Accurate Time Tracking Is So Much Easier With Workyard
Construction projects work at the intersection of the imagined world and the real world, turning a concept into a solid, three-dimensional reality.
However, reality and concept don’t always merge as readily as we would like. Bedrock is closer or further from the surface than estimated. Concrete comes out at a lower strength than needed in stress tests. Water infiltration causes damage to the structure you’re still building.
All of this makes it difficult to accurately determine project costs both at the beginning and during the construction process itself. Using construction job costing software to gain visibility into real-time project costs can help you stay on top of expenses. The ultimate goal is to get even more profits out of your projects.
Using construction job costing software at your business is an incredible way to drive profits. Let’s cover a few examples of how it can help.
Having real-time visibility into your actual costs helps you more accurately track your labor and materials across your projects. By having a detailed audit trail of your work you’ll be able to improve the accuracy of your invoices. Companies have seen 20-30% improvements in reimbursements on their projects.
Real-time cost data also helps you adjust how you’re tackling a project on the fly. Imagine one part of your project is way over budget. Having up-to-the-minute data helps you make changes or figure out how to make up for the deficit in another part of the project.
By having access to your historical data, you can make sure that your bid is in line with the profit you expect. Can you really frame that wall out at that price or has it run higher in the past? Can you get the job done in the amount of time you’re projecting?
There are some factors you’ll want to consider when you’re evaluating construction job costing software and platforms. Are you looking for estimating software, a tool to track your ongoing costs, or an all-in-one solution that gives you more project management features?
Most of the tools can benefit both general contractors and specialized subcontractors like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and roofing trades.
Let’s cover a few things to consider when evaluating different platforms.
Labor costs make up such a large portion of any construction project cost. That’s why you need a way that enables your workforce to capture it for you. Modern construction time tracking tools allow your workers in the field to tag their hours to projects and specific cost codes. All from the smartphones in their hands. That same software can generate reports breaking down your actual labor costs by clients, projects, employees, and cost codes.
A platform that helps your employee capture their hours from the field should also be able to turn those hours into actual costs. Factors include the ability to track different employee types, pay rates, overtime rules, and workers’ comp.
One of the biggest benefits of using job costing software is to more accurately invoice your clients. You’ll want to find solutions that easily integrate with popular accounting software packages like QuickBooks. At the very least make sure you can easily export your job costing data to import into other systems.
Make sure there is an easy way to capture and track expenses. Some systems allow employees to add expenses directly to their time cards for a completely digital workflow.
Having a scheduling feature integrated into your job costing software platform makes it easier to keep everything running as efficiently as possible.
Labor costs usually make or break projects but it’s also helpful to track materials for the complete picture.
Tracking actual labor, material, and expense costs is the most important step in keeping up with ongoing job costs. Add the ability to track purchase orders helps you factor in your committed costs.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for your construction job costing software. Below, we’ll cover a list that includes a range of solutions. Some are ideal for small companies while others work well for even the largest construction companies in the world.
If you’re a small construction company or you’re still relying on paper or analog workflows, Workyard is a great option to consider.
It puts the power of data collection in your team’s hands with easy-to-use GPS-driven time tracking apps. Your crew can easily allocate their hours to projects and tasks.
Workyard then turns those hours into actual labor costs that you can access in real-time reports. Those reports are then easily sorted by client, project, employee, and cost code.
Workyard’s apps work on the employee’s Android and iOS devices they already own making deploying the software a breeze. In fact, Workyard is the easiest solution for construction crew management we’ve listed to deploy. You should be able to get up and running the same day you sign up.
What makes Workyard great for small businesses is that you can easily determine your job costing without a lot of extra work.
Workyard makes it easy to share your data with popular accounting platforms like QuickBooks through direct integrations and the ability to export your information. Workyard has the added benefit of integrating into payroll systems like Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop, ADP, Gusto, and many more so you can use it to streamline your payroll process.
Workyard offers a free 14-day trial to see it before you get started. After that Workyard’s job costing software is $13 per month per user when billed annually. Workyard offers human support to help you get started.
Sage 300, formerly Timberline Software is a popular financial management platform for general contractors and real estate companies. Sage has garnered a reputation over the years for providing exceptional construction accounting software.
By integrating accounting and project management data Sage 300 promises to deliver a comprehensive overview of business performance.
Every time you see that Udemy offers a paid course on using software you know this is going to be a beast to deploy. If you’ve got a dedicated IT team or someone incredibly tech-savvy you’ll probably be fine. This is biting off way more than you need to chew if you’re a small construction company.
Customer support can be problematic with many reviewers complaining of poor response times. Other reviewers mention the aging estimating module, which has barely been touched in almost two decades.
Sage is not very transparent about their pricing. Sage 300 cloud appears to be about $100 per user per month. However, we’ve read reviews that state the median price is close to $20,000 for companies. Sage does not offer the ability to try it before you buy it.
Breaking News! Buildertrend acquired CoConstruct earlier this year. No concrete plans on what the merger means for customers yet, but we should expect that change will be certain.
Buildertrend offers a comprehensive platform that construction companies us from the pre-sales process to managing their customers using the CRM features. In fact many companies specifically use Buildertrend for its customer relationship management tool.
On the financial management side Buildertrend helps you manage against your project budget by tracking labor costs, purchase orders, and change orders. They even handle invoicing and payment processing.
Some customers complain that the interface isn’t very intuitive and it can be hard to report data effectively. We’ve also heard it can be cumbersome to learn from scratch. Customers perceive that it’s better for companies working on longer term projects vs companies that do lots of projects of shorter duration.
You’ll need Buildertrend’s Pro tier to access their job cost accounting software. That’s $299 per month for the first 2 months, then $499 per month after that. They don’t offer a trial. However, if you sign up and don’t like it you can get your money back in the first 30 days. Some reviewers said it was very difficult to take them up on this promise.
CoConstruct was acquired by Buildertrend earlier this year. Too early to tell if CoConstruct customers should be happy or concerned. There is a lot of overlap between the products, so it’s hard to imagine them keeping two unique products over time.
CoConstruct is project management software best for general contractors specializing in home building and remodeling. Customers like that many of the tasks can be done in one platform. It syncs with accounting systems so contractors have real-time data to keep an eye on how their expenses are tracking against their budget.
Users complain that the product doesn’t work well if every project is uniquely built. It can be difficult for some to realize the full benefits of the product. Many implement it to get the access to job costing data but never really achieve their goal.
CoConstruct tiers their pricing by the number of projects you need to manage. This becomes a problem for companies we’ve spoken with that do a high volume of projects each year.
Pricing starts at $299 per month for 5 active projects and goes up to $499 per month for 15 active projects. You need to talk to their sales team to discuss unlimited projects. They don’t offer a free trial.
Jonas Premier is a full suite of accounting solutions designed for general contractors. Because Jonas is such a comprehensive accounting platform, it offers robust job costing capabilities. You can track inventory, equipment, payroll, and accounts payable using the platform. It also offers a forecasting module that helps estimate the final costs on an ongoing basis.
Jonas doesn’t win any ease of use awards. In fact, many of the screens are unreadable. The opposite of consumer friendly design, each task in Jonas requires many steps to complete. This becomes a problem for field teams who are allergic to using mobile products that requires more than a few taps to use.
Jonas is pricey. For starters there is a one time $20,000 implementation fee. There’s also a $199 per user per month fee. There is no free trial.
Procore construction management software is one of the biggest brands in construction tech. For mid-sized general contractors it does a good job of managing your subcontractors and breaking down communications during all the phases of construction.
It’s a comprehensive software suite offering tools from bid management to change order tracking. But it’s Procore’s project financials module that helps keep an eye on your bottom line (that’s their tagline). You can track invoices and expenses then share data with the field to make on the fly changes.
Because it’s such an in-depth package, it can be difficult to manage and navigate. Though the company provides good customer support and training, it can take a while for your crew to understand how to navigate the system. It’s an even longer process to master it and understand exactly what it’s capable of.
This can waste a lot of time that you might prefer to be spending in the field. The company also has a tendency to make a number of changes very quickly, making it difficult to continue using the software effectively.
Procore does offer a 14-day trial of the software but it can be too difficult to implement in that trial window.
Procore charges vary depending on your annual volume of business by revenue. Total costs range from $12,000 to $1 million per year.
They also charge per module. For example, if you’re a small construction company the project management module will set you back at least $375 per month. Adding the job cost module will cost you another $549 per month.
Penta Construction ERP software delivers a lot of bang for its buck, but that buck is pretty high to begin with.
It’s designed for large construction companies with features for setting up multi-company financials, analytics, field software and much more. Penta is a cloud-based system that works well on both Windows and Linux systems. There are a range of training options available to get your entire staff and crew up to speed relatively quickly.
The software does provide good features, but it can be somewhat difficult to use for your less tech-savvy employees. Though reviewers mention that the software has improved recently, there have been problems in the past with getting reliable data from the system.
Penta doesn’t offer a free trial, so it can be difficult to gauge whether it’s a good option prior to purchasing the software. Penta is another company who thinks it’s good to hide pricing from prospective customers. They force you to talk to sales to learn about costs.
CMiC includes both field and accounting modules, with the field module getting great reviews for the depth of information that’s provided. It has great options for drawing management, including version tracking.
This is part of what makes it a great fit for project management. It makes collaboration much easier between team members as well as between general contractors and subs. This allows everyone to see the same documentation at the same time.
However, that’s about where many users stop praising the program. It’s difficult and time-consuming to implement. The system is difficult for end-users to configure, resulting in a lot of consultation and in-house calls to get it customized to your needs. It can be slow at times, making collaboration take longer than it should. It’s not as intuitive as other packages, making it more difficult to navigate initially and master later on.
CMiC doesn’t offer a free trial and does not list their pricing on their website. According to review sites the pricing starts at $15,000.
Vista is a construction ERP and accounting platform that’s part of the Trimble portfolio of companies. Vista helps you track all your costs including payroll, change orders, and invoicing. The platform includes an integrated change order process that updates subs and billing in real-time to help monitor ongoing costs.
Vista is designed for medium to large construction companies who can afford tech resources to help customize the platform. This puts it out of reach for most construction companies in America.
Some reviewers mention that the platform can be slow with frequent errors or crashes. This is problematic when you’re trying to complete a project.
It can also take a long time and a lot of discussions to get help desk tickets resolved or escalated. This is frustrating when you need to fix the problem and get back to work.
Vista is not transparent with pricing on their website, and they do not offer a free trial. Some review sites mention a $20,000 license to use the software but you have talk to a sales person to get up-to-the-minute pricing.
Eclipse was designed by Explorer to provide an accounting and project management solution for medium to large contractors. It’s designed for general contractors, specialty contractors, heavy construction, and architects.
It has audit trails, which allow documentation to be tracked back through its history to determine where changes may have been made.
The company has been bought and sold many times over the last 10 years causing constant changes and potential frustrations for its user base.
Customers complain about poor training and onboarding. Some even say that support can take weeks to months to resolve issues.
Speaking of onboarding, some customers recommend using an IT specialist to ensure that the process goes smoothly. The system requires those technical resources to be configured to your specific needs.
There is no free trial of Eclipse. While they don’t list any pricing on their website several review sites mention a $19,000 one-time charge. You’ll have to speak to a sales person to get any sense of current pricing.
While the market is filled with platforms aimed at larger construction companies there’s a deficit in easy to use and more approachable solutions.
If you have the budget for technical resources to manage the implementation then most of the platforms can be customized to fit your needs.
If you’re a small construction company that doesn’t have that luxury, then you’ll want to use a platform like Workyard. More modern and cost effective solutions like Workyard make implementation a breeze. After all, finding software you can actually get your entire team to use is half the battle.
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