As I have been working in the Software with a Service space for over 10 years now, I have seen many arcs of popularity and uses of a variety of software platforms. As I work with various industry verticals and different sectors within each vertical, it becomes important to understand and use various platforms to achieve each unique business goal. I want to talk a little about the differences between Dubsado
, but also explain how your goals play into your software selection.
Understanding what you are trying to achieve with software is the first step to implementation. If you are acquiring software for the sake of acquiring, or just for this general concept of "automation," you need to do a little further digging into your specific needs. Are you trying to track your leads? Engage with new clients? Process payments and obtain signatures? Or are you trying to manage your bookings and perhaps your team once you are done getting their signature and payment?
Even further than client management, you may have to manage your team resources, your time, your projects and so forth. Are you tracking metrics in your business, or are you just trying to tame the email and inquiry monster so you can serve clients more efficiently?
Whatever your goals are, those need to be identified first before selecting software.
Once you have your goals in mind, then you can start looking at what one software (or collection of software) will best suit your needs. Dubsado
At it's core, Dubsado is an inquiry, scheduling, and booking platform. What that means is that it allows leads to fill out a form, get into your system, and then you can send them links to schedule a call or send a proposal, contract, and invoice to the lead to allow them to engage your services. You can then follow up with pre-written emails based on some preset timeline, and close the project in the system once complete.
Dubsado is a linear platform, meaning that it assumes each lead follows a linear workflow based on pre-set criteria. If you serve the same type of client or have just 1 or 2 experiences that you offer, this is a great tool. The scheduling only allows you to schedule one resource - one person - so if you have multiple team members that need to be scheduled, you will need additional software to allow for additional resource management.
At $40 a month for all the bells and whistles (as of this writing), it's an attractive entry point for software if you are currently managing your business in google docs and manual invoicing. Airtable
Airtable, on the other hand is a platform-enabled database, meaning that at it's core, it is a central repository for data in your business. You can track all of your leads, your clients, track metrics, and automate communication for your business using Airtable as your central dashboard, and using apps in Airtable, and potentially Zapier to connect Airtable to other software to complete your goals.
For example, if you need that contract/invoice experience, you can use something like Jotform to create prettier forms than the ones already in Airtable, and then have simple contracts that can be signed and routed, as well as take payments via Stripe or Square within the forms. This allows you to replicate the Dubsado experience, but then also allows more flexibility with easier to build automations.
Scheduling would be a separate tool, such as Acuity or Calendly. These, you pay per resource (person), but if you have multiple team members, you would be using this service with Dubsado as well.
With Airtable, you also have the ability to create reports, filter data, and have information organized however you like. It is a much more flexible platform, with many more options to build and add. Think of your business software as Lego pieces, and this would be the base you would build off of.
Assuming one login for Airtable ($26/monthly), one login for Jotform ($29/monthly) and one login for Calendly ($18/monthly), you will have a higher monthly investment, but far more flexibility.
Both software selections require an upfront investment for a consultant to properly orchestrate your goals into the software. What you pay depends on the consultant and your specific needs, but it will be in the thousands for a qualified consultant to build out your Dubsado or Airtable architecture.
One piece of advice I would share regardless of which software you choose - be sure you know your processes on paper before engaging a consultant. It is far more expensive to design your processes while trying to build out structure and automation.
If you are interested in finding out if Airtable is right for you, check out my Airtable case studies
or contact me
to schedule a discovery call.