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I’ve been running this business for nearly ten years now, and in that time, I have experimented with several different ways of organizing the admin/project management side of things and let me tell you- having a CRM (client relationship manager) that does all of the heavy lifting for you sure beats the messy + stressful combination of ridiculously long email threads, disorganized spreadsheets and forgotten post-it notes all over your desk.
I’ve been using Dubsado as my CRM for the past few years and can’t recommend it enough for fellow service-based businesses. Having a streamlined, efficient and automated (or even partly automated) process and client experience has completely transformed my business.
What is a CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management (referring to the software you’re managing your customers with). Client relationship manager is more straightforward to me, so I just call it that, haha. The capabilities of a CRM can vary greatly, but Dubsado covers pretty much everything I ever want or need to do, so I’ve been using them for a few years.
What does it do?
Oh man, so much. The amount of work Dubsado takes off my plate is honestly incredible. There are so many features to take advantage of, but here’s what I use it for most:
I have embedded a Dubsado lead capture form on my website to act as the inquiry form. This means that when someone fills out this form, their information is imported into Dubsado and I don’t have to set up a new client myself. I can then turn that lead into a client if they book and save myself the time of filling out their info again.
Once a lead fills out my inquiry form, I can send them a scheduler link directly through Dubsado (assuming they’re potentially a good fit and I’d like to learn more about their project). I have pre-set my availability in the scheduler, so I don’t have to do anything other than send the link. You can also use this to feature book calls at any time during the project.
You can set up all sorts of canned emails and attach them to various parts of your process. For example, I have canned emails set for when an invoice is sent to a client, when a scheduler link is sent, when a specific form is sent. The options are endless here and honestly, I don’t currently use this for as much as I could. There is massive potential here to automate a ton of your communication.
This is where Dubsado really shines, in my opinion. Dubsado gives you the ability to create as many different forms as you want (and by forms, I mean questionnaires, contracts and proposals) which makes onboarding an absolute breeze. I have forms created for every type of service I offer, so I never have to create a form from scratch for a client. You can also create packages and payment schedules for all of your different services which makes invoicing easy as well. Here is a little rundown of how this works within my own business:
- I send the prospective client a proposal (using a template I created once and continue to reuse)
- Client accepts the proposal and is automatically taken to contract (that I created once and autopopulates client’s info)
- Client signs contract and is automatically taken to invoice to pay first payment (which I’ve set up using packages and payment schedules- all of this is automated now that I’ve done the initial setup)
As mentioned above, I do all of my invoicing within Dubsado. Everything you do in Dubsado is branded with your business logo and colors, and I love that this means even a plain ol’ invoice can be on brand. You can connect Stripe, PayPal and Square to Dubsado. You can send as many invoices per project as you want, you can set up recurring invoices with autopay and you can choose your own payment schedules.
You can set up a client portal which has pretty basic functionality at the moment (I’m hoping they expand on this in future), but is very helpful for clients. It houses all of the forms/invoices/etc for the project so the client can access everything in one place rather than being sent several different emails to keep track of. I add my brand and web questionnaires to the portal as well as the content planner (if it’s a web project) and send my client a login to access all of this. It’s just one of those things that makes your client experience that much more streamlined and professional.
Dubsado does a ton more than this, but these are the main features that I use right now. If you want more insight on how I use Dubsado specifically as a brand + web designer, check out my feature on their site.
They have excellent support and customer service, and they’re always working on developing new features- the amount it has grown since I started using it three or four years ago is crazy. There is also an awesome Dubsado Facebook group that is so helpful.