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by Forrest Burnson,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: July 24, 2015


Here's what we'll cover:

What Is General Contractor Software?
Common Features of General Contractor Software
Evaluating General Contractor Systems

What Is General Contractor Software?

Software for general contractors is designed to meet the demands of their unique workflow and business processes. General contractors have many roles and often oversee all phases of a building project from pre-construction to ongoing maintenance and repairs after completion. They need a system to support them through the entire contracting process and at the same time help manage their business.

We’ve written this guide to help you navigate the vendor landscape and find the best contractor software. We identify the most common features among applications in this market, as well as other considerations buyers should make during the evaluation process.  

Common Features of General Contractor Software

Contractors need most of the standard features that come with construction management software, but as you’re looking there are a few features for general contractors to consider:

Job costing & invoicing A critical feature of a contractor programs is job costing data to improve estimating and billing efficiency and accuracy. Generic contractor accounting software systems won’t have anywhere near the same level of functionality, since they’re not usually designed to manage multiple expense streams tied to a single (large) revenue source on a project-by-project basis.
Link to vendors & subcontractors A robust construction accounting and ordering program will link directly into vendor and/or subcontractor purchasing and pricing information, which makes it easier to order supplies and schedule subcontractors.
Advanced project management & scheduling Critical path method is a project management algorithm that’s specifically designed to solve the kinds of scheduling challenges faced by a general contractor: performing hundreds of different tasks that each depend on another’s (but not every other’s) completion. A good construction contracting program will incorporate this type of algorithm (though it may not necessarily be called that) to maximize project efficiency and ensure on-time delivery.

Evaluating General Contractor Systems

When choosing general contracting software, it's important to narrow down your needs. Many organizations need contractor business software as a stand-alone project management system to track key documents. Others will need integrated construction project scheduling, accounting and job costing or bid management.

There are dozens of top-rated software for contractors, and each varies tremendously in price, features and target company size. When selecting your system, ask the following questions:

  • What features are you looking for? A fully integrated suite is a very different product than a best-of-breed estimating and takeoff system.
  • What size is your company? Since most construction programs are geared toward companies of a very specific size-range, this should be one of the first questions to ask before delving too deep into the features.
  • Does the system integrate with your existing accounting, CRM, ordering, estimating or other systems?

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