As a general contractor, managing and monitoring all aspects of your project is incredibly costly and time consuming without a modern solution. You must put together accurate estimates, find and hire the right subcontractors, make sure workers are getting their work done on time, find the right materials, and handle unexpected issues along the way.
There are a variety of general contractor software options available. Some provide a full suite of construction and contracting features like bidding, estimating, or scheduling. Every software solution is different in functionalities and price, so you’ll need to find a software solution that has the features you need the most.
In this guide, you will find information on:
General contractor software provides assistance with every step of a project from sourcing bids to pre-construction to managing subcontractor schedules. The most important features general contractors look for are bidding, job costing, scheduling, and project management.
|Construction Bidding||Assists in managing the bid process including sourcing, inviting, reviewing, and selecting the right bids.|
|Construction Estimating||Create accurate estimates based on the costs of materials, subcontractor payments, and equipment needed to perform the job. Improve cost control and monitor the profitability of a job by assigning costs to equipment, labor, and materials.|
|Scheduling||Coordinate schedules for specific tasks and subcontractor labor to ensure work is being done at the right times to streamline workflow.|
|Construction Accounting||Track payments made to vendors and subcontractors (accounts payable) and payments received from clients (accounts receivable). Also includes a general ledger to give you insight into the project’s financial performance to see what was profitable and what needs to be improved.|
|Construction Project Management||Construction project management software functionalities coordinate resource allocation, project planning, scheduling, task management, time tracking, collaborative document sharing, and quality management.|
|Change Orders||General contractor construction management software keeps track of approved and potential changes in the project, monitors change order status, sends notifications when change order requests are approved, and updates the budget to show increases in cost from the change orders.|
|Customer Relationship Management||Manage contact information and keep records of project history to provide better customer support if needed down the road.|
General contractor software helps you deliver the right bids by tracking cost estimates, RFPs, subcontractors, deadlines, and all other variables that can meaningfully affect the price and viability of a given bid.
General contractor software should help you organize information on current and prospective suppliers and subcontractors. RFIs must be accurate and up to date to prevent costly mistakes and settle disagreements down the road.
Mobile and cloud-based general contractor software will soon be a requirement. Contractors moving around job sites or working out in the field want to be able to access field reports, project information, imagery and documents, job costing, and schedules from anywhere on the site.
Our Construction Technology Trends Report showed that 87% of people in the construction industry were open to reviewing cloud-based software options in 2017.
Free software solutions are mainly used by startups and very small construction companies, general contractors, and homebuilders. Most free general contractor software has very limited features and has very little (if any) customer support.
Some examples include:
Fieldwire is a mobile app for iOS devices including the iPad and iPhone, as well as Android and Windows 10. The free Basic plan is ideal for construction professionals that need access for up to 5 users. Core features of the Basic plan include task management, instant messaging, file sharing, plan viewing, and checklists. Paid plans are available starting at $29 per month per user. More robust features are included as you go up in price.
On-Screen Takeoff PlanViewer is a free tool that allows contractors to view and print plans, perform simple takeoffs, and collaborate across their team. More advanced features are available in the paid version to help you retain and organize data and improve takeoff speed. Some features in the paid version include importing and exporting visual takeoff files, an overlay feature to compare revised images, retain and save takeoff data, and multi-user networking.
Orangescrum is a project management solution with a free open source download option for Linux, Windows, and Mac. The free open source solution includes task lists, Kanban views, Google and Dropbox integration, email notifications, calendar views, time log exporting, and weekly usage reports. Add-ons are available for purchase to give you additional features including time tracking, actual vs estimated time reports, Gantt charts, and invoicing. Orangescrum is also available as cloud-based, self-hosted cloud-based, and enterprise on-premise solutions.
A general contractor is hired to manage a project from start to finish - overseeing daily operations, hiring and managing subcontractors, coordinating the trades (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, carpentry, etc.) and vendors, allocating resources and materials needed to get the job done, and solve problems as they arise. The client usually relies on the general contractor to ensure the design is built to the client’s vision and is completed on time, within budget.
A subcontractor is an individual or a business that is hired to do all or part of a project and is usually hired and paid by a general contractor. Subcontractors can handle one specialized job like pouring the concrete or multiple specialties like installing the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical features.
General contractors hire subcontractors to save time and money. A subcontractor can free the general contractor up for more big-picture tasks or handle specialized jobs a general contractor might not be able to do.