Essential Apps For Tradespeople

Let’s be honest - most of you in the building trade use your smartphones just to keep in touch with friends, family and clients via text or Facebook, but not much else.

Which is a shame. Many of you are therefore only scratching the surface of your smartphone’s capabilities. But we think that if you were to download just a few apps, your smartphones could be much more useful to you. There are now dozens of handy apps available on iTunes and Google Play that claim to ease or improve your working day. Here are six we’ve recently road tested.

Handyman calculator

Available: Android

Most tradespeople do dozens of calculations every day and this app covers them all. Need to know how many bricks to order for a wall? The app's got that. Or maybe how much carpet to order for a house refurb? It’s got that too. Other things it can calculate include drywall panels, roof pitch, sand mix, spray foam insulation, stair angles, tiles, wall framing – the list goes on. It’s useful for carpenters, general builders, electricians, plasterers, roofers and also has a few general features including time tracking. It’s free or £4 for the ad-free version.

Download for: Android



BalusterPro

Available: Android/iOS

This app is designed specifically to make calculating the spacing of balustrades, slats or for that matter anything else that needs equal spacing. Rather than wasting time trying to work it out on a scrap of paper, this app does it for you. Input the length and/or angle of the balustrade and the size of the spindles and it works out the rest for you. Costs £1.95.

Download for: Android, iOS



Clinometer

Available: Android/iOS

So you want to know if a wall is straight or surface flat? One option in times past was to use a plumb line, or maybe a spirit level. But for when you’re not carrying such equipment around, the Clinometer app is an accurate and nicely designed alternative. It has a professional feel to the interface and is very easy to use – open it and the app is ready to measure. Hold your phone up and it’s in angle mode, put the phone on its back and it switches to bubble level mode. On Play, it’s free to download but extra features cost between 69p and £1.08p. On iOS it costs £1.49.

Download for: Android, iOS



iCertifi

Available: iOS

Electrical certification used to involve either a ream of paperwork or the use of fairly clumsy laptop or desktop PC software and an internet connection. Now, there’s an app that enables offline BS7671 electrical certificates for minor works, domestic Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) as well as EIC Condition Reports. The app is packed with electrical calculators, can be customised and also ‘checks’ your test results as you go through the certification. Also, intelligent software that recognises automatically which type of test you are undertaking. The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches and is free to download but costs up to £60 a year to use in full feature mode.

Download for: iOS



Plangrid

Available: Android/iOS

This is a sharing app and enables everyone working on a project to share drawings, mark-ups, photos and notes as the work progresses – so useful for keeping a boss or client up to date on where you are. It’s free to use at first, but after you’ve uploaded 50 documents they start charging, which can cost up to £108.70 a year.

Download for: Android, iOS



Powered Now

Available: Android/iOS

One way to get paid quicker is to invoice from the job, rather than waiting until you get back to the office. And Powered Now enables you to do that with a simple, clean invoice creation process on your smartphone. But it can also generate quotes and job sheets and helps you organise your customer base and capture discussions as soon as you’ve had them on site. You can also monitor and record payments and even use it to instant message members of your crew. It’s free to download and use for a week but can cost up to £300 a year.

Download for: Android, iOS