Blog written by: Certified Dubsado Specialist Ashlee Drury
Of all the work that comes with running an interior design business, managing clients, projects, and tedious admin tasks can be some of the most time-consuming and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are software solutions that can help simplify and streamline these processes, allowing interior designers to focus more on what they love: designing beautiful spaces.
Two of the most popular client management software options we’ve seen among our interior designer clients are Dubsado and HoneyBook. These are also the two we build and set up for our clients in our 1:1 services. As a Dubsado Specialist and HoneyBook Educator, our team knows the ins and outs of both platforms. Both platforms offer a range of features and benefits, but it can be difficult to know which one will work better for your specific business, especially if you’re just getting started with a CRM.
In this post, we'll compare Dubsado with another popular software, HoneyBook, side by side and highlight their key differences.
BUT FIRST, before automating your processes or implementing workflows for your client experience, there are three crucial things you should already have figured out.
• You should have a solid understanding of your current process and what happens at each phase so you can identify what can be automated or at what points software can create efficiencies.
• You should have all the documents and templates necessary that are used with clients at each part of your process (think emails, guides, questionnaires, contracts, etc.).
• You should be able to flawlessly execute your process manually, from start to finish, without using automations or workflows.
Having these three pieces in place — processes mapped, documents refined, and proficiencies fine-tuned — will help you design automated workflows that align with your client's needs and make sense for how you work, ultimately leading to a more seamless and enjoyable experience for both you and your clients.
Once you have those items in place and are ready to leverage the power of a CRM, the question is: HOW to decide which one is best for your interior design business and your needs?
We’ve created a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of Dubsado and HoneyBook's features so you can see for yourself which one may be the best fit for your company.
Dubsado: Tiered pricing, $20/$40 month
Dubsado’s $40/month plan is comparable to HB’s $32/month plan BUT Dubsado gives unlimited contact forms at this price
HoneyBook: Tiered pricing, $16/$32/$66/month
Honeybook’s $32/month plan is comparable to Dubsado’s $40/month plan, but HB limits you to 3 contact forms at this price. Honeybook rolled out Lead Capture forms that can be used for press, etc., so more options may be available on some.
Dubsado: There's no time limit on their trial and you'll be able to book up to 3 clients before creating a paid account.
HoneyBook: 7 day free trial
Dubsado: Payments are processed through PayPal, Stripe or Square - those fees apply. Dubsado payments will also be launching July 25 in the US and Canada, with a low credit card processing fee of 2.75% plus .30¢ per transaction.
HoneyBook: 2.9-3.4% for cards, additional 1% for instant payment. 1.5% for ACH.
Dubsado: Cannot charge bank processing fees back to clients. You have to eat those costs.
HoneyBook: Cannot charge bank processing fees back to clients. You have to eat those costs.
NOTE: This is why we recommend that interior designers collect large design service and product fees through their product management software, since they allow you to charge fees back to the client.
HoneyBook: US, Canada
Dubsado: Coming soon
Dubsado: Running timer, meaning you can click “start” and it will run. You can assign this to a project, rate, etc.
HoneyBook: Not a running timer, but can enter time worked afterward.
Dubsado: You can apply logged time to your client’s invoice with the click of a button.
HoneyBook: Can create project specific invoices from time entered into time tracker.
Dubsado: There is no extra fee for priority customer support.
HoneyBook: Customers with higher tiered accounts receive priority customer support.
Dubsado: Dubsado provides multi-login access which gives an additional user the ability to view certain parts of your brand. You can customize the level of access by choosing a role for each user.
Multi-users you invite will create their own Dubsado account for free. They will use their own login to access your brand, giving you the flexibility to revoke that access at any time.
HoneyBook: Can add team members and vendors. However, there is some issue with vendors and HB users being able to change project statuses of your projects.
For example, if you hire someone who also has Honeybook, you can see your project with them in YOUR Honeybook pipeline, and you can see the status your project is in based on what they’ve entered AND YOU CAN ALSO CHANGE THE STATUS OF THAT PROJECT IN THE OTHER COMPANY’S PIPELINE.
Dubsado: Address book holds all the details about your clients, forms they’ve filled out, contracts, call logs, etc. Everything in one place.
HoneyBook: Contact list only shows contact info and any projects the client is associated with. Have to click into Project to see additional details.
Dubsado: They are 100% customizable. You have the ability to assign statuses to a Lead or Job status and name the statuses whatever makes sense for your workflow. Automatically move your projects through your statuses using the “Change Project Status” workflow action, and you can always easily see how many projects you have in each stage of your process.
HoneyBook: It is prebuilt with seven stages in your pipeline. Although these stages are all set and cannot be removed or renamed, you are able to add your own project stages to the pipeline. Project stages that are added require you to manually assign projects to them as you hit that point in your project.
Dubsado: More options available
HoneyBook: Limited options
Dubsado: Can change font, font size, font color, padding, and button text. You may also add custom CSS code. More customization options including custom mapped fields, set project status, project title, assign to team member, etc.
HoneyBook: Limited fonts and customization
Dubsado: Your client can log into a password protected page that will allow them to see emails, forms, and invoices all in one place. This page can be customized with a welcome message and a banner. Dubsado’s client portal is optional.
HoneyBook: Clients can log in, see all their information and respond to your emails and also see their forms. The only thing that is able to be customized in the portal is the header image.
Dubsado: Dubsado’s forms allow for some of the most customizable experience for your client. You are able to make every aspect of your proposals and questionnaires on brand, and look like an extension of your website. You can combine a proposal/contract/invoice as well. There is a slight learning curve. Forms can be customized even further with plug ins and CSS, for advanced users.
HoneyBook: They are simple, straightforward, and allow the proposal/contract/invoice to all be sent together. You are able to customize the header image, the line items of the proposal, and the payment plans you include with it.
Dubsado: Contracts are legally-binding documents that can be signed electronically. In addition to displaying your terms, you can add fields that require your client to sign or initial electronically.
Only one contract can be added per project. If your client needs to sign multiple documents, create your primary agreement as a contract and any additional documents as sub-agreements.
HoneyBook: Adding a contract to a smart file allows you to book a client & get the electronic signatures you need exactly when you need them, while also offering the opportunity to build the experience out further with an invoice, questions for clients, and more. However you choose to build your smart file, the end result is a seamless experience for your clients and a contract that matches the look and feel of your other branded materials!
Multiple contracts and Smart Files can be added to a Project, which is nice, but also can be a little messy if a client adds multiple scopes to their project.
Dubsado: Dubsado allows for canned emails to be saved in your account and many types of information can be populated automatically with smart fields, such as client details, appointment times, project dates etc.
HoneyBook: Honeybook allows for email templates but Honeybook only allows for the name field to be auto populated into canned emails.
Dubsado: Unavailable, but there is an integration with a Zapier integration that users can link to a Mailchimp account.
HoneyBook: Yes, you can easily send a batch email to multiple people in your pipeline if you have a company wide update or offer to share with clients and leads.
**You would NOT use this in place of an email service provider like ConvertKit or Flodesk
Dubsado: Can create custom mapped field by client or by project.
Dubsado: Can create payment plans based on fixed or TBD dates, 3 triggers: project date, after payment plan is applied to invoice, and after contract signed by client. Amount due can be divided equally, Percentage, Fixed, or a combination of all three. You can also set up reminders for when payments are due to go out automatically.
HoneyBook: Can create payment schedules based on multiple factors.
Dubsado: Available for all accounts
HoneyBook: Available on some accounts via the new Lead Capture form (as of June 2023)
Dubsado: If you collect payment via your design management software like Design Files, Studio, Design Manager, Houzz Pro, etc. you CAN use the proposal feature to send a beautiful on brand templated proposal.
HoneyBook: If you collect payment via your design management software like Design Files, Studio, Design Manager, Houzz Pro, etc. you CANNOT use the proposal feature. A proposal in HB must be tied to a payment schedule.
Dubsado: Yes, can recur weekly, monthly, yearly
HoneyBook: Yes, but only can recur monthly.
Dubsado: Fifteen actions are available:
HoneyBook: Five actions are available:
Dubsado: Thirteen triggers available, based on:
HoneyBook: Fifteen triggers available, based on:
Dubsado: One of the most robust workflows out there as far as CRMs go. There are 15 options for different actions and 13 triggers that you can do while you are building out your workflow. You can easily see all the options in the layout. This detailed structure allows you to easily send contracts, invoices, move project statuses, send schedulers and emails. Dubsado also allows you to add a secondary workflow to the same project easily.
HoneyBook: Only has four options: Send Email, Create Task, Send File via Email, Send Smart File via email. This automation is plenty for basic and works well for sending forms, emailing with clients and assigning yourself tasks in relation to the project itself. Honeybook only allows one workflow to be added per project.
Dubsado: Dubsado’s scheduler is easy to use, and allows you to create a scheduler for different types of sessions. You can also group your schedulers together so that if you offer different types of meetings, clients can choose between them. Another feature of the Dubsado scheduler is that you can attach a form to be filled out prior to scheduling, or an invoice that needs to be paid before a spot is confirmed. Also can send completely customized confirmation and reminder canned emails.
HoneyBook: HoneyBook’s scheduler is minimalistic and perfect for scheduling meetings with your clients. It will cross reference your connected calendar so that you aren’t double booked, and allow clients to easily book an appointment.
Can send a confirmation email and two reminders. Integrates with Zoom. Can set availability by appointment type.
Only works with Google Calendar.
Dubsado: Yes, the scheduler can be used to include an invoice either in a public scheduler or a scheduler within a project.
HoneyBook: Yes, you can share a clickable Smart File link with a non-user and you can include an invoice and scheduler in one (for some accounts as of June 2023).
Dubsado: Can create Task Templates and apply them to projects. Tasks can be managed on an individual project level or company wide level. Visually, very organized in the internal client dashboard
HoneyBook: Tasks can be added at project level, or via a workflow. Can check tasks off in the project itself, or in a master task list of all tasks across all projects.
Dubsado: Organized layout, with tabs along the top so you can see emails, invoices, forms, appointments, tasks, workflows, and notes for each client/project.
The tab layout is visually appealing, and allows more information to be housed in one spot.
HoneyBook: Single page view, with option to see Client Details, Internal Notes, Hours logged, Automations, and Related Workspaces.
While both platforms offer similar features and benefits, in an industry where visuals are everything, the advanced branding, design, and customization capabilities offered by Dubsado make it a great solution for interior designers. If business owners are willing to invest some time into setting up their Dubsado account, the payoff in increased efficiency and customization will be worth it.
If you’re an interior designer, be sure to check out our complimentary Guide to Pricing Your Interior Design Services here.
NOTE: Neither HoneyBook nor Dubsado are financial software. They are not adequate for financial reporting or tax preparation. And, for interior designers, HoneyBook and Dubsado are not meant to manage your products, purchase orders, tracking of products, etc. You would use a PRODUCT management software for that (like Design Files, Studio Designer, Houzz Pro, etc.).
And neither of these are for project management or team communication (that would be Asana, Trello, Clickup, etc.)
Ready to take advantage of all Dubsado has to offer? Log in or create your account now.
Dakota Design Company specializes in operations consulting and done-for-you systems set up exclusively for interior designers. By helping our clients define their services, standardize their processes, and elevate their client experience, we set them up to run streamlined businesses that fully support their creative work. We work with design businesses of all sizes, from emerging designers reaching their first hundred thousand in revenue to those achieving multimillion-dollar success.