Category Archives: Business Streamlining

CRM Showdown: Dubsado vs HoneyBook vs 17Hats Vs Releventful Vs DJEP

Dubsado, HoneyBook, 17Hats, Releventful

In searching for a new CRM I heavily valued two things: Automation and Support. Dubsado brings these in spades.

CRM Quick Compare

Features vs CRMDubsado17HatsHoneyBookReleventful
Lead Intake FormYesYesYesYes
Bulk Import LeadsYesYesYesYes
ContractsYesYesYesYes
Visual Lead BoardOkMehBestMeh
Automated WorkflowsBestOkMehOk
Song List ManagerNoNoNoYes
Support/CommunityBestOkOk?
QuickBooks LinkYesYesYesNo
Price/Year$350$295$400$240
My Ranking1234

My Favorite: Dubsado FTW

Support & Community

Their chat support responded nearly in real time, under a minute! And look at the interactivity in their Facebook group? Questions pop up all the time because there’s so much under the hood, and if you can’t figure it out someone else has likely engineered a workaround and will gladly help.

Automation & Workflows

I have a tech background and experience coding and with automation. You can’t code in Dubsado, but you can implement conditional logic for workflows to do things for you under various criteria. Look at how specific you can get:

Smart Fields As Integrated Variables

Dubsado also uses Smart Fields which are essentially variables that allow you to use the same data across forms, emails, contracts, etc. Proposals and Contracts can build themselves as clients select their own packages and options, then automatically create an invoice and pay on the spot.

Weakness One: No Song Selection For Clients

If you’re a DJ who incorporates a song selection system for clients to pick out tracks, you won’t find that with Dubsado. It’s not targeted to DJs so you’ll have to incorporate another service such as Vibo.io That being said I’ve heard great things about Vibo, though it’s also expensive going at more than $30 per month.

Weakness Two: Lead Board

The other thing I’m not in love with is the lead board. You have to click into each category to get a sense of what’s going on. I really love the one on HoneyBook pictured in the second image below. You can customize your categories in Dubsado, I just wish they utilized a more condensed drag & drop system like HoneyBook.

Dubsado’s Lead Board
My favorite lead board, similar to HoneyBook

Conclusion

Dubsado’s not the cheapest but it’s still in the same price range as other options. They’ll even transfer all contacts from your old CRM for free! With the level of customized automation Dubsado offers paired with the Support Community and speed of updates, I’ll be happy with Dubsado for quite a while. Even better, you can get 20% off your first year by using anyone’s referral promo code!

In fact here’s mine 🙂

Disclaimer: I get a free month if you use it. I wasn’t however biased in any way in writing this review or deciding which service to use.

On that note, happy automating!

PS: A Note On DJ Event Planner (DJEP)

DJ Event Planner is used by many many DJs to manage their business. For years it looked like Windows 95 had a baby with GeoCities, and they got away with it because they were really the only game in town for us. A big plus they had going for them is client song selection.

But after a visual refresh it still looks dated and feels clunky. Workflow automation is severely lacking and their comparative service plan still comes in at $240 per year, a similar price range as our modern alternatives above. For that reason I didn’t include DJEP in my showdown, automation is KEY these days. DJ Event Planner also doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks. Should I go on?

Some will disagree with me, that’s fine. I’ll be automating my business so I can focus on what we enjoy most: playing music and making money!

Service Review: Docusign Digital Contracts

For the first few years of my business I had been printing out contract and sending them out snail mail.

I’d be lucky if the entire process took a week, not to mention having to get to the post office to send out my licked envelopes and still send them a scanned copy once I got it back.

Then I discovered Docusign and swore off physical contracts forever.

What is Docusign?

For $120 per year you can send 5 digital envelopes (read, contracts) per month.

But are digital signatures binding? Here you go.

You can upload either a Word Doc or PDF, then add input fields, initial blocks, signature fields, and auto-populated dates.

For the amount of business I was doing at the time this was a godsend.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Relatively cheap ($120/yr)
  • Stores contacts for use between recipient fields
  • Can send a copy of your contract to as many emails you need
  • Has a solid app to access contracts at any time
  • Clients don’t need an account
  • You get notified when clients are viewing your contract

Cons:

  • Limited to 5 contracts per month
  • Unable to edit errors within input fields (which wastes envelopes)
  • Unable to bulk download contracts (must be done individually)
  • Setting up templates suck; fields don’t line up sometimes
  • No consistent dashboard showing # of used contracts that month

Verdict

It works, it’s cheap, but it can be very annoying when you have a busy month and have to wait to send out a contract to nail down that client.

There are CRM’s that include digital contracts in their cost with no monthly limitations (Ex. 17hats) so my advice is to shop around and find a more holistic solution. If you just need a few contracts a month right now in your business it will work, but realize you’re going to have to migrate to another service after you grow which can be a pain.

Business Review Pt 2: 200% Client Reviews

When you’re in the nascent stages of building a Mobile DJ business, you need to prove to your market that you’re the real deal. With sites likes Wix and WordPress anyone in their mother’s basement it’s no longer enough to have a decent looking site. That is, if you want to make more than  a couple hundred bucks a month. I’m talking triple digit annual growth here.
 
A tenet remember is this: What got you here will not get you there. 
 
What helped you grow from a four figure business to a five figure business won’t get you to six figures. 
 
Five figure income might require a tasteful website, a handful of professional event photos, and a couple of words from past clients
 
Six figures requires a change in your game. Six figures requires your clients to go to bat for YOU. You need to blow them away so they want to help you. Double digit testimonials at this point is a MUST. 
 
One of the ways I did that is by gifting custom soundtrack mementos.

I ordered a hundred custom vinyl CDs I could burn music onto. For each couple I then ordered a wooden engraved CD case with their initials and wedding date. I burn their special songs (Ceremony music, first dances, wedding party introduction music) and recorded toasts onto the CD. It only costs me about $30 and 30 minutes per couple, and it blows their minds.
 
Here is the end result:

Not only are they clamoring to write you a review, they’re raving to all their friends and relatives what their DJ got them. Word of Mouth on steroids.
 
Then it might sit on a mantlepiece in their home for future visitors to ask what that box is. It’s some of the best marketing dollars you could ever spend.
 
Only about 30-40% of clients give their vendors testimonials. By going the extra mile, I’ve been able to get testimonials from about 90% of my clients.
 
And I picked up a ninja tactic to double your testimonial rate:
Ask your clients to write a few words on why they decided to book you after they sign that contract!
 
No longer do you have to wait 6-12 months before getting a review!
 
It’s not enough to throw money at paid advertising and wait for clients to come to you. You need to have the assets consumers are looking for these days to get them to click BUY. You wouldn’t buy anything on Amazon without reading great reviews would you? Booking DJs is no different.