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5 Best Hello Bonsai Alternatives You Need To Try in 2023
As a former Hello Bonsai user myself, I know the price may not be the only reason why you might want to look for a Hello Bonsai alternative.
Sometimes, as you scale, you may need extra functionality with third-party tools or even white-labeled client portals to help you improve your overall client experience.
In this article, I’ll go over what to look for in a Hello Bonsai alternative, five different platforms you may want to consider, and my current client management platform of choice.
What to Look For in a Bonsai Alternative?
When looking for an alternative to Hello Bonsai, it’s important to assess what features you need and what stage your business is in.
Some key questions you might want to ask yourself include:
- Can I create invoices and subscription payments?
- Can I track project tasks?
- Can I send messages and notifications to my clients?
- Can I create client portals?
- Can I integrate with third-party tools?
Not every client management platform is created equal. So while some platforms may answer “yes” to all the questions above, some other platforms may only answer “yes” to a few. But this doesn’t mean one platform is inherently better than the other.
This is why it’s important to know what your specific use case is and the types of clients you’ll be working with. For example, one platform might be best for large firms handling thousands of clients at a time, while another might be better suited for freelancers working with only a couple of clients at a time.
Regardless, we are going to go over five different platforms to help you find the best Hello Bonsai alternative for you.
Top 5 Hello Bonsai Alternatives in 2023
Here are five alternatives to using Hello Bonsai:
Okay, let’s dive deeper into each one.
- Best for: Custom client portals
- Price: 14-day free trial, then $29/month (paid annually)
Founded in 2017, and backed by investors that invested in companies like Airbnb, Instacart, and Reddit, Copilot is a client portal and virtual office platform designed for freelancers, agencies, and firms of all sizes.
From messaging, billing, file management, forms, third-party app integrations, and helpdesks, Copilot gives you everything you need to create a uniform experience with on-brand design for your clients.
What makes Copilot different from the other Bonsai alternatives on this list is that it acts more like a modular platform to run your service-based business. While most platforms like Bonsai make you use their own suite of tools, Copilot allows you to create white-label client portals, with custom logins, that can integrate with existing tools you may already be using.
Copilot does come equipped with all the tools you need to onboard clients and bill them via Stripe. But if you want to add Zapier integrations, use Google Docs, embed reporting dashboards, add task managers like ClickUp or Airtable, or even embed a Calendly meeting scheduler, you can easily add any third-party application from the App Marketplace.
Benefits of Copilot
One of the main advantages to using a platform like Copilot is that it can integrate with your existing tools. If you’re a large firm, agency, or even freelancer working with big customers, this can help you create a familiar environment for your clients.
This familiar environment can help decrease the onboarding time for getting clients up to speed and improve the overall client experience.
Some of the key benefits of using Copilot include:
- Built-in features for messaging, forms, billing, invoicing, or subscriptions
- Integrations with your existing tools in the App Marketplace
- White-label client portal with sign-up and login functionality on your own domain
- Helpdesks and knowledge bases to help inform and educate your clients
- File uploads and e-signatures
If you want to learn more about Copilot and see what it can do for your business, be sure to give the demo portal a try — it’s free!
Copilot has three different pricing options, each dependent on the number of clients you have and the types of features you need.
Here are Copilot’s pricing plans:
- Starter: $39/month, up to 100 clients
- Professional: $89, up to 2,000 clients
- Advanced: $139, up to 20,000 clients
If you want to get a better idea of all the different features in each plan, be sure to check out the Copilot pricing page.
- Best for: Freelancers just starting out
- Pricing: Starts at $20/month
Founded in 2016, Dubsado is a business management solution designed for freelancers and agencies looking to streamline their service-based business. Many photographers, coaches, and doulas use Dubsado to help with project management and invoicing.
From templates to invoices and reporting, Dubsado has a wide range of features designed for various freelance businesses. The platform is especially suited for freelancers just starting out and looking for a tool to streamline their workflows.
But, if you’re looking for a tool to help you create a white-label client portal and give you the flexibility to integrate with various apps, you may want to look for an alternative.
Benefits of Dubsado
Dubsado can be a solid option for some small businesses and freelancers. A few key features of Dubsado include:
- Forms & templates
- Invoicing & reporting
You’ll get most of the tools you need to get started. But if you want to integrate with any third-party tools, you may want to consider a platform that is designed to be extensible.
Dubsado’s pricing is quite clear, with just two different plans that you can either pay monthly or annually.
Here are Dubsado’s pricing plans:
- Starter: $200/year, basic plan that includes unlimited projects
- Premier: $400/year, includes everything in Starter plus automation features
If you want to learn more about what features are specifically included in each plan, be sure to check out Dubsado’s pricing page.
- Best for: Freelance photographers
- Pricing: Starts at $19/month
Founded in 2013, HoneyBook adversities itself as an all-in-one “clientflow” platform designed to help service-based businesses with their task management and invoicing. From sending invoices to clients to booking meetings, HoneyBook acts as a CRM for your small business.
Just like Dubsado, HoneyBook is used by many freelance photographers and those just starting out as business owners. If you need a simple CRM software to manage your clients, this can be a good option. But, if you need something more robust that can give your clients a unique experience, with their own client portal, it might be worth looking into an alternative.
Benefits of HoneyBook
HoneyBook is a platform that’s been around for some time now, and it’s a popular tool amongst those just starting their freelance business.
Here are a few benefits of using HoneyBook as a Bonsai alternative:
- Proposal generator
- Invoices and online payments
- Send contracts
- Intake questionnaires
HoneyBook has many features that overlap with Bonsai. So, if you’re looking for a direct Bonsai competitor, this can be a viable option.
HoneyBook has three different pricing plans. All three give you unlimited clients, but higher-tiered plans will unlock features like automations and priority customer support.
Here are HoneyBooks pricing options:
- Starter: $19/month, generate invoices and contracts
- Essentials: $39/month, QuickBooks integration and white-label options
- Premium: $79/month, unlimited team members and priority support
If you want to learn more about what each option has to offer, be sure to check out HoneyBook’s pricing page.
- Best for: Accounting businesses with payroll
- Price: Starts at $6.80/month
If you’re looking for a Bonsai alternative to help you with invoices, time-tracking features, and general freelance accounting, FreshBooks may be a viable option. Founded in 2003, FreshBooks has been around for a long time and established itself as accounting software for those who are self-employed.
But the platform isn’t just limited to freelancers or solo contractors. Many small businesses use FreshBooks to help them manage their finances.
If you’re looking for a Hello Bonsai alternative that has a client portal and is designed specifically to help freelancers and agencies with their service-based business, this may not be the best option on the market. Granted, it can serve that audience. But if you’re looking for a modern client portal platform or tool that can help you manage your agency or firm, and integrate with your existing tools like Zapier or QuickBooks, you might want to look into an alternative like Copilot.
Benefits of FreshBooks
If you don’t already have accounting software or you don’t plan on using too many third-party integrations, FreshBooks can be a good choice. Some of the benefits of using FreshBooks include:
- Time tracking
- Accounting software
- Payroll features
FreshBooks’ suite of products does give you a wide range of functionality. So, if you’ve outgrown Bonsai and need a tool that can help you with employee payroll, this can be a viable alternative to Hello Bonsai.
FreshBooks has a few different pricing plans that are based on the number of billable clients you have on your account. Here are the different pricing options:
- Lite: $6.80/month, up to 5 clients
- Plus: $12/month, up to 50 clients
- Premium: $22/month, unlimited clients
- Custom: Custom pricing based on your needs
Not every plan includes the same features, so make sure to check out the FreshBooks pricing page to get a better idea of what features are included in each option.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Hello Bonsai that can help you create, approve, and track all of your invoices and contracts, PandaDoc is a tool you should definitely check out. Founded in 2013, PandaDoc was designed to help small businesses with e-signatures for important documents.
Be it proposals, contracts, invoices, or forms, PandaDoc makes it easy to send clients, or contractors, important documents you need signed. You can actually pair a tool like PandaDoc, or DocuSign, with Copilot to help you manage your e-signatures within your client portals.
So while this platform can replace some elements of Bonsai, its primary use case is for contract management.
Benefits of PandaDoc
PandaDoc is a great tool for e-signatures, but it also has a wide range of benefits like:
- Document sharing
- CRM integrations
- Built-in payment options with Stripe and PayPal
As mentioned, this tool may not be the best if you want to replicate all of Hello Bonsai’s features, but it can be a powerful tool for managing the legal side of your service-based business. Pair this up with a client portal software like Copilot, and you’ll have a modern business stack that is sure to impress clients.
PandaDoc has a free plan along with a few other premium plans. Here are all of PandaDoc’s plans:
- Free eSign: Free, includes unlimited e-Signatures
- Essentials: $29/month, includes contract templates and notifications
- Business: $59/month, includes CRM and Zapier integrations
- Enterprise: Custom pricing, includes SSO support and notary services
If you want to get a better idea of what features each plan has to offer, be sure to check out PandaDoc’s pricing page.
What Is a Substitute for Bonsai?
There are several substitutes for Hello Bonsai available in the market, each with its own unique set of features and pricing plans.
When choosing a platform, it is important to assess your business needs, stage of growth, and types of clients you'll be working with. Whether you are a freelancer just starting out or a large firm handling thousands of clients, there is likely an alternative that will fit your needs.
The five platforms discussed in this article, Copilot, Dubsado, HoneyBook, FreshBooks, and PandaDoc, are all worth considering, depending on your specific use case. But, if you want a platform that is modular and can scale with you, Copilot is definitely a platform you should consider trying out.
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, be sure to start your free 14-day trial with Copilot!
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