HoneyBook for Designers: is HoneyBook right for you and your design business? Read this post to learn about my exact client process, and the HoneyBook features I recommend for designers!
In my opinion, using a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system is essential to running a professional business. It’s one of the top 5 things you need to make your business look professional—and I would argue that it’s at the top of the list.
A CRM helps you keep track of ongoing projects on the backend… but on the front end, it also contributes to an impressive client experience. Client experience is key to an elevated, polished business—and elevated prices. 😉
A well-organized CRM lends credibility to your services: professional invoices and contracts set a professional tone for your project overall.
There are plenty of CRMs out there: Dubsado, Tave, and 17hats just to name a few. But over the years, I’ve found that HoneyBook is the best all-in-one platform for creative businesses—and in particular, HoneyBook is a great fit for designers.
HoneyBook is easy to use (the interface is super simple and straightforward!), it’s customizable to your brand, and it provides a seamless experience for you and your clients. Take a look at my exact process (and favorite features!) below:
For Designers: How to Use HoneyBook for Your Business
1. Receive Inquiries
You can use HoneyBook from the very first moment that clients reach out. Customize a contact form within HoneyBook, and then copy and paste the embed code into your Showit website. You’ll maintain a customized feel to your contact page, but all inquiries will populate instantly in your HoneyBook account—keeping everything organized all in one place.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to embed your HoneyBook Contact form into your Showit website:
I always like to schedule a consultation call prior to booking—it’s a nice way to ensure the project feels like a good fit for both of us, and it’s an opportunity to answer any questions.
Using a scheduler can help you avoid the back-and-forth emails about availability (not to mention time zones), making the process much more efficient for you and for the client. Just send a link with your availability, and your client can select a time that works for them!
You can even integrate video calling with Zoom, and auto-send email reminders about the upcoming call.
The best part? This helps me stick to batch working. I can schedule all my calls for a specific time block each week, helping me maximize productivity in a way that serves clients well.
3. Create Proposals
Now it’s time to send over your Proposal—and this is where a CRM really helps make you look good. A polished proposal reinforces your professionalism and your brand, setting the expectation for a well-managed project. Make it easy for your client to say YES and kick off the project!
Send a template proposal (I use the same proposal for most of my brand or website design projects), or customize the proposal as desired for each client.
Clients can: – Select multiple packages – Add-on a la carte items – Move straight into the invoice / contract
Most designers offer payment plans; usually the client is requested to pay a non-refundable retainer to hold their spot on a designer’s calendar, followed by a number of installments until the project is complete.
HoneyBook can set all of this is up in a way that is easy for you and your clients to navigate, plus a secure payment system so your client’s billing information remains private.
HoneyBook does take a 3% fee, but so do most other payment processing platforms (like Stripe or PayPal). Build this fee into your pricing so that you feel comfortable with it and don’t even have to worry about it.
HoneyBook invoicing also comes with:
– Credit Card or Bank Transfer – Payment Plans – Auto-Payment Option – Email Reminders
5. Sign Contracts
A contract is essential to any professional services you provide. (Read more here: Is Your Design Business Legally Protected?). HoneyBook allows you to easily store and send contracts that protect you and your client—and they even provide templates that you can use to get started.
During Your Project:
6. Send Questionnaires
Now that the paperwork is all signed and filed away, it’s time to get started on your project. Most design projects begin by collecting some information from the client in the form of a Creative Brief. With HoneyBook, you can use Questionnaires to create a template that you send to every client—collecting important information about their business, their goals for the project, and their style inspirations.
7. Deliver Proofs + Receive Feedback
When you’re ready to share designs with your client, I recommend using a “Brochure” to deliver the design proof. This is a feature that makes HoneyBook for designers SO seamless.
HoneyBook allows you to upload images to a Brochure, with questions listed below the images. Your client can share their feedback right there in the form, while looking at the design proof. This also helps keep everything in one place on your end… no more searching through your inbox for revision notes!
A few questions I like to ask: – Do you feel like this design will resonate with your ideal client? – What changes would you like to see in the next round of design?
(Pro-tip: I use Loom to record a video walking my client through each concept and the strategy behind it)
8. Implement Workflows
This is where the magic happens. What if I told you all the steps in this post could be done AUTOMATICALLY?!
What if you could manage inquiries, schedule calls, send proposals / contracts, deliver questionnaires, receive feedback, and follow up with your clients… without ever clicking a single button.
That’s exactly what workflows are for. Workflows take any repeated part of the client experience and turn it into an automated process. This increases your efficiency for every single project, and it ensures that you don’t miss anything throughout the client experience.
For this feature alone, HoneyBook is worth the investment. The number of hours you can save with automation is truly worth the cost!
9. Track Your Time
This was the very last feature I was holding out for—and HoneyBook recently implemented it! With the new mobile stopwatch feature, all you have to do is hit the play button on your phone to track your time directly within a project. You can assign an hourly rate to the time tracked and automatically invoice your time to the client, or simply use the time-tracking feature for your own records.
After Your Design Project
10. Send an Exit Interview
How do you get rave reviews for your website? Send an exit interview via HoneyBook Questionnaire! When the project wraps up, send a form to your client to collect their thoughts about the process. Ask for sincere, honest feedback so you can improve your client experience in the future. And be sure to ask about their favorite part of the new look!
11. Follow up!
Did you know that you can use HoneyBook to schedule emails in advance? Not only does this allow you to keep email communications within work hours… it also allows you to schedule future emails to your clients. I like to use this for follow up emails a few months after the project; it’s a great opportunity to check in, see if there is anything you can do to serve your past clients, and keep your name top-of-mind for any referrals.
There you have it! Is HoneyBook a good fit for designers? Absolutely, without a doubt, yes!
There was a time where I would have recommended Dubsado… but, over the years, HoneyBook has rounded out their platform with all the features you need to run a successful design business. Plus, it’s straightforward and easy to use. It even has an app so you can run your business from your phone! HoneyBook is the best CRM for designers, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Is HoneyBook for designers? Yes! Find out if it’s a good fit for your design business: