Dubsado vs HoneyBook: Which one is right for your creative business?
**Update for 2020!**
Honeybook has implemented some fantastic new features in the last few months. A couple of years ago, I switched to Dubsado because it offered several features that were important to me as a designer. As of April 2020, Honeybook now also offers those features—and more.
I’m still happy with my Dubsado setup, so I’m going to stick with what works for me… but if I were starting my business now, I would definitely choose HoneyBook!
You can learn about why I love HoneyBook for Designers here… and you can continue reading below for an updated version of my original post about HoneyBook vs. Dubsado:
If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard a lot about and Dubsado vs HoneyBook: the debate between two powerful CRMs that can help manage your clients, invoices, templates, workflows, and payment processing.
People often ask me which one I use… but they often forget to ask the most important question: why? As a designer, Dubsado has been a great fit for me. I made the switch from HoneyBook to Dubsado, and I feel like Dubsado offers all the features I need to run a successful graphic design business.
BUT. HoneyBook is still an amazing platform—and I actually believe it’s the best fit for event-centric businesses like wedding photographers, event planners, and florists. (*And, as of April 2020… it’s also a great fit for designers too!)
They both share some incredibly helpful features:
– Email templates – Online contracts and e-signatures – Payment processing (so clients can securely pay with bank transfer or credit card) – Gratuity acceptance (cha-ching!) – Project calendar – Note-taking and checklists for each project – Organized finances (you can even integrate with Quickbooks) – Business statistics (booked leads, total income, etc.) – Great support teams in case you need help – Continual updates to make each platform even better!
Here’s what I love most about each platform:
Easy to Set-Up: You can get HoneyBook up and running within a couple of hours! They’ve got everything ready to go for you, including basic template emails and contracts. Dubsado takes a lot more time and effort to get started.
Easy Workflows: If you haven’t tried using workflows, you’re missing out! Workflows can help automate so much of your business, giving you more time to focus on your specialty skills. HoneyBook makes it easy to set up a basic linear workflow, automatically walking your client through inquiry, booking, and process checkpoints. (Dubsado workflows have more functionality, but they are much more confusing to set up.)
Event Timeline: the whole HoneyBook interface is geared toward an upcoming event. They’ve built in a day-of event timeline that is useful for planners or photographers to schedule out a plan for the event.
*Update April 2020: The new features make HoneyBook much more versatile for non-event industry professionals as well.
Rising Tide Society:HoneyBook is partnered with The Rising Tide Society—an enormous community of creative entrepreneurs in the spirit of “Community Over Competition.” This is an organization I believe in wholeheartedly, and I love to support Rising Tide with every chance I get.
Not as customizable.*HoneyBook doesn’t have as much customization opportunity as Dubsado does… but I don’t think that’s a huge drawback if you’re not a designer. HoneyBook‘s interface is clean and well-designed, and it offers enough personalization for a planner or photographer (but it may not be the best fit for a designer who really needs to sell their custom branding capability).
*Update April 2020: HoneyBook has come a long way in this regard! They do offer more customization options now; I think even designers could be very happy with HoneyBook’s customization abilities.
Additional processing fees.HoneyBook does take a small percentage of your earnings—but don’t worry, it’s worth it! Other payment systems like Stripe or PayPal (which would be connected to your Dubsado account) would also take the same percentage fee. The small processing fee is well-worth the investment to appear polished and professional as you interact with a client.
Images Embedded in Questionnaires*. This is the number one reason I switched to Dubsado. Embedding images into questionnaires allows me to customize Design Proofs into feedback forms. I can show the image of a proof, and request written feedback directly underneath it.
*Update July 2019: HoneyBook now offers images and questions in their forms! This is a huge improvement, and it makes HoneyBook a real contender for designers / stationers.
Highly Customizable*. Dubsado has a wider range of options when it comes to customizing the look of your client experience (colors, fonts, forms, and packages all have more options). I think this is essential if you’re a designer—it’s hard to sell a custom brand design experience if you aren’t showcasing one yourself!
*Update April 2020: HoneyBook is now much more customizable than it used to be! Dubsado is still more robust, but I think even designers could be very happy with HoneyBook’s customization capabilities.
Time-Tracking. If you haven’t heard me say it before: I’m such a big proponent of time-tracking. I think it’s so important to see where your time really goes. Dubsado integrates time-tracking into each project, which is hugely helpful for any design projects billed at my hourly rate.
HoneyBook does allow you to manually input your tracked hours, but it’s not as seamless as Dubsado‘s integrated time-tracker. If you don’t mind time-tracking outside of your CRM, I highly recommend Toggl (it comes with a well-organized desktop and mobile app).
*Update February 2021: HoneyBook now offers a mobile “stopwatch” style time tracker—so you can just press play while working on projects. It is only available on mobile, but it syncs directly to your account… making it totally seamless!
Before you make a final decision, here are a few other platforms to consider. I haven’t tried these programs myself, but you should know your options! It’s possible that one of these platforms could also serve your needs well:
In the end, my best advice is to choose a platform and stick to it. When it comes to Dubsado vs Honeybook, they’re both well-designed and packed with incredible functionality. Learn to make the most of whichever platform best suits you, and don’t waste time with an unnecessary switch. It may appear that the grass is greener, but I believe either one can serve your business well!
*Note: this post contains affiliate links. I promise to only share products that I truly believe in, with as much transparency as possible.