Best Free Softwares for Managing Your Architecture Business

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

As an architect, you will have many things to deal with – for example, designing your projects. Technicalities may be the last thing on your mind, so you must look for the best free apps for managing your architecture business. 

But what will the best app look like – and which one should you trust? After all, your business is essential. You need something with a high accuracy level. If you want to keep everything in order but do not know where to start, our guide will help you. 

No two apps will have the same features – especially not a free app. With that in mind, there are certain things that you may want to look into when choosing the best architect management app to use along with your other architect tools.  

Here are some of the best free apps you can use as an architect:

1. Bonsai Professional Services Tool Suite

The Bonsai business management suite is a one-in-all app and is well known for its proposals, intake forms, and invoice templates for architects. Although this tool is a paid software, they offer a free trial you could use to try their library of pre-made templates specifically created for architects.

Bonsai has multiple templates that you can use for your business, including contracts and proposals. This way, you won’t have to waste time building the documents from scratch; the app does it for you.

Bonsai has multiple templates that you can use for your business, including contracts and proposals. This way, you won’t have to waste time building the documents from scratch; the app does it for you.

Along with their free templates, here are some other feature categories Bonsai has:

  • Invoicing

Bonsai makes it simple to invoice your clients. Select a pre-made template from their extensive library, customize and download it. The software allows you to manage the entire invoicing process. You can set up recurring or scheduled invoice dates, request late payments, allow partial payments, and even add tips.

  • Proposals

Pitching yourself as an architect practice or firm is essential for bringing on a constant stream of new clients. A professional-looking proposal document could impress your potential clients when making a pitch. 

Bonsai’s proposal templates have all the relevant sections to sell yourself to your clients. Beginners should have no problem creating and sending their first proposal. 

  • Task Management

Break down every project into a series of tasks you have to do. It can be very helpful when you have deadlines to meet. This tool allows you to map your tasks out and complete a project. It also enables you to assign the appropriate tasks to the right people. Our task management tool ensures your projects are going according to plan. 

  • Budgeting

Depending on the project, you may be dealing with a tight budget. With Bonsai Cash and Bonsai Tax features, you may use these to manage the cash flow of your business. Bonsai Cash is a checking account that can be very useful for credit card payments.

Bonsai Cash also offers an envelope tool where you can budget your money. You can put money aside for business equipment, or you may set it so that it automatically draws your tax money. Bonsai Tax will make it easier to claim your deductions when tax season turns a corner. 

  • Time Management

To create accurate invoices, you must know how much time you spend on a task. Thus, a time management feature will help you track your progress more efficiently. With Bonsai, you also have a time management tool. Tracking hours will ensure that your paperwork is accurate and that your clients are billed correctly.

2. Asana

Do you have multiple people on your team overseeing the projects? Asana can help you keep track of your deadlines. Asana uses to-do lists that can be allocated to different members of your team, creating an efficient timeline. You can also set deadlines for every project so that no team member falls behind.

Asana allows you to form teams where the members can communicate with one another. Comments through the tasks can also keep the projects more organized. You can share files with other people – so, no matter where you are, you will not be missing any of the documents.

Asana asks for a $10.99 fee if you have more than 15 people on your team. However, if there are fewer people, it is completely free of charge. If you just started the business and do not have many team members, to begin with, Asana can help you with team management tools.

3. Evernote

Evernote, as its name suggests, is an app created to help manage your notes and ideas. No matter if you need a place to store your designs or your contracts, Evernote keeps things organized. You will not lose track of your projects simply because you do not know where you put them.

With Evernote, you can create to-do lists, setting them all against a deadline. This way, you will know precisely when you are supposed to deliver a project, meet a client, or simply take care of a task.

Evernote can also be accessed from multiple corners of the earth, and you may create folders. This allows you to share documents if you have employees in different locations. This can also be very helpful if you want to exchange notes and ideas with your client, without necessarily going to the location.

4. Unroll.Me

As an architect, one of the most troublesome tasks to deal with is going through your emails daily. If you have a more extensive client pool, that number you see next to your inbox can be somewhat intimidating. Unroll.Me can be very useful, as it lets you organize and manage that clutter of emails. 

Clicking on every separate email can be very time-consuming. With this app, you may roll everything in just one email, without wasting any time. It also helps you easily unsubscribe from any unwanted emails, without having to go through each link separately. 

The interface of Unroll.Me is very user-friendly. Setting it up takes a few minutes, after which you can organize the clutter with just one click. Categories are very intuitive, making it a good option for designers that are just learning the ropes of this tool. 

5. Moosti

Architects, especially those working on a freelance basis, may have difficulties organizing their time. For example, if you have a task with a longer deadline, you may start procrastinating until the time is wasted. Similarly, you may get too engrossed in a task, to the point where you forget how to take a break. 

Moosti is there to remind you to take a breather. You can set your focus time, the short and long breaks, as well as the time when you are supposed to stop. It organizes your time based on your availability so that you do not work overtime (or less than you should).

One thing to remember is that Moosti does not have a snooze button. Once you hit start, you have to take it to the end. Otherwise, you have to start over, which can affect your productivity. Many people may see this as a flaw, but it is set to keep your eyes on the prize.

6. Dropbox

How many people do you have working on your team? Do you constantly have to meet with one another or send separate emails? How crucial is it that they get access to your plans as soon as possible? 

The faster they can see the documents that concern them, the easier it will be for them to continue their tasks. The problem is that you may not always have time to send or check your emails. If you are an architect, you will spend most of your time designing. Therefore, sending the same email to different people may be the least of your worries. 

This is where Dropbox may come in handy. You can sync Dropbox with certain folders on your phone or computer. This way, whenever you finish an idea, your other team members and project managers may be able to see it as soon as possible. There will not be any unwanted delays due to a lack of documents.

7. Wave

Managing your finance can be tricky, especially if you are new to this industry. This is where Wave can come in handy. The app can automatically track your expenses and cash flow, ensuring you are not spending more than you earn.

Wave allows you to download an invoice for each transaction you make. Not only will this help the clients keep their peace of mind, but it will also allow you to stay organized. When tax season turns a corner, you will know exactly how much you owe and what deductions you can get back. 

Wave can be integrated with a variety of apps. This way, you can easily put all your information in one place, making you less likely to miss a deadline. The app also gives you access to HR and payroll features. This way, you can be sure that your workers receive the compensation they are due.

8. Google Drive

Google Drive has been here for a while but is still a beneficial tool for architects. This app can help you synchronize folders so that you may send files across various devices. Whether you want to move a file from your laptop to your iPad or wish to share it with a coworker, Google Drive will give you the medium.

You can install the app on your phone or tablet, add the software to your computer, or simply use the browser version. All you need is your Google email and password, and you will be ready. 

The program offers 15 GB of free cloud storage space, which you may use however you want. This is usually enough, especially if you store documents and pictures on the platform. If it turns out that you need more, then you may go for the paid plans. You may get up to 2TB of storage space from Basic to Premium. 

9. Expensify

If you have problems keeping your finances organized, you may want to try Expensify. The app allows you to scan receipts and process expenses while you are on the go, making it easier for you to keep track of your budget.

These processes may be easily automated, saving you time along the way. It is very simple to use, and its user-friendly integration barely needs a learning curve. This way, you may focus your attention on the things that matter: designing your architectural projects. 

Expensify offers easy integration with any accounting software that you plan on using. You can receive expense reports in real-time, making it easier for you to invest or use your money properly. The app is free of charge for up to 25 SmartScans of receipts per month.

10. Basecamp

Basecamp is also a good app for managing your projects. That being said, unlike other management apps, it does not stop at to-do lists. You have several categories that you may join.

With Basecamp, the members of your project can enter chat rooms, check message boards, look at calendars, see the tasks lists and use the recurrent check-in system. This way, you will all have access to the necessary information.

For the most part, Basecamp is a free app, and you can get all the basic management features free of charge. You may also upgrade to Basecamp for Business if it is not enough. You will get access to premium tools for an extra fee.

The Bottom Line

Managing an architecture business might be intimidating, especially considering expenses and technical work. After all, drawing your sketches is not the only thing you need to do as an architect. Thankfully, plenty of apps can make your job much easier. We hope our suggestions will help you find the right tools for you.

Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a freelancer from San Diego, CA. He loves to write and share his knowledge about business and valuable tools.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.