Technology: A Harder Look at Software
authors Patrick O'Toole | March 17, 2021
There are many offerings in the broad category of all-in-one, project-management software for remodelers. For owners and managers faced with the task of selecting the right platform for their companies, it is a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is the abundance of more and better choices of all-in-on software for remodelers.
The bad part is having to choose between competing platforms that offer most of the exact same solutions—from customer relationship management solutions to estimating, takeoffs and project management. The question of which platform offers the best fit comes down to the needs and preferences of each individual remodeling company.
Then, after all the hard work determining which is the best fit for your company, and after having spent months and years to achieve an effective, full-fledged implementation, the unthinkable happens. The wildly popular software you selected is acquired by its main rival, another wildly popular software company. That is the exact circumstance that occurred at the end of February when Omaha, Nebraska-based Buildertrend acquired its long-time rival in the same design-build, full-service remodeler space: CoConstruct, which is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The dust has not settled on this transaction. It is clear that it will be many months before changes are made. For now, the 23,000 companies and 1.1 million users of both Buildertrend and CoConstruct will not experience any disruption to their current platforms. As part of this overview of all-in-one softwares, Buildertrend CEO and co-founder Dan Houghton sat down with Qualified Remodeler to tell us about the recent transaction and what the future looks like for CoConstruct users, many of who prefer not to see their platform altered in any way. You can see that interview here.
Our look at software is an overview of the software in a very unscientific way. We asked our readers to tell us the all-in-one project management software they use. We set aside limited-purpose software for publication at another time. The result is a list of 15 with broad descriptions and websites for more information. Importantly, we broke them down in categories for full-service, design-build, home improvement and handyman.
Top All-in-One Software Packages by Segment
AccuLynx is an all-in-one business management software for specialty contractors. It is designed to manage sales, production and finances. It is particularly tailored to accommodate unique needs and workflows of roofing contractors. Originally released in 2009, AccuLynx serves thousands of contractors at various stages of development—from rapidly growing startups to multi-location operations. The product is scalable and is designed to streamline processes, increase optics on profitability and provide enhanced customer service. AccuLynx is also used to connect teams, trade contractors and clients to unify projects communication. www.acculynx.com
Both MarketSharp and Improveit360 are owned by EverCommerce. Both software platforms have large, very loyal and growing user groups in the home improvement and specialty contracting space. From automated communications to block scheduling, Improveit 360 is designed to eliminate tasks and get users to the sale faster. They do this with an all-in-one CRM and lead management, appointment-scheduling tool. In addition, it offers sales tools and quoting, marketing and call-center integrations. Project management capabilities are also offered—team collaboration, project-management tools, trackable job costs, payments and financing options, as well as templated tasks and activities. www.improveit360.com
Adopted by home improvement and specialty contractors, JobNimbus has a large constituency among roofing contractors. The software allows contractors to see and manage all jobs at one time, with interactive job boards. A drag-and-drop feature allows for easy organization of jobs. Software allows users to attach photos, contracts, estimates and other documents and access it all on all platforms including smartphones. A calendar feature allows managers to see open tasks across the company and to plan each user’s day. Other features include a two-way sync with Google Calendar, a contact manager complete with records on notes and communications from email, texts and phone. In all the software offers boards, estimating, invoicing, payments, calendar, tasks and leads. www.jobnimbus.com
It is an all-in-one, cloud-based contractor’s business platform that is designed to be flexible and seamless. The platform is designed to share and facilitate information among teams—from lead to appointment to production. The following functionality is included: a job and workflow manager; a mobile application; a customer relationship manager (CRM); online sales and marketing; estimating, quoting and scheduling; remote access to business controls; dashboard work centers; encrypted cloud storage and access; employee and subcontractor manager; proposals and contracts; and office, field and operations manager. www.jobprogress.com
LeadPerfection is an enterprise-based system. Primary functionality includes sales rep scheduling and booking—transparency across the organization of where reps are now and where they are going next. It allows owners and managers to define up to six time slots per day. The software offers a number of sales management capabilities. It allows users to define coverage areas down to the zip-code level. As appointments are set, the availability of any given time slot is determined by the number of sales representatives requesting leads for that time, along with the number of appointments already booked. Driving times between appointments is built-in to the software to allow call-center staff to book efficiently. In addition, the platform offers end-to-end project management tools. Work-in-process can be seen at a glance. Software allows for milestones in the project for measuring jobs, materials ordered, materials delivered, etc. Software also allows for cycle-time analysis. www.leadperfection.com
Leap is an end-to-end contractor sales software application. It digitizes every stage of the in-home sales process including estimating, financing, contracting, and real-time communication. Leap integrates with CRMs like Salesforce, MarketSharp and others. When you generate a lead, Leap synchronizes the appointment to reps in the field. Leap can create accurate estimates, clean proposals, contracts, secure in-home financing approvals and maintain data logs. Leap enables companies to save customer documents (contracts, estimates, proposals, etc.) directly to their account in your CRM. This creates seamless integration with your other departments. Leap also allows production staff to re-measure, create detailed order summaries, handles any customer changes, and create work orders. When the job is done, use Leap to sign the completion docs. If a job is installed or not sold, data can be directly routed back to the CRM. To learn more go to www.leaptodigital.com.
Used predominantly by home improvement pros and specialty contractors, MarketSharp offers a front-to-back solution that provides business owners and their teams the key software solutions required to run a remodeling or home improvement business. In addition to contact- and business-process management software solutions (for which they are best known), MarketSharp also provides additional business enhancing resources—including industry-focused direct mailers, consumer sales leads and lists, national educational webinars and training events, plus other affiliate programs. www.marketsharp.com
Design-Build and Full-Service
In absolute terms, Buildertrend may have the largest number of company subscribers and total users of its all-in-one, cloud-based software for design-build and full-service remodelers. It is very comprehensive. There are four parts with many features underneath each one—Pre-Sales Process, which refers to lead management and sales prospect management; Project Management; Financial Tools; and Customer Relationship Management tools. The software has an embedded process for managing bid requests, for managing estimates and proposals and a process for managing construction. The CRM tool is end-to-end. Leads turn to prospects to appointments to clients. The software also enables email marketing. www.buildertrend.com
This cloud-based software solution is marketed to a wide range of verticals within the remodeling and home building universe. Like others, it is an enterprise, all-in-one software designed to take clients and team members through the process of major remodeling starting from website inquiries, emails, text messages and phone calls all the way through to customer relationship management after a project has been completed. Key features include a lead-tracking system, a sales scheduling system, a proposal generator with eSignature capability and business analysis tools, as well as financing and payment tools. Other features include installer tracking, time sheets, job costing and inventory management. www.builderprime.com
CoConstruct was recently acquired by Buildertrend. Please see the Q&A with Buildertrend CEO Dan Houghton within these pages for more detail on the implications. This is a popular design-build, full-service project management and business management software. Its features line up well with Buildertrend and like Buildertrend, CoConstruct has a very loyal base of thousands of company users and even more individual users. The cloud-based software was designed so that once information is captured from lead information to prices and estimates, it never needs to be entered again. The database and interface work seamlessly together. Today, these attributes are found in many all-in-one software platforms for remodelers. Remodeler users tout the end-to-end flow of the software, the estimating tool, project management system, unified communication system, flexibility to manage fixed-price contracts as well as open-book contracts with clients. www.coconstruct.com
This is an all-in-one software targeted to specialty contractors but adopted by design-build and full-service contractors. The software platform offers end-to-end customer and project management tools. Key features are custom workflows, which automate unique processes to initiate communication and project tracking; custom commissioning and payout systems; a vendor portal for trades to upload pictures, files and invoices; tools for estimating and generating proposals; tools for project scheduling and materials ordering; and a customer portal to track projects, view invoices, proposals and photos. www.contractorscloud.com
This all-in-one, cloud-based, design and business management tool was launched by the popular website Houzz.com in 2020 during the pandemic. It has quickly gained users and happy contractor customers. (Qualified Remodeler did a deep dive into this software and will be presenting it online at QualifiedRemodeler.com). Houzz.com, by its nature as an idea site for consumers, drives leads to design and construction professionals who register on the site. With Houzz Pro those inquiries make their way directly into the remodelers’ sales, estimating, design and production systems. It also integrates with almost any other lead-generation source. In addition to end-to-end customer and project management tools, the service offers websites services and analytics, so this is a very unique offering for that reason alone. www.houzz.com/pro
Many of the largest design-build and full-service remodelers have used a variety of business and project management softwares like the ones listed here. ProCore came up most frequently on the design-build side. This software is a “construction management software” designed and built for commercial contractors such as Turner Construction, among others. But our research suggests that many residential design-build remodeling firms have proven it can be scaled down for residential-focused firms. It touts a base of 1 million users across many countries. Its set of tools are organized around four buckets: pre-construction (pre-qualification and bid management); project management (which includes safety and TQM as well as design coordination); resource management (labor, productivity) and financial management. www.procore.com
Handyman and Time/Materials
This is a popular software for the handyman, time-and-materials-based home services company. The all-in-one, cloud-based software offers solutions for specific verticals from HVAC to landscaping as well as handyman. The key tools found in the software are scheduling, dispatch, job management, chat, estimating, invoicing, payments, online booking, service-plan management and integrations with popular email-marketing and accounting software. www.housecallpro.com
This software is another popular home services all-in-one project and business management tool. It offers a very similar set of tools as Housecall Pro and Service Fusion. It is organized around some key elements including a customer relationship management tool (end-to-end), scheduling and dispatching, invoicing and follow-up. For clients it offers online booking, a place to login and see their job progress and status, and a place to manage notifications. From a business standpoint it offers quoting and follow up, marketing, online payments and business reporting. www.getjobber.com
The software is billed as an all-in-one field-service management software. It is designed to streamline workflows with a CRM tool that flows through scheduling, invoicing, payments, payment reminders for clients and business. Mobile and real-time updates enable owners and managers to manage people and client schedules in seamless fashion. Other tools include scheduling and dispatch and integrations with many marketing and accounting platforms. www.servicefusion.com QR