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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!
Important Affiliate Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Dubsado and Honeybook, and if you join using my links, I’ll receive a commission on the sale – at no extra cost to you! This review reflects my own honest opinion based on my experience as a service-based business owner.
If you’re looking for the best way to streamline client relationships and keep information organized, then you’re probably familiar with the Dubsado vs Honeybook debate! These are two of the most popular CRMs on the market, and with good reason. I’ve had so many clients and other entrepreneurs ask which one I think is the best of these two services. I’ve used and paid for both of these services at different points in my business and tested each of these programs extensively, and my answer is: it depends on what you need!
The truth is, they’re both solid options for any small business owner who’s looking for a way to level up their organization and client service. And if you’re looking for a program that will make good-looking client forms and invoices and help you create a better client experience, then you can’t go wrong with either one! However, there are a few differences between them that made one the clear winner for my business. In this post, I’m comparing Dubsado vs Honeybook to help you figure out which is best for YOUR business! I’ll cover the following:
When you’re running an online business, there are a million separate things to remember: snippets of client information, scheduling appointments, sending proposals, which invoices have been sent and which have been paid…and the list goes on! In the beginning, the majority of people do most of their client communication over email and video chat and keep track of project information and billing independently. When you only have a couple of clients, that might work well, but as your business grows, your needs will change! Eventually, you’ll probably want a more efficient system, and that’s where services like Dubsado and Honeybook come in.
Dubsado and Honeybook are both CRMs, which stands for Client Relationship Management. Sometimes you’ll see them called a CMS (Client Management System), but both mean the same thing! The short and sweet explanation is that they help you organize and maintain relationships with clients. But they also do a lot more that makes your life as a small business owner easier!
A CRM is a little bit like an old-school client file and a personal secretary, all in one. With Dubsado and Honeybook, you can make templates for standard documents (like proposals, contracts, and onboarding questionnaires) and automatically send them to clients.
Once a client completes forms, a CRM records everything in one place. You can also automate everyday time-consuming tasks, like appointment scheduling, sending reminders to clients, and processing payments. So, if you’re already doing all these tasks manually or through a hodge-podge of different apps and programs, consolidating everything into a CRM could help save you time. Work smarter, not harder, right?
I also wrote a full recap of exactly “what is Dubsado” which will give you insight into CRM’s in general.
If you’re like me, you might wonder why you’d spend extra money and time on a CRM if you could technically keep up with all this information yourself! I think a good CRM is worth the cost because it saves so much time and energy over tracking the status of leads, clients, and projects or sending out documents and invoices piecemeal from other services. It frees up the mental energy I used to spend on doing everything myself.
Once you have over one or two clients, it’s more convenient, not to mention quicker, to make form templates and automate organization. Plus, a CRM elevates your client experience with polished documents and a smoother client journey. When everything is stored in a CRM, the little details are less likely to fall off your radar. Even if you still consider yourself a beginner or a freelancer, a CRM can still level up your services, make the client experience more professional, and justify raising your rates!
When you start searching for a CRM, you will almost always see Dubsado and Honeybook come up as the top two choices for service providers, freelancers, and small businesses. And they are both fantastic choices! They have quite a few similarities, so let’s talk about the main things you can expect from these programs.
No matter which CRM you choose, customizing it for your business takes a lot of work! It can be intimidating and feel like a tough job to learn your way around a new system. That said, Dubsado and Honeybook both have amazing customer support, and there are tons of resources out there to help you understand the ins and outs of each program. You’ll definitely need to get to know whichever program you choose and invest some time setting up branding, workflows, and templates. But stick with it! I promise you once it’s up and running, it’s a game changer.
As for Dubsado vs Honeybook, Honeybook is slightly simpler to set up in the beginning…but that’s because there are fewer customization options (a little more on that later!). If you’re overwhelmed by setting everything up yourself, you could hire another service provider specializing in Honeybook or Dubsado to help you get everything set up.
Both Honeybook and Dubsado have systems in place to help make it easier to communicate with clients and keep a record of their information in one place. Some of the main ways people use Honeybook or Dubsado for client processes are:
Dubsado and Honeybook both allow you to build lead capture forms, which you can embed as a page on your website or send out as a link. Once a potential client has filled out the form, both programs will automatically load the information collected into your projects. In a CRM, a project is the start of your client journey, so automating the process as soon as someone fills out your inquiry form is incredibly convenient and more efficient than collecting leads from your website or other sources and managing the information on your own!
There are many things about a CRM that make things easier for you to manage clients, but portals are a nice feature to have that makes life easier for clients. In their personalized portal, clients can view and access all of the forms, documents, invoices, and messages associated with their account. While both Honeybook and Dubsado have this feature, Dubsado’s version is more customizable and blends in with your website more cohesively than Honeybook’s version.
While both Dubsado and Honeybook are excellent choices for any service provider, they have some essential differences that make one of the two the stand-out choice for my business. Of course, I can’t say enough that they’re both great programs, and I don’t think you can really make a “wrong” choice!
However, every business is different, and the qualities that make one program the best choice for me might be the same things that make another the better choice for someone else! In my experience with Dubsado vs Honeybook, I noticed the most differences in three main areas:
One of the most helpful features of any CRM is the potential to turn something you’re already doing over and over by hand into a workflow or automation. For example, instead of sending appointment reminders, thank you messages after a contract has been signed, or a Google Form with your basic client questions, you could set up a workflow to send that on a set schedule or at a certain point in the client’s journey.
Both Dubsado and Honeybook allow you to create tailor-made workflows, but Dubsado has far more freedom! For example, in Honeybook, you’ll only have four automation options: create a task, send an email, send a questionnaire, or send a brochure. Meanwhile, Dubsado has all those options, plus several automations for project status, pausing workflows, and sending documents. Seriously, Dubsado allows you to create a workflow for almost anything you can imagine.
Dubsado’s workflows are also divided into smaller chunks, so it’s MUCH easier to move clients from one workflow to the next as they enter different stages of the client journey. Honeybook only allows one workflow to be active on a project at a time, making it potentially long and clunky, since one workflow has to cover everything from the initial client contact to invoice delivery.
The flip side of Dubsado’s flexibility with workflows is that they’re pretty hands-on and involved to set up, which makes the learning curve a little bit steeper. Because Dubsado’s workflows are so detailed, you must tell the program exactly what you want to happen. Honeybook’s workflows are a little more intuitive, but that’s because there are fewer options. Most clients are moving through Honeybook’s standard workflow, which is simpler, but more limiting.
Creating customized invoices and forms in a CRM is a huge way to level up your branding and client experience. Instead of sending clients PDFs, plain-text questionnaires, and basic invoices, you could send them a link to a sleek, custom-branded page with a proposal, contract, or onboarding questionnaire. The good news is that whether you choose Dubsado or Honeybook, you’ll be able to tweak invoices and forms to some extent.
While you can build custom documents in both, Dubsado comes out on top because their forms and invoices are so versatile. They give you an easy drag-and-drop builder for building templates, which you can use to add images, videos, text fields, and conditional formatting wherever you want in a template. If you’re able to code, you can even modify Dubsado templates that way. ALL of their canned email templates are fully customizable – you can add buttons and smart fields wherever you like.
For comparison, Honeybook also has several canned email templates to choose from, but you can’t customize them as much as Dubsado’s. You also have fewer smart field options, text fields are static, and you can’t embed any elements. Not to mention, if there’s a button in a template, you can’t move it wherever you want or add a new one. Ultimately, that makes it harder to have everything look like it was designed for your brand. Honeybook’s templates are still great-looking, but sometimes there are awkward elements in a layout that you can’t work around.
White labeling is software that makes the documents and forms you send out look like they came from your website or program, not like they’re being routed through another system or service. For example, if a document is white-labeled, it will not only have your brand’s colors, logo, and fonts, but it will also exist at a unique URL on your website (rather than a URL on the CRM’s website).
Honeybook does white label some of the client-facing parts of their CRM system, but not ALL of them. While forms are white-labeled, the scheduler and the client portal aren’t. So, if someone clicks on a link to schedule an appointment with you, then the URL they’ll see belongs to Honeybook, not your website.
Dubsado makes it possible to white-label every part of your client experience. So, if you don’t want clients to know that your appointment scheduler is actually run by Dubsado and not built into your website, then they never will. This isn’t a super important feature for some people, but if you want to achieve a one-of-a-kind look and client experience, then Dubsado is the way to go!
Honeybook is priced at $39 per month or $390 per year. If you want to try it out first, Honeybook offers a free trial for seven days. Dubsado’s unlimited plan is priced at $40 per month or $400 per year. While Dubsado does offer a starter plan for $20 per month or $200 per year, that version doesn’t allow for scheduling or automations. Dubsado’s free trial is limited to three clients, but you can use it for unlimited time.
I’m an affiliate for both programs, and with my links, you can get 20% off your first year of Dubsado or Honeybook! That brings the cost of Honeybook down to $312 for the first year or Dubsado to $320.
I’ve paid for both of these services at different times for my business, and I think they’re worth every penny! Even though Dubsado’s plans are slightly more expensive, if you’re on the fence, I wouldn’t let that be the deciding factor between Dubsado vs Honeybook. So, how should you decide? It depends on your priority and what you want to get from a CRM for your business.
If you’re looking for something relatively easy and intuitive to use that won’t overwhelm you with options you don’t think you’ll use in your business, then Honeybook is the way to go! However, if you’re looking for something that is customizable in almost every way and will blend right in with your branding and website, Dubsado is the one for you! I recommend doing a free trial for both and playing around with each one to see what you like best.
Even though I’ve used both, now I prefer Dubsado. Once everything is set up, I find the platform easier to use, and I’ve even noticed that I’ve had fewer tech errors on Dubsado. I love the look of their invoices and forms, and the powerful workflows are exactly what I needed to save more time in my business.
That’s a wrap on the Dubsado vs Honeybook showdown! The bottom line is that either can help you build a professional client experience and help you manage client relationships. While Honeybook’s pared-down options keep things simpler for service providers, Dubsado has a clear edge when it comes to workflows, customization, and white labeling your CRM to blend with your branding.
*This post may contain affiliate links.