The best CRMs for architects

Bonsai CRM
© Marvin Meyer – Unsplash

As an Architect, you have special needs when it comes to client relationship management. You have to not only keep track of your existing clients, but also have to manage projects, bids, potential gigs, and more.

Architectural firms, both small businesses, and enterprises rely on a variety of tools and platforms to interact with customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the best customer management tools for architects on the market today!

Best CRMs for Architects:

  1. Bonsai
  2. UDA Construction Online
  3. Unanet

What is a CRM?

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

A customer relationship management tool – or CRM for short – is a platform used to manage all information and activity involving both current customers and potential clients.

Basically, Bonsai CRM allows you to track interactions and documents with your customer in one place.

If your CRM is not contributing to increased sales, improved client relationships, and fewer operational costs – it’s time for you to evaluate different options.

There are a ton of CRMs on the market today. However, each business and industry has unique needs. You need to be clear on what those are before choosing a solution.

How do architects benefit from a CRM?

© Dell – Unsplash

CRMs are designed to be customizable, agile, and simplify processes across all industries. However, even if CRMs are increasingly used by architects, they are yet to be widely adopted.

CRM software represents a new way for the construction industry to manage getting work and tracking customers. Standard sales processes and insight into all aspects of the bidding process provide a real and immediate return on investment.

A CRM for your architecture firm should be able to create a business pipeline, allowing you to focus on the right clients at the right time.

What features do architects need in their CRMs?

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

When you’re ready to choose a CRM, you’re making a long-term investment for your office. Choosing a CRM for your architectural team needs to be a well-informed decision.

A CRM helps you improve responsiveness and communication. You get direct communication with your client and allow your employees to be more responsive to other team members. Teams that are proactive in completing tasks make projects run smoothly – completing them on time and within budget.

Using a CRM platform in architecture not only helps you manage client relationships but also supports every part of business development.

Best CRMs for Architects

Several customer relationship management tools have emerged to help architects streamline admin tasks and scale business.

The primary focus of the CRM is to help you build and keep strong customer relationships. After all, your business’ end goal should always be a positive customer experience!

Let’s take a look at three of the most popular CRM tools available for architects.

Bonsai

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

For architects and architectural designers, Bonsai CRM understands how projects are won and delivered in your firm.

What is Bonsai? It is a suite of tools built to help you run your freelance business more efficiently.

Bonsai is an all-in-one solution created to help freelancers to automate their businesses. With thousands of users worldwide, Bonsai is the digital solution for connecting companies and freelancers together on one unified platform.

With Bonsai, you can create and sign from vetted templates, streamline your project, and ensure that your business is protected.

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

Bonsai’s all-in-one business solution for architects includes features such as:

Invoicing: Easily fill in the client-specific information and ensure all necessary details are covered when requesting payments.

Time Tracking:  Software that is crucial for independent architects to keep metrics under control and evaluate overall business growth.

Proposals: Wow clients from the start by outlining the project essentials like timeline, milestones, team member information, previous references, and payment details.

Contracts: Onboard clients in the most efficient way so you can get started with the project in no time.

Bonsai Tax: Automate and track expenses, create and send invoices, make or receive payments, and estimate taxes.

Bonsai Cash: An online business checking account that puts an efficient solution to all of your architect banking needs at your fingertips.

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

Cost: Bonsai’s all-in-one product suite is split into 3 pricing tiers: Starter, Professional, and Business.

  • Starter
    • Includes essential features such as time tracking, proposals, invoicing, and more. Packaged with all templates and allows up to 5 project collaborators.
    • $24/month when subscribing monthly or $17/month when subscribing annually.
  • Professional
    • Includes all Starter features. Also includes custom branding, forms,  workflow automation, and more. Allows up to 15 project collaborators and integrations with Quickbooks, Calendly, and Zapier.
    • $39/month when subscribing monthly or $32/month when subscribing annually.
  • Business
    • Everything is featured in Starter & Professional subscriptions. Also includes features such as Subcontractor Management and Accountant Access. Allows you to connect multiple bank accounts and unlimited collaborators.
    • $79/month when subscribing monthly or $52/month when subscribing annually.

UDA Construction Online

© UDA Construction Online

UDA Construction has systems to handle all architectural processes –  integrated financial tools, schedules and calendars, dynamic takeoff, accounting integration, and much more. This CRM software enables project management, communication, and customer data tracking for enterprise organizations. 

UDA Construction Online also features tools like scheduling & calendars, Quickbooks & Excel integrations, and client & subcontractor portals. It is ideal for architects who want to get organized and increase efficiency.

Cost: UDA Construction Online does not have a free version but features a 10-day free trial. Subscriptions start at $250/month.

Unanet

© Unanet

Unanet – a CRM by Cosential – is a CRM and Proposal Generation software built to win business and accelerate growth for Architecture firms. Unanet connects your projects, people, and financials with greater efficiency and improved decision-making.

Unanet offers native apps that allow you to manage business development right from your smartphone. It gives you the tools to strategize ways to capture new clients and jobs, and provides a 360-view of your business with real-time reporting.

Cost: There is no free trial or demo. Subscriptions start at $50/month.

How to use Bonsai for architects?

Bonsai CRM
© Bonsai CRM

Bonsai CRM’s all-in-one software suite automates tedious administrative tasks and processes, allowing you to focus on your architectural schemes and work.

Here is how to use some of the great features of Bonsai.

Invoicing

When it’s time to request payment for all your hard work, it’s important to have a strong invoicing process in place.

You are a freelance architectural designer – most of your day is consumed by never-ending responsibilities. Between meetings with clients, designing layouts, managing budgets, and keeping all project documentation in place, there’s not much time (or energy) left for tedious administrative tasks like invoicing.

With Bonsai, you don’t have to waste unbillable hours in writing each invoice you send out. Instead, you can create your own design architect invoice template so you can easily fill in client-specific information – ensuring all details are covered.

Time Tracking

Using time-tracking software is crucial for architectural firms to keep metrics under control and evaluate business growth. Addressing time tracking issues can improve the internal operations of your entire architecture business, the relationships with your clients, and even the profit and loss account.

Bonsai’s automatic time tracking generates a timesheet template that gets integrated with your invoicing software – ensuring you never get underpaid for your work.

© Bonsai CRM

Proposals

An architectural proposal is a document that is drafted for a prospective client in need of architectural services. It’s an essential part of the sales process and is usually one of the first points of contact with the client.

Put simply, it’s an architectural designer’s chance to wow prospective clients by highlighting the value of their services.

The easiest way to write your Architecture proposal is using Bonsai’s free Architecture proposal template. This template allows you to easily outline the project essentials like timeline, milestones, team member information, previous references, and payment details.

Contracts

If you are an architect, a written agreement is a critical part of your business. Not only can it help prevent unpaid invoices, but it can also protect you in a legal dispute.

An architect contract is an agreement between an architect and a project owner or company. The contract clearly defines the architect’s scope and establishes essential terms – payment, intellectual property rights, and more.

Our architecture contract templates have been legally reviewed by top lawyers (and many freelancers in the architectural and design industries) to ensure your architectural practice is protected. Additionally, you can streamline paperwork by using a legally-binding e-signature. Bonsai even sends automatic reminders and notifications when the contract is viewed and signed.

Bonsai CRM helps you onboard clients in the most efficient way so you can get started with your project more quickly.

© Bonsai CRM

Bonsai Tax

Bonsai Tax is reliable accounting software designed specifically for architects, freelancers, and self-employed workers. It allows them to automate and track expenses, create and send invoices, make or receive payments, and estimate taxes.

Accounting and project management software like Bonsai ensures that architects are on top of their company finances. It tracks expenses and provides income reports, tax reminders, and more.

Bonsai Cash

How you handle money matters more than you may realize. It can be the difference between your company surviving or not.

If you’re a freelance architect – or are running your own architecture firm – you know how important it is to have a firm grip on your business finances. You are wasting your time and business resources if you’re still mailing invoices, writing checks, and collecting payments with paper statements.

A great place to start making changes is by getting an online business checking account. This puts an efficient solution to all of your architect banking needs at your fingertips.

Since Bonsai is free to use, it’s an ideal choice for small enterprises that are just starting out with limited resources. There are no transaction fees, monthly service charges, minimum balance limitations, or opening requirements.

Bonsai Cash also allows you to receive payments directly into your checking account by integrating the account with any payment software you use. This significantly lowers payment fees.

Why choose Bonsai CRM?

Bonsai
© Bonsai CRM

For architects and architectural designers, Bonsai CRM understands how projects are won and delivered in your firm. Bonsai workflow allows you to look professional, win more clients, and manage your business in one simple place.

Bonsai CRM’s collaboration tools support a design firm’s culture and put your client relationships into the spotlight.

For architects looking to automate your invoices, contracts, proposals, taxes, and payments – try Bonsai today for free!

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