agency management tools

Top 7 Agency Management Tools in 2021

If you are running an agency, choosing the right software to manage your business is key to ensure client satisfaction but will also help you to scale your business.

With the right tool in place, you’ll be able to ensure good client communication, stay on top of projects, and automate your agency work.

How to choose an agency management software?

A first thing to consider when choosing an agency management software is: What features do you need to run your business?

Depending on the type of agency you run and how you set up your systems, here are a list of features you may consider:

  • Communication (both internal and with your clients)
  • Project and task management
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Proposals and estimates
  • Contracts
  • File sharing
  • Embeds, dashboards, and reporting
  • Automations and workflows
  • Integrations
  • Zapier availability

A second important consideration is: Integrations. If you already use other tools to run your agency (let’s say a proposal software), choosing a software that integrates with it is important (or a connector such as Zapier). That way, you can keep your tools interconnected.

Finally, a last consideration is ease of use: If your team and clients find the tool easy to use, this will contribute to adoption and a better client experience.

Our advice is to try out a few tools (most have a free trial as you’ll see below) and test them internally or with a few clients to see if it’s a fit for your business.

Let’s take a look at some tools with pros and cons for each. Please note that we also have our own software but we have tried to be as impartial as possible in this article.

1. ManyRequests

manyrequests interface 1

ManyRequests is our tool and is built specifically for agency owners.

Used by 1000+ agencies, it’s an all-in-one solution that helps you manage client requests, bill clients, send invoices, and overall have a more streamlined way of selling and delivering your services.

Pricing starts at $59/month (for two users, and unlimited clients), up to $249/month for unlimited clients and users. There is also a 14-day free trial.

Best for: Agencies that want to scale or productized services.

Key features:

  • Client portal
  • Client onboarding
  • Dashboards
  • Project management
  • Billing and invoicing
  • Checkout forms
  • Intake forms
  • Integrations
  • File sharing

Pros:

  • The tool is built specifically with the needs of agency owners in mind, and the team previously built their own agency and built the features exactly for that purpose.
  • It is constantly evolving with new features.
  • The interface is easy to use and modern.

Cons:

  • There is no contract or proposal software (yet) but you can integrate them with Zapier.

2. Trello

trello interface

Trello is a very popular project management tool that was built with simplicity in mind. The Kanban way of managing projects is the flagship feature of this software.

Trello is also affordable: It has a generous free plan (with unlimited team members, unlimited storage, and up to 10 boards), and its paid plan starts at $10/month per user (this comes with additional features such as dashboard and timeline views, advanced storage, and larger file upload limit among other features)

To put it simply: Trello is simple, but that might also be one of its major downside. If you’re running an agency that has a lot of clients, projects, and systems you may find that using Trello is not suitable to scale.

Best for: Agencies that are starting out, have a few clients or want a Kanban-like workflow.

Key features:

  • Project management with Kanban boards
  • Dashboard / timeline views (for paid plans only)
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Integrations (such as Slack integration)

Pros:

  • Simplicity: If you run a simple agency or have a few clients, Trello might just do the job. In addition, it’s very easy to use for clients and they have a user friendly mobile app.
  • Cost effective. Trello’s free plan is really great to get started and the paid plan starts at just $10/month per user.

Cons:

  • Also its simplicity: Trello lacks many features you may want to use as an agency owner (such as billing, intake forms, client portal)
  • The Kanban board is great but might become messy once there is a lot of clients / projects. It might be difficult to juggle between all projects, files, clients.

3. SuiteDash

suitedash review

SuiteDash is a client portal software.

The main appeal of SuiteDash is the extensive features list it comprises.

However, as we previously noted in our SuiteDash review, the biggest drawback of the software is that it can feel cluttered, the UI is outdated, and there is a big learning curve.

Other than that, if you’re looking for a feature rich product with a robust client portal software, this is a very good solution. Pricing of SuiteDash starts at $19/month and there is a 14-day trial.

Best for: Agencies that want a fully fledged client portal solution with extensive features.

Key features:

  • CRM (with onboarding)
  • Client portal
  • Project management
  • Billing
  • File sharing
  • Scheduling
  • Email campaigns

Pros:

  • The feature list is extensive, which means SuiteDash can replace a lot of tools you are currently using and save you costs.
  • There is an iOS and Android app so that you can manage your business on the go.

Cons:

  • The UI is cluttered and feels a bit outdated and is not really user friendly.
  • Because there are so many features, it might take a while to get accustomed.

4. ClickUp

clickup interface

ClickUp is a very popular project management tool among agencies.

One advantage of ClickUp is its extensive project management tool with different views (Kanban, list views, roadmap, …) as well as task dependencies, custom status, milestones, reminders, recurring tasks, task templates.

This makes ClickUp one of the most complete project management tool available on the market.

However, it lacks some crucial features for agency owners such as billing and invoicing, as well as a client portal where clients can easily submit requests.

Best for: Agencies that want a robust project management tool.

Key features:

  • Project management tool
  • Forms
  • Automations
  • Time tracking
  • Subtasks
  • Goals

Pros:

  • Its project management tools is really robust with different views, subtasks, recurring tasks, and more.
  • The user interface is really easy to use.

Cons:

  • There is no billing or invoicing system, so you will have to pay a different software for this.
  • There is no client portal.

5. Dubsado

dubsado interface

Dubsado is an all in one small business management tool. It is mostly used by freelancers and creative teams (photographers, wedding organizers, creative services) and its features comprise forms, invoicing, scheduling, workflows and automations, tasks, as well as lead captures. Pricing starts at $35/month.

In our complete review of Dubsado we found out that the biggest drawback is the user interface which can seem clunky, and the fact that keeping tracks of all projects, clients, and team members can be difficult if you run a larger agency.

Best for: Small agencies or freelancers that run a creative business.

Key features:

  • Project and client management
  • CRM
  • Invoicing
  • Forms and templates
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting
  • Automations and workflows

Pros:

  • There are a lot of customizations available.
  • You can integrate Dubsado with your existing tools (Calendly, Google Calendar, …)
  • It’s free for up to 3 clients, which is great if you’re a small business getting started. Their pricing is also very fair.

Cons:

  • The user interface may seem clunky at times.
  • If you have a lot of projects or team members, keeping track of them can be difficult.
  • It doesn’t have a mobile app.

6. Plutio

plutio review

Plutio is another great tool which mostly focuses on the freelancer market.

Their features comprise a CRM, invoicing, proposals, project and task management, calendar, forms, automations, and more. Pricing starts at $15/month and they have a 7-day trial.

One of the thing we liked the most in our comparison of Plutio vs. Dubsado is the list of features it has but also the ease of use of its interface.

Best for: Freelancers.

Key features:

  • Client portal
  • Project management
  • Proposals
  • Billing
  • CRM
  • Forms
  • Calendar

Pros:

  • It’s very affordable. It starts at just $15/month which is great if you run a small agency or are just starting out.
  • It has a lot of features and is constantly evolving.

Cons:

  • Plutio is a tool mostly aimed at freelancers, there are lot of features which you might not need.
  • In addition, the CRM feature is very basic so you might need another CRM next to it.

7. ActiveCollab

activecollab interface

ActiveCollab is a project management and client collaboration tool.

It features a robust project management tool as well as time tracking, file sharing, invoicing, automations, estimates, and calendar. Pricing starts at $9 (for up to 3 members) for the Plus plan, and $7 per member for the Pro plan.

In our prior review of ActiveCollab, we noted that while the tool is great to collaborate and communicate with clients, it misses some key features such as intake forms, client onboarding, and a complete billing and invoicing system.

Best for: Agencies that require a lot of client collaboration

Key features:

  • Projects and tasks (with Kanban view)
  • Time tracking and time reports
  • Expense tracking
  • Invoicing (and recurring invoices)
  • Holidays / time off planning
  • Project budgeting
  • Integrations (Zapier, Slack, Webhooks)

Pros:

  • The project management feature is very robust with Gantt and Kanban views, Task dependencies, Activity log, and more.
  • You can integrate ActiveCollab with your other tools through Zapier.
  • It’s free for up to 3 clients, and generally relatively affordable.

Cons:

  • There is no customer onboarding feature.
  • There are no intake forms.
  • The billing system is very basic.


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