If you’re looking for a client management system where you can do everything in one place, you might be looking at Dubsado or Plutio.
The best client management systems provide a single interface for you to conduct all your tasks from. With features like proposals, client management, and invoicing, both Dubsado and Plutio aim to do this.
So, if you’re looking for a comprehensive overview of Dubsado and Plutio, you’re in the right place.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What is Dubsado?
- What is Plutio?
- How do you use Dubsado?
- How do you use Plutio?
- Dubsado features vs Plutio features
- Dubsado integrations vs Plutio integrations
- Dubsado pricing vs Plutio pricing
- Reviews from real users
What is Dubsado?
According to the folks at Dubsado, it’s a business management solution designed to cut out the busywork.
The Dubsado app includes the functionality for:
- Form creation
- Contract preparation
- Lead generation tracking
- Client management
- Basic project management
- Workflow automation
- Meeting scheduling
- Finance tracking
In reality, tools like Dubsado classify as any of client management system, CRM, workflow automation, CMS, bookkeeping software, project management. Depending on your bespoke needs, you can use Dubsado or any of its competitors for many tasks.
Only the best apps allow you to do all these tasks without switching between other apps.
What is Plutio?
Plutio describes its app as Everything you need to run your business. Like Dubsado, Plutio is also a business management solution.
You can use Plutio for many use cases (client management, invoicing, project and task management), but you thrive with Plutio when incorporating all aspects of business management.
The Plutio app includes functionality for:
- Advanced project management
- Lists view
- Cards view
- Timeline view
- Agenda view
- Tasks management
- Real-time collaboration
- Time tracking
- Forms & Surveys
- Integrated Inbox
- Finance tracking
- Lead generation tracking
Plutio incorporates this extensive functionality all within the same app. It also includes a public API where you can integrate with third-party apps with ease.
How do you use Dubsado?
When you first log in to the Dubsado app, you are greeted with a screen asking for your business priorities.
As you work your way through the welcome screen, Dubsado prompts you to watch tutorial videos for the options you selected.
You can skip this but reviews recommend this for first-time users. Common feeling among first-time users is you need to spend some time up-front getting to know the platform.
Within the Dubsado app, you have seven submenus in the left-hand panel:
The dashboard provides an overview of your financial goals, open invoices, and a revenue indicator (based on your 30 days rolling). Next to these, you have an overview of all recent activity. This includes any missed payments, contracts that need countersigning, and any workflow actions that need approval.
Within the calendar, you can create appointments, tasks, and projects. Below the calendar is a summary of your financials like income, expenses, and profit. Outstanding tasks are displayed and you can sort by summary, associated project, assignee, and date.
By using the menu panel on the left-hand side, you can drill into any of these sections further. You can also start using more of the Dubsado features from this menu.
How do you use Plutio?
There are similarities between the Dubsado and Plutio interfaces. Both are set up with menus for your different tasks and use forms and templates to drive consistent behavior.
Within the Plutio interface, you can manage clients, projects, and tasks as expected.
The Plutio app offers more sub menus in the left-hand side panel:
The most striking difference between the interfaces is responsiveness of the Plutio app.
Plutio Founder and CEO, Leo Bassam, says: “We spent years creating a fully responsive layout. We have perfected every single pixel on every device.”
Then Plutio goes further and offers dark mode. So, not only is everything pixel-perfect, but it’s easier on the eye (dark mode enhances visual ergonomics by reducing eye strain).
The attention-to-detail makes the Plutio user experience better for your eyesight and concentration. It also makes sure your customers have the best option for them too. Recognizing every user will have different preferences, Plutio includes deep customization at every stage.
Dubsado features vs Plutio features
Let’s walk through the key features that will make or break your day. As a small business owner, time is literal money. So, you need to know which client management system is the right fit for you.
If you’re going to be spending the majority of your day in one app, it must be easy to learn and become second nature almost immediately.
The Dubsado interface is simple to use but has a binary feel to it. This is fine if you’re using Dubsado as an internal tool.
Dubsado competitors like 17hats include widgets to give you more functionality. But, when sharing access and documents with clients, you might be left desiring something with more of a wow-factor.
For example, when creating proposals for clients, you need to stand out against the rest of the black and white tables your prospect is reading.
Plutio’s template library and proposal creator makes it easy to wow your prospects without investing in a graphic designer or spending hours perfecting your craft.
If you can create a stunning proposal, as well as an informative proposal, your prospect will pay it more attention. That added creativity is often the deciding factor when comparing proposals.
As mentioned above, the Plutio interface is more responsive than Dubsado. Everything feels more organised and less clunky. For new users, and new clients, it’s important that your app is easy to use from day one.
When using a client management system that users have access to, the customer experience you provide includes the app you interact in. So, it’s important the app feels natural and doesn’t take hours of learning. Plutio comes into its own here - it’s intuitive interface makes it easy to use for all users, including your clients.
When creating proposals in Dubsado, you will need to create package templates for all the options you would like your clients to choose from on your proposal. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you might offer blog posts, editorial services, and proofreading. You can add a description and a base price per service or product.
Dubsado uses smart fields where you can add a wealth of different options to your proposals. While the choice is extensive, it can also be overwhelming for first-time users.
The experience in Plutio is swifter as it’s designed following extensive research finding out how proposals convert. Watch the video below to see how simple and customisable proposal creation is in Plutio.
If you’re a Gmail user, you can access the Dubsado inbox by “signing in with Gmail”. For non-Gmail users, you will need to find out your server, port, and security settings to sync the Dubsado inbox with your email provider.
Users often comment on the clunky email experience in Dubsado. In fact, the email experience seems to leave a lot to be desired. One small business owner, Michelle Honeycut, commented on her experience:
“I wish the emailing feature was a little better integrated. For example, sometimes, I need to send the same email to a client, but I can’t go into my sent folder from Dubsado and resend the same email.”
You need to enable conversation mode in Dubsado before you get set up. Once you’ve done this, Dubsado focuses on reaching “inbox zero.” On the face of it, this sounds like an ideal goal. But, the behaviour driven uses shortcuts like archiving emails and reassigning action from your inbox to your task list.
In comparison, Plutio Inbox has human conversation in mind, rather than inbox zero. Plutio strips back the redundant greetings and headers to provide an intuitive interface.
The Plutio Inbox includes instant messages, emails (connected to third parties like Google and Outlook), and a live chat feature.
You can convert emails to tasks in a click and speed up client communications with canned responses. Conversations can be snoozed, saved to send later, and even grouped together for a more conversational experience.
Client and project management
This is the bread and butter of both Dubsado and Plutio. Upcoming tasks, completed forms, and deadlines are all stored in a customizable portal. Here, both you and your clients can access forms, emails, and invoices.
The client management interfaces of both apps includes the following:
- Lead capture
- Project statuses
- Task boards
- Project tags
- Email mode (once synced with your current email provider)
- Time tracking
- Client-facing portal
With lots of moving parts in these high-functionality apps, it’s easy to get overwhelmed creating new projects, forms, and proposals.
Plutio uses the same editor for all forms and templates. Its block builder-style consistent experience stands out from Dubsado. With different templates and restrictions on what can be carried over, Dubsado requires more learning and time up front to get used to your new tool.
Dubsado does not seem to have a public templates library but Plutio does and it is amazing. You can check it out here Plutio template library here. Using Plutio’s built-in canvas builder, you can create beautiful templates for your invoice and contracts without having to leave the app.
Invoices and payment processing
To send an invoice from Dubsado, you must do so from the projects view. Within a project, you have an invoice tab where you can add a new invoice to that project.
Once created, you have the option to email the invoice via the Dubsado client portal or copy a link to send elsewhere.
This may prove time-consuming for retainer clients. In an ideal world, you would set up recurring invoices.
Recurring invoices are a cinch with Plutio. When a customer agrees to automatic billing, like retainer contracts, you can set any invoice to recur.
Calendar and appointment scheduling
Dubsado comes with an internal calendar that you can assign your tasks to. This gives you a view of everything you are working on.
You can sync one external calendar with Dubsado per user. This is helpful for users with one client or one calendar. But, users that access many calendars still have to switch between apps to keep an eye on their appointments and meetings.
Within the internal calendar, you can set appointment-based triggers. Dubsado says "you can use appointment-based triggers when you have added the Send Appointment Scheduler action to the same workflow. You can schedule triggers to watch for an appointment start time or an appointment end time.”
While there is no doubt appointment triggers are useful, they are not compatible with shared calendars or schedulers sent outside the workflow. You are also still restricted if using more than one external calendar.
Plutio includes a bird’s eye view of your calendar which shows all tasks, appointments, and invoices. This is applicable to both the native Plutio calendar and imported calendar from third-party calendars like Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
Within the Plutio calendar, you can set tasks and events - and even link them to current projects.
At the time of writing, the time tracking feature is still in beta in Dubsado. Key features will include:
- Pick jobs or leads and start tracking time
- You can have these hours be billable or for record
- You can navigate away from the page and it will still continue
- You can close the window and it will still continue
If time tracking is a must on your priority list, you should opt for Plutio. You can start time tracking per task, mark as billable, and edit the rate. You can even go back and update a task if you forgot to start time tracking.
The first thing called out when looking at Dubsado reviews is the lack of a mobile app. This means when you move meeting rooms, are commuting, or travelling between clients, you have limited access to your work hub. If your client management system is the most important tool in your business, it needs to be accessible anywhere and on any device.
When building Plutio, Founder and CEO Leo Bassam said:
“We needed Plutio to be mobile-first, desktop-first, whatever the customer needs-first. Our highest priority design criteria was a consistent experience across all devices”.
Dubsado integrations include:
- Quickbooks - a popular accounting software package
- CloudSpot - an online gallery and photo delivery service
- Zapier - an integration tool to build custom automations
Plutio already integrated tightly with:
- Zapier - connect to more than 500 apps for automated workflows
- Integromat - automates repetitive and time-consuming tasks
- Stripe - allows for payments to be accepted via credit card
- PayPal - allows instant online payments
- WordPress - embed live project status bars
Dubdado pricing vs Plutio pricing
Dubsado pricing is split into three tiers:
Dubsado pricing starts with a free trial. Signing up for a free trial is easy and only requires a form fill. You can get started right away - without the need for a credit card.
The free trial suggests it lasts forever. But, you will be limited to only three clients.
Dubsado monthly plan
The next Dubsado pricing option is the monthly plan at $35 per month. This opens up the Dubsado app to unlimited clients - rather than the three available in the free trial.
By opting for the paid tier, you can also add three more users. In the free tier, you are limited to one user per login.
Dubsado annual plan
In the annual plan, you receive a discount for paying in bulk. The annual plan is $350 per year. This provides a saving of $70 per year.
You can choose to upgrade the number of brands or the number of users you’d like to use Dubsado with.
You can add another brand for an extra $10 per month. For example, you may run a marketing agency with three customers as your full-time job. You could also work as a freelancer under a different brand and need to use unique contracts and invoices to differentiate.
You can also add more users if required. Dubsado lays out its pricing for extra users as:
- 4–10 users: $25/mo
- 11–20 users: $45/mo
- 21–30 users: $60/mo
- 30+ users: contact for a bespoke quote
Plutio free trial
You can get a free 14-day trial of Plutio. Here, you have access to all functionality available in the paid plans.
You receive regular check-in emails from the Plutio team with tips and tricks to make your onboarding and adoption more productive.
Plutio monthly plan
Pluto is split into three monthly plans:
- Solo ($15 per month) - ideal for freelancers that don’t need access to collaboration with clients
- Studio ($20 per month) - adds access to client portal
- Team ($30 per month) - upgrades to full access with unlimited clients, unlimited co-owners, and 30 free users on the team plan.
Plutio also offers the option to white-label your client portal. You can hide Plutio colours, branding, and choose a custom domain. This can be tailored for your brand or on a client by client basis.
Reviews from real users
In general, Dubsado reviews are positive. Users seem to be happy with the app. The features they have at their disposal work fine. That said, most seem left wanting for more.
According to one review site, Dubsado is best for users who like using Kanban boards to track project status. While this is great for Kanban lovers, most small business owners are looking for an app for their client management and accounting.
Other small business owners have noted that Dubsado only supports specific Quickbooks accounts. Logo uploading isn’t as slick as it should be either.
“I am a small business and cannot get the Quickbooks that Dubsado can speak to. So I’ve had to do accounting on two separate ends now instead of having it be seamless. Also, my logo always ends up small on all my invoices. The ratio for the logo on the invoice is about 200 x 100 which makes mine look microscopic.”
While Dubsado offers a dashboard overview of your business and clients, it lacks a project overview section. Dubsado uses a project-based workflow so you can see different parts of each project as you work through them. This is ideal at a project level, or if you have few projects. But, when working on many projects, an overview of all projects is useful for project reporting.
Lacking a project overview view also restricts Dubsado’s reporting and forecasting features. Included in Dubsado’s reporting suite is:
- Monthly income
- Profit breakdown
- Outstanding invoices
- Transaction records
- Revenue generation
Unlike Dubsado, Plutio provides everything you need in a single consistent interface. So, project and task management, invoicing, proposals, and contracts look and feel the same.
With Plutio, you use the same editor for creating new forms and templates. Using its unique block builder functionality, you can master new form creation in forms and replicate across others.
The easy-to-use block builder tool makes learning and onboarding simple. Which is good news for you. And better news for your clients.
Named by Forbes as one of the top ten tools for freelancers and micro-businesses, Plutio provides a single app to manage projects, track time, create dazzling proposals, and get paid faster through professional invoices. This means each utility comes with the same experience so there is no need to watch a tutorial video every time you use something new.
That said, Plutio CEO, Leo Bassam, has dedicated time in building an extensive YouTube library of video resources to help users out.
One user, Stacey MacNaught, a freelance content marketing consultant, said this about Plutio:
"I love Plutio. For me, this is the perfect way to schedule tasks, track time, and plan ahead. Since using Plutio, I’ve become more productive and better at forecasting."
When weighing up Dubsado vs Plutio, there’s a lot to like about Plutio. You can take Plutio for a free 14-day test drive here.
When you do, make sure you join the Plutio Facebook community to see how 5,000 other “Plutopians” are using the platform.