Being a contractor is not an easy job – you have to mediate between different clients, constantly manage projects, and you have to make sure everything is running smoothly. This naturally includes a lot of book-keeping, calculation, and planning. Computer programs have dominated those areas for years, and your workflow would be much faster if you relied on one to help you manage everything.
Here are the features software needs to have to be a good candidate in helping you do your job easier:
Relevance to Your Sector
Contractors work in almost every business sector imaginable. While most contractors share common tasks related to their job, the variety is enough to make a computer program targeted towards a certain sector, while being unusable by contractors from a different sector.
That’s why before deciding on a program, you should check the software agency’s credentials and past projects. A building estimating software is relevant to some contractors, but not to most, and you should decide which of their projects and products are relevant to you. If you learn they are familiar with your sector, its pitfalls, and its operations, you can be safe knowing the software will be relevant to your needs. On the other hand, if it is a software agency with a generic program, you’ll be sure it falls short in many areas, and you won’t be able to make efficient use of it.
Ease of Use
The learning curve of some programs is so steep that you’ll basically waste more time learning how to use it properly than if you did everything by hand. This significant time-investment will not only make you lose a lot of money, but it’ll also kill your motivation for your job. There’s nothing more annoying than a buggy and unwieldy computer program.
These and many more are some of the reasons why you should prioritize ease of use when deciding on a piece of software. Make sure the UI is intuitive, the UX seamless, and bugs nearly non-existent. The extra money you might spend on an easier to use program will be worth it when you consider the alternatives.
Support and Documentation
As an independent contractor, you are an extremely busy person. Your job of mediating between a lot of different parties with conflicting interests means you’re always busy on the phone, on-site, writing e-mails, or attending interviews, making sure everyone is happy. This means you have little room for book-keeping and planning, which can be damaging if you’re not careful. Failing to plan properly might save you some time initially, but it is guaranteed to result in a loss of clients and profits in the long run.
This is where support and documentation come in when you examine contractor software. If you have an issue with the program, you can’t just spend time doing guesswork until you get it right. For instance, when you need a function, there should be enough documentation that you can easily find how to do it. Not only that, but also when you experience a bug, you must have easy access to the software provider so they can help.
A lack of proper documentation is one of the major reasons why people stop using an app. Looking for documentation and asking about the support they provide are two of the essential steps in choosing a piece of software.
Deciding by price can be tricky – while it is an important factor, it shouldn’t be the primary one. That’s precisely why it is last in this article – it is clearly important, but not the most important when it comes to making your final decision.
If you compare software and they’re about equal in all the above criteria, going for the cheaper one is a no-brainer. After you narrow down the list of candidate software you are interested in, it is a safe choice to go by price then.
Just be mindful of software that’s priced too low and make sure you read plenty of reviews before deciding.
It’s important to have the very best technology and software at your disposal in a world that’s continually getting more and more competitive. Make sure to bookmark this article to read through the next time you need to purchase new software for productivity, CRM, project planning, billing, or any other needs that might come up.