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by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: December 7, 2016


Sitting at the top of the mountain, general contractors have the difficult responsibility of continuously monitoring a ton of moving parts. Every task at every job site, every subcontractor and all their proposals, all of it funnels through the general contractor in some capacity or another. Talk about a headache.

To try and manage all this without the help of software would be an irresponsible decision to say the least. Irresponsible because there’s a plethora of affordable and easy-to-use software options available for contractors to adopt and implement in their business.

We have over 50 general contractor construction software platforms on our site. You can read the profiles for these contractor systems and check out user reviews to get a feel for which systems seems like a good fit for your business. It’s important to realize that all these products offer a wide and differing set of capabilities. They also range in price from affordable, scaled down options up to six figure enterprise systems.

To help you understand exactly what you’re getting into, we’ve put together an in-depth general contractor software buyer’s guide. Use this to get a handle on this unique software market and come back to it when making your final selection. Hopefully our insights will make the selection process easier for you, enabling you to choose the best platform for you business.

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.

With all these roles and processes, most general contractors will typically go for formal construction management software. These systems provide features for managing nearly every single aspect of the contractor job. At the highest level, some of the main capabilities you’ll find across most all general contractor software systems include:

  • Task scheduler: Generate an overarching schedule for when primary tasks need to be finished. Track hours worked for payroll and balance time on site for various subs.
  • Task management: Keep an eye on everything taking place on the build. Pinpoint any tasks that might hinder completing the job within the proposed finish date.
  • Customer relationship management: Gather and record customer data to be easily looked up for future reference or analyzed for insights. Automate customer outreach.
  • On-site management: Monitor the progress of projects and track individual employee/sub time on the clock and performance. Track use of tools and equipment.

You can see how all these beneficial features could entice most general contractors to opt for a full construction management software suite. More often than not, these systems will be more effective than other options. It is worth considering these other options though. Full software suites aren’t the only choice general contractors have.

Screenshot of Procore user interface dashboard

Screenshot of Procore user interface dashboard

There are plenty of general contractor software offerings that are focused on a specialized application or role within the greater contracting/constructions space. These niche software options are referred to as “best-of-breed” or “standalone software.” They can be a great fit for contractors that only need software to take care of one or two specific capabilities.

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 and invoicing A critical feature of a contractor program 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 and 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 and 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.
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  • Where are your pain points as a company? If you can identify inefficiencies across your operation, you can be sure that your new software system is able to fully remedy or at least address these issues.
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  • 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.
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  • What size will your company be in a couple years? In other words, do you plan on scaling your business? If so, you’ll need a software system that can work for you now and also grow with your business.
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  • Does the system integrate with any of your existing accounting, CRM, ordering, estimating or other systems?

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