Why pay for the maintenance cow when you can get the maintenance milk for free (assuming you know how to install and manage it)?
It’s an age old question.
While there is a huge selection of maintenance and CMMS software products on the market, only a handful are free or open source. Free versions of CMMS software often come with limitations, but these are usually not major hurdles for smaller businesses. True open source options can be scaled to fit any business.
Here are a few options for businesses looking to get a CMMS up and running without spending a fortune.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of community supported, open source CMMS software developers.” – Isaac Newton (probably)
A screenshot of CalemEAM
CalemEAM is an open source CMMS program that is, primarily, aimed at enterprise-level businesses. However, the company recognizes its roots in the open source community and offers an aptly named Community Edition for free. The Community Edition has some limitations and lacks access to the most powerful features offered by the Calem Enterprise edition, but it’s a great fit for a smaller business.
The Community Edition is missing things such as email service request submissions, alerts for SLA violations, and multisite functions. Another key difference is that all members who download the community edition will have the same access, so if you’re looking to restrict what some users can do, you’re out of luck.
Like everything else that’s free, you’re not getting any sort of built–in support with the Community edition beyond what you can find on the internet.
That said, there’s a lot on the Calem site, including a deep wiki site that should offer an answer to any question you come up with.
2. Comma CMMS
In the days before Númenor sank beneath the waves, leaving nothing but a placid stretch of clear, blue water where once a kingdom stood, there was an open source CMMS called maintenancedb. Actually, there still is a CMMS called maintenancedb, but it’s been used as a stepping stone to launch the much more polished CMMS, Comma.
A screenshot of Comma CMMS
Unlike its ancestors, Comma isn’t open source, but it does offer a powerful free version. The only stipulation is that you sign up for the company’s email list, which they promise is “a low-volume mailing list with no more than one newsletter a month.”
For your trouble, you get a single-user account that can manage one location. In that location, you can manage an unlimited number of assets and work orders. As with most free options, support for this version is community based, but that’s usually enough to get a small business through any small problems.
The free version lasts as long as you remain a mailing list subscriber. If you need access to more users or locations, you’ll have to upgrade to the PRO version, which runs $10 per user per month.
On the non-open source side you can still find free options, like the one brought to you by Fiix. Fiix offers users a free version, which caters to single user businesses with a limited set of items to manage–no more than 20, to be specific.
A screenshot of Fiix
You’ll also be limited to ten scheduled preventative maintenance tasks per month, 500 inventory items, and 25 work orders per month. With those in mind, you can still generate asset tags, integrate asset tracking with Google Maps, and use the company’s free mobile apps to interact with the CMMS.
As the CMMS is cloud-based, you’ll also get 250 MB of storage on the Fiix servers, which should be fine to manage the 20 assets you’ll be working with. There are more limitations here than in openMAINT, for instance, but there’s a polish on the software that others don’t quite have
openMAINT is like a five dollar bill on the restaurant bathroom floor – free to anyone who wants it. Completely free and open source, openMAINT is a flexible maintenance system built on the back of an IT focused open source ERP called CMDBuild.
A screenshot of openMAINT
openMAINT provides all the core functionality you’d expect from a maintenance system. You can track all your assets, schedule maintenance, take in work orders, and divvy up tasks to your employees. All of those features are tied together using a series of workflows, which are also flexible. If your team sends requests through three different points before they reach their final destination, you can make openMAINT follow that path.
openMAINT is the most open option listed here, as it has no limitations on use whatsoever. If you’ve got some interested programmers on your team, openMAINT can be the launching pad for almost any system you want. Even if you don’t have the techs around, you can still turn this one into almost any shape.
I guess there are a lot of ways in which openMAINT is unlike a five dollar bill on the bathroom floor. Who knew?
5. CWorks Basic
CWorks makes a stripped-down version that’s good for one user. You won’t get the same range of features you would from the paid version, but you can’t beat the price (or lack thereof). CWorks’ speciality is preventive maintenance, so if reducing downtime is on your priority list, this could be a good one to consider.
There are two caveats: the free version’s only good for one user, and it is open source, so you’ll need to be able to code (or find someone who can) if you go with this option.
A screenshot of CWorks CMMS
gnuMims is another no-frills free CMMS software option. It offers asset management, workload management, inventory management, and basic reporting. The user interface is pretty intuitive:
That makes sense, though, when you consider that primary designer Gavin Kromhaut helped to design several other CMMS’s before he designed gnuMims.
If you can code and only want a few functionalities, Norfello’s another good bet. The program hasn’t been updated in a few years, but it still might be worth a try, given its founder. Tuomas Rusila, original architect, has since founded vainu.io, a successful B2B sales tool (coming to America soon). One of the big benefits here? Norfello comes in Finnish, too. If you speak Finnish.
UpKeep is free, but only for up to 25 work orders/jobs. This is a big limitation, but UpKeep’s features make it nonetheless worthwhile. There’s still training in the form of website tutorials, and tech support via email. I might worry over email tech support with another company, but the folks at UpKeep have the prompt courtesy of those kids in “The Sound of Music,” without the psychological damage. Not only that, but you can access 16 premium features in the free version, from video uploading to exporting capabilities. Impressive.
A screenshot of Upkeep
9. Apache OfBiz
Apache OfBiz wasn’t specifically designed as a CMMS, but it can handle basic maintenance management. It’s designed to be scalable, which might come in handy if you’re on the larger side of the small and midize business demographic, and looking to grow further. If that’s what you’ve got in mind, then other OfBiz features, such as accounting and warehouse management, also might come in handy.
10. Maintenance Care
The word “care” is part of so many great things: care packages, tender loving care (TLC), the Care Bears. So, it makes sense that it would be included in a free CMMS solution such as Maintenance Care.
For a grand total of $0, you’ll get all the basic features you’ll need to get started, from online work order requests to basic reporting that will tell you just how good you are at responding to those orders. Like a lot of free options, there’s no customer support, and Maintenance Care’s free option is only good for one user and one facility.
Still, if you’re a solo act, or looking to test the waters, Maintenance Care is a great place to start. It’s sort of the Care Bear Stare of free CMMS software.
11. MP Software CMMS
MP Software also offers a free version of their CMMS program. Like a lot of other free programs on this list, it’s limited to a single user, but that’s 1) great for a single person doing maintenance, or 2) a great way to see how a CMMS can improve your maintenance plan.
One important restriction to keep in mind: The free plan is limited to the computer you use to sign up for the plan. You’ll have to buy a license if you want to access the software from other machines. Again, this is all a matter of how many people you have. If you’ve got a single user and a single computer, that might be all you need.
Even when you’re choosing a free CMMS option, you have to keep in mind the time and resource costs that go along with implementation. Employee training time isn’t free, and if you’re not happy with your choice, you’ve got to start all over.
On the other hand, the beauty of a free system is the ability to try it out in a small space without losing too much time and money.
If none of these options seems to fit the bill, check out Capterra’s full listing of CMMS software.
Looking for CMMS software? Check out Capterra's list of the best CMMS software solutions.