QuickBooks is a great general business accounting system, but there are a number of things it does not provide for a construction business that ContractorTools is specifically designed to provide.

Here are some of the things you can do in ContractorTools that you cannot do in QuickBooks:

Integrate Craftsman Costbooks

ContractorTools offers access (optional) to the electronic data version of three of the Craftsman Costbooks: 

  • National Construction Estimator

  • National Home Improvement Estimator

  • National Renovation and Insurance Repair Estimator

Each Craftsman costbook contains 10’s of thousands of construction cost items indexed to your local zip code. ContractorTools allows you to instantly search these costbooks by keyword and copy cost items into your estimate.

Create and Use Custom Costbooks

ContractorTools allows you to create your own custom costbooks that allow you store and retrieve cost items that you commonly use. You can update the costs in your custom costbooks by editing individually in the ContractorTools app, or you can export them to an Excel spreadsheet, edit them there en mass, and then re-import them to ContractorTools.

Job Templates

ContractorTools comes with a number of job templates, and allows you to create your own job templates. You can create templates for types of jobs that you do commonly. Then, when you create a job, you just copy from from the appropriate template, and it will be already set up with everything in the template, including:

  • Markups

  • Tax Codes

  • Estimate Items, Terms, Description

  • Draw Schedule

  • Proportional Costs

Cost Items By Multiple Cost Types

ContractorTools allows you to enter items costs broken into separate cost types. Each cost item in ContractorTools can have cost for:

  • Materials

  • Labor

  • Subcontract

  • Equipment

  • Other

Upload and Include Photos and images

ContractorTools allows you to include any number of photos in your job proposals, including:

  • Proposal cover page photo

  • Any number of full page photos 

  • Any number of detail photos arranged with 2 to 8 photos per page


ContractorTools allows you to define markups in 3 categories and automatically calculate these as a percentage of the job total, or individual job item costs. Markups can be defined as:

  • Overhead – What it costs to operate your business and break even on the job.

  • Profit – What you will earn by doing the job.

  • Contingency – Padding to cover unanticipated costs.


ContractorTools allows you to offer and calculate discounts, either as a percentage of the job total, or as fixed dollar amounts of individual line items. This is a powerful and versatile marketing tool.

Draw Schedules

ContractorTools allows you to define an anticipated schedule in which you will invoice your customer (request draws). The Draw Schedule is automatically printed as part of the estimate agreement, and the payments defined in the draw schedule can be automatically used to generate invoices.

Proportional Costs

ContractorTools allows you to define estimate line items whose amounts are dynamically calculated as a percentage of the estimate total. You would use proportional costs for things like Site Supervision, Construction Insurance, or Finance Charge.

Professional Looking Estimates and Contracts

You can print estimates in QuickBooks, but there isn't a way to include contract terms to turn an estimate into a contract, or to create a professional looking estimate package with a cover page and job site photos.

Change Orders

You can create estimates in QuickBooks, but there's no way to create change orders related to an original estimate. You can add another estimate, but there's no way to cancel items in the original estimate and maintain an audit trail of that that shows the original estimate and any change orders related to it.

Progress Invoicing

ContractorTools allows you to automatically create progress invoices based on fixed dollar amounts, a percentage of the job total, a selection of individual estimate line items, or the draw schedule. 

Job Accounting

ContractorTools provides Job Recap Summary and Job Recap Detail reports which provide a full accounting of the job to the customer, starting with the original estimate, and including discounts, change orders, invoices, payments, credits and job totals for payments due, remainder to be invoiced, etc.

Job Reports

ContractorTools provides job reports for things like a list of materials in a job (to be used as a purchase order or materials shopping list, etc.), and list of labor hours (to be used as work orders, etc.).

Multiple Company Profiles

ContractorTools allows you to operate under multiple company branding profiles with a single account. For example, if your company performs work under multiple identities, like: "ACME Doors & Windows", "ACME Roofing & Siding", you can easily set these up in ContractorTools and assign each job to a different branding profile. Each branding profile can have it's own name, logo, address, and contact information.

None of the functions listed above are available in QuickBooks. 

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