If you run an online business you most likely landed here because you are looking for a better way to run your business when it comes to working with clients. Especially when it comes to preparing documents, getting signatures and of course getting paid.
When I took my business full-time I knew I needed to be smart about setting up a solid management system early. I knew I wanted to stick to something for the long term and that inspired my research on different systems I could use to manage my client intake process.
I definitely wanted everything to be in one system. Sending a contract, invoice and proposal from separate systems wasn’t my ideal way of efficiency. Simple and minimal is my preferred way to handle business, it reduces complications and makes the client experience a lot more pleasant.
During my research, I found several tools but none of them really impressed me with a simple all in one process.
They either had bad reviews, lack of customer support or didn’t work with the tools I wanted. For example, I like and prefer to use Square for payment processing and some companies didn’t have an integration available.
Since I was going full-time I was in Facebook groups connecting with people and learning about their experiences with different tools. I kept hearing the name Dubsado in several groups and I was curious, the name was different and the rave reviews were amazing.
I found out that Dubsado is a Client Relationship Management system or CRM for short. It was designed to help you manage your leads and then help you manage the relationship while working together.
After some consideration, I decided to sign up for the free trial. What I liked because I could test it out with 3 clients with no time limit. Which I thought was nice because a lot of companies only give you like 30 days to try their software out.
You can sign up for a free trial here and if you decide to move forward you’ll get 20% off your first month or year.
After signing up for the trial I made myself a test client and used my personal email account to test out the forms etc. Then for the other 2 spots, I used for real clients after I tested things out.
Part of my onboarding process is to send a custom proposal, contract, and invoice.
The first thing I did was set up my contract. You can add your own contracts and use smart fields to populate important information such as:
- client name
- business name, etc.
That cuts down on re-writing the same things over and over again. The contract is a saved template so you only have to create it once.
The cool thing about contracts in Dubsado is that clients can digitally sign and initial the contract just like any other legal document. Which is saved in the system and can also be printed off if you also prefer to have a paper copy handy.
Next, I created some packages at the time because that was part of my offers. With packages, clients can select a pre-defined service that you can add to their proposal.
Later on, I would switch to doing custom proposals with no pre-defined packages. As all my projects ended up being custom.
Like contracts, you can create your own proposal document and save it as a template. I can’t tell you how much this step alone has saved me. Having a template that I can easily tweak in minutes and have ready to send off is like adding money to my pocket.
Spending hours for free to create a proposal that may or may not be accepted…let’s just say I like being paid for what I do.
Now, my proposals probably take about 10 – 15 minutes and that’s because I like to review them like 3 times lol before sending.
Just like contracts I use a lot of smart fields that pulls in information from the contact form.
I am going to tell you a bit about the contact forms before I get into the invoices.
Here is a snapshot of the top of a custom proposal. As you can see you can add your own branding.
Contact forms are also known as a lead capture
After writing your contracts and proposal templates you probably want to set up your contact forms. You can map information from your contact forms to your contract and proposals so it helps to do most of the information sourcing for you.
Such as pulling in information for:
- Email Address
- Business Name
- Clients can even upload files
Don’t worry this information all gets saved inside of Dubsado under the client’s project. When someone fills out your form they get added to Dubsado as a lead. This allows you to turn it into a project and keep all their information in one place.
As you can see below your forms are kept in one area, you can even set up additional documents like questionnaires + sub-agreements).
When it comes to invoices it’s pretty simple for me since I use a custom proposal I start with by creating an invoice first. That way it populates the total into the proposal and contract areas for me using a smart field (specifically for invoices). You can use the invoice part of Dubsado like any other program really. You can have a line by line items and even set up a payment schedule.
Payment schedules allow you to split up payments for clients. For example, one of my payment schedules is 50% due when signed and then the remaining balance is due like a few weeks out from that.
Dubsado’s invoicing program figures out the percentage and dates for you once you have it set up. All you have to do is set up your payment schedule prior and then you can select as an option in the invoice.
There is even an option to set up reoccurring invoices if you work with clients on a retainer. Now you can even have clients agree to be charged on a certain date each month automatically if you use either Stripe or Square for your payment processor.
Which is another way to save time and ensure you get paid on time.
That was the essentials for me but Dubado has additional features that make running my business easier.
One of those features is workflows!
Note: I forgot to mention that proposals, contracts, and invoices can be all linked together. So all my clients have to do is review and accept their proposal (after they click accept or submit), then they are able to sign their contract and then advance to the next screen and pay their invoice! One seamless process!
A workflow is like a set it and forget it automation that you can create, based on how you like to work. A simple workflow could be someone fills out your form, you send a canned email with a nice message that includes additional information such as a welcome packet.
Or it could be an onboarding workflow, similar to mines. After a client agrees to work with me and they’ve paid their invoice I have this workflow in place:
Send welcome packet → set an action to pause the workflow so I can set up the client lounge (more on that later) → after I check that I’ve completed my set up → send the lounge information and additional forms.
Related post: The Benefits of A Welcome Packet
You can also have an offboarding workflow too! Which is great to make sure you are consistent with your client experience.
Workflows can get very intricate so definitely play around with it according to your business.
Here is an example of one of my workflows: its a simple email that goes out that a payment has been received.
Dubsado lets you have a Client Portal for each of your clients! I call my Client Portal a Client Lounge because I’m a chill person and I like for my clients to be to relax.
Anyway, the Client Portal is a password-protected space that houses important information like all the documents you have together (contracts, invoices, proposals, any special forms, etc).
It gives clients one space to log in and have all their information in one spot instead of digging through emails.
This is nice also if you plan to manage your client’s projects through Dubsado, using their tasks boards feature which is similar to (Trello). Clients can see the progress of their projects etc.
For project management, I use either ClickUp or Asana and I just keep important documents in Dubsado. I include a link to their private space within our project management system.
I’ve included a snapshot of what the client portal can look like below:
Also here is what the tasks boards look like as well:
Another cool thing about Dusbado is canned emails if you find yourself writing the same emails over and over. You can use canned emails to help you send out information faster.
Canned emails can also be used in your workflows so you can create a unique client experience plus if you have others on your team such as a business partner, virtual assistant, etc. Canned emails can help ensure consistency in your messaging, therefore maintaining your companies branding.
Here are some canned email examples:
Dubsado has some other features that I won’t go into detail about, I’ll just list them out below. Along with some new additions that have been implemented since I’ve signed up.
Here some are additional features:
- Custom Questionnaires
- Basic Bookkeeping
- Zapier Integration
- Quickbooks Integration (doesn’t integrate with self-employed)
- Set up help and support (good if you are coming from another system)
- Scheduler (yep a simple scheduler to book calls + appointments)
- Lead tracking by source
- Updated look with a financial overview
I can honestly say Dubsado has saved me so much time in my business and has drastically cut down the time I take to onboard clients, work on projects and of course offboard clients as well. For the price, I feel like it’s valuable I am not limited to how many people I can work with. Plus if I want to add on a second brand it’s super affordable!
It’s definitely been one of my best investments to my business, plus there is an active Facebook community I can refer to if I don’t necessarily need to connect with support. I’ve been using Dubsado for almost 3 years at the time of this post and it’s been essential in helping build my business.
You can try it out for free with your first 3 clients and test drive the system. Set up your templates and see how much time you save in your business. Plus your clients will appreciate the seamless process of working together. It’s one of the top compliments I received from clients I’ve worked with.
Remember you can also get 20% your first month or year if you decide you love it and purchase a plan. I like to sign up for yearly options whenever I can because it also usually saves me the most money. Plus I don’t have to worry about it each month.
Use the code “themaycreative” or go straight to the sign-up page using the button below: