If you want to streamline your business and improve workflow, using a great customer relationship management tool (or CRM) can make all the difference. One of the most popular CRMs for this is Dubsado. It’s a project management tool that makes businesses efficient by managing different aspects of your business from lead management to client communication and invoicing—all from a single platform.
While we definitely think Dubsado is useful, it’s not the ideal solution for every type of business. For instance, this tool is not specifically designed for coaches so it does not have functions like group coaching and live chatting. Plus, file storage is limited. Fortunately, if you’re a coach or an entrepreneur looking for something different, there are many Dubsado alternatives out there to choose from.
What To Look For In A CRM?
Whether you need to create surveys or questionnaires, keep track of projects, communicate with clients, or send contracts and invoices—a CRM helps you stay on top of your business affairs. Even though there are hundreds of task management tools to choose from, features may differ depending on the kinds of businesses it’s designed for. No matter which software you decide on, you should know all the ins and outs, so you can pick the one which helps your business bloom.
- Price: Most CRMs offer their prices through three pricing tiers. These tiers range from basic packages with limited features such as templates and invoicing to premium packages that come with perks like allowing you to add unlimited team members, time-tracking, and priority support. You can also choose to pay monthly or annually.
- Easy Set-Up: Not all project management platforms are a breeze to set up and get started. In fact, you’ll often hear people (especially newbies) about some CRMs being complicated to use. That’s why it’s important to find a CRM that’s simple and won’t take a long time for you to learn how to use it properly.
- Workflow Automation: Workflow automation saves time by streamlining business processes like invoice due dates and sending follow-up emails to clients. This is particularly important when there are many repetitive tasks that regularly need to be done.
- Payment Gateways: CRM systems typically use 3rd-party payment processors like Stripe and PayPal. Also, many CRMs often have their own payment apps integrated into the platform. You want a CRM with flexible payment options, so your clients can choose whether they want to pay by card or via bank transfer. Some CRMs also provide automated payments that save you time and energy tracking payments.
- Client Customer Service: Client communication is the bedrock of a CRM tool, so you want to find one that makes it easy to keep in touch with your clients to give them the best service. Look for CRMs that make it easy for you and your clients to contact each other. You should also find a tool that stores all important client data in one accessible location.
Practice is a client management system focusing on solopreneurs, coaches, and other small business service providers. What makes Practice different from Dubsado and many other CRM platforms is that it emphasizes client communication by creating an encrypted client portal, so you and your clients can safely communicate in real-time. Besides communicating with clients, you can access all their information and documents. We like that you can also send emojis and leave voice memos too. To make it even more convenient, you can use it on your phone once you download an iOs or Android app.
Unlike Dubsado which is not designed to store large files (you only can upload 8 MB max), Practice provides unlimited file storage and lets you store files up to 100 MB and larger, directly on the platform. It also offers full integration with Gmail, Zapier, and other tools, but at the moment does not integrate with Microsoft Outlook. Another benefit of this project management tool is that it has group coaching software which Dubsado does not have. This means you can manage all the data from your group in one workspace—just like any individual client. You get a free 7-day trial to test it out.
If you own a creative business such as graphic design, writing, or photography, Honeybook is a Dubsado alternative worth exploring. This CRM makes lead capture easy and is fairly easy to learn. It features a user-friendly dashboard and also offers a mobile app that can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, which Dubsado lacks. However, this feature is only available for vendors and not for your clients.
Like Dubsado, there is no option for group coaching, and can only handle clients on a one-on-one basis. Additionally, Honeybook offers limited scheduling options. The software can only synchronize one calendar at a time and currently supports Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook Calendar, and Apple iCloud Calendar only.
A “smart files'' feature makes task management easy by allowing you to send new clients a single smart file with everything they need instead of multiple emails. This means you can manage and update documents like schedules, contracts, and invoices, any time you want without sending new ones. While it's possible to process payments without a third party, a small fee is still required for all transactions. Honeybooks is only available in the US and Canada.
17Hats is a cloud-based CRM that’s similar to Dubsado in many ways in terms of integration with other apps such as Square, PayPal, Quickbooks, and Zapier. It’s perfect for task management because it supports multiple users and comes with a client portal so your clients can easily access documents.
The big difference between Dubsado and 17Hats is that Dubsado offers many of its features throughout its pricing tiers, while 17Hats requires people to buy a premium package if they want all its features. Also, 17Hats streamlined workflows are not as advanced as Dubsado and offer fewer customizations.
Overall, 17Hats is a good option for solopreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses who need a reliable project management solution to streamline their business. It’s also available in most countries, including the US or Canada.
Hello Bonsai is good for freelancers because it has all the tools to make your business run smoothly. It’s similar to Dubsado and includes a client portal where you can do everything from time tracking to collaborating with clients and co-workers. This CRM tool also features a default late fee button, that charges clients if they're late with their payments. Apart from Stripe and PayPal, Hello Bonsai has its own payment app - Bonsai Payments, that you can use for payments.
A 3% payment fee is levied on all payment options. But, Hello Bonsai helps you offset this fee by including it in your invoice for your clients. You can sign up for Hello Bonsai with a free 7-day trial without a credit card. Afterward, there is a monthly fee of at least $17, to continue.
If you need a pared-down CRM system that is specifically designed with coaches in mind, then PaperBell is a great Dubsado alternative tool to go for. It cuts out long set-up processes and complex automation, so you can set it up by yourself without outside assistance to get it up and running.
As a Dubsado alternative for the coaching industry, it provides essential group coaching software such as online checkout for group coaching programs and automatic calendar invites for your clients to book a session. And because it integrates with Zapier, you can share data from this platform with your preferred tools. At $57 per month, it’s more expensive than Dubsado. However, it comes with more functionality in terms of the number of clients, contracts, and files. Paperbell offers a free plan to potential users who want to try it out. Additionally, the platform supports various local currencies, so you can offer packages that appeal to international clients.
Plutio is a project management solution that’s ideal for solopreneurs and small businesses because it provides an overview of all their projects, making it easier to manage multiple clients at the same time. What makes it different from Dubsado is that you can send proposals, handle contracts, create invoice templates, and much more all from one dashboard.
On top of your monthly fee, you can opt to pay extra for a white-label add-on that lets you replace Plutio’s branding with your own. This means you also get to personalize your layout design and get a custom domain and email address. There are three pricing plans, with the lowest at $19 per month for up to three clients.
Choosing a CRM that will fit your business can be a tricky thing with so many options out there. It often comes down to the needs of the business — simple and lightweight when you're starting out vs. robust and complex when you're scaling.
If you're looking for something that's simple and professional, Practice is likley the best client management software option. It's designed specifically for businesses of one — think coaches, consultants, and other small business service providers. With it, you can keep track of client data, and conveniently communicate with them through voice notes and live chat in their client portal. It also has a convenient mobile app you and your clients can download. Try it out with a 7-day free trial.