Last year, a group of construction leaders came together to discuss what problems were plaguing the construction industry.
There were four topics that dominated the conversation.
Firstly there was risk mitigation. As safety requirements get stricter and homeowners become more particular with their renovations, remodeling firms are struggling to keep pace and keep their workers safe.
Secondly, the panel addressed the war for talent. The industry, as a whole, has not done a good job in attracting young people (though I should mention that there are a number of steps the industry should take to attract Millennial construction workers). With Baby Boomers exiting the market quickly, the industry is not anywhere close to replacing them.
Next, the remodeling industry is facing a skilled labor shortage. Skilled laborers are in high demand. As one of the panelists noted, there may be a whole new set of immigrants who are going to provide skilled labor going forward.
Finally, construction firms are struggling with the quickly-evolving pace of technology. There have been tremendous advances in technology within the industry over the past several years. Even smaller firms have to offer Building Information Modeling just to stay above water. The emergence of the tablet has been a complete game changer. And many construction managers are struggling to find the “right” construction management software.
Those are a lot of barriers to overcome for any construction manager, let alone the entirety of the construction industry. Luckily construction-specific software can help mitigate all of these problems. Unfortunately, there are so many construction management software options that too many firms forgo it all together—a mistake that could cost thousands of dollars.
With that said, these are five of the top software options for residential construction firms.
BuilderTrend excels at helping contractors and sub-contractors in the home-building and remodeling business with its all-inclusive cloud-based software. From project scheduling to photo management to lead management to bid management, BuilderTrend is flexible enough to scale up to even the largest remodelers. At $99 a month this software is certainly an investment, but BuilderTrend is a cream-of-the-crop solution that doesn’t fail to impress every year. For those who want their software to do all the heavy lifting, BuilderTrend is one of the best options available.
Price: $99/month with additional fees based on project size
Co-Construct is also a cloud-based software solution and BuilderTrend’s direct competitor. It offers secure portals for your clientele, subcontractors, and employees so that everyone can be safely plugged in from anywhere with Internet access. Users point out that Co-Construct has a history of solving tough construction business problems, most notably with communication issues between all the players in a project. Co-Construct has also won numerous awards and continues to gain traction in the construction management software field.
Price: $99/month with additional fees depending on the number of projects
Goldenseal is a locally-hosted system that stands out in four areas: accounting, cost estimating, project management, and business management. It’s great for small to medium-sized firms who want to build up competitive bids against a dynamic cost-estimating algorithm. Goldenseal is flexible enough to offer room-by-room estimates, but with that kind of flexibility comes a great learning curve. Finally, while the software solution is compatible with QuickBooks, Goldenseal does not integrate with CAD software.
Price: The basic version starts at $395.
XactRemodel is, first and foremost, a dedicated remodeling cost-estimating software. It has the capability to render 3D versions of rooms so that the contractor can show the client exactly what the remodel will look like and what each new feature will cost—including HVAC, plumbing, insulation, and electrical. For an extra $25 per month, contractors can also tack on XactWare’s project management and scheduling features (a worthwhile investment for a more complex project). XactRemodel is compatible with many third-party applications, including AutoCAD, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Project.
Price: $209 for three months but prices can vary.
If you’re comfortable with Microsoft products, consider HomeDev Pro. Running mostly off Excel data entry, this cloud-based service provides a holistic solution for remodelers. Their product includes workflow management, bid requests, scheduling, job costing, and document management. HomeDev Pro integrates with QuickBooks and is compatible with most devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, and Windows.
Price: This information is not currently available.
Naturally, when selecting the “right” construction management software, you have to look for solutions that fit your firm. For example, if you’re using your software to help with estimates, make sure that your software offers to break down purchases into line items instead of melding everything together into a lump sum.
But no matter what, construction management software can help businesses with all of the big problems facing construction today.
Firstly, construction management software is specifically designed to lower the chance of injury on the job. From planning to implementation, construction management software can help locate potential sources of injury and cut these problems off at the root.
Secondly, Millennials are attracted to technology. They want to feel special and desired. What better way to recruit young people than to offer them chances to learn a new skill—your construction management software, for example. Regularly using construction management software will make your company more desirable to young talent.
And finally, using any one of the above five options will also give you an edge over companies still using pen and paper (or even just Excel). All of these options are dynamic and evolving with the industry—as long as your firm keeps the software updated, you will be able to keep up with the quickening pace of technology for a long time.
Are there other must-have residential construction software products for residential construction firms? What do you recommend? Leave your answers and comments below!
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.