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Why you need a project management app for your project-based business

Project-based businesses make up almost half of all U.S. small businesses and span many industries, including accounting, consulting, web design, engineering and construction. With many moving parts in a project, it can be difficult for a small business owner to track projects from beginning to end. Project management  apps can help deliver a project from estimate to invoice, streamlining the process along the way. More importantly, the best project management apps foster long-lasting relationships with repeat clients that bring new business through word of mouth.

Here are some of the features to look for in project management apps:

  • Proposals and estimates – An effective project management app will help you clearly state your scope of work, deliverables, due dates and costs to the customer. In addition, it will make sealing the deal easier with signed estimates and clear expectations for better customer relationships.
  • Project management and tracking – A successful app gives you a clear roadmap of the project by mapping milestones, interdependent tasks and resources to a visual timeline such as a Gantt Chart or calendar. A good app keeps all your team members focused on their deliverables and tracks progress through a dashboard so you and the customer always have the big picture of the project.
  • Job costing  – This is another significant feature that directly saves your business money by tracking time, materials, payroll and expenses. Good job costing helps you avoid unpleasant cost overruns by projecting accurate costs to the customer throughout the project.
  • Reporting and profitability insights  – Once you have job costing under control, you’ll have data-driven answers to some of your biggest questions: Are you running profitable projects? What is your profit margin? Who are your most profitable and least profitable clients? With these insights, a business can spend more time managing customer relationships efficiently and invest more in profitable
  • Billing and invoicing  – Getting paid is vital to managing your cash flow. Use an app that offers easy payment options to give your clients (and you) room to breathe. Some popular invoicing options include immediate payment, partial payment, time and materials, and progress invoicing. Pleasing a customer with easy invoice and payment options will pay back the business with repeat business and referrals.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – If you have many clients with projects running in parallel, it can be difficult to remember all the details of each client. A CRM helps you stay organized with each client by tracking your project progress, communications and payment history. This helps you build profitable, personalized relationships with your clients that will increase loyalty over the long-haul.

The most effective project management apps are the ones that are tailored for your industry, and when you connect them with QuickBooks® Online, you save even more time and money by avoiding double data entry. Here are some helpful project management apps that connect seamlessly to QuickBooks:

  • Housecall Pro – Ideal for HVAC, electrical, plumbing and pest control businesses, this app focuses on dispatching workers to your client’s home. Online booking, mobile notifications and GPS tracking make this app appealing to customers by providing accessible, real-time updates.
  • BigTime – Tailored for professional services such as consultants, engineers and government contracting, BigTime features time and expense tracking, budgets, workflow management, approvals, WIP management, and billing. Pro tip: Big Time also has tools to help you stay in compliance with DCAA for government contracting.
  • Corecon – Designed for general contractors and engineering firms, Corecon is a comprehensive construction app that offers modules for business development, estimates, contract administration, procurement, time tracking, correspondence, document control, QC and scheduling.
  • RedTeam – This construction app manages all aspects of your construction process. With an intuitive interface and real-time updates, RedTeam enables construction and finance teams to collaborate effectively online at all stages of a project.
  • Aero Workflow – Designed by accountants for accountants, Aero Workflow facilitates profitable value-based billing. You can schedule and assign tasks, store processes and procedures, and turn your firm into a scalable practice.
  • LeanLaw – This app for lawyers helps you track time, create invoices and manage trust accounts in a few clicks. Time entries seamlessly convert to invoices you send through QuickBooks.
  • RepairShopr – For every kind of repair shop, RepairShopr helps you manage tickets, customer information, estimates and invoices. RepairShopr integrates with QuickBooks for easy invoicing and payments.

Project management apps are designed to deliver your projects successfully, from start to finish. With the right app, you can return to the heart of your business: client relationships. Earn your clients’ trust, manage their expectations without uncomfortable surprises and provide excellent customer service without spending outrageous resources.

Learn more about project management apps at the QuickBooks Apps Store.

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