I’m packing for Iceland but I had so many questions about my switch I decided to quickly through together a post! As a small business owner my time has to be broken down as efficiently as possible. Having all of my client & business information organized is a must so I can continue to provide great customer service to my business. You might be thinking to yourself “Well I don’t have that many clients so I don’t need to worry about business management software.”
How can I put this kindly… you’re so wrong. If there is anything I have learned through my experience (and my darling husband) it’s that by putting systems in place when you are slow you are preparing for the growth that is to come. Five Weddings this year could turn into 10 next year and 30 the next. If you could streamline all of your questionnaires, contracts, invoices and calendar into one space then why not? Personal organization is not just a service to your self, it is a service to your clients.
If you are reading this you probably already know all of this! So I will get to the good stuff. A question often discussed among professionals is “Which is better 17hats or HoneyBook?” Now this is a loaded question for many reasons. I have had 17hats for a year and a half at this point so I am very familiar with it. In it’s simplest form I’ve broken down what both offer and the main reason that I resisted switching is in red:
Last year I was in the middle of my Fall wedding season when I heard about HoneyBook and it just didn’t make sense to switch because I had all of my clients in the system and all of my bookkeeping was up to date! During my phone consult with Honeybook they were very honest with me in that bookkeeping is not a feature that is available right now but is in the works. Since my contract with 17hats is up in December I know I will be able to finish out my bookkeeping and continue booking my 2017 clients through HB.
Favorite HB Feature: What I love about HB is the Collaborative workspace. So much business is through word of mouth and referrals. I know when I need to reach one of the vendors from my brides vendor team I don’t have to go back to the questionnaire try and find their email, oops crap typed their email in incorrectly, etc. I can save time and network efficiently by having all of the information in one place. Once the wedding gallery is complete I can share the link with all of the vendors with ease!
Pricing: Right now is the time to lock in a great price. I made a one time payment and I won’t ever have to pay an upgrade fee or worry about a bill related to HB because I am grandfathered in. Peace of mind is priceless.
Customer service: When I signed up for 17hats some time ago I asked a question about set up and I’m still waiting to hear back… I had to set up and manually input my contracts and all of my questionnaires. It took me weeks to find the time to carve out and do it. After my consult with HB and deciding to book they put me in touch with someone who is going to set up HB for me completely and then run through the program one more time incase I have any questions. My contracts, upcoming events, questionnaires and up to 10 invoices are being transferred. You heard that right! I’ll be in Iceland for a week and when I come back I will have all the work done for me. That for me is priceless.
Client Portal: To view their information your client has to create a onetime log in. This may seem tedious. Again with the peace of mind: my clients personal information is safe. The client portal has a clean and polished look. I’ve worked hard on my website and Wedding Experience Guide. It is great feeling that now every portion of a clients experience with me has a clean look.
“Which one should I choose?! They both sound great!” or “But I’m in the middle of my busy season!”
You need to answer these questions:
1. What do you absolutely need? Can you live without bookkeeping?
2. Do you have 1-2 weeks of down time where you can kick back and relax while someone else works on your transition?
3. If you need customer service support, what kind of customer service do you prefer?
4. Is everything is working 100% how you’d like? Are there features you’d like to see added?
If you are completely happy with the program you are using that is fantastic and I am so happy for you! If you are considering the switch then send Honeybook a message and set up a free consult! I love how they walked me through how the program worked before I invested. It’s totally different than a free trial.There was a time when I felt the same way but as my business grew and continues to grow I knew I needed to make a change before I felt overwhelmed. Change can be scary but is usually worth it in the end. Get out of your comfort zone. Change is exciting (and scary but also exciting)! As I move forward with Honeybook I will make sure to update this post. Feel free to comment any questions you might have!
*Let me add this disclaimer- HoneyBook in no way paid me to write anything. I am simply sharing my personal experience with both companies. I have spoken to colleagues that have shared the same experience as well. This is just a blog post with a few facts and a few bits of advice. Take it or leave it!
Update July 1st– After purchasing HB the day before yesterday, I was told it would be complete by the time I was back from Iceland next week. Everything is ALREADY SET UP! Hooray!
Update! December 9, 2016!
There is now Quickbooks integration! Hallelujah! I have yet to link the two but I plan on catching up with accounting in the off season (I know I know shame on me for not keeping up with it!) Honeybook has been great for sending my clients proposals, questionnaires and networking with vendors. The branding is seamless and I love how neat + clean it is. It is so convenient for my clients to be able to view the contact, invoice and questionnaire all in one. Now I am one big honey book cheerleader because I have had nothing but a great experience with them and frankly their customer service is outstanding-that to me is priceless. There are little quirks that others have stumbled into a few listed below:
If you accidentally mark something as paid you cannot correct on your own and must contact HB to help you. (Their team is wicked fast at responding which is a plus)
If you need to issue refund through honey book or alternatively take credit card info to run a payment that also requires contacting HB.
HB does not have the workflow feature yet.
On the flip side:
The HB online support group is fantastic! Ask questions in there! Often time members will have answers for you if they have had a similar experience or HB admin will answer your question on the thread.
HoneyBook is not just for photographers. Vendors of all kinds are able to take advantage of the fact that the pipeline is customizable.
A common question that I get is “Is it worth it.” You are probably decided between a few different programs and what I recommend is making a pros and cons list between them all!
For me- HoneyBook is worth the cost for these reasons:
Cost. We are business people so it’s important to talk numbers. The founding membership is a one time fee. I do not want to switch back and forth between a new system (or the latest and greatest) every month. The way I manage my clients files is the way I should know my equipment: inside and out. So yes there are features like workflow that I would LOVE to see but that isn’t going to make me switch to another company.
This is the updated pricing for 17 Hats. I am glad I made the switch because at all times I will have more than 15 active projects as a Wedding and Portrait Photographer which would push me into the $39/month category.
Customer Service. I can’t say this enough: their customer service is fantastic. Just this week in the HB Facebook group there was a poll about what features we would like to see added. I know that they are constantly working to improve through their customers feedback.
At the end of the day if you were to say “Nichole which program would you recommend?”
My answer would be “The one you are going to stick with and learn inside and out.” At the end of the day you will only save money when you save yourself time!
If you do decide to sign up with HoneyBook receive $100 off with your lifetime membership! The last chance to sign up with your lifetime membership is December 31! http://share.honeybook.com/fQWvM
Feel free to post any questions you have in the comment box below!
Update February 3, 2017 HoneyBook now has lead tracking! I love this feature because now I can stay organized and know where my bookings are actually coming from. Honeybook has now closed the “founding members” one-time fee of $500. You now pay a monthly fee.
Update August 3, 2017 There are a lot new favorite features! We now have an app, team management and fraud protection.
If you’d like 50% off your first month (or year!) click here!
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