This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Are you looking for something different? For other comprehensive accounting solutions, check out our guide to the best small business accounting software.
QuickBooks Contractor Edition Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
General contractors and subcontractors needing help with tracking job-related costs
$799 per year for one user to $1,999 per year for five users
Self-help online resources, chatbot, live chat, and phone support (send a request and wait for a call)
QuickBooks Contractor Edition New Features for 2023
- Cash Flow Hub: This provides a one-stop shop for tracking cash position, bank and credit card accounts and loans, and all money-in and money-out transactions.
- Automatic mileage tracking: QuickBooks Contractor helps track drives between all job sites with its new automatic mileage tracker. Simply enter your place of origin and destination, and the app will automatically calculate the mileage instead of manually recording the odometer readings. This feature is available only for iOS users.
QuickBooks Contractor Edition Alternatives
Best for: Inexperienced bookkeepers
Best for: Companies seeking construction management features
Best for: Large companies with many accounting users
Starts at: $30 per month
Starts at: $99 per month
Starts at: $1,740 per year
QuickBooks Contractor Edition Pricing
QuickBooks Contractor Edition has the same prices as the standard business edition, which are as follows:
- $799 per year for one user
- $1,099 per year for two users
- $1,399 per year for three users
- $1,699 per year for four users
- $1,999 per year for five users
A QuickBooks Premier, or any QuickBooks Desktop product, subscription comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Fit Small Business Case Study
To get a full picture of using QuickBooks Premier, we devised an internal case study that rates the software based on a set of criteria. As QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Contractor essentially have the same standard accounting features, they have the same rubric scores, as presented in the table below. We walk you through the results of the case study in our QuickBooks Desktop Premier review.
Score (Out of 5)
Accounts Payable (A/P)
Accounts Receivable (A/R)
Banking & Cash Management
Sales Income Tax
Ease of Use
QuickBooks Contractor Edition Features
QuickBooks Contractor offers all the standard features of the general business edition, as discussed in our QuickBooks Desktop Premier review. In addition, it has extra features that contractors will find useful.
You can create and send job estimates to potential customers. To complete the estimate form, provide several information, such as the customer or customer job and the services you propose to do or products to include as a sale. It’s important to add as much detail as possible in the estimate as this provides the base for future change orders, invoices, and budget analysis.
Change Order Management
Large jobs rarely go as planned. When a change is necessary, you can make modifications to your original estimate, and QuickBooks will produce a change order automatically to send to your customer. To edit an existing estimate, go to the Customer Center and find the estimate you wish to edit from the Transactions tab.
You can create POs from scratch or directly from the estimate form. This helps prevent your project managers from forgetting to order needed materials, resulting in pricey add-ons and lost time. Your project managers can also use the POs to identify needed materials that aren’t included in the estimate.
You can make an invoice directly from an estimate. You can create an in-progress invoice by specifying a set percentage to bill for each item on the estimate, or you can select only specific items on the estimate to invoice. For example, you might decide to invoice only the materials listed on the invoice. When it’s time to invoice the remaining estimate, view the estimate again, click Create Invoice, and QuickBooks will ask if you want to invoice the remaining amount.
QuickBooks Contractor lets you track time worked by your crew. You can assign the cost of an employee’s wages to a particular job and to a service item that corresponds to the service items listed on your estimate. When wages are assigned to a particular job and service item, QuickBooks will assign any payroll taxes automatically to that job as well.
Budgeting & Forecasting
QuickBooks Contractor Edition lets you set up a budget or forecast, which is useful for financial management teams. You can create a forecast from scratch or use your previous year’s actual data. Either way, it can help you get a good look at your company’s financial future, which can be useful if you’re ensuring that all employees and bills will get paid in the next month.
To track expenses accurately, QuickBooks Contractor lets you upload receipts that can be attached to expense entries as documentation support. You can also select a classification, vendor, job, or account.
Job Costing Center
The job costing center provides the top and bottom three jobs ranked on profitability over the last three months. It also includes a few highlights of your recent performance and links to useful job costing reports.
In addition to the standard reports you can create in QuickBooks Premier, Contractor Edition provides contractor-specific reports, such as:
- Job profitability: This shows actual revenue and costs. Revenue and costs can be summarized for all selected jobs or can be displayed by service items for a particular job.
- Job estimates vs actuals: This provides a comparison of actual to estimated revenue and expenses. The report can be summarized by job or broken out by service items for a particular job.
- Job progress invoices vs estimates: This compares the cumulative amount of progress invoices to the estimate by job, so you can identify any jobs that haven’t been invoiced fully.
- Item profitability: This shows actual revenue and cost separated by service item across all jobs. This helps you identify which service items are the most and least profitable.
- Item estimates vs actual: This provides a comparison of actual vs estimated revenue and expenses by service item across all jobs. This enables you to see which service items are being poorly estimated.
- Unpaid bills by job: This is a list of outstanding bills separated by job. This is important to track to wrap up jobs properly and avoid any errors that could cause a customer being threatened with a lien from your vendor.
- Expenses not assigned to jobs: This offers a list of expenses not assigned to jobs that should be reviewed to ensure they don’t include direct materials or other charges that can be billed to a job.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who should use QuickBooks Premier Contractor?
Small and medium-sized construction businesses, such as electrical, trade, design, and freelance contractors needing to track all costs associated with their projects should use QuickBooks Desktop Premier Contractor. Larger companies may consider upgrading to QuickBooks Enterprise.
How hard is it to learn QuickBooks Premier Contractor?
QuickBooks Premier has a steep learning curve for beginners, so you might need some time to get yourself acquainted with the software. To get the most out of it, it’s best that you have an experienced bookkeeper managing your books.
Is QuickBooks Premier Contractor ideal for construction management?
While QuickBooks Contractor is great for construction accounting, it has no built-in construction management features. If you want a full-featured construction management solution, check out our guide to the best construction accounting software.
While QuickBooks Desktop Premier Contractor lacks ERP and construction management features compared to its competitors, it still offers excellent accounting features. We recommend it if you want to focus on construction accounting and tracking the profitability of jobs. If you want construction management and ERP alongside accounting features, then we recommend Buildertrend with QuickBooks Online Plus as a full accounting and construction management solution combined.