It seems like every day there is something else out there to help make your life easier. Well how about something that makes your work life easier?
There are apps for everything nowadays, but there are good amounts out there that are specifically for business and contractors in general. Professional Remodeler Magazine recently asked remodelers about the apps they use and how they use them. Some apps will show you the kinds of features they offer along with some ideas about how the right app could make your business life a little bit easier.
Below are a few of our favorites, check out the article for the full list.
Project Management: Co-Construct
This integrated software package combines project and financial management with client communication. The Web-based program runs on desktops as well as on mobile devices, so all members of the construction team—office and field employees, subcontractors—can stay updated in real time. The separate client interface keeps customers current with plans, selections, warranty schedules, and budgeting, but ensures that they don’t see anything they shouldn’t.
Android, iOS, desktop (web-based)
$99/month (basic plan) plus per-project fee; no annual contract; upgrade or downgrade subscription without penalty Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero
Online Reputation Management: Perch
This app monitors Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, plus deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. It looks for posts by your company or by any company on your personal watchlist, including competitors. To stay up to date, you can choose to get an alert on your phone whenever something happens or to get a daily email that lists all relevant activity.
PDF Markup/Signature: Smart Forms
The app provides for electronic signatures and the creation of a fillable PDF—one that can be filled out and saved electronically. The app operates under an affordable subscription model that includes a charge for watermark-free files. Smart Forms has a couple of extra features that make it worth the price: You can combine multiple scans into a single PDF document, and you can load a PDF, add photos to it, mark them up, and overlay standard shapes (boxes, circles, arrows, etc.). You can also archive a PDF to serve as a template.
iOS only Free (An ad that appears on each exported page can be removed with an in-app purchase)
Waste Management: Thumbster
Uber is to on-demand rides as Thumbster is to on-demand Dumpsters. Placing an order is as simple as swiping through a series of screens to enter the address, choose the container size and delivery date, and specify the type of debris. When the container is full, use the app to order a pickup. Billing currently takes one of two forms. If you register a credit card, you will be charged a base rate, plus overage charges, which are added after the container is emptied at the landfill. The other option, which is intended to accommodate contractors, works like an open account from any other supplier, with consolidated monthly invoices. Either way, a receipt sent via email itemizes all charges.
Time Tracking: TSheets
This time-tracking app enables employees and managers to use a smartphone to clock in and clock out of multiple jobs, change job cost codes, and add notes. Managers can use a “Crew” function to clock in an entire crew with a single click; for multiple crews on different sites, a GPS stamping feature shows the location of every device running the app, so managers always know which field crew are on which jobs. The app syncs continuously, so data is always up-to-date and never gets lost, even when phones travel outside of cell service. The app can manage personal time off, sick days, and holidays, and can prevent expensive overtime work by sending alerts via email, text, or Twitter to employees and managers. It also integrates with QuickBooks and produces reports in a variety of formats, including PDF, CSV, and HTML.
Free 14-day trial (sliding fee starting at $10/user/month (20 percent discount if paid annually)
Email Marketing: Mail Chimp
This Web-based program offers a complete suite of email marketing tools. The basic version of the mobile app integrates with the Web-based application and covers all of the essentials, including: list management, with the ability to add names directly or via uploads from Google docs or Microsoft Excel; campaign management and scheduling, with the ability to launch a campaign remotely from your phone; complete reporting and analytics; and synchronized shared accounts with the ability to set permissions among several users. Paid features add another level of control. For example, the Delivery Doctor add-on can be used to troubleshoot spam-blocked emails by systematically testing each element of the message, from subject line to images to individual words within the main body copy.
Free up to 2,000 subscribers, no contract required; $10 to $250/month, based on volume between 2,001 to 50,000 subscribers.
Want more information on the apps described above? Check out the full article for more info and the entire list of apps.