Managing your client relationships is paramount to your success. Why? Because if you’re spending all of your time working on the administrative side of working with clients, it’s eating up a ton of time that could be spent better elsewhere.
Luckily, there are tools out there that can help! A Client Relationship Management Tool (or CRM) can help you to streamline your client management processes, and free up time for you to focus on building relationships with your clients and serving them well.
That being said, a quick Google search for CRMs will bring up enough options to make your head spin, so how do you choose? Today we’ll discuss two of the most popular options - HoneyBook and Dubsado - and help you decide which one aligns best with your own personal business needs.
The basics of both HoneyBook and Dubsado are that they were created specifically for all business owners, freelancers, and creatives as a way to manage their clients. They’re both all-in-one client management platforms meant to allow you to streamline everything from gathering inquiries, to onboarding clients, to getting paid, to serving your clients and beyond - so that you can spend more time serving your clients and growing your business, and less time with the repetitive administrative tasks that come alongside those things.
When it comes to user interface, ease of use, and customization, HoneyBook is the clear winner. In the past, Dubsado would have had a slight advantage due to the heavy customization options they had that HoneyBook did not. However, HoneyBook has really been working on this criticism and their customization game has stepped up. They also have an app, which Dubsado does not at this time.
On top of that, because Dubsado has such robust workflow capabilities, setup can be a bit clunkier, and there’s more of a learning curve. For those reasons, this one is a point to HoneyBook, but just slightly.
When it comes to features for client interaction, Dubsado and HoneyBook are neck and neck. The one advantage HoneyBook has for this is that you can have multiple collaborators within one workspace. However, if that’s not a feature you need for your business, these two CRMs are both wonderful when it comes to their client interaction features.
It should be no surprise that The Contract Shop® values the proposal and contract management of CRM tools. The good news is, both tools offer simple ways to get contracts out to your clients and ensure you’re legally legit.
That being said, Dubsado is the winner in this category, as they allow for subcontracts. This is especially great if you need one main contract to begin working with a client, but then require written approval from the client throughout your time together.
Dubsado is the clear winner when it comes to automation and workflow management. HoneyBook has begun to close the gap thanks to their new SmartFiles that allow for an all-in-one brochure, but Dubsado’s workflows are so much more robust. When it comes to creating an automation in HoneyBook, there’s a lot of finagling and adding things to your own planner to make sure you stay on top of all of the moving parts.
In the case of invoicing and payment processing, HoneyBook has the advantage because their invoicing is a bit more intuitive, and they have the ability to set up subpackages and things of that nature. In addition, HoneyBook has it’s own payment processor - if you’re not already set up with Stripe or Square, this is huge. In addition, HoneyBook’s processor means that your clients can set up autobilling for themselves, which is a huge perk over Dubsado.
HoneyBook has three different plans to choose from: Starter, Essentials, and Premium. The Starter plan is $19/month (as of August 2023) and includes unlimited clients and projects, invoices and payments, proposals and contracts, calendar, professional templates, client portals, and basic reports.
The Essentials plan is $39/month (as of August 2023) and includes everything in the Starter plan, as well as a scheduler, automations, Quickbooks integration, Up to 2 Team Members, expense management, profit and loss reporting, the ability to remove “Powered by HoneyBook” from your materials, and standard reports.
Finally, the Premium plan is $79/month and includes everything in both the Starter and Essentials plans, as well as unlimited team members, priority support, the ability to have multiple companies, an onboarding specialist, a dedicated account manager, and soon advanced reporting.
Dubsado has two different options to choose from: the Starter and the Premier plans. The Starter plan is $20/month (as of August 2023) and includes unlimited projects and clients, as well as the ability to set up forms and email templates, invoices, and payment plans.
The Premier plan is $40/month (as of August 2023) and includes everything in the Starter plan plus scheduling, automated workflows, public proposals, multiple lead captures at once, and Zapier integration.
Both offer discounts if you pay in full for an annual plan instead of monthly. Dubsado’s Starter plan is $200/year, and their Premier plan is $400/year. HoneyBook’s Starter plan is $96/year, their Essentials plan is $192/year, and their Premium plan is $396/year.
It’s worth mentioning that both HoneyBook and Dubsado have fiercely loyal users. So, no matter which you end up deciding to go with, you’ll likely love it! There’s no wrong answer here. So don’t let indecision hold you back. The best thing you can do to help choose is to start a free trial of each of them and play around inside to see which one you like more.
HoneyBook offers a 7 day free trial, and Dubsado offers a 3 client free trial. Meaning that there’s no time limit - just a project limit. Oh, and if you use our affiliate link to start your free trial with HoneyBook, and decide to move forward with them, our link saves you 50% off your first year!
And if you’re still working on getting your business up and running? Our free staring a business checklist was created just for you! Don’t let any of those starting steps fall through the cracks with this full guide to getting your business up and running!
Amanda Warfield is a simplicity-focused content marketing and launch strategist, author of the book Chasing Simple Marketing, and host of Chasing Simple - a podcast to help creative entrepreneurs uncomplicate their marketing and business. She traded in her classroom lesson plans for speaking and educating creative entrepreneurs on sustainably fitting content marketing into their business, without it taking over their business - so that they have time to grow their business.
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