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A customer relationship management system (or CRM) is often seen as a tool that only enterprises use. However, CRM for freelancers can be very useful to help get more clients and manage your projects.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of all your customer interactions, accounting, and spend more time handling clients than actually working, you need a CRM.
This article features a list of the best CRM for freelancers plus more information to help you understand why and how to use a new CRM tool to maximize your client management and project management efforts.
When you’re deciding on a freelance CRM, you have to take all of the factors above into account. Then, you need to factor in the price. Some CRMs are just too expensive for a freelancer and are more suited for corporations.
We’ve narrowed down the choices to 6 featured below + 4 more options at the end of this article.
|CRM Software||Rating||Benefits||Pricing||Learn More|
|Simple and user-friendly interface, connects CRM with contracts, invoices, proposals, etc.||Starts at $16/mo||Learn more|
or Read our Moxie Review
|Highly customizable and flexible, with the ability to create custom client workflows and boards to fit specific CRM needs.||Starting at $0||Learn more|
|Easy to use CRM for freelancers – modern and elegant, designed for visual learners..||Starts at $13/mo||Learn more|
Robust and helpful software with a focus on sales automation.
Starting at $149/mo
User-friendly interface and customizable branding options, making it easy to create a professional-looking platform.
Starting at $16/mo
or Read our Honeybook Review
|Simple pipeline & contact management software. Great analytics and reporting features.||Starts at $19/mo||Learn more|
|CRM-first software. Great for lead tracking, invoicing, and payment processing.||Starts at $9/mo||Learn more|
or Read our Clientjoy Review
|Highly visual and intuitive interface, making it easy for users move clients through a pipeline.||Starting at $0||Learn more|
|Intuitive and easy-to-use interface that can grow with you as needed. Very flexible CRM.||Starts at $14.90/mo||Learn more|
Moxie is an ideal CRM solution for freelancers who treat client relationships like gold, want to grow their business, and most importantly, want to get paid for their services. It allows you to take full control of your client relationships and project management process by keeping you super organized starting from project deadlines and deliverables to proposals and invoices.
It also keeps you in the loop by sending you real-time updates and collaboration between you and your clients and helps you monitor and measure your clients’ health. This is easily achievable because Moxie helps you calculate lifetime earnings, check past notes, reference your contracts, time tracked, and more. Learn more in our Moxie (formerly Moxie App) review.
The free plan (suitable for new freelancers and those with a client) starts at $0/month with its unlimited plans starting at $11.99/month for freelancers with multiple clients and projects.
Click here to get started with Moxie.
Finally, if you want an extremely robust CRM that can grow with you as you go from freelancer to agency, Monday is a really great option.
With Monday, not only can you manage projects like a pro, but they have a robust CRM where you can enter any and all details about clients, keep track of conversations, and manage all the important information you need to move client deals forward.
Bloom is an invoicing solution designed specifically for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs. When it comes to managing the financial side of your business, Bloom provides an innovative CRM that does not clutter with irrelevant tools and allows for easy integration with major online payment platforms allowing you to launch your side gig or freelance business in no time.
Bloom’s CRM not only includes the options to sign digital contracts, scheduling, booking and more, but its invoicing tools are completely free to use and do not even require you to set up an account to use the unlimited invoice generator feature.
Pricing starts at only $13/month or sign up for Bloom here to get a $25% OFF the premium plan.
Keap (formerly InfusionSoft) ranks high on this list because of its intense focus on sales. After all, what’s the point of having a great CRM if it doesn’t actually help you grow your business, right?
Keap helps you get more sales by making it really easy to collect lead information and then automatically triggers the next action. For example, if a client fills out your online form, they will receive an automatic response.
If they do not respond to that email, they will receive a follow-up email. Or, if they respond, but do not purchase, they are added to a different flow where you might continue to follow-up or even offer them a discount.
It takes all of the manual work out of client outreach.
HoneyBook is a great time-management CRM that has some limited email automation features. You can send proposals with sleek-looking templates and automate what happens next.
If a client doesn’t respond, you send a follow-up. If they do, HoneyBook sends a contract and creates a task for you or your partners.
This CRM really shines when it comes to project management and invoices.
It has a mobile app that lets you manage tasks on the go, so it’s a great choice for freelancers who work in teams. If you don’t have to manage anybody but yourself, it may be overkill.
The pricing is lenient at $34 a month with 60 days money-back guarantee.
Clientjoy is a fantastic ‘CRM first’ solution for managing the complete client life-cycle. It allows for quick streamlining of your proposals and leads without the many complicated tools and terms on other applications.
Ideal for small business owners, Clientjoy’s diverse feature set (including robust integrations with Global Payment Gateways for payment collections) helps reduce the time it takes for a lead to sign a proposal, to receive an invoice and ultimately, make payments.
The basic plan (suitable for freelancers) starts at $9/month with unlimited clients and all features included. Learn more in our full Clientjoy review.
When I first started really focusing on my client pipeline, I used Trello like my life depended on it. And I love Trello because it has such a simple user interface. It’s so intuitive. It can be incredibly simple if you want it to be, and yet it can also connect with tons of plugins and other external apps to make it a really robust solution as well. Plus, it has some great free CRM features—or you can upgrade later if needed.
Gsuite by Google has a very simple way to integrate your contact management into your pre-existing workflow—particularly if you use Gmail for your freelance business—making it essentially a robust free CRM for anyone with a Google account.
The reason GSuite makes such a good CRM for freelancers is your email interactions are automatically tracked for each contact and new contacts can be added with just one click after you’ve had an email exchange with them. It’s one of the most simple options you’ll find and may be a great place to start.
If you find yourself needing more features down the road, you can always export your Google Contacts and import them into a different CRM of your choosing.
Dubsado is a great all-around CRM and project management tool for freelancers. It allows you to do basic customer relationship management and handle automated email campaigns.
As if these two features combined in a cheap plan are not enough Dubsado gives you the ability to set up complicated workflows like this one.
The CRM will do everything for you from sending personalized email templates at certain times to dynamic grouping upon user actions.
On top of that, you get access to accounting and analytics. Set your financial goals and see how you perform on regular reports.
All of that costs $35 per month or $350 per year, which is a great price. You can test Dubsado with an unlimited free trial. However, you’ll only be able to add 3 contacts unless you upgrade to the paid plan.
Nutshell is an all-in-one freelancer CRM geared toward the tasks B2B companies utilize most. Automate what was once time-consuming to free up time for developing client relationships. For example, you can auto-assign leads to sales reps rather than doing the work manually.
The CRM has a simple drag-and-drop interface allowing anyone to jump into the system and add touch points. Create reminder emails once and send them to each client without having to rewrite the copy.
Some additional perks include analytics and reporting features. Study patterns so you can improve the entire sales process and reach more customers.
The “Foundation” package starts at just $19 per month per user or you can pay $192 annually to save $3 per month. If you send many emails or have thousands of contacts, you may need to upgrade to take full advantage of all the features.
Nutshell offers a free 14-day trial with no credit card required for signing up. You can test the CRM software and see if it suits your needs.
Pipedrive was designed with sales in mind—which means it’s a great freelance CRM if you care a lot about closing deals…which you should. What we love about Pipedrive is the very simple and intuitive way the sales pipeline is laid out. It’s a simple Kanban method which allows you to move clients along from column to column depending on their status. Along the way, you can take notes, add details, and manage everything you need to about each client in one place.
What does CRM stand for?
CRM means customer relationship management. It’s software that helps you manage every step of the customer journey. It’s a tool that helps you keep track of every lead and every task. It helps you automate the boring part of your freelance business and focus on the important tasks.
The exact set of features you can get depends on the CRM you’re using, but most will allow you to add leads either manually or via forms. You’ll be able to add information about them, sort them into categories, and schedule calls and meetings.
Many CRMs either have their own email marketing software or allow easy integrations with services like MailChimp or Zapier. You’ll be able to mass-email your leads or set up automated email campaigns that trigger on a specific request.
The software that stands on the higher end will also provide you with some advanced analytics features.
How to utilize a CRM as a freelancer
So how do you make use of all this if you’re a freelancer? Most people who freelance encounter either of these two problems. If you’ve found a couple of great long-term clients, in a year or two, you find that you’ve reached your limits.
You understand that you can’t earn more money simply because a day doesn’t have more than 24 hours. Most likely, your productive day is around 6 hours. Even if you are able to work for 10 hours straight, there are limits to what you can do during that time.
You’re fully booked, and you would have to get a vacation to find new ambitious projects.
The other problem is completely the opposite. Most freelancers spend anywhere from 30% to 50% of their time looking for work or doing client relationship management. That would leave you in poor shape to do the actual work you’re getting paid for.
When you’re a freelancer, you’re not just a designer or IT specialist for hire. You are your own marketing manager, sales manager, customer success manager, and accountant.
All of these tasks steal half of your day. You could be using that time for making a profit or having a good time with family.
Get a CRM, spend a couple of days learning how to use it and automate it, and you can easily shave half of your daily workload. Here’s what a freelancer like you can do with a CRM.
First off, a CRM lets you have all the leads of your freelance business in one place. If you’re really doing client acquisition, you must have a ton of entry-level leads that stay on the first stage of the sales funnel.
Half a dozen business cards you got from the latest business conference, a couple of CEOs that you’ve talked to on LinkedIn, a referral you have to follow-up on, all the people who visited your webinar.
It can be a handful. Since you’re already short on time, these leads tend to end up being wasted opportunities.
Even a very basic CRM will help you get a grip on this. You can add leads from your website if you have one or import from a CSV. Then, add information about each lead, sort them into categories with custom tags, and schedule calls and emails.
If you’re working together with other freelancers or companies, you have even more people to deal with. You constantly have to break your focus to remind a junior freelancer about the deadline or answer to an invoice you receive.
With CRM, you can throw these tasks from your operative memory and keep working.
How can you do that? Automate every aspect of email correspondence that you can. Not all CRMs have that feature from the start, but most basic plans have it. Also, you can integrate email automation software like MailChimp in some CRMs.
You don’t have to spend your time writing every individual letter to the customers and struggle to remember your previous conversation. With a decent CRM, all the conversations are kept in one place and you can schedule email templates.
This is especially important if your freelance business relies on outbound marketing. Contacting hundreds of people a month manually is a tough job.
The average email open rate hovers around 15% and may increase as you follow up. But writing into the void is so daunting that even the salespeople avoid it.
You can avoid having to do it manually with a well-managed email automation campaign.
Write a series of emails, use personalization automation to mention the name of the lead and their company instead of placeholders, set the follow-up time, and leave it on autopilot.
You’ll save yourself dozens of hours and will be able to talk to the leads that react instead of following up on the ones that don’t.
Do you have a website or a blog that has a decent amount of traffic? A premium CRM can help you see who is just browsing and who is ready for purchase.
The lead scoring system assigns scores to website visitors based on the actions they perform. Reading five blog posts in a row may get you 10 points, grabbing a freebie will be another 10, and viewing the price page would cost 15.
When a lead has a certain number of points, you either get a notification or the CRM automatically adds them to the list of hot leads and sends them a scripted email.
You can do accounting in a special app, but if a CRM offers accounting features, you should go for it. It doesn’t only allow you to assess your finances and file a tax return, it lets you see what services and what clients get you the most money.
That could potentially change the way you do business.
Apart from email automation, this is the most important thing a CRM allows you to do. Since you have all leads, conversations, and financial transactions in one place, you can analyze them and see how well do you perform.
Depending on a CRM, you can get very basic reports or receive advanced analytics that finds correlations between factors you’ve never thought about.
You’ll find the list of best CRMs for freelancers below, complete with features and pricing.
Every freelancer is different, so is the CRM that is best for you. Now you know the features a CRM can have and know your possibilities. Browse the list of our top choices for a CRM for freelancers and choose the one that fits your needs and budget perfectly.
Remember, the best time to start looking for a CRM is before you actually need one. When you have so many leads to contact, you won’t have a free minute to find a CRM.
Most apps on this list have a free trial that ranges from 14 to 60 days, and they won’t charge you if you bail on them.
Try a couple of CRMs now so that when the time comes you’ll make an informed decision.
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