Both builders and their team of subcontractors specializing in painting, carpentry, flooring, landscaping or other trades benefit from contractor project management practices that include contractor software as a means to speed the many administrative tasks that challenge deadlines and budgets.
While today’s construction pros have increasing choices when it comes to home construction technology, the best contractor software is part of a platform of features that support each and every part of the job, whether its:
- managing leads
- completing takeoffs and material purchases
- creating estimates and bids
- overseeing schedules and material purchases
- invoicing customers.
The best software platforms also act like contractor tracking software, making it easy for both builder and contractor to stay in constant contact using daily logs to record job progress.
How do I know what I need?
If you believe it’s time to stop doing the many tasks listed above using paper and pencil, start your search for residential contractor software by looking at the specific needs and pain points of your independent contractor business.
This means asking:
- how many jobs do you manage at any one time?
- How many contractor estimates do you send or receive in any given week/month?
- How many employees do you manage?
- What admin task takes the most time day-to-day?
Reviewing all of this information builds a solid picture of the general contractor software features most important to you.
How contractor software improves management skills
It’s also worth reviewing your current ways of working to determine what’s working well and what needs improving as you run your residential contracting business. For example:
- ‘Back of the envelope’ approach: You’ve hashed out great ideas on the back of an envelope, and it’s tried and tested right? There’s no denying it’s got a great many general contractors and custom home builders where they are today. But what got you here won’t get you there – so if you’re looking to take your business next level, say goodbye to handwritten measurements and material counts, and start using digital takeoffs and estimates to nail your administrative tasks.
- Spreadsheets: Are you relying heavily on spreadsheets to import takeoff measurements and price material costs? If so, then you’re losing valuable time and effort manually inputting data. This can also easily lead to mistakes, like entering incorrect figures or accidentally missing an item, and that can negatively impact profits. Spreadsheets are convenient and low cost, but there are lots of drawbacks too, like limited functionality and reporting, a lack of automation, and limited collaboration. Contractor software allows you to save your most accurate estimates to save time when bidding future jobs.
- Basic management tools: Lots of residential contractors have made the move to basic management tools like Monday or Notion to keep track of their tasks. These tools are user-friendly and affordable, making them a popular choice. But the best contractor software includes industry-specific features, such as comprehensive project scheduling and daily logs that also can be shared with the homeowner.
Once you find the right software for your business, it can really propel it to the next level. It’ll save you time and effort, making life easier. Projects will run smoother thanks to improved accuracy and efficiency, and it will ultimately make you more profitable.
- Accounting software: If you use accounting software, like Quickbooks and Xero, then you’ll already be enjoying the benefits of more efficient financial management. But you might want to take it one step further and streamline all your business finances, giving you a real-time view of your cash flow and profitability. The good news with accounting software is that you can easily integrate it with contractor software, so you can have everything in one place, from cost tracking and raising POs, through to timely invoices and payments.
Can one tool really meet all your needs?
Let’s review how one software platform can meet all the needs of residential contractors and builders:
- Integration Having one tool, of course, eases the administrative burden. You learn one tool to accomplish all your tasks and have one place to go for support and help. Also, if using multiple software products, you then have to worry about how to upload information from one to the other. The best contractor software flows your estimate and material data from one feature tool to another. For example, the same tasks outlined in the contractor estimate can flow into a scheduling tool.
- Will it cost more in the long run? Investing in just one tool might initially be more cost effective. However, make sure you consider other factors like the software’s scalability and ROI, as this impacts long-term efficiency. Continually adding individual tools that don’t integrate properly, might quickly become more costly.
- Do I have the time? We get it. Researching and trying lots of different tools seems a waste of time. But it’s not just the time selecting the right software you need to consider, it’s other time investments too. For example, isn’t it quicker and easier to train your team to use just one platform (vs multiple ones)?
The benefits of getting it right
With the right software you can expect:
- Fast, accurate estimates: Estimating software will help set you up for project success right from the start. You can create highly accurate estimates up to five times faster than before, giving you valuable time back in your day. With software on your side, your numbers will be on point, with no missed items or incorrect calculations, so you can bid with more confidence.
- More control of your profits: With the right software, responding to RFQs between builder and contractor becomes quick and easy. Reliable quoting straight from your takeoffs and estimates means you can stand out from competitors with fast responses, professional looking quotes and prompt communication. You can be confident from the outset that your project will turn a profit, and cost tracking tools mean you can keep a live view on profit margins throughout a project’s lifecycle.
- Less admin time Working software into your business means you can say goodbye to mountains of paper or lost information. Suddenly you can easily find everything, and you can access all your important documents from wherever you are, and at any time. The right software also syncs with your accounting software, so you can spend less time on your books, and more time on site.
Try before you buy
The best way to see if contractor software will be a good fit for your business is to actually try it for yourself. So, before you invest, put it to the test on real jobs and see it in action.
If you’re looking for integrated, easy to use software that supports you from start to finish, Buildxact has you covered. Book a demo, or try a free 14-day trial today, and see for yourself how it can boost your business.