Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice helps small businesses select the right subcontractor software to prepare project proposals, schedule tasks and manage documents.

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BuilderTREND

Buildertrend is a construction management system for home builders, remodelers, specialty contractors, and general contractors. This solution combines project scheduling, project management, financial management, customer manageme... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 178 recommendations

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Houzz Pro

Houzz Pro is a lead and project management solution designed for businesses in the home remodeling and design industries. Houzz Pro is able to streamline processes for businesses of all size by centralizing all business needs into... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 118 recommendations

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JobNimbus

JobNimbus is a CRM and project management solution suitable for home service companies. Manage your contacts, tasks, and projects from start to finish along with detailed reporting capabilities. With JobNimbus, businesses can... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 78 recommendations

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ConstructionOnline

UDA Technologies’ ConstructionOnline offers a web-based, integrated approach to project management, project scheduling, and customer management. Designed for emerging construction businesses in the homebuilding and remodeling indu... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 78 recommendations

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Esticom

Esticom is a cloud-based construction takeoff and estimating platform that helps contractors manage construction projects with real-time access to labor, pricing, plans and material database. Primarily catering to trades such as e... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 71 recommendations

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PlanSwift

PlanSwift is an on-screen digitizing and takeoff system that is suitable for both commercial and residential GCs and subcontractors in a number of industries, such as electrical, heavy/highway, plumbing, and custom and production ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 70 recommendations

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Contractor Foreman

Contractor Foreman is an integrated cloud-based project management and estimation solution that caters to businesses in the construction industry. Key features include financials and accounting, scheduling and planning, contact ma... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 54 recommendations

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STACK

STACK Estimating is a cloud-based on-screen takeoff and estimating tool for professional contractors of all business sizes and all trades. STACK users can quickly and easily upload digital plans and complete takeoffs using the sof... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 43 recommendations

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RedTeam

RedTeam is a project management, construction financials and document control solution suited for midsize commercial general contractors. It is a cloud-based application developed by contractors to manage pre-construction, constru... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 36 recommendations

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McCormick Electrical Estimating

McCormick Systems offers a comprehensive Windows-based electrical contracting estimating software for commercial, industrial and residential contractors. McCormick offers four levels of estimating programs - WIN 1000, WIN 3000, WI... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 32 recommendations

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RSMeans Data Online

RSMeans Data Online is cloud-based access to a comprehensive database of construction costs in North America. The application details costs for materials, equipment, labor and productivity at the unit, assembly and square foot lev... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 31 recommendations

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BuildTools

BuildTools is a cloud-based construction project management software for custom home builders and remodelers. The solution helps users organize the chaos of building projects, providing one spot for scheduling, budgeting, purchasi... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 28 recommendations

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WinEst

WinEst is an on-premise database-driven estimating solution that helps estimators in businesses across various industries to manage and integrate project estimates using cost-knowledge management. Key features include construction... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 28 recommendations

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PASKR

PASKR is a cloud-based construction management solution built for construction teams that enables users to estimate, build, and track projects. PASKR streamlines back office and field operations. Users are able to access proj... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 27 recommendations

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Accubid Anywhere

For electrical, industrial mechanical, and ICT contractors who need a flexible estimating tool to quickly and accurately create estimates, Trimble’s Accubid Estimating is a full-featured estimating solution. Available in multiple ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

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Acumatica Cloud ERP

Acumatica Construction Edition is true cloud construction and accounting software that provides office and field teams real-time data including job costing, change orders, project management, dashboards and more. With field and of... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 20 recommendations

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FOUNDATION

FOUNDATION is a job cost accounting, project management and scheduling solution available as traditional installed software or on the cloud. Plus, fully integrated apps like FOUNDATION mobile and Service Dispatch mobile sync remot... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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TurboBid Estimating

TurboBid is an on-premise estimating software solution for small and midsize contractors designed to help them complete project estimations, regardless of the type of work, whether it's new residential, light commercial, remodelin... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

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CMiC

For over 30 years, CMiC has delivered state-of-the-art software solutions, purpose-built for the construction industry. Since its inception, CMiC has maintained a laser focus on automating essential back-office functions – such as... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 16 recommendations

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Electrical Bid Manager

Electrical Bid Manager Enterprise is the offering of Vision InfoSoft that serves the bid management needs of commercial and residential electrical contractors. The software provides features such as conversion calculators, on-scre... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: June 17, 2021

Subcontractors that stand above their competition and routinely manage to secure lucrative contracts have the following things in common:

  • Reputation for on-time delivery of services/goods and high quality of work.
  • Knack for producing detailed job quotes, which includes project schedules, staff capabilities, task timelines and cost estimation reports.
  • Impeccable record-keeping with up-to-date compliance certificates, financial statements and licenses.

It's a challenge to realize all of these traits, so many businesses use subcontractor software to manage the relevant processes. This type of software comes with specialized features to help subcontractors automate project planning, task tracking, cost reporting and document management.

Subcontractors relying on manual methods alone, such as Excel, will invariably create inaccurate project schedules and cost estimates. This will result in project delays and budget overruns, which will tarnish their reputation and hinder their chances of securing future contracts.

We created this Buyer's Guide to help small businesses understand the software market landscape and select a solution that meets their requirements. It lists the common features, key considerations and chief concerns of subcontractor software buyers. It is intended to help both first-time buyers and those looking to switch their existing software.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Subcontractor Software?
Common Features of Subcontractor Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations

What Is Subcontractor Software?

Subcontractor software is designed for contractors that offer specialized services such as plumbing, electrical work and roofing.

It helps you create proposals with cost estimates (materials and labor costs) when your business is bidding for a contract. After you win the contract, it helps you track the daily tasks of your employees to ensure that the project is progressing as expected and is on schedule.

eSUB project summary dashboard

Tracking projects in eSUB (Source)

Subcontractor software helps you manage both pre- and post-contract activities. We'll look into the details of the features offered in the next section.

 

Common Features of Subcontractor Software

Subcontractor software is a specialized type of software that falls into the larger ecosystem of construction management software. These tools help you with task scheduling, equipment tracking, document management and cost estimating.

Let's take a closer look at the common features of these solutions:

Document management Build a central repository to track different versions of documents such as construction plans, RFIs, change orders, submittals and compliance certificates.
Project tracking Assign and track the people, resources and equipment involved in a project.
Project scheduling Track a job's progress and ensure that the project stays on track, with regard to the budget and timeline.
Equipment tracking Track which employees have signed out specific equipment. Also, keep a detailed account of the equipment maintenance history.
Proposal generator Review your cost estimates and create an accurate and professional-looking bid proposal.
Job costing reports Track actual project costs compared with the initial estimates, create and send purchase orders, execute change orders, schedule and track payments/invoices as well as submit and approve time sheets.
API integration Integrate third-party tools and API extensions such as accounting software and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Subcontractor software has different capabilities, from managing project proposals to tracking on-site crew activities. However, having the most features doesn't necessarily make a tool the best one—for your business.

The software must offer adequate functionality to automate existing manual (and often error-prone) processes. But you also need to ensure that you don't overpay for features that you won't use.

Below, we've broken down the three most common buyer types, their chief concerns and the main functionality they should seek in subcontractor software:

Large subcontractors. These buyers (businesses with more than $100 million in annual revenue) typically want solutions that offer all the common features listed above and integrations with their existing accounting and CRM software. They typically require built-in project management functionality with planning and scheduling capabilities, such as Gantt charts, to chart a project's critical path.

Small and midsize subcontractors. These buyers (businesses with $100 million or less in annual revenue) are primarily concerned with the solution's price and ease of use. Such buyers seek cloud-based tools with monthly and annual subscription plans. They also need an intuitive system with features such as a drag-and-drop interface, so they don't have to spend a long time learning how to use the tool.

Best-of-breed buyers. With the many available construction management systems, there has been a rise in stand-alone systems. These tools can be a good option if you're trying to automate a specific business process. For instance, if you're an electrical or flooring contractor struggling to calculate the costs of material and labor, you need an electrical estimating software or flooring estimating software, respectively.

To learn more about such best-of-breed solutions, read our Buyer's Guide on construction management solutions. You can also call us at (844) 847-3290 for a no-obligation and free consultation with a software advisor.

Key Considerations

When purchasing subcontractor software, businesses should also consider factors such as total software ownership costs, deployment and mobile accessibility. Doing so will help them thoroughly analyze the software's suitability to their needs.

Let's look at some of these considerations more closely.

Depth of functionality. Subcontractors need to closely examine the features that a vendor offers. For instance, the ability to upload and edit images on a mobile device is a key need for many construction teams.

In this case, the ideal solution would be a cloud-based one, as real-time document sharing isn't possible with on-premise tools. Likewise, check to see if the tool offers native mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices, so that users don't face any device compatibility challenges.

Another example of a capability to look for is task tracking. This can be as simple as listing which employee is doing what on a spreadsheet. But, if you have large teams, tracking can quickly get out of hand. In such cases, you need detailed tracking with automated reminders, and maybe even time tracking functionality.

Total costs. The cost of software depends largely on its deployment model—whether it's cloud-based or on-premise. A cloud-based solution usually has a monthly or annual subscription fee. Small businesses tend to prefer this over the on-premise model, where they have to pay a one-time license fee, data backup costs and maintenance charges.

However, software costs are not so cut and dry. Businesses should check whether cloud-based solutions charge for training and phone support (they often don't). Further, if a large part of the software functionality depends on third-party add-ons, then the total costs of implementation and customization will increase considerably.