You can subscribe to just about anything these days. Shaving supplies. Groceries. Even socks.
You can add construction management software to that list. In fact, most options listed in Capterra’s software directory use this subscription/licensing model of pricing. But is it the right option for your construction business?
Before making the decision to subscribe to construction software, we’ve laid out a few things you should know so you can make an informed purchase. We also highlight some construction management software that we chose from among our most popular options that represent the various payment options out there.
1. The benefits of construction software licensing
There are tremendous benefits to licensing software. One of the biggest is that it makes it possible to purchase expensive software by limiting the upfront cost. Instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars all at once, for example, you can pay a monthly fee in the hundreds.
That certainly makes it a lot less painful to your bottom line, at least at the outset. And for companies that are driven by operating expenses, a subscription to software makes it easier to absorb the cost of that software into their monthly expenses.
Another key benefit is that by having an ongoing relationship with the software creator through licensing, there’s more incentive for them to keep you, their customer, happy.
What this looks like in the software market: Aproplan offers a good range of options for those who don’t want to pay a large upfront fee: a free version of their software for small projects, and after that, plans that range from $36 to $61 per month, billed annually. If you need even more from the software, you can set up a consultation to talk about options.
Aproplan’s licensing options
2. The drawbacks to licensing software
Over the life of a construction software licensing deal, it will almost certainly cost far more than buying the software outright.
Also, as needs change over the long term, you may need to add software features to your license which could inflate costs.
Licensing deals often incentivize you to lock yourself in to a long-term deal. Avoid this if you can. And read the fine print: many software companies have found ways to hike the price of software over the course of a licensing deal.
What this looks like in the software market: PrioSoft allows you to purchase their software upfront, therefore avoiding a long-term financing situation.
Priosoft’s Contractor’s Office can be purchased upfront
3. Free software doesn’t require licensing
Purchasing software outright is not an option that companies offer very often these days. So, if you want to avoid construction software licensing altogether, free software is a great option.
There are plenty of free and open construction software options available for construction managers, and in the case of open source software, you will enjoy the added benefit of being able to adapt the code to suit your business.
The downside is that free software is often inadequate for larger businesses, or sometimes even small ones. Free software tends to be limited in terms of features, or it only supports a few users. But if you can get by on the most basic features—such as cost estimating templates and inventory sheets, for example—this is an excellent option to avoid being locked into a licensing deal.
What this looks like in the software market: 2-Plan Team is open source, web-based project management software that offers project time tracking, virtual team management, and other features fundamental to any construction project—all without having to license it.
2-Plan Team is free and open source software
4. You can negotiate your own licensing terms with the vendor
The reality is that paid software that you can purchase outright is almost unheard of in the construction management software industry, based on my analysis of the market. Software companies like the licensing model because it allows them to prevent piracy and it provides a continuous revenue stream.
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a standard month-to-month or annual licensing deal. This is where consultations and live demos may work to your advantage.
Many software companies, particularly larger companies, don’t list software prices at all, preferring instead to require a consultation so they can feel out your specific needs.
When it comes to software sales, everything is negotiable. Set up a consultation and use that opportunity to express to the salesperson your concerns about going with a construction software licensing plan. Any salesperson worth their salt will bend over backwards to get you a licensing plan you’re comfortable with.
What this looks like in the software market: Procore has a simple and straightforward form on their website that you can fill out to schedule a demo. Procore promises that this will enable you to “understand the full power” of the software. Aconex also has an easily accessible form to request a demo, asking for additional details that can help inform how to best approach your situation.
Aconex’s demo form
Ready to choose construction management software?
Start with our construction management software pricing guide to compare options.
You can also use our software directory to compare options side by side, filter your search by feature, and see what Capterra reviewers who have used the software have to say about it.
If you’ve gotten a licensing deal that really worked for your company, let us know in the comments below, and be sure to include some tips on how to negotiate a good deal.
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.