More and more contractors and subcontractors are finding that they can use construction management software to simplify the head-spinning complexity of a modern construction project with all its fits and starts and moving parts—in fact, to put the entire process literally into the palm of their hand.
Take Brady Yungmann of BY Homes in Indianapolis. Brady, who cut his teeth in construction helping his dad with construction projects and started professionally as a handyman, uses Houzz Pro construction management software in his general contracting business.
“When I started as a handyman, I created my own software using Excel to track my projects,” he said. “I tracked materials, client man hours, invoices, and estimates in a spreadsheet. That spreadsheet became a very large file and I knew I needed something that would be able to handle all of that information and help me to get it to the clients quickly and effectively.”
Should you use construction management software? That’s what this post is all about. When you finish this post, you should have a clearer idea what construction management software is and whether it can help your operation.
What is construction management software?
Running a construction company is a highly complex endeavor. Multiple stakeholders and participants. Management must navigate loosely defined client goals and vague project scopes while also accounting for supply chain delays, labor pool strain, and poor communications from vendors and subcontractors.
Construction management software aims to make sense of that complexity, streamlining processes that used to be done manually including communication, decision-making, and job scheduling, among others. What’s more, most apps are mobile-enabled, so the managers can take the software out on the job site.
“I no longer wanted to have different spreadsheets for different customers. I wanted to keep track of everything and manage all of my projects between different clients in one platform. Ideally, it would have all of my client lists, projects, documents, everything, in one place, which is what I found with Houzz Pro.”
The benefits of construction management software
Construction projects are highly structured endeavors. Whether the project consists of building a shopping mall or a single-dwelling residence, each project has many moving parts that must be precisely coordinated. Multiple people undertaking any number of tasks and sharing information. Raw materials delivery. Keeping all the documentation straight—invoices, change orders and such. Staying on schedule and on budget. Construction software will enhance the project, helping to plan, control and coordinate the project from beginning to end.
Some of the benefits of construction management software:
- Real-time communication
- Document management
- Risk assessment
- Cost control
- Resource management
- Accounting and financial management
We asked Brady to list off the features of his construction management software that have been particularly impactful. Here’s what he said:
Brady’s software offers pre-loaded prices in its estimate builder, which saves him a ton of time. “Previously, I had to manually find and upload that information, but with Houzz Pro, it’s already there. I appreciate that I can then verify pricing to make sure it’s accurate to the market and tailor any information necessary from the initial prices.”
Brady said it’s good to have one place to go where everything is listed. That reduces questions on the client’s end because they can see everything together. “My system helps me to look more professional to my clients by giving them a place to go for every invoice, change order, and other information.”
With his software, Brady can quickly review and find out what’s been paid, what hasn’t and easily follow up with clients across each project. “It shows you the history and how long it’s been since you followed up with someone,” he said.
Brady uses his Houzz Pro software on his mobile device every day. He’s on the road constantly and he doesn’t have to pull out his laptop and set up a hotspot to access information. He can just check in on things on the job site from my phone.
“Once, we were repairing four different rental properties in the same neighborhood. When we got into the repairs, we found further damage and had to halt work. I called the owner to let him know about the additional repairs and had to quickly create an estimate to get his verbal approval before moving forward. Without the mobile app, it would have delayed the project, increased costs and we would have had to schedule a time to come back another day. But since I was able to send that invoice immediately, we addressed the repairs the same day. This happens often, and it’s helpful to be able to be able to keep the project moving while I’m on-site.”
How much does construction management software cost?
There are two basic types of construction management software:
In-house or on-premise software runs on your company server and is installed on each of your computers. You’ll pay a large fee upfront, but there will be fewer ongoing costs. You will need an experienced IT person to manage it.
Web-based or cloud-based software is hosted outside of the company on the provider’s server and is accessed through a web browser. You’ll pay a small setup fee and then monthly payments based on the number of users or licenses in your office.
In the construction industry, in-house software is more prevalent, mostly because it’s an older and better-understood system. Some construction companies just aren’t comfortable with project data residing on outside servers. However, web-based software is growing in popularity, particularly among smaller construction firms.
In-house construction management software is priced anywhere from about $1,000 to more than $100,000. (The software Brady mentioned, Houzz Pro, is $199/month.) Off-the-shelf software that focuses primarily on a single task such as estimating falls on the low end of that price range, while complete software solutions for large construction firms fall on the high end.
Construction firms should expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 on software that provides a variety of project management, financial, and human resources functions.
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