When I first started my business as a Charlotte, NC photographer, it seemed like the only options for modern bookkeeping, invoicing, and client relation management were Honeybook, 17hats, Tave, and Quickbooks. So when I started my photography business over 5 years ago, Dubsado wasn’t a thing (unfortunately). I did, however, get started right away with 17hats. You can read my previous review of 17hats on my post “Why I Love 17Hats for my Photography Business”.
I was pretty happy with 17hats overall, and I still think its a solid CRM for photographers. I became comfortable with it, had many things templated and automated to make my business run smoothly, and had acquired an unsurmountable database of client records that made switching seem both impossible and intimidating. Until…
Why I Switched to Dubsado
For years 17Hats talked about plans to introduce online scheduling, and for years I waited eager to see it happen to no avail. Dubsado was on my radar at this point last year, and I knew many photographers in my friend groups that used and loved it. It was the one feature I knew would offer me freedom and a level of customer service I longed for in my business workflow. Eventually I had enough of the waiting, and decided to look into how a switch would be possible, given my overwhelming bookkeeping records, templates and contracts I could not afford to lose.
Today, 17Hats DOES have online scheduling. However, they were not the first or even the second major CRM to offer it, and the lapse of time before the feature became available beyond beta users was troublesome for me personally. I couldn’t help but wonder what else 17hats will fall behind on when other platforms innovate to make small businesses more efficient?
Here is the most recent list of feature comparisons I could find as of February 2021:
|Custom domain URL||✓||✗|
|Public company roadmap||✓||✗|
|Client file uploader||✓||✗|
|Upsells in proposals||✓||✗|
|Free trial||3 clients||14 days|
The Process of Switching
While I anticipated that switching would take months of labor and downloading/uploading pdfs, it was LITERALLY effortless on my part due the incredible customer service of the Dubsado Team. They offer FREE migration from other CRMs, so that all my previous Charlotte NC photographer client info was transferred without the headache. THANK YOU DUBSADO!
Dubsado Invoices are stunning on the client end, with a high-end and well branded modern feel that makes my business feel both trustworthy and luxurious. It’s easy for my clients to see their payments, the due dates or custom payment schedule, and to make payments directly. The only thing that’s missing is an option to send receipts to my clients after they make a payment. As a workaround, I’ve created a workflow that triggers a copy of their invoice as a “receipt” which works for the time being until they sort out a more intuitive and less clunky solution.
The templates options are way more organized and customizable than 17hats. I can literally make templates appear any way that I dream it, from quotes/proposals with clickable package options, to questionnaires and caned emails. I absolutely love this and couldn’t run my business without it.
While 17Hats had workflows when I used them, the workflows were intimidating and I never once used it with a client because it wasn’t apparently useful. However, Dubsado workflows were approachable right away, and I use them for receipts like mentioned previously, as well as sending regular interval questionnaires to my monthly subscription clients.
I was the MOST excited about this feature, so as soon as I switched to Dubsado I implemented it right away. I used to loathe sending clients email after email offering specific dates and times, and by the time they had responded, my availability had already changed due to the studio I rent being reserved by another photographer. I was able to sync my calendar to cross reference all my google calendars so that clients can request a booking in real time, no matter when they get to it. This has made communication SO much easier!
There are many more features I haven’t touched on here, but those are the absolute essentials for my Charlotte NC photographer business personally. With how customizable Dubsado is for every small business owner, I imagine that no two users will have the exact same workflow. I love that I’ve found my own groove with Dubsado.