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Advantages of Software as a Service
For most of its history, construction management software was sold on a licensing basis. Once customers purchased a license, they owned the software and installed it on their own devices. The software could be used only on those devices.
Most software today is cloud-based, referred to as software as a service, or SaaS. Customers pay a monthly or annual fee to use it, which allows them to access their data from wherever they happen to be, either through a mobile app or by logging in through a browser.
Who Needs Construction Management Software?
Arguably, every construction contracting firm needs construction management software. But different contractors may have different needs. Some software packages that are fine for small to mid-size contracting businesses may not be sufficient for larger contractors or for specialty subcontractors. The best approach to selecting an appropriate construction management software solution is to identify the functions and features needed, then determine which software includes all of them.
What Features Are Important in Construction Management Software?
The following are the most common functions contractors are looking for in construction management software in 2022-2023.
- Project Estimating—This is the most important function identified by general contractors in their search for construction management software. Developing a realistic budget that results in sufficient profit is key to winning bids and project success.
- Project Information Modeling—Larger construction projects can be incredibly complex, with multiple stakeholders, long timeframes, and an incredible amount of data in many formats. Project team members must be able to access the data they need at any time, from anywhere. Some construction management programs are better than others for managing and sharing design models and business information with built-in data analytics and reporting.
- Cost management and Accounting—Basic budgeting and benchmarking capabilities are standard in nearly all construction management software. Contractors need to be able to do more than track costs, run payroll, invoice clients, and pay bills. They also need to be able to forecast project financials and ideally should be able to access a variety of forecast methods and historical data about trends and goals from within their construction management software.
- Field management—The best construction management software has field management capabilities that enables construction managers and forepersons to communicate with their crews, assign tasks, schedule work, capture results after each shift, and manage inspection processes and documentation.
- Data Analytics—Contractors are seeking customizable reporting features to support productivity and inventory management and provide strategic insight for data-driven decision-making to improve performance, scheduling, and other important aspects of construction management.
Popular Construction Management Software
The factors contractors typically consider in selecting construction management software include:
- Range of functions and features
- Proposal management
- Customer relationship management
- Document control
- Bid management
- Customizable reporting
- Integrations available
- Customer reviews
Top construction management SaaS solutions include:
- Monday.com—Contractors looking for pure project management often choose Monday.com. A free version is available for single users. Subscriptions max out at $16 per month per user, billed annually. Storage is from 500 MB to 1 TB. Integrations include (but are not limited to) Google Workspace, Slack, and Zapier.
- JOBPROGRESS—This is a top choice for residential contractors. Priced at $65 per month per user, with a $500 setup fee. Storage is unlimited. Integrations include QuickBooks, Google Workspace, ZenDesk.
- Fieldwire—Favored for job coordination and collaboration. A free version is available. Subscriptions run up to $89 per month per user and are billed annually. High-tier plans offer unlimited storage via integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
- Contractor Foreman—Considered very user-friendly. Pricing runs from $49 to $148 per month, paid annually. Storage is unlimited. Integrations with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.
- Buildertrend—Contractors looking for construction management software for managing all aspects of their business often choose Buildertrend. Pricing is from $242 to $417 per month, paid annually. Storage is unlimited. Integrations include QuickBooks, Xero, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar.
- HouPro—This package is popular among contractors for its ability to generate leads. It’s priced at $65 to $399 per month and provides unlimited storage. Integrations include QuickBooks, Microsoft Outlook, Google Workspace, and Zoom.
One often-overlooked benefit of investing in a top construction management software package is that good project management dramatically reduces the chances of performance, quality, or payment issues that could result in claims being filed against a contractor’s construction bonds. For contractors required to furnish a bid bond, performance bond, payment bond, any other type of construction surety bond, effective project management can mean the difference between successful project completion and serious financial and reputational damage.
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