A customer relationship management (CRM) tool for freelancers helps to manage clients and prospects with features like time tracking, invoicing and payments, and task and contact management. We evaluated dozens of CRMs to determine the top six and best CRM for freelancers with criteria that included these features and others like contract management and affordability.
Top 6 CRM for Freelancers for 2019
|Freelancer CRM||Best For|
|Hello Bonsai||(Best overall) Contractors who want a freelancer CRM with resources like freelance rate calculators|
|HoneyBook||Solopreneurs who need a robust freelancer CRM with a community fostering networking and collaboration|
|Plutio||International freelancers who need to accept multiple currencies|
|Dubsado||Freelancers who want to set and track revenue goals and gain insights from reporting|
|17hats||Contractors who need a no-frills CRM with basic project, contact, and lead management tools|
|Bitrix24||Freelancers who need features like online stores to market services and sell products better|
How We Evaluated the Best CRM for Freelancers
Freelancers are one person operations who do everything from accounting to sales and marketing, not to mention delivering products and services to their customers. The best CRMs for freelancers come with tools that keep them organized like high volume contact management, time tracking, project management, and payment processing. These tools reduce administrative tasks allowing them to focus on creating value for their clients.
We used the following criteria to identify the top six CRMs based on freelancer needs:
- Price: We looked at freelancer CRMs that were budget friendly for individual business owners and sole operators.
- Ease of use: The best options should be easy to use and include options that require little-to-no technical expertise.
- Freelancer specific features: We only included options with niche-specific features like time tracking, invoice creation, and management, payment processing, proposal creation, contract creation and execution, document storage, and so on.
- Core CRM functionality: We considered freelancer CRMs with both specialized and core CRM functionality like high volume contact management, pipeline management, and lead capture.
- Automation & workflows: Our criteria included freelancer CRMs with tools that help automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity in key areas including proposal communications, prospect to project or client conversion, and invoice generation.
- Project & task management: The best freelancer CRMs have project and task management tools to help stay on top of key activities and due dates.
- Payment processing: We looked at solutions with payment processing tools as freelancers need to get paid quickly.
- Customer support: We looked at the level of customer support each provider offers to freelancers.
Based on these criteria, we recommend Hello Bonsai as the overall best CRM for freelancers. It offers core CRM features like pipeline management, workflows and automations, proposal and contract management, plus freelancer-specific tools and resources like a time tracker and freelancer rate and self-employment tax calculators. It’s also easy to use and affordably priced.
Best Overall CRM for Freelancers: Hello Bonsai
Hello Bonsai is a full-featured freelancer CRM that provides tools to help freelancers stay on top of tasks and projects while offering free resources like freelance rate calculators and tax guides. Its affordable prices starting at $16 per month, make it great for solopreneurs who want a robust CRM that’s easy to use, with a helpful combination of features designed with freelancers in mind.
Hello Bonsai Pricing
Hello Bonsai pricing starts at $16 per month for the Plus tier and $24 per month for the Premium tier. Additional users, allowed on the Premium tier, and are $9 per month, per user. A free plan is also available that lets you manage three projects per year with very limited functionality.
Hello Bonsai Tiered Features
For up to 3 projects/year
For one user only
+$9 per additional user, per month
|Contract Templates & Management|
|Invoices & Payments|
The free plan offers CRM features for up to three projects and includes contact management, project management, and time tracking, which are core freelancer features. It also offers invoice and payment tools, which has functionality that separates it from the entry-level plans of other industry-specific CRM types. This makes it a terrific option for freelancers just starting to build out a portfolio of clients.
However, it does not include features like advanced reporting, customizable branding, and chat support. In addition, free plans must rely on a knowledge base for support and once your business grows beyond three projects, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
The Plus plan offers a core set of freelance CRM features to manage contacts, clients, and projects. Specific features include time tracking and recording for accurate hourly billing and project and activity management for keeping projects and tasks organized, and invoice creation, payment processing, and contract management for faster sales and payments. It starts at $16 per month but is limited to one user. Unlike the free plan, there are no project limits.
For solo freelancers, this CRM is a robust plan that offers tools to save time with a starting price point just a dollar more than Plutio’s Solo plan and much lower than Dubsado or HoneyBook. The Plus plan is great for solopreneurs who do not need to add additional users, project collaborators, or subcontractors, and who do not need white labeling or custom branding features.
The Premium plan builds on the Plus plan offering the ability to add multiple additional users at $9 per user per month as well as the ability to add subcontractors. It also offers white labeling, which allows you to add your logo and branding to emails, invoices, and other documents sent to your clients from the CRM. The Premium Plan also allows you to add collaborators to projects as well as subcontractors. Pricing starts at $24 per month.
This plan is great for freelancers who have grown their businesses where they partner with subcontractors on projects or who collaborate with clients and vendors on gigs. The price point is lower than Plutio’s highest tier and also lower than Dubsado’s and HoneyBook’s similarly tiered pricing. Bitrix24 is less expensive per user only if you have a high volume of users, which is rare for a freelance business.
What Hello Bonsai Is Missing
Hello Bonsai is missing the ability to perform advanced automations without using third-party tools like Zapier. If this is important, consider using Zapier or a freelancer CRM like HoneyBook or Dubsado where you don’t need a third-party tool. It also does not accommodate different languages. If this is important, consider Plutio. It’s also missing website lead capture forms. If this is important, consider HoneyBook or embedding a tool like Freshchat into your website.
What Users Think About Hello Bonsai
Overall, users like Hello Bonsai. They like the robust features, simple and easy to navigate user interface. Some user dislikes revolve around not accommodating multiple languages and the limited customization capabilities of the contract creation tool.
Best CRM for Collaboration & Networking: HoneyBook
HoneyBook is a freelancer CRM offering core CRM tools like contact and pipeline management, automation, lead capture, and reporting. Freelancer specific features include time tracking, payment processing, and proposal creation, and there is also an online community for networking and collaboration. Prices start at $34 per month. It’s great for those who want to connect with other freelancers like writers, designers, and photographers.
HoneyBook has a monthly and an annual pricing plan that gives you access to all features. The annual plan is $34 per month, and the monthly plan is $40 per month. It also offers promos and discounts on its pricing if you sign up for a paid plan right away during your free trial period.
HoneyBook offers freelancer focused features including time tracking, where you can enter your time manually and rate and generate an invoice with the click of a button. It also features automation and workflows to save time on repetitive tasks and to move projects through pipeline stages triggered by key actions. HoneyBook is feature rich, similar to Hello Bonsai, Dubsado, and Plutio, but lacking the marketing and sales tools offered by Bitrix24.
Project & Task Management
Similar to Dubsado, Plutio, Hello Bonsai, and 17hats, HoneyBook has project and task management features that help you stay on top of project action items. All platforms present tasks within a dashboard to easily view status and due dates for activities coming up. HoneyBook’s project presentation is similar to Dubsado’s task presentation using customizable Kanban style task boards.
Automations & Workflows
HoneyBook offers automations and workflow features that save time. You can use workflows to create tasks, send documents, or emails. For instance, you can create a workflow and automation rule that automatically sends a client an email based on an action or trigger. These features are similar to those offered by Dubsado.
Proposals & Contracts
HoneyBook comes with freelancer proposal and contract templates. You can edit these templates to fit your business and to reflect your branding. There’s also functionality to send these documents to clients and have them electronically signed. You can download them and send as attachments for those clients wanting to sign them physically. Freelance contract and proposal templates are available in Hello Bonsai, but not Bitrix24, which is general use.
Invoices & Payments
Payment processing and invoice creation are HoneyBook features that can save time and help you get paid faster. You can create professional looking invoices with your branding and send them to clients who can pay them electronically. You can also set up payment schedules and send automatic reminders. HoneyBook offers payment processing accepting credit cards and ACH. It doesn’t accommodate PayPal, Stripe, or others like other providers featured here.
HoneyBook offers a free online community where you can connect with fellow creatives to form potential collaborations on projects. It’s set up like a social media site where you can connect with local creatives, give and receive referrals, and connect to work on projects together. The other freelancer CRMs offer collaboration features, but HoneyBook takes it a step further and helps you to connect with other freelancers to grow your clientele and number of projects.
What HoneyBook Is Missing
HoneyBook is missing the ability to accept payment processors like Stripe or PayPal. If this is important, Hello Bonsai could be an alternative. It’s also missing marketing tools should you want to manage email marketing campaigns or build websites and landing pages to attract new customers. If this is important, Bitrix24 is a great alternative.
What Users Think About HoneyBook
Overall, users like HoneyBook. They think it’s easy to use, and they love the online community that allows for collaboration among freelancers. A few things users don’t like include a few minor glitches here and there, a desire for more templates that are more customizable.
Best CRM for International Freelancers: Plutio
Plutio is a freelancer CRM great for freelancers from around the world because it’s available in 25 different languages, including Spanish, French, Hebrew, Japanese, and Arabic. Also, you can accept multiple currencies for payment and create invoices in those currencies. These features make it great for freelancers whose first language isn’t English, would prefer to use a CRM in their native language and need to accept multiple currencies. Pricing starts at $15 per month.
Plutio’s pricing ranges from $15 per month to $30 per month. The top tier allows for additional users and includes up to five users. Beyond five users is an additional $2 per user. The two lower tiers are for solopreneurs.
Plutio Tiered Features
|Number of Users|
|Access to All Features|
|Payment Processing & Invoicing|
|Ability to Add Additional Users|
All plans provide access to all features except the client portal and the ability to add additional users. The solo plan is the starter plan that the other two build on and includes the multilingual interface, the ability to invoice and accept multiple currencies, and the ability to support multiple businesses from one login. Core freelancer specific features include project and task management, time tracking, payment processing, and invoicing. The price is $15 per month.
Additionally, Plutio allows you to create your own templates for proposals and invoices. Once you create them, you can select them as you’re developing proposals and invoices for new opportunities. You can also create task and project templates so that you are recreating these with every new project or task. There’s also a small template library. This plan is great for solo freelancers that don’t need a client portal.
This plan builds on Solo and offers a client portal. The client portal allows you to keep your clients up to speed on how everything is going with projects. It also gives them a space to log in, collaborate on projects by creating tasks, uploading files, participate in discussions, and viewing progress. You can also customize the client portal to reflect your branding. The Studio plan is priced at $20 per month and only includes one user, which is different from project collaborators.
Client portals allow freelancers to add another level of engagement to their client relationships. It also saves the freelancer time by giving the client tools to find information on their own instead of leaning on the freelancer. This plan is great for freelancers with growing clientele who want to save time and add another level of engagement with the collaboration and brand experience created by the client portal.
Starting at $30, the Team plan expands on Studio and provides the ability to add team members, similar to Hello Bonsai, where you can invite subcontractors. The plan includes the ability to add five team members and, after five, it’s an additional $2 per team member per month.
Building a team and adding them to your Plutio CRM allows you to scale your freelance business and get more done quickly. You’re able to more delegate project and administrative tasks like creating proposals or sending invoices to clients easily. This plan is great for freelancers with growing teams that need to be added to the CRM to complete administrative and other tasks.
What Plutio Is Missing
Plutio is missing marketing tools like the ability to create customer-facing websites and email campaigns. If these features are important, consider Bitrix24 or other marketing tools like Mailchimp that offers email marketing and landing pages. It’s also lacking the variety and number of templates that the other providers with templates offer. If this is important, Dubsado and HoneyBook are better options.
What Users Think About Plutio
Plutio users find it easy to use with great features. User dislikes usually fall into the category of minor glitches or aspirational features. Some users also wish Plutio had more to choose from in its template library.
Best CRM for Freelancers Tracking Revenue Goals: Dubsado
Dubsado is a full-featured freelancer CRM that allows solopreneurs to track revenue goals and offers reports like dashboards to keep their financial goals visible and view open invoice status and revenue trends with a starting price of $35 per month for up to three users. It includes sales reports showing income, expenses, sales, and net profits over time. These features make it great for data-driven freelancers who prioritize actions impacting their bottom lines.
Dubsado pricing starts at $35 per month or $350 per year for up to three users. Additional users can be added in tiers starting at $25 for four to 10 users. If freelancers have more than one brand for their products and services, additional brands can be added for $10 per month.
Additional users can be added according to the following tiers:
- 4-10 users: $25 per month add-on fee
- 11-20: $45 per month add-on fee
- 21-30: $60 per month add-on fee
In addition to financial goal tracking and sales reporting, Dubsado offers core freelancer CRM functionality including contact and lead management, project and task management, payment processing and invoices, and automation and workflows. Dubsado is similar to Hello Bonsai, HoneyBook, and Plutio, in terms of core features, but its sales goal tracking makes it unique.
Project & Task Management
Similar to Plutio, HoneyBook, and Hello Bonsai, 17hats, has project and task management features that help you manage and prioritize tasks. Dubsado’s project presentation is also similar to HoneyBook’s in that it’s presented using Kanban style or task boards. You can also customize your project pipelines in both of these CRMs.
Automations & Workflows
Dubsado offers automations and workflows that save time when it comes to repetitive tasks. You can use workflows to create tasks, send documents, or emails. For instance, you can create a workflow and automation rule that sends a prospective client a proposal automatically once they’ve taken a certain action like completing a questionnaire. These features are similar to those offered by HoneyBook.
Proposals & Contracts
Dubsado comes with freelancer proposal and contract templates that look professional and are written with freelancers in mind. You can also send these documents to clients and have them electronically signed. The documents can also be downloaded and sent as attachments. Freelance contract and proposal templates are also available in Hello Bonsai and HoneyBook, and Plutio but not Bitrix24, which is a general use CRM.
Invoices & Payments
Dubsado offers invoicing and payment tools that can save time and help you get paid faster. Its setup allows for tips, multiple currencies, subscription, and recurring invoicing. You can also customize invoices to reflect your brand and send them to clients who can pay them electronically. Unlike HoneyBook, Dubsado integrates with PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
Dubsado’s collaboration features consist of the client portal and task boards. Clients can be kept up to date and work with you on projects in the client portal where task boards are shared. Dubsado’s collaboration tools facilitate working together and keeping your clients up to speed on projects, similar to tools found in Plutio, which also has a client portal where tasks and project information can be shared.
What Dubsado Is Missing
Although it supports multiple currencies, Dubsado is missing the ability to support multiple languages. If this is important, Plutio may be a better option. It’s also missing marketing and sales tools like landing pages and email campaigns, meaning you will need a reliable web host provider like Bluehost in addition to this service. If built-in ecommerce and marketing support is important, Bitrix24 may be a better choice.
What Users Think About Dubsado
Users like Dubsado overall. They like the robust features, the user-friendly interface, and how professional Dubsado makes them look to their clients with the client portal and document templates. User dislikes include aspirational features like the desire for lead or prospect follow-up features and minor bugs or glitches in the system.
Best No-frills Freelancer CRM: 17Hats
17hats is a no-frills CRM for freelancers offering the core features freelancers need like contact management, task management, and time tracking, freelance templates, invoicing, and payment processing. It offers a template marketplace where you can buy and sell templates from other users and is priced at $45 per month. Yearly plans are also available. It’s great for freelancers wanting a simple CRM to help them stay organized.
17hats has a simple pricing structure where you pay monthly, annually, or every two years. Monthly prices are $45 per month, annual pricing is $295 per year, and $395 if you sign up for two years. The features are the same in all three plans.
17hat offers freelancer specific features like time tracking and recording where you can record time spent on a job and convert it into an invoice. It also offers templates for emails, questionnaires, and invoices and a template marketplace where you can sell and buy templates from fellow users. 17hats has tools in the main freelancer categories like time tracking, payment processing, and templates, but keep things simple by only providing the basics.
Project & Task Management
Similar to Dubsado, Plutio, Hello Bonsai, and HoneyBook, 17hats has project and task management features that help you stay on top of project tasks. 17hats has basic project management features in that there are no sophisticated or dynamic Kanban boards or Gantt charts. It does offer a customizable Life Cycle Bar linked to contacts giving a visual representation of where you are in the sales lifecycle with a particular contact, which is unique.
Automations & Workflows
17hats offers automations and workflow features, similar to other providers covered. Workflow features allow you to send questionnaires, emails, or pause your process until certain actions are taken. For example, it allows you to create a workflow and automation rule that sends a client a questionnaire automatically based on an action or trigger. These features are similar to those offered by Dubsado and HoneyBook.
Proposals & Contracts
Unlike the other freelancer CRMs, 17hats doesn’t have proposal templates. However, it does have contract templates. If you need proposal templates, try its marketplace or third-party proposal software. Its contract templates allow you to pull in data from contacts and prospects to customize them for clients’ and prospects’ specifications. You can also link invoices to contracts and allow clients to pay invoices electronically.
Invoices & Payments
Unlike HoneyBook that does its own payment processing, 17hats processes payments using PayPal, Stripe, and Square. This helps save time, allows you to get paid faster, and is also convenient if you already use these payment processors. 17hats also allows you to create invoices and send them to clients who can pay them electronically. You can set up payment schedules.
17hats facilitates collaboration with other users through its marketplace where you can buy and sell freelancer templates. This allows freelancers to help each other by sharing their expertise and letting them make money from it. It’s a great way to add to a freelancer’s bottom line as they share tools that they use in their freelancer practice.
What 17hats Is Missing
17hats is missing a free option or a free trial allowing you to try out the product before you buy it or enter your credit card into its system. Instead, it gives you a 30-day, money-back guarantee. If a free trial or a free option is something you’re looking for, you may want to try the other options covered here. It’s also missing marketing tools which can be found in Bitrix24.
What Users Think About 17hats
Overall, users like 17hats. They like that it offers the core freelancer tools, without being overly complicated. User dislikes include not having more advanced project management features and occasional bugs on the platform.
Best Marketing & Team-focused Freelancer CRM: Bitrix24
Bitrix24 is a low-cost, general-use CRM with features like online payment tools, time tracking, and project management. You can also create websites for marketing your business and online stores for selling products at a starting price of $69 per month for six users. There’s also a built-in phone and team collaboration features like group chat. It’s great for freelancers who market and sell products and services proactively.
Bitrix24’s free plan is for up to 12 users and includes up to 5GB of online storage. Paid plans start at $69 per month for six users for the Plus Plan and goes up to $99 per month for 50 users Standard Plan, similar to Dubado’s plan, which offers pricing for groups of users.
Bitrix24 Tiered Features
|Price per Month|
|Number of Users|
|Contact & Lead Management|
|Online Payment Integrations|
|Bulk SMS Texting|
Bitrix24’s Free plan, which supports 12 users, offers a variety of features including lead and contact management, which can be used for prospecting and lead management and 5GB of storage. In addition, this plan supports one online store, which freelancers can use to sell products. Freelancers can also make calls with the built-in phone, saving them and use chat for team collaboration or sell products from a landing page.
This plan is great for freelancers just starting out with no budget who only need basic yet effective tools to start their freelancing business. It saves them from the need to purchase a separate business phone service while also providing freelance like a built-in time tracker and online payments via PayPal, Stripe, and so on. Of all the CRMs for freelancers, we compared in this article, Bitrix24, Dubsado, and Hello Bonsai are the only ones offering a free plan.
The Plus plan builds on the Free plan offering more storage, from 5GB to 24GB of online hosted storage. You’re also able to record more calls with the built-in phone, from 100 to unlimited call recording. Pricing starts at $69 per month and includes six users. The number of websites you can build increases from one to 10. The number of online stores remains the same.
This plan is great for growing freelance businesses out of the startup phase needing more websites and also needing more online hosted space. On a per-user basis, Pricing is lower than the out of the box freelancer CRMs coming in at about $11 per user. This works out great if you’re working with a small team but is expensive for solo freelancers.
The Standard plan builds on the Plus plan expanding its number of users to 50 and amount of online storage to 100GB. Call recording is expanded to an unlimited number of records. You can also create up to 10 online stores and 10 websites. Prices in this tier start at $99 per month.
This plan is great for medium-sized freelance businesses with no more than 50 users. The 10 online stores allow you to create a variety of stores to sell different categories of products. There are 10 websites that allow you to create a variety of sites focused on specialized freelance services like one dedicated to web design and another to branding. Unlimited call recording allows you to keep and refer back to calls with clients.
What Bitrix24 Is Missing
Bitrix24 is missing freelance specific proposal and contract templates which can save a lot of time and legal fees. If you don’t have an affordable way to create professionally written proposals and contracts that protect your business, you may want to consider Hello Bonsai or HoneyBook, which includes these features.
What Users Think About Bitrix24
Users like Bitrix24 because it’s easy to use, has robust features, offers a free option, and has affordable paid options. Dislikes revolve around its mobile app having limited capabilities. For more information on user reviews, check out our Bitrix24 review article.
Other Tools Great for Freelancers
In addition to CRM software, there is a wide variety of other tools that help freelancers with productivity, marketing, and building client relationships. Live chat software lets freelancers field multiple questions from clients at the same time while also capturing new leads. Virtual phone numbers give freelancers the ability to manage both business and personal calls with a single mobile device, and all businesses types benefit from reliable web hosting.
Best Non-CRM Tools for Freelancers
Bottom Line―Best CRM for Freelancers
The best CRM for freelancers helps them stay organized and present a professional image to clients. The freelance specific CRMs featured in this article offer great options for busy solopreneurs of varying needs and industries. However, if you find yourself needing sales and marketing tools to expand, a general-use CRM may be the better option.