Anyone who knows me personally knows that I need organization in my life, especially my business. I need calendars, lists, notes and all of my client’s information organized in one easy to access location! This month I decided it was time to refresh my business to prepare for a new and exciting year in 2018. If you are looking to get more organized or specifically for a new Client Management System (CMS), read thru to the bottom for what I think is the best system and a coupon/discount code!!!
What was I using before?
Up until the present, I had been using WeddingWire as my client management system. I know, you’re thinking, “WHAT?” Yes-they have a really good system where you can organize leads, contracts, questionnaires, and payments. They have custom client sites where your clients can login to view their contract and update any questionnaires you choose to add to their account, as well as make payments on their payment plan. I began using WeddingWire about two years ago. It was a big draw for me because not only was I paying for advertising, but I was getting client management at the same time.
Why am I leaving WeddingWire?
This has been a tough decision. Originally WeddingWire was great for me. I chose them over other competing Wedding Planning websites because 1) Advertising prices were cheaper and 2) Client Management was included. In the end, I am no longer receiving bookings thru WeddingWire and I am getting all of my bookings via other methods. This means that for the past year I have basically been paying for a super expensive client management system. I tried to make it work, but in the end, there were too many cons:
- Customers can basically only pay via PayPal. I originally dealt with this because they could click on the link to pay without having a Paypal account. Now it makes my client create a Paypal account if they don’t have one.
- While you can create email templates & signatures to speed up your workflow, there are two problems with this: 1) The email formatting is horrible. It looks great when you hit send, but when you actually receive the email there is tons of extra spacing so that it doesn’t look as nice. 2) All emails have the WeddingWire branding at the bottom. I personally don’t feel my clients need to see that, especially if they are using a different wedding planning website or even worse…what if they aren’t a wedding client!?!
SIDENOTE: I considered using Shootproof since I already pay for that as well. If you are a photographer who needs a simple client list and contracts with invoicing, combined with their amazing galleries – Shootproof is the way to go. Unfortunately, while I will continue using Shootproof for my client’s galleries I need a more robust system.
Once I decided it was time to go in another direction I began researching different business or client management systems such as 17hats, Dubsado, Honeybook, Iris Works, Sprout Studios, and Táve. Some of the things I considered when reviewing these companies were esthetic, features, and pricing. After comparing them all I narrowed it down to these three front-runners:
Honeybook is absolutely beautiful and is great for photographers, but I found the features to be somewhat lacking. Also, I’m not a big fan of how the Honeybook branding is in communications sent to my clients. They did offer to help import all of my current client’s contracts, but I wish there had been a way to do it myself. They also no longer offer the lifetime membership, which is something that would cause me to choose them over other systems. I mean who doesn’t want to have one less monthly/yearly expense to worry about? If you are a photographer looking for a beautiful & easy-to-use client management system – Honeybook is great. I just needed something more advanced. Also, while currently, Honeybook is running at special for 50% off your first month or year – after that the pricing goes back a lot higher, so in the long run it is a lot more expensive than some of the other options.
and the winner is DUBSADO!!!
Why did I choose Dubsado over the other two systems? I will admit that it was a little overwhelming getting everything set up, but the more I get done the more I realize how amazing this system is.
- Everything is super organized. I can see all of my leads and jobs. My contact or lead form is embedded into my website so that the information automatically gets added to my leads list. I was able to upload a PDF version of all current contracts.
- It’s beautiful. The design system is AMAZING! I got extremely caught up in creating all new brochures. I can make my forms (contracts, proposals, questionnaires, ect) just as beautiful as what drew me into Honeybook. Also, there is no Dubsado branding on your emails when you send them out! My brand is all my clients see.
- Client Portals. This is a big one for me. One thing I loved about WeddingWire was how each of my clients had their own client site to access their information. Dubsado offers the same but more advanced & customizable. You can also choose to not use the portals if they are not needed.
- Payment Methods. Clients have multiple methods to pay – and they can choose to pay any amount towards their balance.
- Bookkeeping. This is going to be a life-saver for me come tax time.
- Excellent Customer Service. There is a chat feature on the website if you need to contact them and they are quick to respond to email as well.
- New Features. They are always working on adding new features and listening to what the Dubsado Community wants. I wish there was already an app to access the information via my phone BUT it is coming in the future after they complete some other priority features.
- Flexible. You can run multiple businesses or brands thru Dubsado. So if you want to separate photography and design work (ect) you can do that.
REGISTER HERE FOR A DUBSADO DISCOUNT!