A good client relationship management (CRM) platform can come to the rescue. We’re going to be comparing two popular coaching CRMs, Paperbell and HoneyBook. We’ll cover the best features of both, explore the pros and cons, highlight pricing differences and more, so that you can decide which platform might be a good fit for you and your small coaching practice and workflow management.
Let’s get into it.
What is Paperbell?
Paperbell is a project management tool that was built specifically for business coaching. In terms of functionality, it has templates, client management packages, and appointment scheduling tools, making it similar to Bonsai, another project management software. Though Paperbell serves coaches functionally well, its client-facing experience is not as beautifully designed, and we’ll get into some of the cons and missing features like a robust client portal that supports live online chat and voice notes.
What is HoneyBook?
HoneyBook is a popular client relationship management platform that started off serving wedding photographers and freelancers. It has all of the backend tooling you’d want in a CRM — invoicing, contracts and payments. Because of its history, most of the platform is built around projects, not clients.
Best features of Paperbell
We’re going to cover a few features Paperbell does better than HoneyBook, specifically for coaches.
1. Payment plans
If your clients are about to sign up for a 3, 6, or 12-month package with you, you may want to offer some payment flexibility in the form of payment plans. Paperbell allows you to create payment plans for packages, so you can meet clients exactly where they are at in terms of pricing.
2. Landing page of services
Paperbell has a customizable landing page that will feature your packages, pricing and digital downloads. As a coach, this can serve as a straightforward web page for your clients to sign up for a service. Here’s an example of what that landing page can look like:
3. Group sessions within packages
While creating your package offering on Paperbell, you can add group coaching sessions alongside your 1:1 sessions. Similar to how Nudge works, this would be great for those coaches who like to mix up their offering with individual and group sessions.
4. Free for up to 1 client
If you’re new to coaching, or trying to figure out if you actually need a project management or SaaS tool for your business , this is a great way to test drive your needs. You get access to all of Paperbell’s features for your single client and you don’t have to pay until you get a second client.
Once you have two or more clients, your pricing options are $57/month or $570/year, which can be payable by Stripe or Paypal.
Best features of HoneyBook
1. Easily customizable and branded invoices
HoneyBook has easy to use editors for their invoice and contract templates. You can edit all of the contents without needing to open up a third party PDF editor like Adobe, plus apply your custom branding to it.
2. Automated workflows
Building automated workflows is one of the best ways that a client relationship management platform can save you time, energy and free up space in your calendar so you can focus on finding and onboarding new clients. This is especially helpful for those incredibly repetitive tasks like sending out appointment reminders from your calendar, following up with a testimonial survey or signing documentation. HoneyBook has a workflow interface that you can use to set up automations that run in the background, while you get back to coaching. Nonetheless, if you have many coaching clients, platforms like CoachAccountable may be better suited in terms of functionality, especially in terms of goal setting and tracking. If you’re in the hospitality sector, Nudge might be a better option.
Since HoneyBook’s origin was based on wedding photographers, they use the words project and proposals a lot. Most prominently, in their pipeline feature, where you’re typically moving a project through a series of states until completion. If you’re doing a lot of project-based work, having this functionality and visibility could be very valuable. It’s also great in terms of time tracking if you’re a freelancer and general project management.
When it comes to time tracking capabilities, Bonsai and its cloud-based software is another useful tool.
3. Templates Gallery
This is a newer feature for HoneyBook. The blank landing page effect can be difficult, so instead of starting from scratch, you can start building contracts, proposals and forms using one of their 70+ editable templates. This can really help to get your business coaching business off on the right track.
Paperbell vs. HoneyBook: Key differences
Most of Paperbell’s functionality is built around the concept of packages, so if you don’t sell packages, this is probably a con and won’t be the best fit for your business.
How they accept payments
- Paperbell: Has integrations with Stripe and PayPal, which means you need one of those services in order to use Paperbell’s payment feature.
- HoneyBook: Has built-in payment processing, so you don’t need to sign up for a third party processor. For example, HoneyBook is unable to process payments through personal accounts with PayPal, Stripe or Venmo.
How they handle client management
- Paperbell: For each client, you can see the history of appointments, surveys, packages, notes, surveys and private files.
- HoneyBook: Relatively shallow client management. Main details you can include are name, email, mailing address and business information.
- Paperbell: Paperbell has several impressive integrations, including Google Meet, in-depth Zapier integrations, Quickbooks for billing, Xero, Zoom, and Stripe.
- Honeybook: HoneyBook easily integrates with many apps, allowing users to automate workflow effectively. Popular integrations include Zoom, Calendly, Google Calendar, Zapier, and more.
Note: When comparing various project management platforms like Bonsai, Quenza, HoneyBook, or PaperBell, always check integrations. For many, these will highlight main pros and cons, depending on the apps you need.
How they support different locations
- Paperbell: Supports English-speaking clients from around the world.
- HoneyBook: Primarily serves US and Canada, especially with their payments feature.
How their pricing works
- Paperbell: Free for 1 client, then choose to be billed at $57/month or pay a $570/year invoice.
- HoneyBook: Free trial for 7 days, then choose between several packages which are billed annually. Starter is $12.50 per month, Essentials is $25.60 a month, and Premium is $52.80 a month.
Choosing the best platform for your business
Your final choice of CRM or business management software will be determined by how much you value automation, what your offerings are, and where you are in your coaching journey. It also depends on your freelancer business. While platforms like Nudge are great for the hospitality industry, Quenza works better for those needing to engage clients with plenty of forms or questionnaires. Alternatively, Vagaro is great for wellness professionals who want to automate scheduling, reminders and payments.
Coaches, however, might need something a little different to Vagaro or Quenza. From Vcita to Bonsai and Honeybook to Paperbell, so many platforms exist, and choosing the best fit can feel overwhelming for your business.
If you’re just starting out, and not sure if you need a digital platform for your coaching business, Paperbell can be a great free start. Especially since it offers the ability to do one-on-one and group sessions.
If you’re looking for more robust workflows and automations to save you time, then HoneyBook might be more up your alley. And, it’s cheaper!
If neither quite fits the bill and you’re looking for something client-centered, while having simple yet robust automations, then Practice might be a better fit, especially for life coaching and working with multiple clients. Enjoy several beneficial functions including appointment scheduling, hassle-free invoicing, billing, simple task management, client onboarding, time tracking, and automated calendar functions.
Try it out free for 7 days, and enjoy ample integrations. Whether you’re life coaching or business coaching, Practice has many exciting functions that take the stress out of running your small business. Automation technology is certainly the way to go when it comes to small business management.
Built for Web, iOS and Android — Practice is the client management software for businesses of one, making it super simple for you and your clients to use, while looking professional at the same time. So, when evaluating all the different project management software options available to freelancers and coaches, from Quenza to Vagaro to Bonsai and Paperbell and HoneyBook, consider Practice. With fair pricing, Practice will help you get your business organized so you can stay on top of what matters. Let Practice take the hassle out of task management so you can get back to what you do best, being a coach!