UPDATE 2/16/2017: This article has been updated to reflect pricing changes and to add two new options for the best construction contract management software.
When it comes to construction, contracts are at the heart of everything the company does. No new office building can be erected, no apartment complex can be installed, and no hospital remodel can be completed without a contract.
According to Paul Rees of PriceWaterhouseCoopers [PDF],
Contracts are documents that are frozen at a point in time and represent rights and obligations that are to be delivered over a future period. Contracts often represent a company’s perception of a “good deal,” which usually focuses on price and quality—both easily understood by all stakeholders. However, whether a good deal really has been achieved can be concluded only if the delivery was in line with expectations, in terms of quality as well as the total cost.
Contracts come with necessary details about how your construction business is going to conduct itself, whether it be with clients, employees, subcontractors, or suppliers. The construction world doesn’t move without effective contract management, which is why commercial construction companies—which often have hundreds of contracts running at one time—should invest in contract management software.
Luckily for construction companies, you don’t need to buy a separate contract or document management system to ensure that your business is running smoothly. Instead, invest in a high-quality construction management software application that has robust contract management features.
The best contract management software for construction
When narrowing down this list from the starting 250 to these best contract management software for construction, I looked at the following criteria:
- Does the software cater specifically to the construction industry?
- Does the software offer options for commercial construction?
- Does the software offer outstanding contract management features?
- Is the software intuitive?
- Does the software integrate with other financial and document management solutions (or does it provide a solution itself)?
- Can the software replace other kinds of construction software, like construction accounting software, construction management software, construction estimating software, construction CRM software, and more?
- Do reviewers and users generally say positive things about the software?
The final list came down to twelve options. They are arranged alphabetically below.
EasyBuild is a construction ERP solution that can easily oversee construction projects from end-to-end. On the contract end, EasyBuild offers a customer relationship management (CRM) and document management module built right into the system, so that workers can attach notes and contracts with clients. The construction software also allows subcontractor document management. Each of these contract management systems are easily searchable; you won’t ever lose your contracts in your sea of contacts.
Pros: Document scanning software, high-quality debtor reporting, and the software acts as a complete end-to-end solution.
Cons: Only runs on Windows, only available in English, and a limited number of reviews, so there isn’t a lot of customer feedback for this software just yet.
Price: Starts at $2,000 per user.
EVision bills itself as construction accounting software, but it’s much more than that. The product is based off of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft’s ERP system for small and mid-sized businesses, so it integrates with all of your Microsoft products. One cool feature that EVision offers is embedded reporting. I talked with Chloe Leigh, EVision’s marketing director, who explained, “Embedded Excel reporting tools allow you to create and deliver reports in your own format and are directly linked to source data.” For construction companies with lots of interconnected data that are tied to contracts, this organizational tool definitely stands out.
Pros: The whole system covers everything from project management to cost control. Users can easily run reports and find out which contracts affect the operational and financial health of their construction company.
Cons: Pricey, to the point where small and midsize companies may do better with a cheaper option.
Price: Starts at £50,000 (about $63,000).
Explorer Software doubled down on DocPro, the document management feature of this construction management software solution. The end result is pretty cool; documents are tagged with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and GPS tagging so users can tag, file, store, and find important documents easily—regardless of if they were initially electronic or not. As an important addition feature, when documents are updated, all related items are updated as well. Explorer Software is an awesome option for heavy construction, general contractors, specialty contractors, sub-trades, architects, and engineers.
Pros: Full ERP solution; Explorer Software doesn’t rely on plugins to function well. Outstanding customer service and in-depth reporting features.
Cons: Requires an extra spend for the document manager and business analytics units. Website is incredibly opaque to new buyers looking for information.
Price: One-time fee of $30,000.
This cloud-based, mobile contract manager is built just for construction managers. The software helps you to create documents and contracts with simple templates, as well as store communication and documentation in the cloud for access anywhere. Your subcontractors, stakeholders and employees will receive contracts and documents directly, and respond either through the system or via email. The software also allows you to make and track changes to projections and contracts, with every date-stamped so you know where things stand at any given moment.
Pros: Reviewers said the software was simple to use and made organization of documents easy, in addition to providing clear indication of who is responsible for what on a project. Users also praised Fluid’s customer service and price point.
Cons: Fluid Contract Manager has a relatively low number of reviews, so the sample size is small. Two of the users indicated they would like to have seen more features and functionality in the platform.
Price: Your first two projects for free, then it’s $99 per month afterward for unlimited users and unlimited projects.
GenieBelt stands out as a personal favorite of mine because they have a free version, are extraordinarily easy to use, are consistent in offering high-quality customer support, and are hell-bent on reforming construction. They are more focused on the middle and smaller range of construction businesses, claiming that they’re best for companies between 5 and 299 contractors. For contract management, their document management system automatically creates a new folder for each project served. The system provides a full audit trail and differing permissions levels, so everyone involved in the project stay informed.
Pros: Intuitive for all users, easily track contracts with a Gantt layout, full-featured mobile app for iOS and Android, well priced. With over 100 reviews, reviewers tend to be happy with the overall product.
Cons: Isn’t a full ERP solution, meaning that it’s missing some features found on other options in this review (ex: accounting) nor does it offer the functionality to sync with third-party solutions.
Price: Starts at $50 per month and scales with project size and plan type.
If your construction business is on the smaller end, consider Goldenseal. The Mac- and Windows-compatible construction management software is locally-hosted, so you can be assured that all of your information is kept safely in house. The software’s database manages the existing status of your contracts and continually updates it. You can use Goldenseal to not only balance your contracts with your clients, but also with your subcontractors and heavy-machine rentals. The software is integrated with accounting and estimating features. While it’s not a complete construction ERP software, Goldenseal will definitely get the job done at a cheaper price point than any other solution on this list.
Pros: Reviewers rave about their satisfaction with the software, excellent software option for companies with a limited budget, provides full construction management functionality.
Cons: Website is off-putting and software startup can take a while.
Price: Fixed at $395.
INAXUS is targeted at civil and infrastructure construction, though it also focuses on oil and gas, manufacturing, and power generation. The construction ERP solution is well-known within Asia and the Middle East, and it’s working to get a foothold in Europe and the Americas. With that said, it’s earned its popularity in the Far East. This complete software offers flexible contract features, such as version control and document search. When I spoke with Andrea Lopez, the head of marketing, she stressed, “[Our contract management system] enables proactive tracking, avoids delays on project deliverables, and speeds up project tasks. [Our] workflows also have a proper escalation matrix and approvals for an efficient and effective project management throughout the project course.”
Pros: Offers consulting and personalized customer support and regularly conducts “surprise” audits, so you never need to worry about compliance issues.
Cons: With so many ways a company can use this product, INAXUS can quickly get too heavy and features go unused.
Price: Variable based on project.
To say that Jonas Premier is well-loved in the construction industry would be an understatement. These are just a sampling of reviews we’ve seen:
Every person I have had contact with has been warm and friendly, professional, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful.
Pros: Easy to use, great customer service, cost effective. Cons: None yet.
The system is easy to use. If we do have any problems, they are always very prompt in assisting us. They are always looking for ways to make things easier and will to take any suggestions we have and if viable, will implement them.
Beyond their reputation for going above and beyond in customer support, Jonas offers the functionality to live up to its reputation. Because Jonas is located on the cloud, it’s able to provide its users with unlimited storage space for their contracts. They also integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel, allowing users to create their own custom forms and push them directly into the program. They’re focused specifically on general contractors, so if your construction company needs a program with a greater scope, Jonas is definitely not for you.
Cons: Training delays when users can start using the product and some documents require manual sorting.
Price: $150 per user month
Commercial subcontractors need construction management software too, and that’s where Knowify steps in. The fully-functional software seems to have thought of everything to become one of the best contract management software for construction. Its contract functionality allows users to quickly submit and electronically sign change orders, while also managing all maintenance and accounting materials in one place. Knowify is great for subcontractors who want a no-nonsense approach to bidding, contract management, change orders, and project management.
Pros: Offered at a great price point, mobile timesheets, and free training.
Cons: If you don’t have Quickbooks, you won’t be able to take advantage of all of Knowify’s accounting features.
Price: $86 per user per month.
10. Pro DBX
Pro DBX is another well-loved software option in the construction industry. It’s primarily a construction CRM solution, but it also offers contract management functionality. Other reviewers have noted,
DBX is extremely comprehensive and continues to make my life easier on a daily basis. I work in the office, but the best thing is that our sales force is easily able to use the system out in the field and produce on-the-spot customer proposals that are immediately available to our customers – this makes obtaining new business much faster and easier for us.
Another user says,
Everything is in one spot that helps with communication, scheduling, job costing, job management and accounting. Our workers love the amount of information that is at their disposal to do their jobs and the management loves the amount of oversight that is integrated into the day to day operations.
Pro DBX is a great contract management software option for all-sized business. The software offers digidocs—a system that keeps all contracts and forms immediately available and searchable online. Pro DBX also allows users to track their materials with GPS, take inventory and cover purchase orders, manage payroll and timecards, and offers task management capabilities.
Pros: With an emphasis on CRM and reputation management, this system is great for construction companies looking to make the sale.
Cons: Doesn’t have as robust project management or change management features as other software options on this list.
Price: Starts at $19 per user per month
RENOMii has also done well on Capterra’s software review site. Users note,
The biggest pro is the ease of use for both me and my customers. Having everything organized in one central location is undeniably beneficial to everyone involved. Using this software leaves absolutely no room for misunderstanding between contractor and customer.
Communication with my home buyers during the construction of their homes has improved immensely through the use of RENOMii. It clarifies the process of work change orders for everyone and as a result reduces a huge amount of stress for both builder and homebuyer. The transparency and instant availability of information helps to promote a higher level of trust from the homebuyer that is invaluable to the process. On the several projects that I have used RENOMii, I have received unsolicited offers from home buyers to do testimonials for my company following the completion of their new home build. No other software product before has generated that type of response in my 31 years of homebuilding.
RENOMii is the perfect tool to manage all my projects. Clarity in the communication from e mails to change orders are handled with ease and with transparency that the client enjoys knowing what is not only ongoing but what is coming up in the next timeframe for the job.
As you can see, RENOMii is largely used by small and medium-sized homebuilders—though subcontractors can easily use this software to manage commercial contracts. Where RENOMii really shines is with change-order requests. The system tracks the status of the request and automatically adds all approved change orders to the running total contract cost, so they eliminate cost and time negotiations (doesn’t that make invoicing easy?). RENOMii also offers unlimited free cloud storage and outstanding user permission customizations. Its emphasis on clear communication does not go unnoticed by its users, who tend to cite communication improvement as RENOMii’s greatest ROI.
Pros: Excellent communication features, allows users to quickly address change-order requests, and keeps all areas of the business—from time cards to project management—in line.
Cons: Users need to create new projects for every contract and relationship which can quickly get clunky.
Price: $399CAD per year (or about $280USD) or $43CAD per month (or about $30USD).
Spitfire claims that when it’s fully integrated with Acumatica, you can create a project in just a few minutes through their platform. That means all you need to do is click to start a project, fill in the customer information, and then select a project team. The software is then capable of grabbing the estimate straight from QuickBooks and plugging all the information into both Spitfire and Acumatica, allowing you to finalize all the project details in the former and then check the accounting on the latter to make sure everything is square away.
Pros: Spitfire only has a few reviews right now, but so far they’ve received a unanimous five stars from users for the platform’s ease of use and the customer service. Spitfire offers templates that allow users to prepare bid solicitations in less time, and to attach all bid files into one bid package, simplifying the presentation.
Cons: So far, customers haven’t had anything negative to say about the product, with all three giving Spitfire full marks in all categories. If you don’t have Acumatica, however, the program may be limited in its usefulness, as the program relies on Acumatica to take care of the accounting side.
Pricing: Spitfire starts at $79 per month per user.
All of these construction management software options offer the best contract management software solutions there are for the industry. They vary on market and target audience, so take a close look at which options best fit your business.
Did I miss any standout construction management software with great contract management software functionality? Do you disagree with any of my picks? Have you had a good experience with them? Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.