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Most builders would rather bang nails than peck away at a computer keyboard. Yet few tools can improve a contractor's business operations — in the office and in the field — as much as a computer and a good set of software applications. While most contractors are familiar with or use word processors and checkbook-based bookkeeping systems, it's the estimating, job-costing, and scheduling functions that cause the most frustration when moving from a manual system for creating and maintaining records to a computer-driven system. Our expectations for these software applications are high: They must be able to run right out of the box, with a minimal learning curve, and they shouldn't cost an