Nowadays it’s impossible to be a contractor and handle all the specifics of the job without the proper contractor software to back you up. From accounting to scheduling and project management, contractor software solutions offer a variety of functionalities that make the job of every contractor so much easier.
But which are the most important features that a construction management software solution should offer? Below we’ve rounded up a list of seven features that are useful to every contractor looking to better manage their business.
The Most Popular and Important Contractor Software Features
Contractors usually make use of contractor software for one or more of the following purposes: customer relationship management (CRM), accounting and financials, scheduling, team management, project management, material management, document management, tools & equipment tracker, reports, bidding, and surety bonding.
So what do software solutions out there offer to help contractors take care of the above aspects of the job?
1. Customer Relationship Management
CRM features in contractor software allow contractors to enter their clients’ contact information or import it from elsewhere, and attach important documents related to a particular client.
Some CRM solutions also allow contractors to automate scheduling and sending reminders to clients. Some offer client search and history options, allowing contractors to easily track each client’s progress and communication. CRM systems and features are among the most popular with contractors and can create a significant difference in their operations.
2. Accounting and Financials
Accounting features are indispensable, especially if you’re taking care of accounting all by yourself. Typically these include budgeting, payroll, invoicing, billing, and cash flow options. They help contractors make informed decisions, sometimes straight from the field, such as when they need to plan expenses and make financial forecasts on the spot.
Other great aspects of such features are their ePayments and payment tracking functionalities or even, in some cases, entering and tracking change orders.
As simple as scheduling features may be, they remain very helpful for contractors who need to organize their days most efficiently and keep track of their team’s activities. Scheduling features allow contractors to also assign tasks to their team members, track task progress and assign different levels or priority to each task.
4. Team Management
Team management features overlap with scheduling options. However, when you look at specific team management options, the best offers focused management of team activities, progress, status, and time tracking. They also allow for more coordinated teamwork and keeping teams notified of changes to a job.
Certain contractor software solutions also offer GPS tracking of the team, allowing you to know at all times where your team members are located.
5. Project Management and Document Management
Some contractors prefer a separate project management functionality, allowing them to adopt a bird’s eye view of their projects, yet also to zoom in and keep track of even the minutest details.
Some of the above features may also be included here but on a project basis — i.e. the financials of a project, the scheduled tasks and a client’s information. But this functionality often includes types of information such as RFIs as well as purchase orders, project phase tracking, subcontractor tracking, permits, proposals and management of all other project-related documents.
6. Material Management and Equipment Tracking
Material management tracking features often come hand-in-hand with tool and equipment tracking options. These features allow you to monitor and control what happens to materials that your suppliers deliver, as well as review quotes you’ve received and money you’ve paid for materials.
And thanks to equipment tracking you know what happens to your own equipment — where it’s being used and by whom, as well as whether its warranty is about to run out or maybe if it needs to be repaired.
7. Surety Bonding
Without being licensed and bonded, no contractor can perform work legally.
Unfortunately, getting a bond can at times be a slow process, with approvals taking forever from paper-based bond applications.
While sending one’s bond renewal form has not yet been integrated into any of the major contractor software solutions, certain surety bond agencies have already made the step and have begun offering bond applications or renewals online, through their own software solutions. Some of these offer the possibility to access one’s bond and print it within 30 minutes of applying, which is a great relief to those contractors who are on a tight schedule and might have left their bond renewal for the very last minute.
Furthermore, these solutions also have renewal reminders that are sent ahead of time to notify the contractor of the upcoming renewal deadline for their bond. They also include information about a contractor’s surety bond.
Want to Add to the List?
Are there any other must-have construction management software features that you think should make this list? Which ones do you make most use of? Which software are you using? Leave us a comment, we’d like to hear your feedback!
Looking for Construction Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Construction Management software solutions.