When it comes to home building projects, general contractors are the face that everyone wants time in front of. “Everyone” in this scenario primarily includes the customers paying for the build (i.e., future owners of the home, realtors or maybe even a property agency) as well as the many numerous subcontractors hired to execute on their specialties.
With all these people fighting for time, a general contractor needs some organization and automations to fall back on. This is where home building software comes onto the scene. Home building software systems offer general contractors newfound efficiencies around every facet of their operation. They collect and provide easily accessible data for general contractors to reference. The systems also enable contractors to mandate standard processes for all subcontractors and customers to follow.
We have dozens of home builder construction software offerings listed on our site for you to explore. Take some time to check out our user-generated reviews to get a sense of how the various systems have performed for your peers. And keep in mind the wide variance of the product capabilities, ranging from less expensive resident-specific software all the way up to enterprise-level construction manage systems.
All the decisions you’ll face when choosing your system can seem like a tall task, but it’s not that bad. We’ve created this buyer’s guide for you to reference when making your selection. It should ease the selection process and help you make the best decision for you and your construction company.
Here’s what we'll cover in this guide:
As alluded to above, general contractors on a home build job typically rely on subcontractors to complete specialized tasks. This often ends up with the home builder having to collect, monitor and store invoices, purchase orders and other important communications. They have to do all this while also monitoring the status and progress of all their jobs and those of their subs.
Screenshot of Jonas Enterprise user dashboard
With all these management requirements, many contractors building a house typically require a complete construction management software system that can manage every aspect of the building process. At a very high level, these construction management systems offer core features:
With these highly beneficial features, you can see how the need for a fully equipped construction management system will often be the most effective solution for residential general contractors. Keep in mind though that this is not the only choice home builders have.
Many top construction software vendors concentrate on one type of application. These specific software offerings are known as best-of-breed or standalone systems and can be a great fit for a home builder in need of a cost effective system to complete just one or two specific functions.
Home builders need most of the standard features that come with top rated construction management software, but as you’re looking there are a few features for home builders to consider:
|Job bidding and proposal generator||Most home builder construction systems have the ability to quickly generate bids and proposals. These can be used to send to prospective customers to win new jobs, or to current customers regarding new projects or subcontractor estimates for existing priorities.|
|Specialized job costing and invoicing||One of the key features for home builder construction software is the inclusion of job costing data to improve estimating accuracy and make billing more efficient. A construction system that isn’t geared toward home building—or worse, a generic accounting system—won’t have anywhere near the same level of functionality.|
|Link to vendors and subcontractors||Many systems will allow the user to link directly into vendor purchasing or subcontractor scheduling systems. This can expedite project/inventory management and scheduling. A system geared toward the home builder market will focus its materials in that area.|
|Critical path method scheduling||Home building involves hundreds of individual tasks. Most of these have some degree of flexibility in terms of when they are executed, but all of them must be completed within a certain timeframe in order to keep from extending past deadline. Critical path method is a project modeling algorithm that’s specifically designed to solve these kinds of scheduling dependencies, so some home builder construction programs use this method to support the user in scheduling tasks and subcontractors.|
There are dozens of home builder programs for the construction market. In fact, several companies make multiple products for this one niche. Selecting the right one can be a daunting task, but as with any software, start by assessing your needs. An integrated suite will combine accounting, project management, scheduling and home builder CRM, but you may need just one or two of these capabilities. Residential remodelers have specialized needs within this industry, so they should choose a dedicated residential remodeling system.
Specific questions to ask when selecting home builder construction software include:
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