Most contractors are creatures of habit. You probably have at least a few tools in your toolbox that have been there for years but that you’d never dream of replacing. There are probably a few tricks up your sleeve that you’ve been using since you started in the business, and you couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. The hands-on side of construction lends itself to that kind of personal tradition. However, the administrative and business side of the industry has changed a lot. If you’re not up to date with the latest technology, you might be missing out. Construction technology, whether it’s construction quoting software or something else, is a huge time saver. The more time you save on one task, the more you can get done in a day and the more money you make. That’s just how the industry works. So, while we would never suggest you retire your favorite hammer or give up your time-saving tricks, we do recommend you consider some of these software packages and tools.
If you’re still tracking jobs on a whiteboard (or several) in your back office or on a spreadsheet on your laptop, it’s time to look into some slightly more modern options. Some of the options out there are integrated directly into residential estimating software, and some construction quoting software has integrated scheduling options. However, if you’re not using any of those (or they don’t have the features you need built-in), you do have options. You could try:
Another important type of software contractors and construction companies need to use is accounting software. Not only does this allow you to keep track of your finances, but many also act as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool, and several integrate directly with various construction quoting software packages. odern accounting software packages are relatively user-friendly and don’t take too long to master. Many are also cloud-based, which is perfect for teams that are spread out geographically. There are free and paid options available too, such as:
If you often find yourself struggling with measuring off-plan, scaling dimensions, and more, take-off software might be the solution. This software allows you to choose a measurement system, calibrate measurements from known/figured dimensions, and measure lengths, areas, and more. The drawing you’re measuring from does need to be drawn to scale, but it doesn’t have to be printed or provided to scale. This means you can scan a printed drawing into your computer and use it to do an accurate dimension takeoff. There are some very high techs take-off software options out there, but in this category, we’ve only got one recommendation for you: Vu360’s free version. It’s easy to use, accurate and costs nothing.
If you work with architects fairly regularly, there’s a good chance they will share drawings, and sometimes, those might be in CAD format rather than as a PDF. Usually, if this is from AutoCAD, it will be a .dwg file. The good news is that AutoCAD themselves offers a variety of free viewers you can use to open and view these files, and you can find them all here.
If you need to present your clients with drawings, and you don’t want to hire someone to do them for you, there are several affordable options you can use. AutoCAD and MicroStation are some of the big names in the CAD world, but for most residential contractors, they’re overkill. Try one of these instead:
If you’re working with a team that is on various sites and in different locations, cloud storage is a great way to share and collaborate on documents and more. The good news is that there are many clouds storage options out there, and many are free. These include:
No matter how you slice it, doing quotes manually is time-consuming, and the risk of errors is significant. Revisions and alternatives take forever, and keeping track of quotes is a nightmare. Construction quoting software is a great way to take control of your estimating process. It allows you to automate and standardize your quoting procedure. While there are some specialist options for roof estimating software, bathroom remodelling software and so on, an excellent residential estimating software should handle any trade or specialty without needing a trade-specific solution. When it comes to residential estimating software, the only option we feel comfortable recommending is CostCertified. Not because it’s the construction quoting software we make, but because it addresses all the problems WE had with this kind of software. It’s fast, easy to use, allows real-time upgrades and gives customers an e-commerce like experience. There’s just nothing else out there that’s even close to this software for contractors.
The list of software for contractors we have provided here is not complete or exhaustive, but it is a good start if you’re looking for ways to speed up and improve your business and administrative processes. Many of the options listed here are free or cheap or have various pricing options, so the overall cost to upgrade your business with this software for contractors might only add a few hundred dollars to your monthly overhead costs. However, you need to consider how much it can save you, including:
Investing in big changes to your business can be daunting, but if you’re struggling to get your construction business to the next level, it might be precisely what you need. Think about where the bottlenecks and problems are, both in the office and in the field, and investigate those construction software options first. Look for tools that offer integration and automation and that offer good support and training services. While you might need a little time to adapt to this kind of change, it’s almost always worth it. We know because many of our customers have doubled or even tripled their revenue just by choosing to use CostCertified. Imagine what you could do with the right technology?