A Guide To Open Source Project Management Software

When it comes to project management software, there are all sorts of opinions about what is most desirable. I think the majority of people, even those who would describe themselves as technology nerds, most often prefer to use applications that work well enough on their own and do not require deep knowledge of coding to use and understand. We want a kitchen knife that is sharp, comfortable in the hand, and dependable for chopping ingredients. For us, the point is not the knife itself, but the beautiful food we make with it. And the same principle applies to our project management tools.

But not everyone subscribes to this view. In the software world, particularly, there are those who prefer to write their own code and design their own applications. They use self-made computers and run operating systems like Linux. Whenever they can, they use open-source applications so they can dig into the code and make sure it is doing just what they want it to.

As with most kinds of web-based software, the project management world contains a number of open-source options. If you are anything like me, you have probably heard the term “open source” before, and it filled you with a vague apprehension. Do I have to write the code myself? Isn’t this why I paid for someone to design this software in the first place? What if I break the code by accident! This is all too stressful!

Fortunately, I can offer you respite from those fears. There are a number of advantages to using an open-source software for task management, though there are some complications that can arise from that choice. Is it worth your time? Let’s dive into the facts to find an answer to that question, and then take a look at some good open source project management software programs.

What Is Open Source Software?

In general terms, open source software refers a program or application with a source code that is accessible by any user. Now if you are like me, the term “source code” makes your eyes glaze over, your head tip back slightly, and re-runs of “How It’s Made” start playing behind your eyes. But fear not! The term is far less intimidating than it might seem. As you probably know, all software runs on code, and open source software just makes that code available for editing by anyone. As my father is fond of reminding me, “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to.” So if you are content with your software just how it is, you do not have to play with it.

Another misconception people have about open source software is this: If anyone can edit the source code, isn’t it easier to hack, sabotage, or otherwise ruin by mischevious antagonists? Effectively, the answer is “no.” When you purchase or download open-source software you are creating your own version of that software, and the only people able to modify the code will be people within your own team. It is no more vulnerable to attack than other software you might consider using.

More specifically, open-source project management software tends to include applications that are designed to meet project management needs (task lists, project portfolios, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, etc), while allowing users to customize their experience both in the mechanics of how the app functions (do you want recurring tasks? Templates? Timesheets?), and the visual interface (want a bright pink background? Company logos?)

Buying or subscribing to open source project management can be like going to the hardware store and buying lumber, nails, and a hammer, rather than simply buying a pre-built table. Alternatively, sometimes it is more like going to IKEA for a flatpack table that just requires a few steps to assemble. So how much of a DIY-er are you? And what are the concrete benefits of that trip to the hardware store or IKEA, rather than just getting something ready-made? Let’s take a closer look.

Benefits To Open Source Software

The most obvious benefit of open-source software of any kind is the higher level of control you will have over your application. This goes deeper than the cosmetic jokes I made above, meaning you can drastically modify the inner workings of the program. You can add entirely new features that were never present in the original, though the quality of these features will sometimes depend on the skill of your in-house software engineers. Some providers, however, have marketplaces that users can browse, shopping for community-designed features that slot into the code perfectly. A great example of this concept is OrangeScrum, hosting a diverse market with all sorts of additions to choose from.

Another big draw of open source software is that these options tend to be available for free! Most open-source creators don’t see the point in charging for a product that their customers are likely going to modify up the wazoo anyway. Access to the source code is usually free or comes with a one-time cost, rather than the monthly subscription model common to other, cloud-based project management software. If you are wondering how companies like the aforementioned OrangeScrum and others (like Taiga or MyCollab) make money, it’s simple: they tend to charge for customer service, though some also offer standardized versions of their software as well.

Downsides To Open Source Software

In some ways, the most prominent advantages to using an open-source project management software — control and customizability — can be the biggest disadvantages as well. You may have noticed above my repeated references to coding and software engineers, both of which will be needed to take full advantage of apps like OrangeScrum and the rest. If your small business lacks an in-house IT or computing division, open-source might be too large an undertaking.

On another note, if you end up with a project management vendor that offers source code for free but customer service for a premium, you might be facing prohibitive costs. Basic customer service plans can go for more than $150 per month, with premium plans costing triple that. Some might consider this money well spent, and they might be right. But I can think of several closed-source, web-based project management apps that you can get much cheaper. If you just want a simple way to manage tasks, you’ll be better off with an SaaS solution like Basecamp that you can use out of the box.

Finally, using open-source software often means wading through poorly designed interfaces. To be fair, several of the ones I have mentioned here have decent designs, especially the folks at Taiga, who have created an interface as nice as the likes of Binfire (read our review) or Streamtime (read our review). However, several of the higher-recommended open-source offerings, like ]project open[, ProjectLibre, and Open Project all feature less-than-inspiring GUI’s. Like it or not, visual design is part of a user’s experience, and good design leads to happier users.

Which Open Source Project Management App Is The Best?

There are so many open source project management apps out there that it would be impossible to cover even a representative sample in a blog post like this. With that in mind, here are my three favorite apps to get you started:


As I have already mentioned, OrangeScrum is one of the most well-known apps in the open-source project management world. This is classic open-source software; the options are almost overwhelmingly endless. You can get the cloud option or the on-premise option. You can use the marketplace to modify the app up the wazoo. You can integrate Slack, Google apps, or Dropbox. You can use it on a computer, your phone, or your tablet. If all those options started to blur together in a whirlwind of customization fatigue, keep in mind that OrangeScrum was designed to be an enterprise-level tool.

When you subscribe to OrangeScrum (there are five subscription levels, each of which increases the file storage and user cap), you gain access to a full range of project management features. This includes time tracking for tasks, projects, task lists and to-do lists, Gantt charts, resource tracking, and more. For those of you looking for a comprehensive project management solution available at a decent price with excellent customization options, this may be the task management tool you are looking for.


In my opinion, Taiga takes the prize for the most stylish open-source project management app. Comparing Taiga to OrangeScrum is like comparing apples to an apple tree. Where OrangeScrum can be almost anything you need it to be, Taiga is extremely focused on Agile methodology. With a scrum board to highlight what jobs and tasks are falling behind schedule and a Kanban view to help dissect what needs to happen on your own project, this is one of the best interpretations of Agile project management I have yet seen.

There is a free version of Taiga, though it is quite limited, with only one project and three team members available. Fortunately, a subscription comes pretty cheaply, at only five dollars per month. Best of all, for you coding geeks out there, the source code is available to you to customize to your heart’s content.


Of the three apps I am covering here, MyCollab is the tool that best fits the open-source archetype, warts and all. The website feels thrown together, with a couple of copy-editing issues even on the front page. MyCollab does offer some paid subscriptions, but the option open-source fiends are going to be most interested in is the free “community” edition. Note that in order to use this completely open-source version of MyCollab, you will need to self-host the app on your own servers.

If you choose to do that, you get access to issue tracking, email reporting, tasks, project and customer management, and anything else you can dream up; you can alter, modify, and otherwise change the code to your heart’s content. I probably don’t need to point this out, but this option is probably not for you if you don’t have dedicated code monkeys on staff to keep everything straight and track your own bugs. If you are looking for project management that works every time you use it without much effort from you, you should probably look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

When it comes right down to it, I think that open-source software is going to be valued differently by different kinds of teams looking for different things out of a project management tool. Enterprise-level corporations, with in-house computer engineers, will probably find the flexibility and customization of these tools extremely appealing. Likewise, startup tech companies and smaller teams will probably appreciate the opportunity to tailor their apps directly to their own needs, whether they need Gantt charts, advanced task tracking or simple to-do lists. Experienced project managers will also enjoy the fact that they can tailor their tools to Scrum, Agile, or Kanban-based project planning methodologies.

However, if you are in a small or mid-sized business operating outside the tech industry, you will probably get better value and less headache out of a more conventional cloud-based tool.

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5 Free Project Management Apps

It goes without saying that paying less for something is desirable. But on the hand, choosing the cheaper of two options can put you in dire straits if that lower-priced product is also of cheaper quality. Sometimes, it’s better to pay a higher cost upfront if doing so means you are less likely to have to replace things later on. But does this axiom hold up in the world of project management?

There are a number of free apps or free versions of apps out there designed to help you and your team manage your work efficiently. Is it worth it to go with a free version when paying might get you access to new features, better support, or more file storage? These are the questions we will be answering here and now.

But first, some housekeeping. For each app, I will cover what the free version brings to the table and how it differs from paid versions (when applicable). I’ll also throw in a few other observations about the value of each app based on my experience in testing this kind of software. At the end of the process, I will deliver a verdict about whether each app is worth your time.

Let’s get started!


Redbooth (read our review) is one of our favorite project management apps here at Merchant Maverick. We love it for its slick, modern interface and excellent, easy to use features. But how much of that awesomeness overflows into the Free version? Let’s find out.

At first glance, the free version of Redbooth might come across as a little underwhelming. With a 10-user maximum threshold, you will have to be operating on a small scale indeed for this to meet your needs. Add to that a strict limit of two workspaces, and you may feel that Redbooth’s usefulness does not outweigh the downsides of the free version.

However, if you keep looking, you will find that many of our favorite features are still accessible in the free version. You still get unlimited tasks and subtasks, Gantt charts, basic reporting, conversations, templates, and email support. Wrap it all up in Redbooth’s gorgeous UI and you end up with a pretty picture.

Are there issues with the free plan? Yes. Like I mentioned above, this is a difficult free app to adapt to larger teams, or even to small teams that handle lots of kinds of projects. But if you are a kind of one-trick-wonder company, or if you work on just one or two major projects at a time, Redbooth’s no-cost plan might work out for you.

Verdict: Redbooth’s free version is worth your consideration

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects (read our review) is another longstanding favorite at Merchant Maverick. And we aren’t the only ones who like it. Teamwork Projects has been winning hearts and minds since back in 2007. And happily, there is a free version. Signing up and entering your email address and a password will give you access to this app’s user-friendly interface and good integrations. But how many of its features carry over to the free plan?

As with Redbooth, things don’t start out promising. The free version of Teamwork projects enforces a maximum of five users, making it a bit less useful than even Redbooth’s offer. With so few users available it will be a small team indeed that can make use of Teamwork Projects for free. And where Redbooth allows free users two workspaces, with the potential of several projects in each, Teamwork projects only gives two projects. That is pretty limiting, to say the least.

Honestly, there is just not much good news to be had here. The free version of Teamwork projects is just not enough. You only get 100 MB storage and what the pricing page describes as “limited” task boards and “basic” project management. You do get access to subtasks and “color schemes,” but part of the appeal of Teamwork Projects is that it is an advanced project management app. If all you really need are basic and limited task management, there are far better options. Teamwork Projects truly does deliver robust features and good value with its paid plans, but I’m sorry to say that the free version is not particularly advanced or valuable.

Verdict: The free version of Teamwork is not worth your time


Unlike the first two entries on this list, Clickup (read our review) is not a long-standing project management solution that has been through more than a decade of refinement. No, Clickup is one of the new kids on the block, and it has something to prove. Notably, Clickup was practically designed around its free version. So what do you get here and how does it compare with other free software?

Put simply, you sacrifice very little by sticking to the free version of Clickup. The only major differences between the paid and free subscriptions are that by paying, you unlock unlimited storage (the free version comes with a paltry 100MB), and onboarding training. Though I find it difficult to imagine working with such small amounts of storage, Clickup’s integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox may solve at least part of that problem. On top of that, Clickup is an absolute joy to use. I find that its usability and interface design are on par with Redbooth’s; both of them are excellent.

To be clear, Clickup is by no means perfect. Like many of the free-forever project management apps floating around out there in cyberspace, it lacks more advanced features like reporting, financial documentation, and budgeting. That is an important factor in the decision-making process; if you need reporting, this may not be the app for you. Having said that, you will struggle to find many software examples out there that do have a reporting feature on their free app. The only one I can think of is Redbooth.

Clickup should absolutely be on your shortlist of free project management apps, especially if you don’t need the financial and reporting stuff I mentioned above. This is not just a free version of a normally premium app, this is a naturally grown, gluten, dairy, and GMO-free burger of an app, designed and built to be free from the ground up.

Verdict: Clickup’s free version is worth a look-see


Squidhub (read our Review) is one of the most pleasant discoveries I made last year. A brand-spanking-new project management app, Squidhub is like Clickup in that it was designed to be free. Also like Clickup, Squidhub’s feature set is on the lighter side and focuses primarily on task management, communication, and file storage. Having said that, paid versions of Squidhub are “coming soon” according to the website’s pricing page, so it is worth taking a few moments to determine whether these subscriptions are worth your time.

Basically, Squidhub’s free features center around a task list, chat panel, and document storage interface. This allows for plenty of new features to be layered on top since Squidhub is already such a barebones app. With that in mind, it is actually a little surprising how limited the planned additions are for the upcoming paid subscriptions. For $5/user/month, the only new features you will get are file recovery, calendar sync, and phone support. Go up to $8/user/month, and you will get an “admin panel,” as well as group templates. Honestly, I can see the value of that higher subscription, but in many cases, the free version of Squidhub is going to be all you need.

I really like Squidhub. However, it would be dishonest of me to say that this is a perfect, one-size-fits-all app. It is extremely limited in its capabilities. What it can do, it does with aplomb. But compared to the likes of Redbooth, Squidhub is a little like a two-stroke weed-eater next to a Rolls-Royce Phantom. But you know what? You wouldn’t use a Royce to trim the long grass in your backyard, would you? Use the right tool for the right job.

Verdict: Squidhub is worth your time, but limited in capabilities


I have said this before, but Trello (read our review) is a project management app I can recommend without reservations every day of the week. The fact that there is an excellent free version is a big part of that. Trello popularized the increasingly common “Board View” that is now ubiquitous in the project management world. They also bring a sense of humor into their app, with stickers and silly “power-ups” for users to enjoy.

Trello’s free version is good, but what are you missing out on by not paying for a monthly subscription? To be frank, quite a bit. Paid versions of Trello come with advanced integrations with the likes of Jira and MailChimp, as well as features like Collections that add to team cohesion. Essentially, if you are using Trello on your own, the free version might be okay for you. Working in a group, the paid subscriptions become increasingly useful as you add more users. If you are willing to shell out for the top subscription, you get enhanced security features that include two-factor authentification.

I still love Trello. But my affinity for this program comes with the knowledge that larger teams may find the free version limiting. If you need an app for a few users and no more, the free Trello plan is probably fine. You may even be able to make it work with more team members than that. But there are other options out there, including several on this list, that will serve you better.

Verdict: Trello’s free plan is worth a trial, depending on your team size

Final Thoughts

It is difficult to resist the draw of the “free” label. But when it comes to your business, you want quality as much as you want affordability. Is it worth your time to work with a free project management app subscription, or should you go straight to a paid plan with more robust features? As with most things, the answer comes down to context. Is yours the kind of business or team that just needs task management? Do you need communication tools? Do you need invoicing or other financial capabilities?

If task management is all you need, nearly every option on this list is going to work well for you, depending on how many people you plan to have using the app. If your needs go beyond that, really the only viable option here is Redbooth — and that option will only work if you have a team of fewer than ten people.

When it comes down to it, the two free project management apps I recommend most highly are Redbooth, for its advanced features, and Clickup, for its wide-open usability. But don’t just take my word for it. As always, the final decision is up to you. Go out and give some of these options a try!

If you’re looking for a free app because you run a nonprofit, there are better solutions available. Read The Top 5 Project Management Apps For Nonprofits for a look at your other options. Otherwise, check out our project management software comparison page for more information.

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Top 5 Project Management Apps For Nonprofits

Your business models may differ slightly from those of traditional businesses, but organizations in the nonprofit realm need project management tools just as much as anyone else. The problem? Many nonprofits can’t cough up the cash for a monthly subscription to an app in a field that is already relatively expensive.

Fortunately, there are several ways around this issue!  Several project management software programs offer free or reduced rates to nonprofits. That means that you can stop mucking around with whiteboards and Post-Its and go back to teaching underserved kids. Or researching bio-degradable plastics. Or whatever other noble mission you have set your minds on.

Typically, articles about project and task management apps for nonprofits focus on apps with free versions, ignoring the fact that many top project management developers offer their products at a reduced price to qualifying organizations. For that reason, I have chosen to ignore free apps in this post and focus on those offering discounts.

Here, in no particular order, are Merchant Mavericks’ top five project management apps for nonprofits:


Redbooth (read our review) is one of Merchant Maverick’s favorite project management apps. In fact, it’s the solution we use to manage tasks for our remote team of writers.

The slick UI, handy features (including time tracking and reporting), and overall ease of use all combine to make a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of ways.

Redbooth does offer a free version that works for simple task management. If that is all you need, you need read no further; follow the link above and give it a try. If you are looking for more advanced features, like the time tracking and reporting I mentioned, you will need to pay a bit more. Pricing for Redbooth is figured per-user, meaning that you pay less if you have fewer users. Though I would not call Redbooth “expensive,” the price can add up if you have more than 10 or 20 users. Fortunately, Redbooth offers a 25% discount for nonprofits, providing you can show them your IRS 501c3 status letter.

Read our full Redbooth review

Visit the Redbooth website

Teamwork Projects

When I think about rock-solid project management apps, Teamwork Projects (read our review) is one of the first that comes to mind.

Teamwork Projects is easy to recommend for a wide swath of reasons: powerful features, excellent integrations, and exceptional ease of use. Even better, there is a free version available! While this stripped-down version excludes many of Teamwork Projects’ more advanced features, it does fulfill small-scale task management needs for teams of 5 or less. If your team is larger than five, or if you would benefit from increased task boards, project portfolios, and reporting features, you may want to take a closer look at the paid versions. For most nonprofits, I think the relatively affordable “Pro” plan will suffice; most features from the Enterprise plan are geared toward large businesses rather than smaller, cash-strapped teams.

And speaking of operating on a budget, Teamwork Projects does offer a discount for nonprofits, though you will need to contact the company directly ([email protected]) to find out exactly what kind of deal is available to you.

Read our full Teamwork review

Visit the Teamwork website


Smartsheet review

Smartsheet (read our review) offers a bit more hardcore project management than the previous entries on this list.

Where Redbooth, Teamwork Projects, and some of the other apps I will discuss below make concessions in feature-depth in favor of usability, Smartsheets goes another way. This is a spreadsheet on steroids, and the developers don’t much try and hide that fact. In addition to standard spreadsheet features, Smartsheet also offers Gantt charts, automation, limited communication tools, resource management, and more.

While the interface is far from what I would call inspiring, it manages to keep from being quite as bland as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. If your team has spreadsheet experience but wants to supercharge functionality, Smartsheet might be a good choice for you. Unfortunately, there is no free version of Smartsheet at this time, but they do offer reduced rates to qualifying organizations, including nonprofits. The discount amounts to about two months off the yearly plan prices whether you choose the individual, team, or business subscription options.

Read our full Smartsheet review

Visit the Smartsheet website


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One of many products that attempt to combine user-friendliness with advanced project management features, Asana (read our review) successfully creates a social-media-like feel while still retaining such capabilities as reporting, task dependencies, and more.

I can’t call it full on, grown-up-pants project management, given its lack of time tracking and Gantt charts, but Asana still provides plenty of bang-for-buck. There is a free version which is limited in both how many people can use it and in what features are available. This app is definitely worth actually paying for, and though the initial cost is relatively low by project management standards, Asana developers have indicated they are willing to cut deals with students groups and nonprofits. To find out exactly what kind of deal you can get, though, you will have to contact their sales team.

Read our full Asana review

Visit the Asana website


Basecamp (read our review) is one of the project management perennials. Everywhere you look in the project management world, you find other companies desperately claiming to be “better than Basecamp!” The fact that so many project management startups compare themselves with this app should speak to its quality all on its own, but Basecamp can also boast over two million signups for their services.

This has always been one of my favorite project management platforms because of its simple interface, excellent communication tools, and automated check-ins. The features I just mentioned make Basecamp one of the best options in the business for remote teams; the app does so much of the work for you, keeping the whole group on the same page.

Happily, Basecamp offers 10% off for qualifying nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) form.

Read our full Basecamp review

Visit the Basecamp website

Final Thoughts

In the end, the best project management app for your nonprofit is going to depend on, well, your nonprofit. The actual work you are doing is the biggest part of what will determine your needs. Got a lot of data to share and analyze? Smartsheet might be the best option for you. Is your team working long distance, possibly on more than one continent? Basecamp and Redbooth will probably be the options you should consider most. Need a solid project and task managing app? Take a closer look at Teamwork projects or Asana.

I recommend checking out the free trials on offer from each of these companies to see which makes the most sense for your organization. From there, rest in the knowledge that each of these apps will be available to your nonprofit at a discounted rate, allowing you to manage your work without breaking your cash-strapped budget.

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Top 3 Project Management Apps For Construction Firms


Project managers are often stereotyped as office stiffs with permanent stacks of Stick It notes in their back pockets, quietly and heroically keeping the wheels on the bus going round and round. However, real humans do not fit easily into stereotypes — and this one is simply too narrow to stand up to even mild scrutiny. After all, all kinds of fields have projects to manage, and many projects take form far from an office building.

For example, project managers based in the construction industry need a powerful suite of tools at their disposal: communication with contractors and clients, document storage, scheduling apps, and more. Beyond that, individual construction workers need features for time tracking, task management, schedule reminders, and communication. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the three best project management apps for construction workers.

But first, some criteria. To work well for construction projects, task management apps need scheduling and document sharing features, a simple and flexible UI that works well on the go, and, of course, an affordable monthly cost. Read on for a comprehensive look at the following three apps — the best of the best when it comes to construction project management.


Unlike the other two apps we will be covering, Monday.com (formerly dapulse) is not a bespoke project management app. It does, however, meet all of our criteria handily. Let’s start with the price.

Monday.com is not the cheapest project management app I have ever covered. It is, however, entirely competitive and reasonably priced when compared with other, similar applications. There are a number of pricing plans ranging from “basic” to “enterprise.” The lower-priced plans (especially the “standard” plan, which grants 50 GB of storage) all provide the most valuable features of this product and come down to less than $10/user/month if you have 50 or more employees. If you don’t want to worry about managing your storage space, you might want to spring for the “Pro” plan, which comes with unlimited file storage. You do, of course, pay extra for the storage, with the price coming down to around $12/user/month on that plan.

In terms of features, Monday.com ticks all of our boxes for construction. You get file storage (how much depends, of course, on your subscription level), scheduling, and communication with both team members and clients. The Gantt chart (or timeline) is particularly good; adding items to the chart and assigning them to team members is easy and making modifications to the schedule is as simple as clicking and dragging. If I had one complaint or reservation about Monday.com’s feature set, it would be that the timeline has no dependencies; the addition of this feature would make this app incredibly well-suited to construction work.

Monday.com boasts an extremely well-designed, highly unique, UI. That said, I test a lot of project management programs, so I was thrown off for a moment by the one-term-for-everything philosophy of this app. Basically, everything you do in Monday.com comes down to ‘Pulses.’ You can assign team members or clients to a pulse, add deadlines, send messages, and even create hashtags for pulses. This methodology required an adjustment period for me, accustomed as I am to the more common “task-list” format of Monday.com’s competitors. Fortunately, I think that users that are new to project management applications will not find pulses as flummoxing, especially with the help of some good onboarding training.

Overall, If you are looking for a flexible, simple, and robustly-featured solution to your construction project management needs, I would encourage you to check out Monday.com and give the free trial a shot.


CoConstruct, unlike Monday.com, is a custom-built app for construction firms. Everything about this brand is construction-focused, from the name of the application itself to the marketing and support materials on the company’s website. And this seems to be a winning formula. In fact, CoConstruct is most highly reviewed construction project management app on Capterra.

Unfortunately, CoConstruct does not make their pricing options transparent. The closest thing they have to a standard price “list” is a short reference to the fact that prices “start at only $99/month.” There are references to other plans, but you must contact CoConstruct directly to get concrete details. Fortunately, with prices starting out relatively low (assuming you have 30+ employees), it seems likely that you will be able to get higher-level plans without breaking the bank.

CoConstruct is a very full-featured program. The company breaks down its feature set into three categories: COmmunicate, COordinate, and COntrol. It is a pretty snazzy way to describe what this application can do.

The COmmunicate field deals with internal communications between employees and clients. This section of the application can handle estimating, bidding, proposals, and expense tracking. Crew members can even upload pictures from job sites to confirm completed work or detail potential issues.

The COordinate section of the app handles scheduling, task lists, time tracking, and more. I want to particularly highlight the time-tracking features, which function similarly to those of Tsheets (read our review) and Timely (read our review). It is cool to see features from other apps folded into this one; that represents saved money and time for you, the customer.

The final section of CoConstruct, COntrol, is all about financials. This covers, of course, the proposals, bidding, and estimates I mentioned earlier, but also long-term budgeting and an excellent Quickbooks (read our review) integration.

Most importantly, CoConstruct is easy to use. I have to admit, when I first looked through some of the screenshots from this app, I was worried. A few parts of the UI are pretty outdated, which in my experience can translate to a steep learning curve. Fortunately, in CoConstruct’ case, I was wrong. Yes, certain elements of CoConstruct’s UI are not exactly breathtaking, but most of the app is well-designed and solid. I especially like the mobile apps, which allow crew members and foremen to easily keep track of their tasks, communicate with clients and subcontractors, and more.

While it is a little annoying that CoConstruct keeps some things hidden until you reach out to them directly (like their pricing), in the end, their high customer satisfaction rate is entirely justified. If you are looking for a comprehensive project management solution for your construction business, this may be the one for you.


Considering the fact that it has users in over 40 countries, awards from reviewers, and over one million projects completed from within the app, it’s easy to see why Buildertrend refers to itself as an industry standard for construction project management. With features that cover commercial construction, remodeling, and homebuilding, this app is designed to be your one-stop-shop for managing tasks, projects, and more.

Buildertrend’s pricing system, funnily enough, reminds me of CoConstruct’s. Like that program, Buildertrend starts at $99/month. We get a few more details with Buildertrend, however, including confirmation that this price includes unlimited users. That is fantastic, and it means that larger companies will find greater value using this app. On a less positive note, the baseline price only includes one project; if your firm handles multiple sites at one time, you will need to shell out the extra cash for more projects. Having said that, Buildertrend takes pains to assure users that adding another project does not double the price; it seems that the more projects you buy, the less you pay per project. Just like it should be! Note that there is no free trial; if you choose to buy Buildertrend, you will have to do so without directly testing it first. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-depth videos to help give you an idea of exactly you will be paying for.

Buildertrend’s extensive feature set is divided into four categories: “Pre-Sale Process” features, “Project Management” features, “Financial Tools” features, and “Customer Management” features. There are 21 individual items within these categories, so rather than trying to explain everything here in this limited space, I want to point out some of my favorites.

First things first: One of those pre-sale features includes email marketing. I love it when apps combine features from other kinds of software into one place because it means that you, the user, are getting a more streamlined experience for a lower price. While the email builder is definitely less snazzy than some of the dedicated email marketing apps out there, it does the job well.

In terms of project management features, one of my favorites is the document markup tool. Need to make a change to a blueprint? Mark it in the document. Want to make sure a particular detail gets noticed? Highlight it in the document.

The last thing I want to highlight in terms of features comes from the customer management section. When decisions about color, style, and more need to be made, you can send your customers their options so they can quickly and easily get back to you.

Buildertrend is surprisingly simple to use, considering the number of features available. The best part of this is the full-featured mobile app. And I do mean full-featured– all 21 features are directly accessible from within the app and can be used on the go. Very few project management platforms make everything usable on the go, and it says a lot about the priorities of the team behind Buildertrend that they have gone that route. In an industry that is all about being out in the field, it seems like a wise choice indeed.

If you are looking for a full-featured, flexible, and easy-to-use project management app for your construction firm, I highly recommend heading over to Buildertrends website and checking them out.

Final Thoughts

If I had to pick one of these three apps, I think it would have to be Buildertrend. I like that they focus on serious, thorough, construction-focused project management without losing accessibility. CoConstruct is very similar, but I think Buildertrend is just a bit more usable. Having said that, it may just come down to personal preference regarding which one of these three you choose.

If you are working with a small team, Monday.com might be your best bet. If you represent a larger company, CoConstruct or Buildertrend might be better fits for you. Regardless, one of these apps will certainly provide you the tools you need to get out there and get building.

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The Best Accounting Software For 2018

Best Accounting Software for 2018

What’s better than a table full of New Year’s appetizers? Better than a good glass of champagne? Even better than a midnight kiss to ring in the new year?

Accounting software.

Okay, that’s a stretch. But you can’t blame a girl for trying.

Each new year brings fresh, exciting opportunities. In the accounting world, this translates to shiny new features. This year, in particular, has seen some very impressive feature developments. In fact, a few key advances in functionality have already set three accounting software companies apart from the rest. These changes have generated press attention and positive user feedback, and earned Wave, Quickbooks Online, and Zoho Books a place in this article about the best accounting software for 2018.


Best Accounting Software 2017

Wave (see our review) is a free, cloud-based software with a beautiful user interface (no wonder we like it right?). The company was founded in 2010 by Kirk Simpson and James Lochrie and is now used by 3 million small business owners.

Wave was built with small business owners in mind. The ability to separate business expenses from personal expenses makes the software a great choice for freelancers and the self-employed as well.

Some of the most notable features in Wave include beautiful invoicing, contact management, accounts payable, expense tracking, basic inventory, and the ability to capture pictures of receipts and convert them into expenses.

But the reason we really love Wave is that these features are always getting better. The software constantly updates to fit the needs of business owners. Last year, Wave became the first accounting software company to offer a fully-integrated lending feature. This lending feature allows users to request loans between $5,000 and $500,000. Loan applications are approved through Wave, and once approved, funds are received as quickly as 24 hours.

This year, Wave continues to roll out the updates. The software offers two new reports, better navigation, and a company file export (which is usually only found with QuickBooks). Wave also plans to add:

  • Multi-currency support
  • A product report
  • An FX report
  • Duplicate transaction detection

Wave’s robust and varied features rival those of even some paid software options, especially considering some of these new updates. This is why Wave is Merchant Maverick’s pick for Best Free Accounting Software for Small Businesses and one of my favorite choices for small business owners.

Although Wave is free and intends to stay that way, there are a few extra costs you should be aware of if you’re considering this software:

  • Payroll – $15/mo +$4/mo per employee
  • Credit Card Processing – 2.9% + $0.30/per transaction
  • Chat support – $9/mo
  • Chat and Phone support – $19/mo

To learn more about Wave, read our full review and be sure to keep your eye open for the next big wave of updates.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online (see our review) is an easy-to-use, cloud-based accounting solution with a healthy feature set and a strong reputation. QuickBooks has basically been around since the dawn of time (in terms of accounting software), but the newer, online version has been particularly well-received by users since it is easier to use and more mobile than QuickBooks Desktop Pro.

QuickBooks Online is ideal for all types of business. Scalable pricing plans and diverse functionality make the software fit numerous business needs. Some key features include a clean interface, accounts payable (essentials and plus plan only), budgeting (plus plan only), contact management, beautiful recurring invoices, ample accounting reports, class and location tracking, inventory (plus plan only), and a strong chart of accounts.

For a long time, the most common complaint about QuickBooks Online was that, while it was good, it was not as good as QuickBooks Pro. One of the reasons QuickBooks Online is on the rise in 2018 is that the software is now being updated multiple times every month; in fact, it is finally starting to catch up to QuickBooks Pro.

Last year, QuickBooks underwent a huge design overall and added a key project management feature, as well as inventory reorder points, mileage deductions, invoice and payment trackers, and more.

One of the biggest reasons QuickBooks Online won a spot on this list is its brand-new, built-in lending feature — Get Capital. According to Techcrunch:

QuickBooks users can now get access to small business loans up to about $35,000 for up to six months from inside their bookkeeping software.

QuickBooks Online has won our Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses title. We did recently drop its rating from 5/5 stars to 4.5/5 stars for some usability and navigation difficulties, but with multiple updates coming out each month, we’re hopeful that QuickBooks Online will be back to 5/5 stars in no time. In short, this software really worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

If you are interested in QuickBooks Online, here are the available pricing plans (QuickBooks Online often has sales promotions, so be sure to check these before purchasing):

  • Simple Plan –$15/mo
  • Essentials Plan – $35/mo
  • Plus Plan – $50/mo
  • Payroll – Pricing starts at $39/mo + $2/mo per employee

To learn more, read our full QuickBooks Online review and use the free trial to take advantage of the new features.

Zoho Books

Best Accounting Mobile Apps

Zoho Books (see our review) is an easy-to-use accounting program with unbelievable invoicing features. The Zoho Corporation has been around since 1996. It launched its accounting program, Zoho Books, in 2011.

Zoho Books is ideal for small businesses that want strong accounting and attractive invoice templates at an affordable price. The software is also ideal for international businesses that require multi-currency support and the ability to send invoices in multiple languages.

Zoho Books Review
Zoho Books Review
Zoho Books Review

For a long while, Zoho Books was known to have some of the best invoicing around, but a few key issues were holding the software back. Lately, though, the software has crept up like a dark horse. Recent updates have put Zoho Books almost completely on par with QuickBooks Online in terms of features, which is why we’ve named this software one of the best of 2018.

While Zoho is not incredibly forthcoming about future updates, the company updates their software multiple times each month. In the most recent updates, the company has increased usability, created customizable purchase orders, and added a brand new retail invoices feature.

The software is unbeatable in terms of invoice features and customizations and offers incredibly affordable prices, which makes it worth watching this year.

If you are interested in Zoho Books, here are the three pricing plans available:

  • Basic — $9/mo
  • Standard — $19/mo
  • Professional — $29/mo

There is no payroll available at this time. To learn more or check out this software’s competitive features and recent updates, read our full Zoho Books review and take the free trial for a spin.

How To Choose Accounting Software

Wave, QuickBooks Online, and Zoho Books are all powerful accounting programs with innovative updates and abundant features. And they seem to be getting better and better with time.

But with three great options to choose from, it is difficult to know which is the best choice for your company — especially if you don’t have an existing accounting software. Our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software is a helpful tool and a good place to start your search.

If you have an existing accounting solution that doesn’t quite measure up to the programs discussed above, it might be a good time to change allegiance. Your business is your livelihood, and software that fully meets — and exceeds — your business needs is important for success and growth.

If you are already a Wave, QuickBooks Online, or Zoho Books user, congratulations! You’ve made a good decision, and we hope the features rolled out this year serve you well.

Best wishes to all this new year. May 2018 be a season of joy, dreams, and, most importantly, smooth accounting.

Wave QuickBooks Online Zoho Books
Wave Accounting for small business review QuickBooks review Best Accounting Mobile Apps
Read Review Read Review Read Review
Visit Site Visit Site Visit Site
Price  $0 $15 – $40/mo $9 – $29/mo
Accounting Method  Accrual  Both accrual and cash-basis Both accrual and cash-basis
Web-based or Installed Web-based Web-based Web-based
Highlights Free
Numerous features
Good customer support
Easy to use
Attractive invoice templates
Impressive features
Advanced inventory features
Numerous integrations
Good tax support
God mobile apps
Competitive pricing plans
Easy to use
Good mobile apps
International invoicing
Excellent customer support

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5 Easy Task Management Apps

If you are a newcomer to the project management world, you would be forgiven for not immediately grasping the difference between task management and project management. After all, both tasks and projects are things that need to get done, and it would be helpful to…manage them. All playfulness aside, the difference between the two concepts can be helpful to understand, especially when considering how to spend your dollars on software.

Put simply, task management is more basic than project management. Where your typical project management app features milestones, Gantt charts, in-depth reporting, and more, task management apps tend to work with to-do lists, file storage, and communication. Put another way, project management is always task management, but task management is not always project management. Kind of a square-rectangle deal.

If you find that your team would benefit from an official to-do list, but don’t want to invest in full-on project management, a task management app might be just what you need. While most of these apps are straightforward, some are easier to use than others. With that in mind, here are the top five easiest task management apps:


Producteev (read our review) has a bit more to offer than some of the other solutions on this list. This simple app ticks the standard boxes for task management (task lists, etc.), but also allows you to build entire “networks” of projects within your company. It provides a level of organization that extends beyond what is standard in task management, so if you are looking for something a bit complex, this might be the app for you. One important note, before you jump to sign up for Producteev: This app is somewhat lacking in communication tools. While it is true that you can comment on tasks, even using the @ symbol to mention specific team members, there is no dedicated chat feature. For that reason, I have a hard time recommending Producteev to mobile or remote teams.

On the other hand, Producteev’s pricing is extremely attractive. There are two subscription levels: free and $99/month. The difference between the two? Paying subscribers can customize their color scheme, add their own logo, and access dedicated support services with a guaranteed 24-hour response time. Is this worth the cash? It depends. If your team is small, I would try the free version first. If you are working with a larger group, the value of the subscription increases. In the end, of course, the decision rests with you.


I have written several posts that discuss Squidhub (read our review) in the last few months. Simply put, I like this app a lot; it jives well with how I personally work, and does so with possibly the cutest mascot in the business world. (That’s a bold claim, I know, but just look at that adorable little guy). Squidhub’s simple, single-page UI, and focus on task management and communication exemplify the qualities of a good task management app. However, some may find the simplicity of Squidhub a little limiting.

One of the best things about Squidhub is that it feels complete even at its free subscription level. Actually, for the moment, the free plan is the only option for Squidhub users. However, the company has recently revealed (on the Squidhub pricing page) that higher subscription levels will soon be available. If you have room to play in your budget, some of those new options may be worth considering — particularly the Business plan, which will allow users to build templates for task lists.


ClickUp (read our review) is so easy to use that you may start to wonder how its competitors even stay in business. With features that sometimes emulate true project management (time tracking, workspaces, project views, etc), it feels as though there is little this app can’t do. In fact, if I had a criticism, it might be that ClickUp is trying too hard. When you first log in to the app, you get a pop-up asking you to name other project management apps you have used so they can “tailor the experience” a bit more to your needs. While this could easily be a genuine goal, it also feels a bit, well, braggy.

And there are so many other things ClickUp could brag about! Not the least of which is price. Like the three prior options I have covered here, ClickUp has an excellent free version that will leave you wondering how the company behind the app, Mango, is making any profit. If you want a little more file storage space, as well as onboarding services, you could choose to pay $5/user/month. The benefit of that extra cost is really going to depend on your specific circumstances. If you are already paying for cloud-based file storage, you may not find the subscription necessary. On the other hand, onboarding is one of the biggest challenges of a new business service app, so that five dollar fee might pay for itself right in the first month.


Trello (read our review) is one of those programs that is always easy to recommend. This app, the originator of the increasingly popular board view, is simple yet effective. Capable of pretty advanced task management, Trello is also (dare I say it?) fun. Sure, you can pack your boards and cards with relevant information, assigning tasks to different team members with deadlines and more, but you can also activate the Pirate (!) powerup that turns your cards into crinkly old treasure maps if you haven’t touched them in awhile. You can also put “stickers” on your boards; my personal favorite is the smiling face of a husky dog — the company mascot, Taco.

Like most of the apps I am covering here today, Trello offers its best features for free. If you want a bit more customization or file storage — or even more advanced power-ups — you can pay up to $20/user/month.  Honestly, though, I don’t personally see these things as worth the cost (unless a specific power-up is extra important to you).

Basecamp 3

I am not sure what it is with simple task management apps and cute logos, but it is at once a fantastic and disturbing trend. Basecamp 3 (read our review) is, in some ways, the most advanced app on my list today, edging into the world of true project management in ways not even ClickUp has managed. Yes, the core of Basecamp 3 is task management and communication. But this app also boasts more advanced reporting capabilities and automated reminders. For that reason, Basecamp is a bit more versatile than some of the other options I discussed above.

Having said that, that versatility literally comes at a price. Whereas the four apps above function beautifully for free, Basecamp 3 goes for $99/month. For that reason, this might not be the best app for you if you are working with a tight budget or on a small team. On the other hand, if your team has more than 10 people, Basecamp 3 becomes one of the best values in the project or task management worlds.

Final Thoughts

There is a wide array of options when it comes to simple, easy-to-use task management apps. Much of the decision of which to use will come down to your specific situation. The base-level simplicity of Trello or Squidhub may appeal to some while the more advanced features of ClickUp or Producteev will be more in line with the needs of others. And businesses looking for a kind of hybrid task-and-project management app might want to go with Basecamp 3.

The nicest thing about any of these apps is that they are easy to try. Since most of them are free, there is no downside to giving them a test drive; even Basecamp offers a generous 30-day trial. With that in mind, go ye forth and manage your tasks!

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Top 5 Project Management Apps for 2018

That New Year feeling is slowly starting to wear off as we make our way towards the end of January. But the time for new beginnings is not yet past; after all, it is never too late to start again. Maybe you are in the midst of setting up your company, making a brand new product about which you are passionate. Or maybe you have been in this game for years and are looking for something to put the pep back in your business’s step. Whatever your business situation, a new project management app might be the thing you need to unlock success in 2018 (you certainly don’t want to be caught using last year’s project management pick).

If you are in the market for a new project management solution, you have come to the right place. Compiled here is a list of this year’s top five most exciting, innovative, and interesting project management apps.


One of the simplest, silliest, and cheapest apps I reviewed last year, Squidhub (read our review) is all about one thing: simplicity. There is only one screen to worry about, with a pane for tasks, files, and messages. While it definitely feels under-featured compared to some of the other options I will discuss in this post, it might suit your needs if timesheets, reports, and complex scheduling are not among your requirements.

When I say simple, I mean simple. There really is not much more to this app than the three-feature setup I described above. You can create different workspaces, and within each, you have a task list, file storage area, and a communication tab. Tasks are as simple to create as typing them out and hitting the enter key, and the communication features will seem familiar if you have used Facebook’s Messenger tool or Google Hangouts. Everything about Squidhub is easy to use.

If that wasn’t positive enough, Squidhub is the most affordable app I reviewed this year: it is free!


Streamtime (read our review) launched a radically re-branded version of their venerable project management app. With an eye for bucking trends and breaking expectations, the new Streamtime makes an effort not only to aid your business’ efficiency but also to be fun. With an impressive set of features and a still-growing list of integrations, Streamtime might be a good choice for you whether your business is large or small.

Streamtime offers a pretty standard range of project management features, though they re-name some of them for branding reasons. “Projects” are “jobs,” and “milestones” are “items.” Despite that, Streamtime manages to be pretty intuitive and easy to use. Adding tasks to your task list is as easy as it should be, and you can set a “budgeted time” for each one. As you finish each task, you click-and-drag each task to the “done” tab in the interface. It is a satisfying way to complete your jobs!

While not as cheap as Squidub (not much is…), Streamtime is pretty affordable at $15/user/month. There is also a free trial, allowing you to give Streamtime a try before you decide to buy.


Binfire (read our review), besides sporting one of my favorite names in the project management world, is aimed mostly at teams with remote or mobile members. This being the case, Binfire comes with a pretty impressive array of collaboration tools, including internal messaging, group chats, and a digital whiteboard that allows for organic collaboration and brainstorming even when participants are hours apart. Binfire’s Agile capabilities are impressive as well, with Gantt charts, burndowns and more.

Binfire is one of those apps that just makes sense as soon as you look at it. Each project is fully customizable with different “bins” for you to file tasks under, allowing you to decide project-by-project how you want to organize your work. As I mentioned above, Binfire’s real party trick is collaboration, not only in terms of the digital whiteboard, but also when it comes to the group chat feature. My favorite part of this instant message-style chat is that it stays with you as you navigate through the program. This allows you to look at your work as you communicate with team members, rather than clicking back and forth between screens.

Binfire is a bit more expensive than some of the other options we are exploring here today, with plans starting at $30 and continuing up to double that figure. However, if your business is such that you have remote team members, the cost could well be worth it.


Trello (read our review) is one of those project management apps I never have trouble recommending. It is available for free, has a cute sense of humor (try activating the Pirate upgrade and you will see what I mean), and is very easy to use. What’s more, Trello is responsible for the increasingly popular Card View that has been catching on in project management community.

To summarize, card view is a project management style in which you create digital “cards” that can be used in a number of ways. From simple drag-and-drop task completion to more complicated setups, card view is able to handle it all. Think of it like sticky-notes on steroids. Make no mistake, this is a simple program, but if you are used to folders and Post-Its, it should feel familiar.

Trello goes for the low, low price of zero dollars a month. However, if you want to unlock integrations and other “power-ups,” you can pay up to $20/user/month. This will get you extra security, priority support, and more.


best ecommerce apps

It is all well and good to talk about how simple is best, but sometimes you need just a bit more than programs like Trello and Squidhub can offer. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on good looks. Asana (read our review) manages to be both attractive and easy to use and offers a more robust feature set than some of the more basic project management apps. It is usually at its best in a small business but can scale well for larger teams as well.

Asana’s best features are its organizational capabilities. Work is divided between organizations, teams, and projects, but Asana continues by letting you split projects into sections and fill each section with tasks. Tasks can be organized into items you can complete “today,” ones that are “upcoming,” and ones to work on “later.” Asana also provides templates for both projects and tasks.

Asana costs a very reasonable $9.99/month. Honestly, you can’t get much more project management for that price anywhere in the industry.

Final Thoughts

There is no time like the present when it comes to maximizing the efficiency of your business. If you spent any part of 2017 wondering whether there was something you could do to help improve employee cohesion, reduce turnaround time, and ensure that all members of your team know just what they should be doing, then a project management app might just be what you have been looking for. Though there are many options out there that could prove effective, the five examples outlined above are almost sure to meet your needs. In 2018, make the kind of choice that starts this year off right.

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Top 3 Project Management Apps For Large Businesses

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Earlier this year I wrote a blog post describing the top three project management apps for small businesses. In the interest of fairness, I figured I should round things out and post a similar list, this time focusing on apps that can handle the demands of a larger business. I actually thought it might be a simple task, but it wound up being more complicated than I expected. Whereas small businesses might appreciate ease of use and simplicity, these things are potentially less of a priority in a larger company (though I would argue that good design lends itself to ease of use). Instead, comprehensive features that include time tracking, scheduling, and even invoicing are the order of the day here.

With that in mind, my criteria for selecting the following apps were price, breadth of features, and finally, of course, that “X-Factor” that makes these choices stand out from the crowd. I also considered whether or not the program has an open API, allowing you to develop your own apps and fully customize your experience.

Okay, enough of the intro! Let’s dive into our analysis of the top three project management apps for large businesses.

Table of Contents


Smartsheet review

Smartsheet (read our review) is one of the oldest kids on the project management app block, founded way back in 2006. Affordable and powerful, Smartsheet’s biggest strength is its scalability. It will feel immediately familiar to employees with knowledge of other spreadsheet programs (like Excel) and can be used in many similar situations. It’s not easy to use in a broad sense, but this is not an overly complex program and it has only a relatively small learning curve.


While not the cheapest project management app, Smartsheet is also by no means the most expensive. With an upper limit (for the “business” subscription) of $25/user/person, Smartsheet’s pricing scale ends where other, more expensive apps begin. There is also an option for Enterprise pricing, but you’ll have to contact Smartsheet to hash out the details on that one.

Breadth of Features

Smartsheet is far more than just a spreadsheet program or budgeting tool. Offering portfolio management, scheduling functions, and more, this is an app that covers almost the whole range of standard and advanced project management features. Importantly, Smartsheet also offers an advanced suite of reporting features to analyze every level of your companies inner workings.


Smartsheet has two major attractions for me. First, it looks and feels like a spreadsheet. If you have employees trained in Microsoft Excel or its competitors, Smartsheet will not provide a completely alien experience. That right there might be enough to counteract the fact that this is not exactly a gorgeous piece of visual design. The other big draw is the level of automation you can achieve with Smartsheet. Scheduling, task assignment, and more can be handled automatically, which reduces the chances of human error mucking up the works.

Open API



Podio (read our review) is a project management app that, though it could be shoehorned into a mom-and-pop style business, is really intended for use in enterprise-scale environments. At once user-friendly and complex enough to handle more large-scale requirements, Podio is designed to feel like a social media platform that also houses your daily schedule and task list.


Starting with a low-end price of nine dollars/user/month and topping out at $24/user/month (with enterprise pricing available), Podio is unlikely to break the bank relative to the competition, much of which starts in the $30/user/month region. I will say that, whereas with Smartsheet you could probably get away with at least some users subscribing to a lower level of service, with Podio, you may find it valuable for a larger percentage of users to work with the most expensive version. The advanced workflow and interactive dashboards alone would be worth the extra cost.

Breadth of Features

Offering time tracking, scheduling, and reporting features, Podio also pays more attention than most large-business-focused project management apps to communication. Using the aforementioned social media DNA to drive the look and feel of the app, Podio provides dedicated communication services, meaning that if your offices or employees are spread out over large distances, this might be the perfect app for you.


For me, the most pleasant surprise in Podio is the level of communication tools available. As I said, it is relatively rare to come across a developer that includes this kind of feature on an enterprise-focused project management app. Podio’s collaborative features are not just limited to in-company chat either; you can bring your clients into the conversation from within Podio itself. Neat!



Genius Project

Designed originally as a project management option for IBM systems, Genius Project (read our review) is an SaaS app clearly intended for large companies with multi-tiered teams working on several projects in tandem. Some project management apps (including a few on this list) are designed in such a way that pretty much any user can figure out use them, but many of Genius Project’s features are pretty clearly intended for only trained project managers to use.


While somewhat complex, Genius Project’s pricing scheme is intended to help you better tailor your subscription to your specific needs. Most employees accessing the app will need the Timesheet subscription, which currently costs around $20. Some may need the Team Member level, which runs in the $35 range. Finally, a few will need the more pricey, $45-ish subscription. It is worth noting that to acquire more accurate pricing, you will need to contact Genius Project directly.

Breadth of Features

If you can name a project management feature, Genius Project likely has some version of it available. From document management to workflows, from portfolio management to cost and resource tracking, from communication to reporting, Genius Project has covered just about everything. Importantly, though, not all users will have access to these features, so you will need to anticipate what each employee needs when deciding on what exactly to buy.


For me, the biggest attraction of Genius Project is that it is basically a one-stop shop for project management. You won’t need time tracking, chat, or even invoicing apps if you buy Genius Project. That might make the slightly higher price tag worth it.



Final Thoughts

Large businesses have different needs than smaller ones, especially when it comes to project management. The three solutions listed above provide enough scalability, advanced features, and API access to make them invaluable to a large or enterprise level organization.

Looking for something for a smaller team? Check out the Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses. Have you used and liked any of the solutions mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.


Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Searching for the perfect project management application can feel a bit like being Goldilocks — taste-testing each app until, finally, you settle on the choice that is “just right.” Are extensive reporting and invoicing capabilities too hot? Are time tracking or communication tools too cold? It can be daunting to have to search for solutions, especially when the bears (in the form of wasted time, over-budget projects, and poor task management) might return at any moment! When working from the time and budget constraints of a small business, the search can be that much more difficult and frustrating. Merchant Maverick to the rescue! Compiled below for your convenience and reading pleasure are our top three project management applications for small businesses.

A quick note about criteria: I picked these three applications based on affordability relative to other project management applications, ease of use, and an “X-factor” that makes them more desirable than their competitors. Okay, with that out of the way, on to the list!

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Redbooth (read our review) is one the perennial favorite project management applications here at Merchant Maverick; in fact, I think I have recommended it in just about every project management blog I have written. It has that fantastic combination of usability and price that is nearly unmatched in other project management applications.


Pricing for Redbooth is figured per-user, meaning that you pay less if you have fewer users. Generally speaking, this kind of pricing plan favors smaller businesses, especially if yours falls into that 10-12 user category. Of course, the fact that Redbooth starts their pricing at ‘zero’ helps as well. Though you sacrifice a few of the features and are limited to two projects, the free plan might be a good choice for you, at least to start with. When Redbooth actually starts charging, the prices remain firmly in affordable territory, between nine and 15 dollars/user/month.


I have tested and used Redbooth in a number of scenarios over the last two years, and every time I have found it an absolute joy. Adding new tasks, creating workspaces, and communicating with team members from within the app are all accomplished without trouble or confusion.


The special thing that makes Redbooth more desirable than other, similar, project management applications is the excellence of the UI design. Seriously, I have tested a lot of project management apps, but this one is definitely my favorite. It is crisp, clean, and makes absolute sense to anyone who uses it. I love it!


Binfire (read our review) is designed especially with remote teams in mind. A strong project management app on its own, it especially shines in situations where not all team members work from the same location. Equally useful in traditional and “agile” project management styles, this app will almost certainly fill a niche for your business.


While Binfire does not offer a free option (ala Redbooth), this app is available at a lower initial cost, and with more increments to help you tailor the experience to your own needs without completely breaking the bank. Like Redbooth, Binfire is available in a per-user pricing scheme — more users = more expensive. Price tags start at five dollars/user/month and extend through four pricing levels up to $15/user/month.


Binfire is a bit more complicated than Redbooth — offering a wider variety of features — which lends itself to a more difficult user experience. Fortunately, due to good interface design and simple aesthetic, Binfire avoids most pitfalls and remains quite easy to both learn and use.


Binfire’s X-factor has to be remote-work features like its interactive whiteboard. Designed to replicate a project-planning whiteboard session, the interactive whiteboard provides a digital space for teams separated by distance to collaborate meaningfully.

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects (read our review), another perennial favorite in the project management world, is an excellent project management platform designed to grant just about anyone the ability to manage projects effectively. One of the things I appreciate about Teamwork is that it is a very scalable product; if you have aspirations of growing your business beyond the “small” label, this could be the project management app for you.


Teamwork Projects is priced per user. Like Redbooth, Teamwork has a free option, offering a reduced feature set to users for either limited use or use as a trial phase. If you want the rest of Teamwork Projects’ features, you are going to be shelling out $9/user/month, though only 100 or fewer users can jump on board at that price. While 100 user slots will be more than enough for small businesses, if your ambition is to grow rapidly, the flexibility here might come in handy farther down the road.


Like both prior apps, Teamwork Projects is exceptionally easy to use. When viewing your projects and tasks you can choose from one of several views that allow you to customize your viewing experience (a feature that can be found in many project management apps), and the interface is well designed and logical.


I think the X-Factor for Teamwork Projects would have to be the team behind it. Few project management applications that I have reviewed embrace new features and ideas quite the way Teamwork Projects does, certainly not while maintaining an otherwise excellent product. Most recently, Teamwork Projects gained the popular new “board view,” giving you yet another way of visualizing your projects.

Honorable Mentions

There are two other applications* that also fit the bill of “small business friendly project management,” but are too limited in scope and function for me to feel good about adding to the main list. They are, briefly:

  • Trello: Available free to anyone who cares to sign up, the team at Trello is responsible for the original “board view” that was so recently implemented at Teamwork Projects. Trello is easy to use and brings a sense of humor to project management with their cute husky Mascot, Taco.
  • SquidHub: Similar to Trello but much newer, SquidHub is a free project and task management app that is so easy to use that I have a hard time accurately describing how simple the program is. Like Trello, SquidHub is a little on the cheeky side, heavily featuring a smiling squid mascot.

*I recently compared these two apps in another post.

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.


13 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Business

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Why Small Businesses Need New Year's Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is a good time to think about what has passed and what is to come, but this time shouldn’t be limited to personal reflection alone.

As a small business owner, give yourself an opportunity to reflect on your business and its finances. What worked last year? What didn’t work and why? Where do you want to be a year, two years, five years from now? What will it take to get there?

Once you’ve spent some time reflecting, start creating new goals to strive for. There’s no better time to reevaluate your business strategy or implement new financial processes than at the start of the new year. Build on what you learned in 2017 and make 2018 even better by creating financial and business resolutions.

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Business Resolutions To Consider

Here are some possible financial resolution ideas to help get you thinking about how to make this year a success for your business…

Create A Budget & Stick To It

This could be the year to create, implement, and stick to a reasonable budget. Most accounting software programs make it easy to create yearly budgets, and some even allow you to use last year’s data as inspiration.

Increase Sales

Who doesn’t want to increase sales? Begin by considering practical ways to make this happen, like creating specific motivations for your sales staff or expanding your clientele. Use your existing accounting software to drill into your sales records and analyze the trends in your business. What sells well? What type of customers buy your products? Leverage this data to make informed decisions going forward.

Go On An Expense Diet

It might be time to cut back on the expenses. Use your existing accounting software and purchases records to pinpoint unnecessary spending. Find ways to automate processes so you can save time on projects and avoid paying excess wages. When it comes to the overall profitability of your business, this is one diet that isn’t so hard to stick with.

Reinvest Money In Your Business

Did your business make a decent profit in 2017? This year, make it a point to reinvest in your company. Increase your company’s assets, or buy those new computers everyone has been needing to boost productivity. Incentivize your employees to stay by providing more benefits or increasing wages. The more you invest, the more return you’ll see.

Try A New Marketing Strategy

Marketing is always changing and adapting. The New Year is a great time to evaluate your current marketing strategy to see what’s paid off and what hasn’t. Continue practicing the strategies that work, dump the ones that don’t, and don’t be afraid to experiment with some new strategies during 2018.

Pay All Bills On Time

A New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have to be grand and impressive. Your resolution could be as simple as paying your bills on time. If you struggled to get all of your bills paid on time in 2017, make it a priority to stay on top of that this year. Use your accounting software to set reminders and automate your billing if needed.

Stay On Top Of Invoicing

It’s easy to get backed up on invoicing. But when invoices are your company’s bread and butter, it’s important to follow through. Fortunately, almost all accounting software allows you to set up invoicing automations and automatic late-payment reminders. QuickBooks Online even has an invoice scheduling feature when you can schedule invoices to be sent at a later date.

Keep Better Tax Records

If tax time is looming large for you right now, a good New Year’s Resolution would be to keep better tax records for next year. Use your accounting software to keep financial records and check out what tax support your accounting software offers.

Switch Accounting Software

There’s no better time to switch accounting software than at the beginning of a New Year. If your software isn’t cutting it, maybe this year should be about finding a program that actually works for your business. Check out our accounting software comparison chart and read our comprehensive accounting software reviews to see which software is right for you. If you need extra help, read our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software.

Update Existing Accounting Software

Even if you don’t want to switch to a new accounting software program, it might be time for an upgrade. This could definitely be the case if you use an old locally-installed program. Read 5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Accounting Software and start your new year right with the best-performing accounting software.

Add A New Software Integration

Integrations are a great way of adding extra features to your accounting software. Integrations can cover everything from project management to time tracking, email marketing, analytics, scheduling, and much more.

Reconcile Your Bank Accounts Every Month

Were you overwhelmed last year when closing your books? Make things easier on yourself by striving to reconcile your bank accounts each month. Not only will this help you to be less stressed, it will help you to be more proactive with your business’s finances.

Automate Your Business Processes

Perhaps, when looking back on last year, you realized how many day-to-day business processes could be streamlined. This year, choose to automate your business as much as you can. Use your accounting software to automate invoicing and billing. Or take advantage of software integrations like MailChimp to automate your email marketing.

Make Resolutions A Reality

We all know how resolutions go. You are oh-so committed at the beginning of the year, but come March, the diets have been forsaken, the gym memberships are wasted, and nothing is accomplished like you thought it would be. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

There are several tricks you can employ to make your financial resolutions last.

First of all, break the resolution up into smaller, manageable tasks. Resolutions often involve worthy but intangible ideas. Take ‘increasing sales,’ for example. This is a great idea, but how do you achieve it? Break it into achievable components. You could start by running a sales rep competition for the most sales, breaking out a new social media marketing strategy, or implementing a loyalty program to encourage buyers to come back.

Second of all, don’t go at it alone. Bring your whole team in on your business resolutions. Let them know what your goals are for the year so you can all work together to achieve them — and hold each other accountable. Your team may even have a few ideas of their own.

Now that you have a few potential financial resolutions for your business, run with them or come up with new ideas all your own. Whatever you do, don’t let this precious time of reflection and new beginnings go to waste. Seize the opportunity to regroup and create new business goals for yourself and your team. 2018 is yours for the taking!

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause