One of the most important parts of running a photography business is knowing that your clients are being taken care of. Having a system to keep everything organized is ESSENTIAL in keeping everything straight (and saving your sanity).
Over the years I have tried a few Client Relationship Management systems (or CRMs), always looking to see which one is the best. CRMs are great because they house all of your contracts, invoices, email communication, and more in one single place.
When I first started out (and was working on a super tight budget), I used Shotproof. Shootproof was great because not only could I use it to deliver my contracts & invoices, collect e-signatures, and payments on those invoices, but it also has a gallery delivery system built into the low monthly price! (It’s about $10/month.)
For a brand new photography business, that was the best system around for that price!
As my business grew, I knew I needed a more robust system. Shootproof got the job done, but I found myself forgetting to check if final payments were made, and just losing clients in the process because the system has its limits.
That’s when I switched over to Honeybook. Immediately what drew me to them was the beautiful Pipeline feature! Think of it as visual buckets for every step in the process. (i.e. Inquiry, Contract signed, Retainer Paid, Ready to Edit, Completed) I am such a visual person, so being able to visually see where my clients were in the process was perfect for me. I didn’t have to wonder who had paid their retainers or signed their contracts. One look at the pipeline, and I knew who had done what.
If you’re looking for a great CRM that isn’t super confusing (my non-tech people, listen up!) then Honeybook would be a great option for you.
(Remember, I’m a full-time youth pastor and photography is my side-gig…on top of being a wife and mom of 2 littles. My time is EXTREMELY limited, so automations are very important in my business.)
I had heard great things about Dubsado, and decided to check it out. I FELL. IN. LOVE.
Seriously, I consider myself Dubsado’s biggest fan now.
There were several features that were head and shoulders above everything I had tried before, and I wanted to share all the amazing-ness with you.
As a person who loves shopping around for software that will be the best fit for me, I’ve gone through my fair share of free trials. I love Dubsado’s because it isn’t based on a period of time. Instead, you get ALL of the features that Dubsado has to offer with NO TIME LIMIT! You get 3 projects for free and can play around with all the features and take as long as you need setting things up and testing to make sure it’s the perfect fit.
This was great because I had the freedom to continue using Honeybook while I figured out Dubsado (every new system has a learning curve). Once I had everything figured out and tested, switching over completely was SO EASY!!
I was so happy to begin paying for it because I was confident that Dubsado did everything I needed it to (and more!). AND I didn’t have to do it within a 2 week trial. I was able to take my time and really get to know it before ever investing my hard-earned money into it.
(Want to check it out for yourself? Click HERE!)
My favorite part about Honeybook was the visual Pipeline, or buckets that clients went into. What I wasn’t a fan of with Honeybook was the fact that only a couple of those buckets could be automated. Most of the steps required me to physically go in and change the project status for it to move to the next bucket.
Well, Dubsado has those SAME BUCKETS! But, of course better.
With Dubsado, there’s no limit to how many buckets you can create, so I can customize it as much as I want to fit my needs.
It’s also great because I can easily automate moving clients down the pipeline in Dubsado. Not just when their contract is signed or retainer is paid, but triggered off of SOOO many other things! I could have a client move to a follow-up bucket if they haven’t signed their contract after X number of days (and have it automatically send a follow-up email…but more about automations later). I could have the client move a certain number of days before or after their session. Seriously, so many options.
This feature helps me to really keep track of my clients and know exactly where they are in my workflow. And now I never miss a client who didn’t make their final payment in time!
Mini-sessions are my bread and butter, so I’m always using some kind of scheduler to help clients book their time slots easily. Before Dubsado, I was using Calendly…it was fine, but couldn’t be customized to match my brand without paying for it, and just added an extra step to the process. I’d have to take the bookings I got in Calendly and hand-input them into the Honeybook projects.
But Dubsado’s built-in scheduler has been a GAME-CHANGER!!!
NOT ONLY is it customizable to match my brand beautifully, but I can AUTOMATE things to happen as soon as an appointment is booked!! (ALLLL the praise hands from this busy mom!)
Which leads right into my 3rd reason…
Automations have become my best friend. I’ve saved HOURS of my precious time because of things I’ve been able to automate with Dubsado.
Basically here’s how my mini-sessions workflow goes:
My clients are getting TONS of communication from me with valuable information about their session…and I’m not physically sending a single email!
Literally, after they select their time slot…I. Do. Nothing.
I show up to their session and shoot! They feel super valued and poured into, and I never once lifted a finger to send any of those emails.
Now THAT is the power of automation!
(Want me to share a behind-the-scenes video of how I set all of that up in Dubsado? Let me know!)
Ever try setting something new up and just give up because you can’t seem to figure it out?
Setting up any new system can be confusing, but Dubsado’s customer service team is unmatched!! Their live chat feature is super helpful, and anytime I had a question or wanted to know if something could be automated, their team was ready and eager to help me.
They always go above and beyond to help me use Dubsado to its fullest potential, and I’m so grateful for that.
Some days I’m sure they were tired of hearing from me, but I never left with unanswered questions. Their incredible team always knew exactly what I needed and helped walk me through everything step-by-step.
I’m thinking about doing a whole Dubsado series (mayyyybe YouTube videos for you visual learners out there). If that would be helpful for you, shoot me an email and let me know!
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