Construction Software Pricing: How Much Should You Pay?
Looking for information on how much you can expect to spend on construction management software?
6 factors for construction software pricing
Below are a mix of questions about your business and your software needs that together will play a big role in the price you ultimately pay for software.
1. How big is your business?
Like any industry, there is a massive range in terms of the size of construction companies, from a few huge companies that eat up a tremendous amount of market share and to companies so small they’re just one person with a toolbox. Considering the fact that there are a staggering 729,345 construction companies in the United States, most are at the lower end of the spectrum.
Where you fall on that spectrum will affect which software you choose. For a one-man/woman show, or any business with less than 10 employees, you might be able to get by with a free option—but be careful, because there are always hidden costs to free construction software.
If you’re a big, complex operation, you’re probably going to have to spring for an “enterprise” version (you can sort software options by number of users in our directory). That will cost you more overall, although you are likely to save in terms of how much you are paying per user than you would with a standard version.
A total of 10 software options out of the 18 we surveyed actually listed their prices. Five of those 10 options charge by the user. Even among the five that don’t, several of them limit the number of users you can get based on which version you sign up for.
The price range is between $14 and $99 per month, but obviously this doesn’t tell the whole story. FieldWire charges $29 to $39 per month per user depending on the version, whereas RedTeam‘s $99 per month plan includes unlimited users.
However, some software options take an entirely different route. PlanGrid, for example, charges based on the number of “sheets,” or construction plans, you want to use, ranging from $39 per month for 550 sheets to $119 per month for unlimited sheets.
2. Which software features do you need?
Before you choose a software option, you need to figure out exactly what kind of features you need—you can check out our directory to narrow software options by specific features.
Most software options also list what features they offer on their websites.
If you still can’t figure out if the software in question offers the features you need, consider a consultation, which is what many companies require in order to do business with you. While it may seem like a hassle to go through a consultation, it also offers an excellent opportunity to ask the company directly if they offer the capabilities you need.
Keep in mind that more features means you’ll likely be spending more money, however.
3. What kind of commitment are you comfortable with?
Most software companies charge on a subscription basis and they may want to lock you into a long-term deal. That could be a big problem if you choose the wrong company.
Virtually all the software options we reviewed that list their prices show a monthly subscription fee, but they are almost always billed annually, meaning that all 12 months are due up front. Six of the ten software options we looked at are up front about using this model, and we’re sure many of the other 12 also use this model.
Remember, however, that everything is negotiable in the world of sales—if you’re uncomfortable committing to such a long time frame, let the salesperson know that this is a sticking point for you. They’ll probably find some way to accommodate you.
4. Will you need to set up a demo or consultation?
Out of the 18 software options we examined, ten of them require you to sign up for a demo or consultation before you see any price at all. Many of the other software options require a consultation to see quotes for the pricier versions of their software.
Why? The price they quote for a large company will obviously be much more than what they’d provide for a smaller company with a smaller budget. It also gives them an opportunity to feel out your comfort level on price and avoid scaring you off with a figure that appears set in stone.
So while consultations may seem like a time suck when you’re busy and just want a price, it’s also a good way to find out directly from a salesperson if the software offers the features that you need, as well as negotiate a good price for your company that could end up being better than other software that appears to be a bargain.
5. Will a free software option work for you?
You may be able to get started with software without paying anything. Some of the options offer free trials that typically last three weeks to a month, offering full features and functionality. This is a good option if you want to be extra careful before committing to a software.
Some of the options even offer a totally free version. However, these are usually greatly limited in features or allow for just a single user.
For example, RedTeam has a “Construction Expert” option that is completely free and also has free video coaching. However, it only allows one dedicated user and limits features to its most popular (team collaboration, change orders, and bid and change proposals) while leaving off other potentially important features (construction accounting and project management).
Similarly, Aproplan has a free basic version for managing small projects that allows you access to free project tracking and lets you compare plans and add notes. But by upgrading, you can customize reports and take advantage of collaboration features.
6. Is there a setup fee?
Setup fees appear to be pretty uncommon but they do exist, and it’s something you should ask about if you set up a consultation with a software company that doesn’t publicize their prices.
While you may get unlimited users under RedTeam‘s $99 per month plan for its Construction Enterprise version, it comes with a $4,995 setup fee.
The bottom line...
These pricing facts don’t tell you much about the software, however. So if nothing else, remember this: when you’re shopping for construction software, or anything for that matter, don’t be laser focused on price. Software that actually makes your company run better is almost always more important than saving a few bucks.
What price do you think is reasonable for construction software?
Undoubtedly a lot of you out there have purchased construction software before. What kind of terms were you able to get? Did you think they were fair? What is a reasonable price to pay for software that does the job? Let us know in the comments below.