small business

How to Choose the Best Contractor Software for Your Business

September 15, 2022
8 min read

Between managing field crews, budgets, schedules, and so much more, contractors have a lot on their hands to get a job done and keep their customers satisfied. Since you’re juggling many tasks in such a high-stakes industry, a contractor's software program can help you streamline and manage your various workflows. 

In general, software for contractors includes various functions for managing complex, critical tasks, such as estimating, scheduling, accounting, project management, and more. But not all programs are created equally. 

If you choose the wrong program, you risk harming your bottom line. And the software could make your jobs more complicated, ultimately defeating the purpose of implementing it in the first place. 

So, how do you choose the right contractor software for your business? Let’s explore. 

What is contractor software?

It’s essential to know precisely what contractor software is and how it can help you since there are many different labor management programs on the market today. 

General contractor software is designed to improve your business operations at every stage:

  • Bidding to pre-construction
  • Estimates and invoices
  • Schedule management
  • Closeout 

While this is a top-level overview, most software programs for contractors offer many other features that streamline your business processes at every stage, organization-wide. 

Implementing contractor software: Benefits 

Implementing contractor software into your business operations can help you achieve various critical objectives. 

Reliable communication 

Owning and operating a contractor business requires you to communicate with different stakeholders. Trying to keep track of your messages in email, text, spreadsheets, or scrap paper isn’t ideal or efficient. It’s easy for critical messages to get lost in the shuffle. 

Contractor software keeps your communication in one place and accessible at your fingertips. Search capabilities further enable you to look through your messages and clear up misunderstandings. 

Improved accuracy 

The most robust software for contractors provides analytics and forecasting capabilities. You can compare estimates with the actual costs of a project and various expenses incurred along the way. This enables more accurate budgeting and is much more efficient than plugging numbers into a spreadsheet by hand. In turn, the software frees up time for back office staff. 

Greater organization 

Being organized is one key to success, and contractor software unlocks your company’s full potential. Dedicated contractor software manages your data and business processes, such as scheduling and invoicing. 

Additionally, operating an organized business is crucial in reducing your liability. Safety documentation and procedures can be housed within the program, lowering your risk of fines and fees and protecting your field techs from injury. 

Choosing the right software for your contractor business

Most importantly, you need to understand your business must-haves and the unique challenges it faces. So here are a few questions to ask to get you started narrowing down your contractor software:

  • How do your business processes work?
  • What’s hindering the operations?
  • Where do delays tend to occur? 
  • What can you do, or what do you need to improve operations?
  • How connected is the office staff to field crews and project teams?

Some business owners choose bare-bones contractor software to keep track of documents for single projects. Others may need a more robust system with integrated accounting, job budgeting, bid management, project scheduling, etc. 

Determining whether you need a robust system requires you to ask more probing questions:

  • Desired features — Fully integrated suites are an entirely different beast than a specialized system that only handles things like estimating and invoicing. 
  • Company pain points — Where are the inefficiencies in your business's operations? Is it company-wide or only at certain chokepoints? This will help you determine if you need a single-solution or integrated system. 
  • Current size — The size of your company will determine which software program you ultimately choose. Many programs are geared toward businesses of a particular size. Some contractor software requires you to pay per user. Others may charge a monthly or annual fee based on size ranges. 
  • Estimated growth — If you plan on growing your business, you’ll want a program that can scale with you. 
  • Current systems — What existing accounting, ordering, CRM, etc., programs do you already use? For example, you may need to choose a contractor software program that will integrate with your existing QuickBooks Online account.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can narrow your search to software that offers the features you need to improve your business processes.

Key general contractor software capabilities

You’ll want to look for the following broad capabilities in your general contractor software program:

Integrations 

Maybe you already have an accounting or billing software program that you love. In that case, you’ll want to choose software that offers integration capabilities.

Easy maintenance

You’re already busy putting out fires. The last thing you want is contractor software that makes your job harder, not easier. Choose a program that’s easy to maintain and automatically upgrades. You don’t want to purchase something that will become obsolete in a few years. 

Multi-platform accessibility

Shortlist companies that offer software with mobile solutions. Chances are, you’ll want your field techs, subcontractors, and customers to easily access certain program capabilities. 

Common contractor software features 

The various contractor software programs on the market today often include the following features:

Bidding 

With this feature, you can invite, analyze, and manage bids from different subcontractors and vendors. Having all your bids submitted in one place makes comparing and choosing the best deal for your project easier. 

Estimating 

Estimating features enable you to parse relevant data and information, creating an accurate estimate. Additionally, you can track the job’s profitability as the project progresses. Estimating capabilities can help you improve and protect your profit margins. 

Job costing and invoicing 

Managing cash flow is critical to running any successful business. For general contractors, a software program with job costing data and invoicing capabilities allows you to improve your billing efficiency and accuracy. If this is important to you, you’ll want to choose a robust general contractor software package that can manage various project expense streams. 

Accounting  

Some software programs offer dedicated accounting capabilities, while others will integrate with your current accounting software. Regardless, accounting capabilities enable you to keep track of your payables and receivables, so you have an accurate financial picture as work progresses. 

Workforce and project management 

With this feature, your essential documents and data are housed in a central hub and easily accessible. As a result, you can make quick, intelligent decisions and seamlessly pivot and manage your projects on the fly. 

Change orders 

A central hub where customers can make requests keeps everyone on the same page and enables faster, more reliable communication. With change order capabilities, you can accurately track customer requests 24/7 and as soon as they arrive. 

Customer relationship management 

Otherwise known as a CRM, this feature provides all the tools you need to communicate efficiently with your customers and other stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. After project completion, you can also keep in touch with your customers and offer support. 

Scheduling 

Between managing your schedule, the customers, field technicians, and subcontractors, it’s difficult to accurately allocate resources and personnel. Scheduling capabilities allow you to do this and quickly change the schedule in one central place, alerting all key stakeholders asap. 

RFI management 

Keeping everyone in the loop is essential for seamless project management and customer satisfaction. RFI management features allow you to organize requests for information on the project’s progress. 

Site management 

Integrated site management tools offer features that monitor employee performance, enforce safety requirements, and track tools and equipment in use or in need of repair. 

VIIZR: A mobile solution for all your contractor needs

You wanted to be a general contractor, not a professional juggler. However, when you own a thriving contractor business, juggling all the tasks you must perform to get the job done and keep customers happy can quickly overwhelm your team. 

The bottom line is that the best contractor software for your unique business lightens your workload, helps you grow, and grows with you. When you save time across your entire business operations, you’re free to do more of what you love!

VIIZR is a mobile app that offers solutions for a wide range of needs your general contractor business has, and it’s designed to grow with you as you scale and become more profitable. 

Best of all? It’s FREE for a limited time. 

Sign up today for your VIIZR free field service management software trial. No credit card required. 

 

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