors with the tools to win more bids, helps subcontractors find the most profitable projects, and helps suppliers and manufacturers connect with customers during the purchase consideration stage.
The centralized hub in STACK lets teams work together to improve their efficiencies and increase company revenue. STACK offers a limited free version (up to 10 takeoffs) that is great for smaller construction companies, or for a larger company looking for a trial of the program.
Want more options? Check out our list of best construction estimating software.
Get up to speed on the management tools you need with our buyer’s guide below. This guide offers direction on figuring out:
Construction software is a combination of applications that aid project managers, engineers, and architects in performing the necessary planning, building, and assembling task management in construction projects. These construction software applications include project management, estimating and bidding, and job cost accounting. Construction software can help run your construction business better, organize your jobs and projects, win more bids, and ultimately make you more profitable.
Cost accounting capabilities help project managers determine the costs of a construction job by analyzing labor, materials, equipment, and subcontractors. Facilitating the assignment of costs to individual cost categories improves the ability of project-oriented businesses to analyze cost control efforts and the profitability of individual jobs.
Construction project management capabilities help coordinate the execution of project tasks, including planning, scheduling, resource allocation, quality management, time tracking, and collaborative document sharing. Together, these features help construction businesses plan and control their build process more effectively.
When shopping for construction software, a business should concentrate on software functionalities that will boost efficiency and effectiveness. Construction software should be tailored to your specific needs while also taking the future into consideration. Your project team will want to select a tool that will accommodate current needs, and have the capacity to scale as your business expands.
|Construction Accounting||Tracks revenues and expenses. Includes modules such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and a general ledger.|
|Job Costing||Facilitates the assignment of costs to individual cost categories in order to enable improved cost control and job profitability analysis. Such cost categories typically include labor, equipment, materials, and subcontractors.|
|Construction Project Management||Coordinates the execution of project tasks, including planning, project scheduling, resource allocation, quality management, time tracking, and collaborative document sharing.|
|Bid Management||Streamline the entire construction procurement and bid process.|
|Construction Estimating||Provides standard processes to build cost models for executing job-based work. Includes functionalities such as takeoff which allows for dimensional information to be extracted from blueprints and converted into a list of required materials.|
|Construction Scheduling||Assists in project scheduling by managing the schedules of labor and resource management. Will help determine a more accurate completion date by automating calculations that are based on schedule constraints of the labor and equipment.|
Our recent Construction Technology Trends survey discovered that 2/3rds of construction software buyers desire job costing, project tracking, and project estimating.
Users of construction software can improve their business in a number of ways. Some of the top benefits of implementing a construction software include:
A fully integrated construction software lets you manage all task management solutions within one system, rather than having several disjointed software products that may or may not communicate well with each other.
Manually tracking projects in a spreadsheet or jotting down cost estimates with paper and pencil might be a familiar or comfortable way of running a business, but it’s not the most efficient.
Construction software helps to keep expenses and projects in line with functionality such as job costing, project tracking, project estimating, material take-off, time and materials billing, bid management, and purchasing.
Construction software offers a broad, consolidated view of the business in one spot. This can help a business make more effective use of its time through project tracking, reduce expenses through job costing, and collect timelier payments through simplified billing.
Teams can immediately collaborate by creating, sharing and archiving documents while adding quality to the process and providing greater job satisfaction. As a result, the contractor will learn to better manage day-to-day tasks, time and risks.
Construction software can provide collaboration in real time so users can access and upload project contacts, plans, drawings, and photos at any time, from any location. Project teams can also improve their project collaboration via punch lists created in the field. Punch lists will let project teams conduct efficient walkthroughs and inspections and close out faster.
The starting cost of construction software ranges from $7/month to $200/month for a cloud-based software on a subscription-based pricing model. The price is dependent on the number of users and the level of applications needed.
Our construction buyers trends survey found that 43% of construction businesses indicate they spend one percent to two percent of their revenue on software. Spending on construction software should be considered an investment. This is particularly critical as the price of doing business in the construction industry keeps going up.
With rising material and labor costs, firms will likely struggle to maintain their margins in the coming year," Construction Dive said in a review of construction industry trends for 2017. Construction software can help a business trim those costs and ensure profit margins aren’t squeezed.
Most construction accounting software, construction project management software, or even project scheduling software will be created with a specific size of business in mind. Depending on your size, you might weigh certain features above others.
Job costing will be the most important feature to help you manage your basic accounting much easier. Most basic construction accounting software should offer some sort of costing functionality.
A lot of small business software may not be industry specific, but it will allow you to categorize costs and combine them to form a complete job and begin evaluation on what jobs are more profitable than others. For those wanting a solution developed with contractors in mind, many web-based construction options exist for a low monthly rate.
Companies upgrading will likely desire a more in-depth estimating tool and some level of bid management. These types of functionalities will be best provided by an industry-specific solution or a vendor that specializes in implementing their software into construction environments.
Companies in need of a full suite of functionalities should look towards construction ERP solutions that provide enterprise-level construction management. These will be software solutions with a long proven track record of assisting construction companies. Advanced ERP software can have a level of custom-development to make them more in-tune with a company’s estimating and bid management needs, to ensure the solution works as a complete all-in-one system.
In our recent technology trends survey, 37 percent of construction businesses identified ease of use as the most important consideration when buying construction software. That ranks as the top consideration.
Construction businesses should be clear about who’ll be using the software and, as such, who’ll need to be trained on how to operate it. Before a business buys the software, it should inquire about the availability of training and customer support from the vendor.
QuickBooks Online has been used successfully by thousands of construction companies. While not an industry-specific construction software, the solution can handle the needed accounting for most construction businesses. This includes managing job costs, tracking time and expenses for projects, and running the appropriate reports on a job/project level.
QuickBooks isn’t an inherently bad product; it just may be limiting what a construction business can do technologically. Fortunately, a number of software options are available for a construction business that has outgrown QuickBooks.
The research shows that over the past few years, more than 35 percent of construction businesses have been looking to upgrade from QuickBooks in some way.
Many QuickBooks users fall for the seductive marketing messages that boast ‘easy to set up, easy to learn to use’ and fall prey to the myth of do-it-yourself accounting," Nancy Smyth, author of the QuickBooks for Contractors blog.
For a construction business considering a shift away from QuickBooks, it’s important to ask this question: Is QuickBooks serving the company’s needs? If the answer is “no,” it’s time to contemplate another software product that’s more robust and geared more toward construction management.
Some of the top trends in construction software include:
A recent technology survey we conducted found the following pieces of information:
As noted in a report published in February 2017 by the World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group, the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technology and has undergone “no fundamental change” over the past 50 years.
In line with that, just eight percent of construction and engineering professionals surveyed in 2016 by professional services firm KPMG classified themselves as “cutting-edge visionaries.” Meanwhile, 41 percent said their companies had numerous software platforms in place that are monitored manually, and just 20 percent had acces to fully integrated task management solutions across the entire organization.
“Without fully integrated automation, the effectiveness of these tools is severely compromised,” KPMG points out.
The World Economic Forum report declared that construction businesses have largely failed to embrace new technologies, “and the gap between the innovation leaders and laggards is widening,” according to the report. This means companies may be hesitant to look into newer web-based construction or cloud-based software.