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HoneyBook vs. 17hats for CRM and business management

Debating between HoneyBook and 17hats for business management? I compared both platforms on 14 different features so you don’t have to. 

HoneyBook vs 17hats

HoneyBook and 17hats are both too very well-known names in the small business management space. Particularly for creative professionals, you’ll probably find these names mentioned the most. 

The platforms both offer a lot of the same features but look very different. I wanted to compare them on all of the main features that users implement them for, from capturing leads to booking and managing projects. 

Finding the right software for you should be subjective, but my goal is to provide all the information you need to make the process a little easier. 

HoneyBook vs. 17hats: who it's good for

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Lead management

Who wins out?

Both platforms offer lead capture, and 17hats offers one great CRM capability that is assigning lead types (hot and cold). However, HoneyBook overall offers more options for what you can do with your leads, including instant booking and more automations.

HoneyBook

HoneyBook offers two options for capturing leads: a standard contact form and a more robust lead form. Both are customizable, but the HoneyBook contact form is a simple way to capture leads, while lead forms enable you to add additional actions, like scheduling a meeting and paying up front. 

You can share both forms on your public channels or privately to capture interested leads. I especially like the fact that you can choose from templates or build from scratch and save multiple forms for different audiences. 

Once leads inquire, HoneyBook captures them and adds them to your account and project pipeline. I’ve customized my pipeline to match the steps I use to move leads forward to booking, which makes lead management easier. Plus, I like that you can manage all your communication and files in one project workspace with leads and clients.

Another great feature is HoneyBook automations, which I’ve used to set up instant responses and guide leads through next steps, such as filing out a questionnaire, scheduling time, and booking.  

HoneyBook does have it’s limitations with lead management. It doesn’t operate as a traditional CRM where you can score leads or nurture them and access other sales features like marketing automation. In my use, I think its lead management is great for independent businesses that don’t have a large volume of leads. 

Capture leads quickly

Use HoneyBook to capture leads and book instantly in a single step. 

17hats 

Using 17hats, I can set up a lead capture form on my website, which enables me to easily capture traffic there. However, this is limited to one form if you have the Essentials plan, and up to 20 with the Premier plan. This is suitable for business owners who might just want a standard contact form, but I’d prefer the option to create multiple forms that I can then add to specific channels or landing pages. 

17hats automatically creates a new project when a lead fills out and sends the form in, and from there you can view their contact information and what they answered in your form. 

On the Contacts page, I can see all my contacts and assign different labels to them, including clients, cold prospects, and hot leads. Though this is a great CRM feature, it’s mostly manual work to assign your leads correctly. The only automation 17hats offers is to automatically turn hot leads into clients once they pay an invoice. 

Once leads come through, you can also use the Workflow feature to send an automated email, such as a thank you message that includes a discovery questionnaire, though automations are only available for the Standard package and higher. 

I have noticed that 17hats’ Workflow automations allow for basics like sending an email or scheduling a task reminder, but stop short of automating files to send out. There also aren’t a ton of Workflow triggers to choose from compared to other platforms. 

Invoicing

Who wins out?

HoneyBook offers the most customization out of the two options. While 17hats invoices are still professional and simple, you can do more with HoneyBook.

HoneyBook

As soon as you create a HoneyBook account, you have access to invoice templates that are easy to customize and use–whether you need a general invoice or a version that’s built specifically for your company type. 

Like HoneyBook’s other templates, you can edit your invoice templates or build from scratch using a drag-and-drop editor that supports text, video, and images. I was able to easily incorporate my company brand to make sure my invoices were personalized. 

The best part about HoneyBook invoices is the ability to include other actions, like service selection, contract signing, file upload, questionnaires, and scheduling. With every invoice, HoneyBook includes integrated payment processing, so your clients don’t have to jump into another service to pay. 

For instance, I can use an all-in-one booking file that includes my meeting scheduler, an invoice for the session, a contract, and payment processing. 

17hats

With 17hats, I can create and send invoices directly to my contacts. The invoice builder lets you add your invoice number and PO number, due date, taxes, discounts, any notes. From there, you can individually add line items on your invoice and even save them for later use. Each invoice you build can also be saved as a template to save time. 

Overall, I like the simplicity of the invoice builder, but it’s not very customizable. Plus, it would be great to start with a designed invoice template that I can just plug my information into. 

The invoice scheduling feature also means I can set a custom invoice schedule for clients, including recurring invoices. If I offer payment plans to clients, I can break up payments into an equal split or create custom payment plans. Once I indicate the payment plan, the scheduling feature sends invoices at appropriate times, making this a truly “set it and forget it” billing process.

Contracts

Who wins out?

If you’re looking for very simple contract management and eSigning, 17hats does fine. But, HoneyBook goes above and beyond by offering pre-made contract templates for different business types, which can help you keep your business protected.

HoneyBook

HoneyBook offers attorney-reviewed contract templates that you can immediately update with your own information and start using with clients. Whether you need a general contract or a specific agreement (liability waiver, proof sign-off, model release, NDA, etc.), HoneyBook has several options to choose from. 

As always, I was still able to start from scratch and drop in my own specific legalese that I wanted to use, but the templates are a really great start. 

The contract templates include smart fields, which allowed me to dynamically populate client and project information, like client name, project name, and project date. I saw that you can also pull in information that you’ve set for your company, such as payment late fees and your company information. 

I love that HoneyBook contract templates are accessible via desktop or mobile, allowing your clients to eSign from any device. 

Send professional online contracts

Use ready-made attorney-review contract templates on HoneyBook. 

17hats 

17hats also offers electronic contracts that my clients and I can sign online. Unfortunately, 17hats doesn’t offer pre-made contract templates, though you can save your own to use again with future clients. 

One helpful feature is the smart field implementation in contracts and emails, which helps me prefill important details to save time. This is beneficial for me for its ease of use and time savings. 

These smart fields also work in all of the features, not just the contract, saving me time everywhere I need to fill in client information. Clients can sign contracts that are combined with a proposal and invoice, all in one, making it simpler for them and beneficial for me, as the simplicity of the document itself can potentially convert more leads. 

Payments

Who wins out?

HoneyBook has lower starting transaction fees and a bit more reporting to stay an top of your income, including a free QuickBooks integrations (17hats’ QuickBooks integration costs extra).

HoneyBook

With integrated payment processing in your invoice templates, HoneyBook makes it faster for you to get paid. In fact, 90% of HoneyBook invoices get paid on time.

Through HoneyBook, I accept credit card and ACH payments and enjoy some of the lowest transaction fees in the industry, starting at 2.9% + 25¢ for cardholder-entered payments. For reference, PayPal’s cardholder entered fees start at 2.99% + 49¢.

While the integrated payments are helpful for me, I could see that some may not like the inability to choose their own payment processor. 

One thing I really love about HoneyBook is that you don’t have to chase payments. You can turn on automatic payment reminders and autopay, along with late payment fees for clients who pay past their due dates. 

For greater organization, HoneyBook also enables you to track payment statuses in one place. Plus, view your profit and loss and get greater accounting insights with a seamless integration to Quickbooks. 

Smoother payments

Process client payments quickly and securely with some of the lowest fees in the industry.

17hats

Clients can pay me directly with any major credit card or ACH bank transfer using 17hats payment processing. I can also set up automated payment reminders so clients will remember to pay. Better yet, I can also use payment plans to make it easier for clients to pay. There are numerous currencies I can bill my clients in as well, which is especially useful if you have international clients. 

Transaction fees are reduced for the Premier tier, which costs $50 per month if you’re paying annually or $60 per month if paying by the month. Each time a client pays by e-check or card, the bank charges a fee. Fees are not passed directly to clients, and they start at 2.9% plus $0.30 for users with the Premium plan.

By taking payments through 17hats, I can view reports on my my profit and loss, upcoming receivables, and overdue receivables. You can also integrate with QuickBooks online, though it’s an extra $5 month unless you have the Premium plan. 

File templates

Who wins out?

HoneyBook offers a wider variety of templates to start with with the ability for greater customization.

HoneyBook

File templates are one of HoneyBook’s strong suits. With an account, you already have a great starting point for every aspect of your clientflow: the process from capturing and qualifying leads to booking clients, managing projects, and maintaining relationships. 

You can access all of the following templates, plus build your own:

  • Lead forms
  • Questionnaires
  • Invoices
  • Contracts
  • Proposals 
  • Pricing and services guides
  • Sales brochures
  • Scheduling forms 
  • Welcome packets
  • Project closure files 

HoneyBook’s template gallery also offers a variety of templates that are specific to different industries, and are designed by business owners themselves.

17hats

I’ve found that document templates on 17hats can save me time, though they’re limited to the following:

  • Questionnaires
  • Invoices
  • Contracts
  • Quotes

I can also save email templates, which also use smart fields to easily fill in client information.

Templates all need to be built from scratch, however, so if you’re looking for more built out templates you can use to start with, you don’t have that option in 17hats. 

I do especially like the ability to save contracts as templates, which is handy when I have a boilerplate contract that will be the same regardless of the client. Clients can select add-ons, which is an easy way to let me upsell extra services right from the start. Easy upselling means potentially more revenue.

Scheduling

Who wins out?

Though you can offer basic scheduling with your clients through 17hats, you can do a little more with HoneyBook, including requiring payment and contract signing before scheduling.

HoneyBook

Inside your account, you can sync your Google, Microsoft, and Apple calendar. Once you integrate, you can see all of your meetings and appointments in one place, plus add team members to view their schedules in your calendar view as well. 

With your calendar synced, you can present an accurate view of your availability within the HoneyBook scheduler. Just like other tools like Calendly, you can build specific session types, set your availability for each one, and send them to leads or clients with a link to book time with you. 

Instead of going back and forth to find a time that works, clients can select an open time slot on your calendar. Unfortunately, I found it a bit limiting since you can’t offer group scheduling or rescheduling for clients on HoneyBook.

If you also require clients to pay before scheduling with you (say you’re a photographer or a consultant), you can do so with a lead form or a scheduling file template that includes invoice and payment. 

17hats

Through 17hats, clients and leads can see when I’m available and request an appointment to reserve a date and time. Sessions can be recurring or one-off, and clients can schedule an appointment, event, consultation, or session.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a public scheduling feature, so I have to add my schedule to a service before the client can book time with me. This means that if they just want some face time, I’ll need to create an email with a service for them to fill in that time. In some cases, that’s preferable to protect my free time. However, it seems like a few extra steps that are unnecessary. 

Reminders also are not sent automatically, but I can log on and manually send a reminder to a client. Unlike some platforms, there isn’t a feature that suggests optimal times. 

Client communication

Who wins out?

HoneyBook’s email integration isn’t perfect, but its AI composer wins out against 17hats, and you can also create a client portal with any plan, while 17hats is only available on the Premium plan.

HoneyBook

With HoneyBook, I don’t have to worry about sifting through emails or missing client communication. You can integrate any email provider with your account so you’re able to see client emails inside your workspaces. The only downside is that you have to start an email thread in your HoneyBook account, so it won’t pull in all of your emails in your inbox. 

From there, you can leverage HoneyBook email templates to save time, set up automated emails at key moments (like after a lead inquires), and even use HoneyBook’s AI Composer to quickly send messages to leads and clients that fit your tone and voice. I personally love setting up email automations for my inquiries to make sure I respond quickly and save time providing information to them. 

Though I didn’t set one up, you also have the opportunity to create a branded client portal that clients can use to view communications and files in one place. 

17hats

Anyone I communicate with in 17hats needs to be set up with a contact category: Hot Lead, Client, Cold Prospects, or Other Contacts. 17hats color codes these categories for easy viewing. It will automatically move a category from “Hot Lead” to “Client” when an invoice is sent or a contract is signed. I can also manually adjust these categories, and using them allows me to designate email blasts to specific categories in my contacts.

I easily access my client communications on the project page. Certain actions can trigger automatic messages, such as when a client completes a document. After they complete the document, they’ll get an automatic thank-you message with an electronic copy of the document. 

I can set up automated emails for the thank-you messages as well as document reminders. Anything automated, like sending emails, is a major benefit for time savings.

Like other platforms, I can still manually write emails and integrate with my email provider, though the Essentials plan doesn’t include incoming email (just outgoing). There’s also an AI feature that can help write emails, though I haven’t used it a lot. When I did try it out, it felt like it was generating generic email templates versus writing personalized emails using AI. 

Project management

Who wins out?

Neither platforms are built for advanced project management, but HoneyBook wins out again for a customizable project pipeline and the ability to organize by projects or clients. 

HoneyBook

After using the platform, you can tell that HoneyBook isn’t focused on project management. But, it does provide some project management tools. 

The project pipeline is fully customizable and can be automated, so you can seamlessly move clients and project statuses forward without having to manually keep track. Only you can see your project pipeline though, so I didn’t see a way to share statuses with clients. 

I terms of tasks, you can track them in HoneyBook, associate them with specific projects, and assign them to your team members. Within automations, you’re able to set up task reminders so you never miss a deadline, which I find helpful for staying on top of project deliverables.

As you’re working on projects, you can use your project workspace or client workspace to stay on top of communications, files, notes, and information associated with that specific project or client. 

17hats 

Inside 17hats, projects consist of project details, activities, and important documents. The project page neatly stores all aspects of my projects, including events, communications, to-do lists, notes, and documents. It’s nice to have all of those in one place. 

However, if you imported your contacts or added them manually, you have to create a project for each one before you can send any emails or make notes about them, which can be tedious. Projects are where all the documents live. If you don’t have a project, you can’t create a document, which I also found a bit limiting. 

Especially if you’re trying to switch to this platform from another system, this might cause some frustration. 

Standard tiers and higher offer Workflow management, which helps me prioritize items and stay on schedule. I set up a Workflow, and the platform will automatically create due dates for the next steps and provide alerts. I get an automatic to-do list with the day’s most important items.

Reporting 

Who wins out?

HoneyBook offers a greater variety of reports for all of its pricing plans.

HoneyBook

HoneyBook offers several reports to provide insights on things like: 

  • Monthly bookings
  • Booking rate
  • Collected payments
  • Outstanding payments
  • Refunded payments
  • Lead sources

Though you can select a specific time frame to view each report, it is a bit limiting that you can’t customize any of the reports. 

Premium HoneyBook users can also access team member and client reports.

17hats 

For financial reporting, I can integrate my QuickBooks Online account, where financial data can be exported for further analysis and recordkeeping. However, there’s a small added cost for this integrations except for the Premium tier plan. 

Certain reports are automatically created on the platform, though you only have access to the client sales and sales tax reports on the Essentials plan. 

  • Sales tax: This is available in all tiers. Since I have to pay any sales tax I collect to the state, it’s nice to have an automatic report.
  • Client sales: This is available in all tiers.
  • Product sales: This is available in the Standard and Premier tiers.
  • Profit and loss: Income is automatically populated in all tiers. This is handy when I’m doing my taxes, and also just to keep an eye on the health of the business.
  • Product report: This lets me see which products are doing well and which ones I could consider removing from my offerings. Not available in the Essentials tier.

There is a “Print to PDF” option if you like to keep paper files of your reports, but it’s not available on every tier. 

Mobile app

Who wins out?

Only HoneyBook and 17hats offer mobile apps. While many users have said that HoneyBook’s mobile app is more of a companion to the desktop site, 17hats offers the same functionality. Ultimately, 17hats wins out because of the parity between what you can do on web and mobile.

HoneyBook

Within the HoneyBook mobile app, you can view your project pipeline to see statuses at a glance, plus view and edit your task list. You’re also able to manage your calendar and share your scheduler link along with other client communication, like sending and editing files. 

Though you can customize your notifications, you have the option to get notified when you have a new message, when a client views a file, when someone signs a contract or pays an invoice, and when you have a task coming up. 

Another great feature of the mobile app is time tracking. If you price your services by the hour, the time tracker enables you to stay on top of your working hours, then easily create an invoice directly from your tracked time. 

Though the app is robust, I find it to be more of a companion to the desktop site since it doesn’t offer all of the same capabilities. 

17hats 

The 17hats mobile app is available on both iOS and Android. The free app features the same dashboard to the one on the website, showing project details, emails, and documents. I just need to tap on the 3-line icon for a menu showing further navigable items, such as the to-do list or recent client activity. Ultimately, it offers the same functionality as the website. 

The Android app is available for phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. The iOS app is available for iPhones and iPads. 

Integrations

Who wins out?

17hats wins out, but particularly for creative professionals like photographers or those in the wedding industry.

HoneyBook

HoneyBook offers the following integrations: 

  • Email and calendar (multiple platforms): Integrate your Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, or other email provider to centralize your client communication and calendar.
  • QuickBooks: Sync your income information from HoneyBook into QuickBooks for more comprehensive online accounting (only one-way sync from HoneyBook to QuickBooks).
  • Calendly: Integrate with Calendly to sync Calendly meetings onto your HoneyBook calendar or pull information from your HoneyBook calendar into Calendly.
  • Facebook: Integrate with Facebook Lead Ads so you can populate your new leads directly into HoneyBook.
  • Pic-Time: If you’re a photographer, you can use the Pic-Time integration to create new galleries, connect existing ones, and see the status of connected galleries all from HoneyBook.
  • Zapier: Use Zapier to automate more with your favorite tools, like Trello, Asana, Clickup, Google Drive, and more. 

17hats 

We all have our favorite apps for email, calendars, and bookkeeping. Platforms such as 17hats let me integrate different apps and services so I can use my favorite apps on one central platform, without having to jump around from app to app. 

17hats integrations include:

  • Email providers
  • Google Calendar
  • Apple Calendar
  • QuickBooks
  • Zoom
  • Fundy, N-Vu, ShootProof, and ProSelect for photographers
  • WeddingWire and The Knot for wedding leads
  • Financial institutions such as Bank of America, Citibank, and thousands of others
  • Zapier to connect to thousands of more apps

Customer support 

Who wins out?

HoneyBook ultimately offers a bit more resources to help users, particularly its free file setup service.

HoneyBook

When you’re first getting started with HoneyBook you can access their free file setup service, which migrates existing files like your pricing lists, contract language, client questionnaires, and more. Within 72 hours, you’ll have your templates successfully added to your HoneyBook account, all without lifting a finger. 

HoneyBook offers live chat and email support seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, along with an AI chat resource that can help answer questions easily and quickly. 

You can also leverage HoneyBook’s self-service resources like its Help Center and live and on-demand webinars. 

A great benefit of HoneyBook is that it offers one-on-one dispute resolution, so you’re in good hands if you’re faced with a client chargeback. If you receive a dispute, a HoneyBook Dispute Specialist will work with you to collect evidence and respond to your band on your behalf. 

HoneyBook doesn’t offer any phone support, except for billing issues and dispute resolution.

17hats 

Customer support includes a help desk with frequently asked questions, email support, Facebook direct messages, and live chat support from 7 AM to 4 PM PT on Monday through Friday. I can access my chat history to review and refer to the support team’s responses. 

If you’re just getting started, there are 32 articles on how to set up an account and get your business running with 17hats. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a direct number for phone support. 

Pricing

Who wins out?

17hats is the cheaper option if that’s what you’re looking for, though it’s important to note that there are greater differences between its plans than HoneyBook.

HoneyBook

StarterEssentialsPremium
$16/mo billed annually$32/mo billed annually$66/mo billed annually
Unlimited clients and projectsInvoices and paymentsProposals and contractsCalendarAll professional templatesClient portalBasic reportsSchedulerAutomationsQuickBooks Online integrationUp to 2 team membersExpense management Profit and lossRemove Powered by HoneyBookStandard reportsUnlimited team members Priority supportMultiple companiesOnboarding specialistAdvanced reports

17hats 

Essentials Standard Premier 
$13/mo billed annually$25/mo  billed annually$50/mo billed annually
Unlimited documents and projectsInvoicing, quotes, and online paymentsCustom logo and subdomainOutgoing emailQuickbooks integrationEverything in the Essentials plan, plus:Payment schedules, recurring billing, and bookkeepingIncoming email, read receipts, and scheduled emailTo-do workflowsMore reportsEverything in the Standard plan, plus:Saved card data, tipping, and recurring billingAdvanced schedulingIf/then logic in workflowsClient portalAdvanced workflowsZoom integration

Summary

While 17hats and HoneyBook have a lot of the same features, HoneyBook takes most a bit further. Overall, I notice greater customization, more options, and greater bang for your buck with HoneyBook.

17hats is still a great option if you’re looking for straightforward business management and you don’t necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles, though I can ultimately see many businesses working harder to manage their processes in 17hats and to find the right plan for their needs since there’s big differences between them. 

Pros and cons

HoneyBook17hats
Pros– Highly customizable file templates for every step of your clientflow 
– Designed for ease of use and simple setup (file migration included) 
– Strong booking features for invoicing, contracts, and payments
– More integrations for event professionals
– Ability to distinguish hot and cold leads
– Affordable pricing for first-tier plan
Cons– Lack of robust features for big teams 
– Limited reports
– Not much traditional CRM functionality for sales or lead nurturing
– Very limited offerings in the first-tier plan 
– Limited file templates
– Lack of brand integration and customization

Selecting the right tools

17hatsHoneyBook
Good for…– Solopreneurs who don’t need large-enterprise features
– Photographers, wedding planners, coaches, bookkeepers, and designers
– Independent businesses that operate alone or with a small team
– Photographers, event professionals, and creatives like designers
– Marketing consultants, business consultants, and coaches
Avoid if…– You’re a consultant looking for features to make billing easier
– You’re looking for more features for similar pricing
– You need a more intuitive platform
– You need more advanced or specialized project management tools
– You’re looking for a platform for a large-scale, enterprise organization 
– You own an e-commerce business
– You’re looking for a robust CRM for sales or marketing automation

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