Project Management Software for Contractors

Posted by David Chism | Tue, Aug 21, 2012

 Project Management Software for Contractors
I’ve been asked often if I know of a great Cloud” (online) project man­age­ment soft­ware to help with things like, sched­ul­ing, job stag­ing, reminders, billing, and bud­get­ing. Base­camp, from 37 Sig­nals has a lot of strengths for many project man­age­ment fea­tures, but Smartsheet (affil­i­ate link) hits the nail on the head for being one of the best cloud-based pro­grams that does it all. If you own a remod­el­ing com­pa­ny, run a paint­ing or sim­i­lar trade busi­ness, you need to check out and con­sid­er using Smartsheet. In a nut­shell, Smartsheet basi­cal­ly takes two key pro­grams many of you use (or have used): Microsoft Project and Excel and cre­at­ed a Smartsheet” that links to things like Google Cal­en­dar, Google Docs (now Dri­ve), Google Apps Email and more. The bot­tom line, if you know how to use the basic Excel fea­tures, you can use Smartsheet with lit­tle train­ing. In this short post, I will not explain all the key fea­tures you can do with Smartsheet as it is very pow­er­ful. For that, just check out their web­site and watch their videos. I’ll focus on how con­trac­tors are using it cur­rent­ly. How Con­trac­tors are using Smartsheet The con­trac­tors I know who are using Smartsheet right now do three things: 1. Man­age a mar­ket­ing bud­get and cal­en­dar, 2. Have a com­mu­ni­ca­tion and job sched­ule (paint­ing) and 3) A full fledged man­ag­ing of all aspects of a remod­el­ing project (billing, check num­bers, reminders for when things need to be done, who is respon­si­ble, next steps, when a bill is received, receipts attached to a task and much more). Smartsheet acts like a spread­sheet in Excel. The ben­e­fit is if you want to cre­ate a sched­ule for your crew lead­ers or project man­agers, you can type in the times of a job (Sept 1 through Nov 5th) and have it auto­mat­i­cal­ly upload to Google Cal­en­dar. You can even make changes with­in Google Cal­en­dar and/​or from an iPad. You can invite employ­ees and even cus­tomers to view your Smartsheet project as well and make com­ments on task and events. Here are a few screen­shots of a mar­ket­ing bud­get and a sim­ple employ­ee schedule. 

The mar­ket­ing sched­ule and bud­get above shows only a few rows of infor­ma­tion. It also can help with mar­ket-track­ing by lead source (won, lost and pend­ing). So tech­ni­cal­ly, most of your mar­ket­ing reports can be viewed from one spread­sheet. This also links up nice­ly with Google cal­en­dar so we can see what is going on when we are not logged into Smartsheet.

This sam­ple sched­ul­ing spread­sheet here also has a built in cal­en­dar view and/​or can be synced with Google. If I want­ed to attach a Work Order form, I can do that from with­in Smartsheet and send an email to the Fore­man alert­ing him of his next job and paperwork.

Pric­ing of Smartsheet

The cost of Smartsheet is pret­ty rea­son­able for what you get. I signed up for their annu­al plan to save about 10%. There are dif­fer­ent lev­els of cost. My cur­rent plan runs a lit­tle less than $15 a month for 10 Smartsheets. They con­sid­er a Smartsheet” to be a project. So if you’ve got 15 remod­el­ing projects going on at one time, you’d need TEAM ver­sion, which is around $50 a month. If you are only using it for sched­ul­ing and a mar­ket­ing bud­get, you’d get by with the basic ver­sion for less than $16 a month. I don’t think you can beat the price for the fea­tures you get. I just men­tioned a few key fea­tures in this arti­cle. There is a pletho­ra of things you can do when you have the time to dig deep­er into this pow­er Smartsheet!

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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