The nature of construction management is that a lot of duties must be performed on a job site, where all the action is happening. To help them perform a wide range of activities, from updating blueprints to signing work orders and change orders, contractors are turning to a variety of apps that can be used on their Android and iOS smartphones — boosting their productivity and efficiency and helping them save time and money.
Depending on how your business is run, the kind of projects you work on, and whether you are a startup or an established company, there are a wide variety of free (or low-cost) construction project management software packages available to help you build up your business.
How Construction Management Apps Can Be Useful for Contractors
When it comes to construction work, it's important to be on time, on budget, and have all the small details of a project correct to avoid costly errors and to streamline how you work. The best construction management software can help contractors do easy pricing of materials for a job, put together punch lists, keep track of fieldwork, view blueprints on the fly, produce daily reports, connect to subcontractors and team members, create schedules, do time tracking, help decide markups, handle task management, and much more.
With iPhone and Android apps created with the requirements of construction project management in mind, general contractors have access to powerful, real-time tools that can help them improve functionality so they can better perform many aspects of their job, including responding to requests for information (RFIs).
7 Free and Low-Cost Apps for Contractors
By using mobile apps on construction sites, contractors can realize several benefits, such as:
- Improving efficiency
- Minimizing delays
- Ensuring compliance with safety policies
- Finding cost-effective options
- Improving communication
Here are seven great apps to facilitate your next construction project.
Boasting that it "powers over 1,000,000 job sites worldwide," Fieldwire backs up its bravado with some great tools. It lets project managers assign and track tasks and inspections and enables construction workers in the field to view blueprints, progress photos, and the latest files on their iOS and Android devices.
It can also keep fieldworkers and offices aligned with real-time messaging and push notifications, link tasks to locations and blueprints, and allow managers to schedule custom reports with all of the project details.
The basic version of Fieldwire is free, with a five-user limit. After that, packages range from $29 to $89 per month. Fieldwire also offers training videos and an ongoing workflow webinar series.
As the name suggests, this app offers calculators for different functions, including construction. Available from both the App Store and Google Play, the mobile device app has more than 40 calculators and unit converters. Under construction, it features the ability to estimate material requirements for small repair works with these calculators:
- Brick calculator
- Concrete calculator
- Tile calculator
- Lumber volume calculator
- Land area calculator
The built-in geometry calculator helps to easily figure out the area of odd shapes and the unit converter includes torque and pressure converters, which are useful if you have equipment in formats you are not used to dealing with.
Hubstaff offers a time-card and tracking app aimed at businesses that include the construction industry, landscaping, manufacturing, and others. Once workers have downloaded the app, foremen and project managers will know when they have clocked in, where they are, and what they are doing.
Workers are automatically clocked in and out of construction job sites using GPS technology and construction managers get notifications if someone doesn't show up or arrives late at a site. The app automatically generates timesheets that accurately reflect the number of hours someone works. The app also shows what routes workers take between job sites and where they stop in transit and for how long.
While Hubstaff is free to try or for one user, other plans range from $7 per user per month to $20 per user per month.
DeWALT Mobile Pro
This fully functional construction calculator is available for free download, although certain add-ons come at a cost. With DeWALT Mobile Pro, you can calculate how many slate shingles you need to do a roof of a certain area, how many studs you need for a home, and much more.
There are dozens of add-in calculators for specific trades. The carpentry trim add-on calculator, for example, has a crown-molding calculator that finds the cutting angles for any kind of crown-molding job. The casing and running trim calculations enable tradesmen to estimate materials for any job, whether it is a single window or a house full of trim.
Reference materials are accompanied by examples and illustrations. You can access your history to see calculations you've already done and even save critical calculations and share them by email. And there are dozens of add-on calculations designed for different trades.
GoCanvas for construction is a reporting app that enables contractors to easily create forms that can be shared and saved. Designed for construction teams, general contractors, building owners, maintenance workers, and others involved in construction work, GoCanvas is a suite of apps that can help create a variety of work orders, safety reports, construction daily field reports, safety inspection reports, final project punch lists, job site daily logs, subcontractor agreements, and more.
The full range of construction, repair, and improvement PDFs, templates, and apps can be tailored to individual construction companies' needs.
The GoCanvas full platform is available for a free trial, but then it has different paid plans starting at $45 per month per user.
If you want to save money on gas for your contracting crew, GasBuddy is a free app for iOS and Android devices that promises that you'll "never have to pay full price for gas again." GasBuddy can help you find the most inexpensive fuel in the area where you are working, enabling you to save up to 25 cents per gallon. The free GasBuddy fuel card can help you save on every gallon of gas purchased. A gas rewards system can help you earn free fuel, as well.
If you are community-minded, GasBuddy will also let you report great gas deals with fellow app users.
Punch List & Site Audit Report
Available for iOS and Android mobile devices (including smartphones, iPads, and other tablets), Punch List & Site Audit Report is a free app (with in-app purchases) that enables general contractors (as well as architects, engineers, homeowners, and interior designers) to easily create punch lists on the fly. It can also be used for audits, walk-throughs, safety inspections, insurance claims, site walks, and checklists.
With it, you can easily list all of the work that needs to be completed for a job, such as improper installations or fixing damage to materials, finishes, or structures. You can use this app to ensure that all work is completed to specification, helping you get paid faster.
Easily Manage Construction Business Finances With Skynova
Skynova is designed to help general contracting companies and construction professionals like you. Our suite of online software solutions helps small businesses get paid faster by simplifying and speeding up the billing process.
You don't need professional bookkeeping expertise to use our full-featured accounting solution program to track your income and expenses, easily swap between cash accrual basis, get a full picture of your company's financial health, and send out customized invoices that let you know when the customer has opened and read your document.
With Skynova, you can grow your contracting company into a skyscraper-high achievement.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation. Always get professional advice before implementing solutions that involve the operation and finances of your construction business.