HoneyBook and Dubsado are both CRM software for small businesses and independent business owners. They help streamline and in some cases, automate the administrative and backend workflows of a business — think invoicing, time tracking, scheduling and all the other important but tedious activities.
This is a completely unpaid review of the functionality and tradeoffs of both platforms, so you have the information you need to decide which is the best fit for you. We're going to be going over what these platforms are unique good at, who they were designed for, their pricing, and what's not so ideal about each of them.
What is HoneyBook?
HoneyBook is a CRM that is great for project-based client businesses. Think, photographers and freelancers. You can organize your clients using their pipeline feature, and send proposals and invoices pretty easily.
Their Smart Files feature allows you to edit invoice and questionnaire templates to fit your own business, which is really helpful when you’re just starting out.
Building on their Smart Files, this is a relatively newer feature of HoneyBook. They recently launched a library of 70+ templates that you can choose from. Whether you’re looking for an invoice template, contract template, client intake template, or a proposal template, they have a variety of designs to choose from.
If you do not already have a payment processor (Stripe, Paypal, Quickbooks, etc), then this might save you a step. HoneyBook has its own payment processor, which means you don’t have to sign up for yet another app. If you process payments through HoneyBook, here is their most updated fee schedule (starting December 14, 2022):
If you already have a payment processor and you want to have that integrate with your CRM, you may want to choose another platform because HoneyBook doesn’t support native PayPal, Stripe. They recently announced a Quickbooks integration in their Essentials plan.
What is Dubsado?
Dubsado is a business management platform that supports both project-based client businesses and relationship-based businesses. Their customers range from make up artists to doulas. Similar to HoneyBook, you can organize your clients, sign contracts, send invoices and book appointments relatively easily.
Free for 3 clients
There’s no credit card needed and Dubsado is free to up to 3 clients. Perfect if you’re just starting out and considering whether you really need a CRM.
It’s an additional cost ($10/month), but you’re able to manage multiple brands under the same account. This would be helpful for anyone who has two separate businesses, but wants to save time by having everything under the same software roof.
The ability to create workflows and automate repetitive parts of your business is what CRMs should do. Dubsado’s automated workflows are quite powerful, being able to automate everything from emails to task management like creating to-dos.
What are the main differences between HoneyBook and Dubsado?
HoneyBook offers a free trial (and often a very low cost promotion for your first 6-8 months) then they have three tiered yearly and monthly plans that you can choose from:
- Starter plan: $19/month or $192/year.
Allows you to create proposals, do invoicing, and manage clients but it excludes any real-time scheduling, automations, or integrations outside of your Google calendar.
- Essentials plan: $39/month or $384/year.
Includes everything in the starter plan, plus the ability to use schedulers, automations, Zapier and Quickbooks integrations and the ability to remove HoneyBook branding on your client facing artifacts. You're also able to add another team member in this plan.
- Premium plan: $79/month or $792/year.
Includes everything in the essentials plan but the real differentiator is the ablity to create multiple brands and companies under the same account, invite unlimited team members and you get a dedicated account manager for faster support.
Dubsado is either $20 or $40 per month and $200 or $400 per year, depending on if you sign up for the Starter or Premium plans. They also have additional fees for multiple brands and for team members.
HoneyBook has deep integration with Gmail which means you can manage projects within the Gmail app through a Chrome extension, as well as in the HoneyBook platform.
Dubsado doesn’t have this capability, which means you’re forced to exclusively manage projects from within the Dubsado web application.
Both HoneyBook and Dubsado have time trackers, but Dubsado has one that you can start/stop to actually count your time, whereas HoneyBook would require you to track your time separately and enter it in as a time entry.
What’s lacking from HoneyBook and Dubsado
Shallow client records
Both HoneyBook and Dubsado are project-focused, instead of client-focused which means it doesn’t offer much in terms a deep client record. You can capture the basics about a client, which is fine for project work, but less ideal if you have a longer term relational-based business like coaching, dog training or certain types of consulting.
Chat-like Client Portal
Neither HoneyBook or Dubsado have a very intuitive client home base. HoneyBook relies primarily on email, whereas Dubsado has a client portal but it isn’t particularly robust and doesn’t have native iOS and Android apps, making your clients login to a web portal each time.
HoneyBook vs Dubsado: Which is the best option?
Both can be good options for your project-based clients. If you’re just starting out as a small business owner, Dubsado’s free for 3 clients is quite beneficial. If you’ve been in business for a while and you’re looking to migrate, both platforms have a migration system and decently robust automations to help streamline your existing business.
We also compared HoneyBook to 17hats and Dubsado to Plutio recently, if you want to check those comparison articles out.
If neither of these feel like quite the fit, and you’re looking for a client management platform that’s a bit more client-centered, Practice has the most robust client records amongst CRMs that are designed for small businesses. Plus, it has an intuitive client portal that has chat, voice memos, and file organization which your clients can access on iOS, Android and web.