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The Missing Ingredient from Your Mobile Bar Biz: A CRM


Are you a mobile bar owner struggling to keep up with the daily demand of answering emails, managing inquiries, and coordinating with clients?


If so, a customer relationship management (CRM) system could be the answer to your problems. CRM's are designed to help businesses automate and streamline their processes, freeing up time for more important tasks like creating mouth-watering cocktails and making your customers’ events a hit!


In the dynamic world of mobile bartending, providing exceptional customer experiences is the key to success. In this blog post, you'll come to learn that a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is not just a tool. It becomes the backbone of your mobile bartending business, enriching your connections with clients, ensuring seamless operations, and offering you the peace of mind and support you need to flourish.


Imagine this scenario: you, as a new mobile bar owner, have just landed a high-profile event for a corporate gala. Excitement mixes with nerves as you prepare to deliver a flawless service. In the past, the stress of managing all the event details and client preferences might have left you feeling overwhelmed, afraid that you might drop the ball and compromise the client's experience.


This is where a CRM system comes to your aid, acting as your trusty sidekick and memory bank. With all your client interactions and event specifics neatly organized within the CRM, you can rest easy, knowing that no crucial details will slip through the cracks. The system reminds you of each client's favorite drinks, their guests' dietary restrictions, and even the little details that matter to them the most, like whether they're celebrating an anniversary or a milestone.


As the event day approaches, you find solace in the fact that your CRM has your back. Because of the time and effort you've put into setting up it, it reminds and gives you checklists of what's required for your team and gives you the peace of mind that you've packed all the necessary equipment, ingredients, and garnishes tailored to each event's unique requirements. The CRM's automated reminders prompt you to confirm event logistics, guaranteeing that nothing is left to chance. Gone are the days of rushing back to your base because you forgot a crucial ingredient or piece of equipment. The CRM instills in you the confidence to handle each event with grace and professionalism, allowing you to focus on delivering an unforgettable experience to your clients have come to expect.


This blog post is your roadmap to CRM mastery. We'll explore what CRMs are, how to choose the right one, and practical tips for putting it to work in your mobile bartending business.


Let's stop the pre-event jitters and start shaking up success together!



What Is a CRM and Why Should Mobile Bar Owners Care About It?


Before you shake your head, thinking, "Not another geeky, techy thing!" allow me to ease your worries. Picture a CRM system as your invisible, uber-organized, cocktail-loving assistant. It's here to put those pesky admin tasks on autopilot and let you focus on the fun parts of bartending. So, let's break it down, shall we?


What exactly is a CRM system and why should you as a mobile bar professional give two shakes about it?


It's like having a digital barback of sorts, but instead of prepping garnishes and restocking liquor, it helps you manage customer details and interactions. A CRM system, such as popular platforms like HoneyBook or Dubsado, acts as your Mission Control, bringing together all the essential tools you need to effortlessly manage your business in one centralized place.


While they may not have the same extensive data-driven marketing capabilities as Salesforce or HubSpot, they excel in streamlining processes and enhancing the client experience for small businesses, especially mobile bartending services. Here are some ways they can achieve this:


1. Onboarding in a Snap: No more chasing contracts and playing phone tag. CRMs like HoneyBook and Dubsado handle lead capture, proposals, contracts, and invoices with slick automation, making client onboarding a breeze. Imagine - a world where paperwork doesn't feel like a punch to the gut!


2. Goodbye, Repetitive Tasks: Forget the endless follow-up emails and calendar Tetris. CRMs automate reminders, event updates, and task management, ensuring you never miss a beat (or a client's favorite birthday margarita).


3. Communication Zen: Ditch the inbox overflow and scattered threads. CRMs centralize all client communication – emails, calls, notes – in one organized hub. Respond like a pro, even if you're muddling mint in the Mojave.


4. Get Paid, Faster: Stop waiting for checks to snail-mail their way in. CRMs like HoneyBook and Dubsado offer seamless online scheduling and payment processing, so you get your hard-earned cash quicker than you can say "Mai Tai."


5. Happy Clients, Happy Business: Imagine clients raving about your organization and professionalism. CRMs provide client portals where they access event details, invoices, and contracts – all in one transparent, trust-building haven.


6. Tame the Task Avalanche: Track every project, from initial contact to last-minute cocktail requests. CRMs help you prioritize, delegate, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. No more frantic all-nighters deciphering sticky notes!


7. First Dibs on Every Dream Client: Speed is king in the event world. CRMs trigger automated replies and follow-ups, ensuring you're the first vendor in their inbox (and on their minds).


8. Client Feedback and Reviews: Get valuable client insights with automated post-event surveys and reviews. Use this intel to craft even more epic cocktail experiences and dominate the mobile bar scene.


9. Brand Your Brilliance: Let your unique style shine through. CRMs like HoneyBook and Dubsado let you customize client-facing documents with your branding, making every interaction a testament to your one-of-a-kind cocktail artistry.


10. No Bartender Left Behind: Don't go it alone. These platforms offer robust support teams and thriving user communities. Get help, share best practices, and level up your client-crushing game with fellow event pros.


A CRM system eliminates the hassle of messy spreadsheets and endless email threads. Instead, it brings everything together in one organized place, saving you precious time and effort. By streamlining your processes, you can dedicate more attention to making your clients feel truly special during what can be a stressful time, ultimately turning their experience with you into a resounding success. With a CRM system, you can streamline your business management, deliver exceptional client service, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. It's the ultimate solution to optimize your efficiency and reach your latest biz goals.


Choosing the Right CRM for You


When it comes to finding the perfect CRM for your mobile bartending business, we've narrowed down some top contenders for you. HoneyBook and Dubsado are excellent starting points, but if you're looking for other versatile options, you'll also want to check out 17Hats and vCita. They both offer all-in-one systems that can be tailored to fit various small businesses, including mobile bartending!


Let's take a deeper look at each one:


HoneyBook:


Strengths:

  • Streamlined Client Flow: HoneyBook excels at managing the entire client journey, from inquiry to payment. It centralizes proposals, contracts, invoices, scheduling, and communication in one place, minimizing chaos and boosting efficiency.

  • Automation Magic: Automating repetitive tasks like follow-ups, reminders, and project workflows liberates you to focus on higher-value work. Imagine saying goodbye to manual reminders and hello to a system that works for you.

  • Beautiful & User-Friendly: HoneyBook boasts a clean and intuitive interface that's easy to navigate even for tech-averse users. This makes it a joy to use, boosting adoption and increasing efficiency across your team.

  • Powerful Integrations: HoneyBook connects seamlessly with popular tools like Zapier, Gmail, Google Calendar, and QuickBooks, further streamlining your workflow and eliminating data silos.

  • Focus on Freelancers: While suitable for all small businesses, HoneyBook caters specifically to the needs of freelancers and solopreneurs. Its features and pricing reflect this focus, making it a popular choice for independent professionals.


Weaknesses:

  • Learning Curve: While intuitive, it may still have a small learning curve for users unfamiliar with CRM software.

  • Limited Workflow Automation: Although HoneyBook has improved its automation capabilities, it still lags behind more automation-focused platforms like Dubsado. If you heavily rely on complex workflows and conditional actions, HoneyBook might not be the best fit.

  • Client Portal Limitations: While HoneyBook's client portal offers basic functionalities, it lacks the advanced features of some competitors, such as file sharing within projects or detailed client-side task management.


Overall:


HoneyBook is a powerful and comprehensive CRM platform that excels at streamlining client flow, automating tasks, and providing a beautiful user experience. In my experience, it's well-suited for mobile bar owners who value ease of use, automation, and a focus on their specific needs. However, consider its learning curve and the time required to set it up before making a decision.


Dubsado:


Strengths:

  • Automation Mastermind: Dubsado takes automation to the next level, featuring robust workflows that can handle complex processes and conditional actions. It's the "automation on steroids" option in the CRM world.

  • Flexible Payment Processing: Dubsado doesn't lock you into their own payment system. You can connect your preferred processor like Stripe or PayPal, giving you more control over fees and integrations.

  • Community Focus: Dubsado boasts a passionate user community and offers extensive resources and training, fostering a supportive environment for learning and growth.


Weaknesses:

  • Learning Curve: Compared to HoneyBook, Dubsado can have a steeper learning curve due to its powerful automation features and customization options. It requires more time investment to set up and master.

  • Less Intuitive Interface: While functional, Dubsado's interface might not feel as user-friendly as HoneyBook, especially for beginners.

  • Mobile App: Unlike HoneyBook, Dubsado lacks a dedicated mobile app, which might be a downside for users who prioritize on-the-go access.


Differences from HoneyBook:

  • Automation: Dubsado offers far more powerful and robust automation, while HoneyBook prioritizes ease of use with simpler workflows.

  • Payment Processing: Dubsado allows you connect your preferred payment processor or use their integrated WePay system, whereas HoneyBook only has the option for you to use Stripe within your invoice.

  • Mobile App: HoneyBook provides a dedicated mobile app, while Dubsado currently lacks one.


Choosing between Dubsado and HoneyBook:

It depends on your specific needs and priorities. If you value powerful automation, a dedicated payment processor, and a growing number of integrations, Dubsado might be the better fit. However, if you prioritize ease of use, a beautiful interface, and a mobile app, HoneyBook could be the ideal choice. Consider your comfort level with technology, automation needs, and budget to make the best decision for your business. Remember, both platforms offer free trials, so you can test them out and see which one feels like the perfect match for your workflow and growth aspirations.


vCita:


Strengths:

  • Client Portal Powerhouse: vCita's client portal shines! Clients can book appointments, manage payments, update information, and access invoices – all in one convenient location. This self-service portal saves you time and reduces back-and-forth communication.

  • Marketing Magic: vCita packs a punch when it comes to marketing. Send out targeted and branded email & SMS campaigns like a pro, offering coupons, nurturing your clients and generating repeat business.

  • Payment Flexibility: vCita offers multiple payment options like online estimates, invoicing, and credit card processing. This caters to diverse client preferences and streamlines your cash flow.

  • Easy to Use: vCita boasts a user-friendly interface that's even more intuitive for clients. It's simple to navigate and set up, making it a good choice for beginners.

  • Real-Time Access: Run your entire business from your pocket with a friendly mobile app that helps you generate estimates or invoices, process credit cards, and access client records and documents anytime and anywhere.


Weaknesses:

  • Automation Lite: While offering basic automation features like appointment reminders, payment requests, and follow-up messages, vCita pales in comparison to Dubsado when it comes to complex workflows and conditional actions.

  • Limited Customization: Though user-friendly, vCita provides less customization compared to other platforms like HoneyBook. This might not be ideal for highly individual business needs.


How vCita differs from HoneyBook and Dubsado:

  • Focus: vCita prioritizes a more holistic approach to client interaction by including client relationship management tools, automation, as well as email and SMS marketing, while HoneyBook excels at streamlining the entire client journey and Dubsado specializes in powerful automation.

  • Pricing: vCita's lowest monthly package starts out at just $4 under HoneyBook's middle tier, and this tier does not include any of the marketing tools. Though one might argue that this could be more than one might need when starting out, so I would say that vCita has pricing that definitely allows room for growth.

  • Automation: vCita offers basic automation, while HoneyBook and Dubsado provide more advanced options.


17Hats:


Strengths:

  • All-in-One Solution: 17hats packs a punch with everything you need in one place, from client management and invoicing to project organization and email automation. It's a one-stop shop for streamlining your business operations.

  • Pricing: 17Hats offers competitive pricing, especially for solopreneurs and businesses with lower transaction volume. It falls into the more affordable range compared to platforms like HoneyBook or Dubsado, making it a strong option for users looking for a cost-effective yet functional CRM.

  • Mobile Access: Unlike Dubsado, 17hats offers a dedicated mobile app for on-the-go access to your data and clients.

  • Solid Support: 17hats boasts a friendly and responsive support team available via email, live chat, and 17Hats U - their resource center for all things marketing, process, lead management, and other tutorials for small business owners to learn and grow, ensuring you get the help you need when you need it.


Weaknesses:

  • I wouldn't necessarily consider this a weakness, but it's a cut and dry CRM. If you're looking for a no frills system, with the most basic of tools needed to onboard plus automations to keep you lean and mean - then here it is!


How 17hats differs from HoneyBook, Dubsado, and vCita:

  • Focus: 17hats prioritizes organization and automation across all business operations, while HoneyBook excels at making an impression throughout the entire client journey, Dubsado shines in complex workflows, and vCita really makes its mark with email and SMS marketing capabilities.

  • Mobile App: It looks like Dubsado is behind, as it is the only CRM that doesn't have mobile app!

  • Pricing: Of all the CRM's, 17hats pricing is lower overall, however it's Essential package sits squarely in the middle of HoneyBook and Dubsado


We've covered a few of my favorite CRM's, but there is one piece of software that has the potential to stand above the rest, and that's e-Cinch. Crafted by Joel Black of Black LAB Events, a seasoned mobile bar professional, e-Cinch is an integrated solution that enhances your base CRM. The magic begins when an inquiry comes in – your clients can instantly view pricing and customize their service preferences.


What makes e-Cinch truly unique compared to the other software we've discussed is that, for now, it's not a standalone CRM. Instead, it serves as a powerful sales tool for any business in the event industry. Let me tell you why it's a game-changer for bartenders.


Every time a client makes an inquiry, you need to create a proposal tailored to their specific needs. You have to consider guest count, event duration, any add-ons they've selected, and factor in required fees like mileage, service charges, and sometimes even gratuity. It can be quite a headache, right?


Well, with e-Cinch, you can preprogram different 'packages' in various ways: price per item, price per person, price per hour, or a combination of both per person and per hour. It's like having a pricing wizard at your fingertips! The best part is, you can set each pricing function to automatically adjust based on the headcount, event duration, or both. No more manual calculations, no more guesswork!


e-Cinch makes it easy to set the ratio for the number of staff (like bartenders and barbacks) according to the guest count and add a service radius and travel fees. We can even have the service charges automatically calculated as a percentage of the total package. It streamlines the whole pricing process, giving you more time to focus on providing excellent service and making your clients' events unforgettable.


So, even though e-Cinch isn't a standalone CRM right now, its advanced pricing tools and capabilities make it an invaluable asset for any mobile bartending business. It simplifies your workflow, ensures accurate quotes, and saves you precious time – what more could you ask for?


Here's more of what you can expect from e-Cinch:


  1. Smart Pricing: Set pricing that dynamically adjusts based on guest count, event duration, or other factors. Clients see transparent pricing that caters to their specific requirements, increasing their likelihood of booking with you. Clients feel heard and understood, leading to increased trust and satisfaction.

  2. Pre-Built Packages: Guide clients toward your inclusive packages for services like beer and wine or full service bartending that comes loaded with everything they'll need, making it easier for them to make an informed decision. This reduces decision paralysis and leads to quicker conversions, helping you close more deals.

  3. Mandatory Products: By making certain items mandatory in your packages, you ensure that every aspect of the client's event is meticulously crafted for an unforgettable experience. Clients will be delighted and impressed by the attention to detail and thoughtful touch you bring to their event.

  4. Effortless Add-Ons: Easily create separate packages for clients to add on items such as bar rentals, custom acrylic menus, drink charms, stirrers, and other offerings. This user-friendly feature makes upselling a breeze, providing an easy and enticing experience for clients to customize their event to perfection.

  5. Fee Calculation: e-Cinch accounts for required fees like mileage, service charges, and gratuity, providing comprehensive and transparent pricing calculation for clients.

  6. Vendor Management: Add and assign products to outside vendors, streamlining collaboration and simplifying your sales process. You can also filter sales reports by vendor or category, making tracking and analysis effortless.

  7. Custom Branding: Customize your storefront with your brand's logo and link it to your website, again creating a seamless and professional experience for your clients and reinforcing your brand's identity.


By integrating this with your existing CRM, e-Cinch enhances your ability to generate quotes and sales packages with greater accuracy and automation. It's focused on optimizing the sales and pricing aspects of your mobile bartending business, allowing you to provide customers with tailored packages and prompt responses to inquiries. The software's features help you upsell and guide clients towards your recommended offerings, increasing revenue potential and improving customer satisfaction.


While e-Cinch excels at sales-related functions, such as pricing, package customization, and streamlined quotes, it doesn't handle broader event logistics like scheduling, staff management, or venue coordination, which may require additional tools or a dedicated event management solution.


Lastly, let me introduce you to another event-specific CRM that's new to me and seems worth exploring. This honorable mention goes to Rock Paper Coin – a comprehensive solution that caters to a wide range of event businesses. Stay tuned for more on this fantastic tool that might just be the perfect fit for your mobile bartending venture!



Getting Started With Your CRM System


Hey, awesome job on snagging the perfect CRM for your mobile bar biz! Now, let's chat about getting things set up to make the most of it because, remember, for every minute you spend in organizing your back office, an hour is earned back! Spend your time wisely fine tuning your CRM, and you'll be saving your future self from continuously doing repetitive work.


First off, get yourself signed up for an account with your chosen CRM platform. No matter which system you've decided to go with, this part's pretty intuitive, just follow the on-screen instructions and customize your experience based on what your business needs.


Now that you've got the groundwork laid, let's sprinkle some of your unique flavor on it. Start by infusing your brand elements—logo, color palette, fonts, and imagery. Ensure a seamless connection by linking your business email account, and if you have a branded domain, that's the cherry on top! This personal touch not only amplifies the professional vibe of your CRM system but also adds a dash of 'you' for both you and your valued clients.


Now, onto the next task: time to link up that business bank account. One of the coolest things about a CRM is that you can book clients and get paid all in one system. But before you get too excited, make sure you can actually get paid through yours by adding your banking info.


Next up is adding in all those juicy details about your services and packages. This includes pricing, add-ons, required fees like mileage and service charges, and anything else that's customized to fit what you offer. By setting these up first, it'll be easy to build out accurate quotes for potential clients.


Here's where the fun begins – customizing the client-facing pieces of your CRM, all of your file templates. Tweak the CRM's templates to match your brand vibe. This includes lead capture forms, proposals, invoices, contracts, questionnaires, brochures, and any other documents your clients might see. It's about giving off that prepared and polished look.


Next up, let's plot out your client journey. Break it down into stages, from the first inquiry to what happens after the event. This helps you design workflows and automations that fit how your business runs. The CRM has tools for this, so it's less of a puzzle.


Now, let's get your sales pipeline all set up. What's that you ask? This is where you'll keep track of all the inquiries, opportunities, and bookings. It's important to have a clear and organized system in place so that nothing falls through the cracks. As you receive inquiries and start corresponding with potential clients, make sure to add them


As you explore the features, dive into the tutorial resources. Most platforms offer videos and guides. They're like the cheat codes to understand what the CRM can really do. Give the automation tools a shot too – things like setting up reminders or sending out invoices. It's like having a little helper on your team.


Now, let's tailor the CRM to your mobile bar biz. Create detailed client profiles – note down their event preferences, special occasions, and go-to cocktails. Also, customize the system to match how you handle bookings and plans. Think of it like personalizing your favorite game – set it up to work for you.


Take your time with this. You don't need to do it all at once. Experiment with features, tweak settings, and figure out what suits your business best. Dip your toes in and see what clicks.


And here's a pro tip – make use of any support resources your CRM platform offers. Whether it's customer support or community forums, these can be super helpful when you're figuring things out. Remember, this CRM isn't just a tool; it's your sidekick in making your mobile bar business a success!


So go ahead, dive in, and make it work for you. You've totally got this!

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