If you’re a creative business owner, you’ve probably heard of Client Relationship Management systems (CRMs for short) in order to manage your projects, invoices, contracts, and emails with clients all in one place. Or maybe you’ve been using Trello, Slack or Asana this whole time and maybe this is the year you’re going to start using a CRM for the first time.
Well, if you’re doing your research, read this post!
While there are many CRM options for service-based providers, today I’m comparing just two: Honeybook and Dubsado. They’re both widely popular (Honeybook was developed by the founders of the Rising Tide Society) with creativepreneurs, and I’ve used both in my writing and wedding business. While my word is not God and I recommend whatever ultimately works best for you, it’s worth making an informed decision by doing your research.
Also, I feel it important to note that I am a creative from Canada, so while I bill international clients in USD, I was also looking for a CRM that was compatible with Canadian banking and wouldn’t make me lose money (since there are transfer fees and exchange rates).
I originally discovered Honeybook because it was recommended by Jenna Kutcher, a photographer and podcast host that I follow online. I liked the clean and simple interface and signed up for a free trial. For a few months, I used it for my wedding business to create contracts, invoices and client portals. It was pretty sweet! My clients found Honeybook very simple to use as well, when they were using the portal and making payments.
Pros of Honeybook
- Free trial up to 7 days
- Simpler, easier user experience than Dubsado.
- App is useful to work on your business on-the-go.
- Ideal for wedding planners, event managers, etc. (originally created for wedding professionals so there are built in legal templates and invoices for that)
- Free trainings and easy-to-follow “online” course to learn the platform
Cons of Honeybook
- It can be too simple. Not ideal for bespoke designers!
- Deducts a percentage of what clients pay you..
- Not compatible with Canadian banks
- Only accepts one currency
- As a Canadian freelancer, I’m not a fan of this limited option — Paypal and Wave have it, and those are free to use. I do bill USD internationally, but as a homeland perk, I give my clients in Canada the option to pay in CAD, since they are still responsible for paying provincial tax (whereas my international clients don’t).
I originally heard of Dubsado through a recommendation of a fellow Virtual Assistant. When I started freelancing for the first time, I joined those freelancer groups on Facebook and it was one of the CRMs that were recommended to me. One thing that drew me in about Dubsado at the time was that it was a family-run, small business. I love supporting small businesses!
Another thing that I loved about Dubsado is the 3-client free trial! It’s very supportive of new businesses starting out; for those who are just making an income and might want to start bringing in clients and payments before making monthly and annual payments to a CRM. In the end, that’s why I switched to Dubsado: It was more accommodating to my small business budget when I first started out, and it’s also robust so it supported my business as it grew.
Pros of Dubsado
- Free trial up to 3 clients – no time limit
- Highly customizable, tons of features
- It doesn’t take a percentage of fees from you
- You can use it alongside with QuickBooks
Cons of Dubsado
- There is a learning curve – it can be quite technical to get used to
- I only figured it out through LOTS of video watching
- I also needed someone to help me set it up
- Definitely more of a headache than Honeybook
- No app for phone/iPad so you can only use it on your laptop
The Verdict: Which is better for Canadians?
Mind you… This answer is subjective. But I’d say, Dubsado is marginally better for Canadians if every dollar counts and you want to reduce foreign exchange rates, deductions, and bill in more currencies than one… Ultimately though, it depends on whether deductions matter to you and what kind of business you run (which will determine what kind of features you need in a CRM).
I personally vouch for Dubsado because it doesn’t take any percentages of the payments that are made into your account from you. So everything you charge, is what you make.
As a freelancer, your work is a source of income. Whether you run a part-time side hustle or a full-time job, the money you make is meant to supplement and support your lifestyle or family and help pay the bills. Money matters. If you’re a Canadian freelancer, go for Dubsado!
Despite the learning curve of the tech, the support is great — they have a Facebook group, and are responsive with emails/tickets raised — and they’ll host trainings for you to learn.
Which CRM are you currently using or considering to use?
Either way, they both have free trials so there’s nothing to lose!
For 20% off at Dubsado, use my discount code: ARIETTE
For 50% off any plan at Honeybook, use my discount code: ARIETTE