Construction Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: May 27, 2022
The success of your construction project depends largely on how efficiently you are able to utilize your time and resources. A construction software helps align all the tools and resources utilized in construction, making it easier for you to improve your team’s productivity and efficiency while completing projects on time.
When looking for a construction management solution that will let you keep a birds-eye-view of all your projects, you need to know what features to consider so you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Read through this guide to get started. This guide presents a basic framework for selecting and evaluating the right construction management software. It will also walk you through the key aspects that you should look for when narrowing down the potential construction software companies. Overall, the guide is structured to ensure that you choose the best construction software for your unique business requirements.
What you'll find inside:
- Understanding construction software
- Benefits of construction software
- Tips on how to identify your needs
- Common features of a construction software
- Specific features to look for
- Cloud-based vs onsite
- Assessing the expenses
- Customer support & training services
- Drawbacks you should watch out for
- Popular construction software
Understanding Construction Software
Construction software programs are tools designed by professionals to automate construction management processes. These technology-driven products are used to simplify day-to-day tasks to improve the delivery of projects. Having access to an all-inclusive software for construction enables you to keep track of your projects of all sizes and scopes. Firms can easily automate complex processes, such as accounting, takeoff, project management, estimating, and integrate different stages of the project life cycle. These robust tools can help companies modernize, operate more efficiently, and grow their business.
Benefits of Construction Software
Some key benefits of implementing construction program software include, but are not limited to:
- Increased productivity & efficiency
- Lower IT costs
- Improved forecasting
- Visibility into project life stages
- Predictive analytics
- Reduced risk of litigation
- Safer jobsites
- Reduced rework
- Better recruiting
- Reduced internal training staff
- Faster project delivery
- Leaner staff
- Talent retention
Goal Setting: Areas You Want to Improve
Before you look out for potential software for construction companies, you need to evaluate your current processes to pinpoint areas that you intend to improve with construction software. It is vital that you set effective goals as you embark on the construction software implementation process.
Define Your Current Problems Before Seeking a Solution
Successful software selection requires you to identify deficiencies in the current setting and pain points that need to be resolved. Figure out what is not working and what needs to be improved. This will help you target the problem areas in order to select the best software for construction.
Vendor Shopping: Common Features
Now that you have identified your pain points, it’s time to start looking for a vendor that best aligns with your unique business needs. Stick to your selection criteria by narrowing your search to most relevant vendors. Don’t waste time considering construct software vendors that were not made to align with your particular business type. Seek out recommendations from peers before you start googling. Go with referrals first then make your way through software review websites. Once you have shortlisted some potential vendors, create a list and start digging deeper.
Construction software comes with a variety of different features, depending on the type of your construction business and the capabilities you need from the shortlisted vendor.
The top construction software can handle scheduling, accounting, document management, staff tracking for general contracting firms. Some builders may also require specialized features like blueprinting, tool estimation, order changing, equipment procurement, bidding, and dispatching features.
Most construction software programs offer these key features:
- Blueprinting, file imports, and drawing
- Complete project scheduling
- Forecasting, budgeting, and estimation
- Staff management, timecards, and attendance tracking
- Bid proposals and management
- Takeoff and team coordination
- Dispatching and purchase orders
- Bookkeeping and financial report generation
- Supplier and contractor databases
The Construction Software Features You Should Look For
Your construction needs depend entirely on the size of your business. Startups won’t require the same range of advanced features as large businesses would to optimize their processes.
Project management: A software for small construction businesses can offer cloud-based project management tools to help them make their processes more efficient.
Estimating: Startups or small businesses need tools to create professional-looking bids based on their takeoff. They can use free estimating tools to win more jobs without breaking the bank.
Accounting and job-costing: Midsize construction businesses need tools to manage core financials and track job costs across projects.
Program management: Enterprise level businesses need advanced functionalities to manage a portfolio of projects, optimize profitability, and track costs across job sites.
Customer relationship management: They need a robust set of tools to communicate with current and prospective customers all through the customer life cycle.
Takeoff: Takeoff helps users extract estimates from digital blueprints and drawings to determine accurate labor costs and material quantities. The best construction management software allows you to perform takeoff digitally so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of managing paper records.
Estimating: The top construction estimating software helps users calculate material and labor costs for construction projects based on the current pricing data. This feature also allows contractors to generate itemized proposals from the estimates.
Project scheduling: After you have won the job, the construction scheduling software helps you track who is working where, the start and end dates of a project, and the time when project equipment and materials need to be sent to a job site.
Project management: A construction management system works to help builders track costs compared to budgets, manage project schedules, collaborate with other users, and store important documentation.
Bid management: Bidding in construction closely related to the project scheduling and estimating processes. A construction bid management software or a general constructor estimating software helps users coordinate the procurement of bids from supplier and subcontractors during the proposal generation and estimating process.
Accounting: Construction accounting software features enable you to maintain fixed assets and depreciation schedules for equipment, manage subcontractor payroll, track timesheets, and facilitate job costing.
Cloud-based vs Onsite Construction Software
There are two main types of construction software programs that are available to users – cloud-based and onsite systems. When selecting a software for your construction company, one of the most critical factors in your decision will be choosing the right deployment method for your business. Deciding which one is the right choice for your business depends on you. Here, we will give you an overview of each software environment to make the selection process easier.
Cloud-based construction project management software is hosted on the vendor's server and can be instantly accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. It supports real-time collaboration, instant updates, and mobility. The portable and convenient option makes data available to you 24//7, giving more flexible and faster access to resources.
Most cloud-based construction ERP software providers charge their clients on a monthly basis and handle all upgrades and maintenance pertaining to the system as part of this fee.
While the ease of accessibility makes cloud-based solutions the most popular choice for small construction businesses, onsite software gives companies more autonomy over their projects.
Onsite construction management software programs are installed onto your company’s personal computers and server, meaning that you will require an in-house IT team to manage it. These options come with hefty upfront fees, but are easier to maintain in the long run. They are mostly preferred by large construction firms to ensure advanced data security.
Subtypes of Construction Management Software
There are three subtypes of these software programs:
- Issue tracking management software allows users to prevent bottlenecks and resolve issues related to their construction projects.
- Project portfolio management software helps users with efficient handling of project scheduling requirements of construction jobs.
- Integrated construction estimated software programs offer tools like customer relations, finance & business management, payroll, accounting, and project billing.
Assessing the Expenses
The costs of purchasing construction software varies according to the following factors:
- Number of users supported
- Contract terms
- Implementation processes
- Customer support
The pricing for most cloud-based construction project management software starts from $99 per month. Some vendors offer an unlimited number of proposals, leads, and users, without charging setup fees or requiring contracts.
Other constructions ERP software offer custom pricing based on the feature set your company needs. Large construction businesses pay around $1,000 a month for a system with more advanced features.
Construction Software Support & Training Services
Customer support and training can make or break your software implementation. Before you start shortlisting potential software for construction company, consider the type of support your end users will require over the life of the product. Figure out whether they would prefer support services over chat or phone. Ask construction management software vendors about the support and training they offer, and get them to specify the cost for it. An accurate description of requirements and expectations from both your team members and the vendor will help ensure successful software implementation.
Drawbacks You Should Watch Out For
Listed below are some common sources of dissatisfaction we've seen among current construction project management software users:
- Poor integration
- Limited or lacking accounting functionality
- High cost
- Limited custom report options
The Top Construction Management Software
The following integrated construction software systems have positioned themselves as market leaders:
- CoConstruct Software
- Procore Software
- Stack Software
- Acumatica Cloud ERP Software
Choosing What's Best for Your Company
Choosing the most appropriate construction software for your business can take time, but it's worth it to deal with this process before rolling it out to your construction team. Construction software programs can offer a great deal of help when it comes to keeping things under control and accomplishing tasks efficiently. The best construction software can offer enough functionality to improve your firm’s operational efficiency and save you time and resources as well. When deciding which software to go with, it's pivotal that you consider what kind of construction business you run, how many people are in the organization, and how you want to move things forward. The construction ERP software market is full of excellent options that fit every budget.