Buildern vs. Buildertrend | 2023 In-Depth Comparison
As a construction project management professional, you’ve probably searched for the best tool to systemize and automate estimating, bidding, scheduling, and communication processes. Yet, with so many options available on the market, deciding which one will suit your company’s business objectives can be challenging. Indeed, construction project management requires careful consideration and implementation of the right tools to ensure a successful outcome.
To help you choose a suitable software solution to manage construction projects, today’s article will review Buildern and Buildertrend – two effective platforms designed to help contractors manage processes more efficiently. Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution to construction project management, understanding each tool’s advantages and limitations is essential.
As flexible and reliable as each platform aims to be, this comparison provides an objective Buildern vs. Buildertrend comparison, pointing out their key features and differences.
Project Management Features
Construction project management relies on teamwork and communication between stakeholders, which is why both Buildertrend and Buildern offer project management features.
As an integral part of project management, team collaboration is critical to keeping a project progressing and running toward timely completion. Features like estimation, scheduling, bid requests and daily logs implement advanced project management methods while also providing stakeholders insights into their teams’ progress.
Here’s a deeper look at each platform’s internal dashboards.
Focused on assessing and pricing material and equipment costs, construction estimation is an essential process in the construction industry. Estimators calculate direct and indirect costs associated with a project, such as overhead and labor costs, and a profit margin for the construction company.
Estimating aims to determine how much the project will cost so that it can be given a budget and timeline. While most construction project management tools lack the ability to estimate these costs accurately, Buildern and Buidlertrend aspire to bridge the gap between estimation and construction management.
Estimation in Buildern
Buildern users enjoy the platform’s all-in-one solutions for managing a construction project. The feature allows users to create estimates based on the takeoff developed from the plans, material costs, and construction equipment associated with the project. Users are presented with a number of options to create material, labor, equipment, fee, subcontractor, allowance, and assembly estimates for their clients.
If you want to use Buildern as your core estimation software, you are free to choose from the following features:
- Estimating templates (coming soon)
The system generates an estimate broken down into line items with overheads and markups added to the direct costs.
Using Buildern as a Buildertrend alternative, estimators can manage the project budget and make adjustments as necessary, even after construction has begun. The software provides users with an extended toolset to group estimation items and adds dynamic measurements that allow the final estimation to change as other data changes.
Once the estimate is finalized, construction managers can export it and submit it for the client’s review. Moreover, finalized estimations can serve as a foundation for new bid requests, purchase orders, bills, and selections, saving time and effort.
Here’s a quick look inside Buildern’s Estimation feature.
The document includes overheads, line items, and markups. Managers can add their predefined overheads to handle this feature. However, the system automatically adds them if they miss the step. This includes:
- Supervision percent
- Contingency fee
- Management fee
This is a key step in the process, as it allows users to ensure their estimate is accurate and doesn’t lead to overspending. Tracking estimations history is a feature to be added to Buildern’s dashboard soon. This is a significant advantage other construction management tools lack, especially if the construction manager wants to compare various versions of past estimates and see where they could have improved in the future.
Moreover, each cost is categorized according to spheres like site setup, earthworks, labor work, etc. It’s also possible to add internal team notes and detailed descriptions to any line item, make adjustments and attach files as needed.
While several construction estimating software platforms ignore the insurance and taxes aspect, Buildern includes it as corresponding line items in the estimate.
Once the estimation is complete, users can create proposals based on project plans and preliminary estimates. Proposals in Buildern include all the essential information and documents needed for a successful launch. These include the scope of work, offer expiration date, overheads, insurance coverage, and other relevant data.
Estimation in Buildertrend
Buildertrend helps its users capture accurate cost data, track costs over time, and monitor job costs while providing a bird’s eye view of the project. The feature is comprised of the following parts:
- Job costing
- Estimating templates
Like the case with Buildern, Buildertrend also provides line items in the estimate reducing the likelihood of error with manual data entry.
In addition, Buildertrend users can create custom templates and save them as a basis for future estimates. This makes it easier to recall a past estimate and quickly build upon it, saving time for estimators.
Due to their complexity and scope, creating and maintaining project schedules for construction projects can be challenging. The Buildern vs. Buildertrend comparison shows that both platforms offer simplified yet different scheduling modules to help project managers stay on top of tasks through enhanced schedule flexibility.
Buildern’s Scheduling Feature
Using a multi-view construction scheduling module, Buildern stands out among its competitors with to its intuitive interface. The software helps develop easy-to-follow workflows, allowing users to create a natural hierarchic flow, breaking down tasks into smaller chunks and assigning them to individual team members.
Buildern’s scheduling feature also allows
- List view: Displays the entire project timeline in a list format
- Gantt charts: Displays the complete project timeline in table format
Gantt charts are the most popular type of scheduling in Buildern, as they show dependencies and progress for each task, which helps identify bottlenecks quickly. The software shows finish-to-start, start-to-finish, start-to-start, and finish-to-finish dependencies, allowing users to add baselines, define milestones and adjust the project schedule.
Configuring the working calendar within the software is another great advantage. You can customize it according to your company’s workday exceptions, excluding holidays, vacations, or other non-working days, and ensure that the project timeline progresses accurately.
Buildertrend’s Scheduling Feature
The scheduling module on Buildertrend is also quite comprehensive. It offers flexible views to ensure every construction team has real-time access to the same information. Whether you opt for a focused and closer view or want a zoomed-out phase list, Buildertrend is flexible enough to satisfy your needs.
The platform allows for chaining interdependent tasks together, thus optimizing the workflow. While moving tasks a few days back and forth to adjust the dates may be challenging in case of multiple dependencies, Buildertrend offers a feature to move the entire chain of tasks quickly.
In the preconstruction stage, bidding is an essential part of estimating. A bid request feature allows estimators to solicit bids from contractors, subcontractors, and vendors. They can be invited to bid on the job and provide a detailed breakdown of costs for their services. This information helps project estimators create accurate proposals and provide a smooth experience for the client regarding budgeting and planning.
Bidding in Buildern
Buildern users can create accurate bid requests and share them with vendors and subcontractors invited to their Buildern project dashboards. The feature allows estimators to include detailed descriptions of the work required, line items, and other related information needed for the bid request.
Once you invite subcontractors to bid on a project, they will get email notifications with a link to the bid request page. Subcontractors don’t have to sign up or log in to the system. If they receive a bid request created via Buildern, they are free to reply to emails, and rest assured that all communication workflow will be stored in Buildern’s bid request dashboard.
This page includes all the necessary information, such as:
- General information with the name and contact details
- Bid opening and due dates
- Start and delivery dates
- Cost items listed as line items or according to a flat rate
- Request descriptions
- Attached images, drawings, and associated files
Buildern users can track bid request status, including which subcontractors have opened it. The system allows for comparing several offers submitted by the subs, sending them to the project estimation, and setting the winner for the project.
Bidding in Buildertrend
Subcontractors added to Buildertrend can use the platform to implement several project-related actions, including:
- Communicate with subs
- Participate in bid requests
- Set deadlines and compare bids
Once you create a bid request, everyone added as a subcontractor will be able to submit their bids via the platform. The module is relatively easy to use, yet newcomers need to pass a brief introduction to familiarize themselves with the Buildertrend interface.
Construction accounting is a complex task, but it can be simplified to some extent with the help of modern tools. While the impact of inaccuracies and calculation mistakes can have serious consequences for a business, having a pre-established procedure is vital for success.
Accounting in the construction industry involves completing several accounting processes, such as:
- Purchase orders
- Change orders
- Cost Codes
We will next review each feature to see which of the two platforms meets the accounting needs more closely.
Integrations in Buildern
As a Buildertrend alternative, Buildern offers two-way integrations for a convenient and secure platform for managing invoices. The software integrates with two leading accounting platforms, Xero and QuickBooks, making it easier for users to get the most out of their bills, taxes, subvendors, invoices, and cost codes.
The integration allows for a synchronized flow of information between the platforms, ensuring maximum accuracy in invoicing clients. For smooth and error-free data transfers, the platform allows users to sync Cost Codes by importing them from accounting software or creating new lists in Buildern. In addition, adding sub-vendors and subcontractors is a piece of cake when done through Buildern’s invoices module. The feature allows tracking due payments separately for each sub.
Professionally organized construction accounting is one of Buildern’s cornerstones. The software was created with its primary users’ needs and preferences in mind. Making, sending, and tracking invoices is a quick process with Buildern, as all the data is automatically updated and organized across channels.
The software also allows users to attach receipts and images, making it easier to track changes and transactions. Sending detailed and highly organized invoices to your clients consistently will position your company as a reliable contractor.
Note: As construction taxes vary by jurisdiction, it is important to research the applicable laws in your area.
Unlike Buildertrend, Buildern supports construction tax calculation features. Whether the company operates in Australia relying on the GST, the USA, or anywhere in between, Buildern can easily calculate and display taxes on invoices.
The software automatically calculates the applicable construction taxes for each project, giving you an accurate and up-to-date picture of your costs. With Buildern, you can quickly and easily determine the amount of tax due on each project, sync the numbers between your Xero or Quickbooks accounts, and generate reports for clients or contractors.
While Buildertrend lacks the ability to calculate taxes, Buildern offers a comprehensive solution for managing construction taxes. This helps to save time and money by eliminating the need for error-prone manual calculations or paperwork.
If you are a US-based builder, explore the IRS website to ensure you pay the correct construction taxes.
For Australian builders, refer to the Australian Taxation Office for guidance on applicable construction tax rates.
Note: To take your construction accounting to the next level, here’s a step-by-step guide to complete accounting automation with Buildern.
Integrations in Buildertrend
The invoicing module with Buildertrend allows users to generate accurate line-item invoices, helping them efficiently manage and track their cash flow. The platform also has special offers for builders who invoice their clients on fixed-price projects. Users can create and send their invoices automatically based on project estimates and bids.
Yet, most newcomers often have trouble finding the feature through the system. Most claim it was slightly more challenging to find the invoices on Buildertrend compared to other platforms.
Developers have made attempts to solve the issue with ready-to-use digital invoice templates. Whether this will or will not work for your company is something you should decide for yourself.
A bill is an official document providing a detailed breakdown of services and/or materials. In construction projects, bills can serve to track down all expenses related to a particular project.
Regarding bills, both Buildern and Buildertrend offer similar feature packs with specific outstanding elements.
Bills in Buildern
Buildern users can create and schedule bills from a pre-made purchase order to avoid any mistakes and inaccuracies. With this option, the project manager can create a bill from the PO and fill in the data related to quantity, cost code, unit costs, and other fields.
Users can either create a new bill or add already-paid bills to their Buildern account.
Bills in Buildertrend
Buildertrend also has a bill creation feature that allows users to create bills for their purchase order processing. Tracking approvals, PO statuses, and invoices become less time-consuming and more organized.
As an official document issued by the buyer to the seller, purchase orders (POs) are essential for tracking construction-related expenses. Construction companies use purchase orders to keep track of the materials and services purchased for their projects. A detailed PO also serves as a legal record and provides the buyer with a way to keep track of costs, quantity, quality and delivery.
Let’s consider how both platforms deal with purchase order management through their systems.
Purchase Orders in Buildern
Buildern has a special PO-generating module that allows users to create purchase orders for project materials. Once you add sub/vendors you work with to the Buildern account, you can create and send purchase orders to them right from the platform’s project dashboard.
A purchase order template created in Buildern will usually include the following information blocks:
- PO name
- Automatically generated PO ID number
- The sub/vendor’s name
- Approval and delivery deadlines
- Notes for the sub/vendors
- The complete list of materials needed for the project
Whenever you generate a purchase order via Buildern, the document will include detailed information with cost codes, unit cost, quantity or unit, and the amount of tax. All the data is automatically updated between Buildern and your accounting software, so you can keep track of all construction-related expenses.
Buildern offers additional PO management options allowing users to resend, withdraw or mark the issued orders as complete.
Moreover, you can create a bill from the issued PO, which makes it more comfortable to track payments within the system.
Purchase Orders in Buildertrend
The feature allowing you to create and manage purchase orders is also available on Buildertrend. The platform has a straightforward procedure for making PO documents and sending them directly to the subs.
Users can track the status of purchase orders in real time and monitor their expenses. A closer look into the Buildern vs. Buildertrend comparison shows a relatively similar performance concerning PO management.
Note: Both systems offer users a convenient way to create, manage and track their purchase orders. However, in terms of resource management efficiency for project managers, Buildern is a better option. This is indicated by a number of online user reviews claiming that Buildertrend doesn’t alert its users about insufficient funds, resulting in POs exceeding the allocated budget. Most construction projects have strict budget regulations. As a result, such small cases can escalate to major delays in the project’s implementation.
Representing mutual consensus between the contractor and client, change orders are documents that allow flexible and timely adjustments to the project. As construction budgeting is one of the industry’s leading issues, this feature should be available in every project management tool on the market.
Buildern and Buildertrend allow users to create change orders and adjust a project’s budget. Let’s look at the unique features provided by these two construction project management tools.
Change Orders in Buildern
Buildern allows users to draft a change order document and track its approvals in real time. A change order template in Buildern includes the following information:
- Name for the CO
- Approval due date
- Additional notes
- Costs codes
- Unite price, quantity, etc.
Line-item change orders help project managers easily add or delete items from the budget. Also, this feature is directly connected to the accounting system, which allows users to sync changes within the project.
Once a client or a subcontractor receives your change order, they can also view it online without having a Buildern account.
Change Orders in Buildertrend
The feature designed to create and manage change orders allows Buildertrend users to attach post-approval documents. Although this may seem like a minor change, it helps project managers adjust the COs quickly in the budgeting system.
As an integral part of any financial report and document, cost codes are the fixed and predetermined sets of numbers and letters used to organize a project’s cost. Helping project managers differentiate between cost categories and easily monitor them throughout a project’s life cycle is vital.
Buildern and Buildertrend have cost-code systems that allow users to organize their expenses within a project.
Cost Codes in Buildern
Buildern offers a multiple-level cost code system that empowers users to specify the cost breakdown of their projects. The software already has CSI and NAHN cost codes for the most popular construction materials and labor, allowing users to import them into the Buildern dashboard with a single click. You can create new codes for project-specific tasks and items for a more enhanced workflow.
To add a new cost code to your list, you’ll need to provide the software with the following information:
- Parent category
Moreover, Buildern allows users to import cost codes collected in an Excel or CSV file if the manual process takes too long. If you already have cost code catalogs in Xero, QuickBooks, or your formerly used Buildertrend account, you are free to sync the platforms and transfer them with a few simple steps.
Cost Codes in Buildertrend
Buildertrend has a list with standard construction cost codes. The list includes the following categories:
- Interior and exterior materials
As every expense in a construction project needs to be accounted for, Buildertrend also allows users to add cost codes as needed.
The Importance of Team Management in Construction
Teams are the backbone of any successful construction project. Regardless of industry, professionally organized team management is essential in construction, as it helps coordinate project tasks and activities for maximum efficiency. While gathering niche experts with extended experience and a rich skill set may help you execute the tasks more efficiently, no team can survive the pressure and time rush of the modern construction industry without the help of project management tools.
There are no winners or losers in the Buildern vs. Buildertrend comparison. Both software solutions provide users with effective tools to stay on top of their projects. As we’ve already discussed some features, which can also be easily integrated under this section, let’s compare two additional features custom-created for team members.
Roles and Permissions
Having clearly defined roles and limits in any team is essential for successful project completion. Not only does it specify each team member’s work, it also helps protect against data security breaches.
Roles and Permissions in Buildern
Construction project managers define each member’s access level via the user management feature in Buildern. It allows them to assign which features, documents, and reports a specific team member can view, add, edit or delete.
As a new company registers on the platform, teams have pre-made roles to assign, such as project manager, sales manager, architect, sub/vendors, etc. With a flexible interface and an improved user experience, managers can eliminate information clutter through the project dashboard while reducing repetitive access requests.
Roles and Permissions in Buildertrend
The role-based access features of Buildertrend allow users to assign various permissions according to user rank. Project managers can create different role access levels, from complete access to highly restricted access.
Regardless of the software you choose, having a pre-defined strategy for roles and permissions helps maintain successful team communication and streamline the workflow. Also, by appropriately configuring roles and permissions for each team member, construction project managers ensure that each user has access to specific data.
To ensure all team members are on the same page, real-time notifications are a must for any successful construction project. Let’s see how each software handles advanced notification management!
Notifications in Buildern
Buildern helps project managers stay on top of projects by eliminating repetitive calls and meetings via advanced notifications. The software can send automated email notifications for urgent tasks, deadline reminders, pending bills, invoices, and more.
Buildern also provides automatic notifications for any changes in the documents or on-site issues that may occur during the project’s progress. This helps managers anticipate potential risks and ensure all team members are up to date with their tasks at every stage of the construction project.
Project managers can adjust the notifications settings to customize their frequency, while team members are able to receive emails and system notifications with details of their assigned tasks.
Notifications in Buildertrend
Buildertrend’s notifications are similar to that of Buildern’s. The software allows managers to adjust receiving email reminders for updates and tasks, deadlines and project progress.
Regardless of the software you choose, notifications are essential for any successful construction team. With advanced notifications in place, managers can rest assured their team members never miss updates, and most importantly, do their job more effectively.
Finally, we have come to the last but most crucial element of our comparison: we’ll look at the price difference between the two software platforms.
Pricing in Buildern
Let’s tell it like it is. Buildern has a more flexible and affordable pricing strategy compared to Buildertrend. The software offers three different plans tailored to fit projects and budgets of any size.
Here’s a brief overview of each subscription plan:
Pricing: $199/month for yearly subscription
Offering access to the main system functionality and Buildern’s core features, the Starter plan is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. It includes but doesn’t limit to the following features:
- Project schedule
- Bid requests
- Change orders and purchase orders
- Customer Invoices
- Budgeting and Estimation
- File management
Pricing: $399/month for yearly subscription
With an upgraded plan, users can access the most advanced features of Buildern. This plan is suitable for larger businesses or companies with multiple construction projects running simultaneously. As a privilege, Professional plan users benefit from the advantage of integrating their Buildern account with third-party accounting software. It includes all features from the Starter plan plus:
- Advanced budgeting
- Quickbooks and Xero integration
- Real-time reports
- Daily logs
- Mobile app (coming soon)
- RFIs (coming soon)
- Messaging (coming soon)
Pricing: Contact the support to learn more
Larger companies that look for a more comprehensive solution and want to benefit from all features offered by Buildern will find the Enterprise plan a great choice. It includes everything from the Starter and Professional
plans and offers custom features upon request. Enterprise plan users can also opt for 24/7 enterprise support.
Pricing in Buildertrend
Buildertrend has a more traditional pricing strategy delivered in three different subscription plans.
Here’s what you’ll get with Buildertrend’s plans:
Pricing: $99/month ($399/month after 2 months)
Tailored for teams looking for simpler project planning, Buildertrend’s Essential plan offers the following features:
- Daily Logs
- Time clock
- Buildertrend payments
Although this may seem like a more beneficial offer in the Buildern vs. Buildertrend comparison, keep in mind that you will commit to paying an x4 times higher price after two months. This can be a major drawback for many!
Pricing: $399/month ($699/month after 2 months)
If you need access to more advanced financial tools and reporting, then the Advanced plan is for you. It comes with all features from the Essential plan plus:
- Lead proposals
- Change orders and purchase orders
- Estimates and bid management
- File management
- Accounting integrations
Pricing: $899/month ($1,299/month after 2 months)
For those looking to go the extra mile with construction project management, Buildertrend has a Complete plan offering a few extra features along with everything from the Essential and Advanced plans. You will get:
- Extra integrations (Gusto HR/Payroll)
General Summary for Buildern vs. Buildertrend 2023 Comparison
Buildern and Buildertrend have won their place in the industry as reliable construction project management solutions. As an objective comparison of the two companies in 2023, here are a few key points to consider:
- Buildern’s estimation feature allows its users to create estimates from takeoffs and submit them to clients right away.
- Buildern supports taxation calculations for US-based and Australian companies. A feature that Buildertrend lacks to offer its users.
- Both platforms allow users to create bid requests for vendors and subcontractors.
- Buildern comes with a more user-friendly and task-intuitive interface, enabling users to start working with the system right away.
- Buildertrend users must undergo training to get the most out of their platform.
- Buildern has a more flexible and affordable pricing approach.
- Buildertrend increases its monthly payments for all three subscription plans after two months.
- Unlike Buildertrend, Buildern doesn’t offer its users warranties and time clock features.
- Both platforms have accounting integrations with Quickbooks and Xero. Yet, Buildern benefits users with two-way integration for both software.
- Buildertrend takes third-party integration further, enabling access to Gusto HR/Payroll.
As both software allow newcomers to schedule demo sessions with customer support, it’s advised to explore both options before making the final decision. This way, you can determine which of the two construction project management platforms best fits your business needs and budget.
Schedule a free demo to start using Buildern today!