Whether scheduling appointments, tracking client progress, or handling financial logistics, a coaching management system (also called a client management system or CMS) is vital for your success as a life coach. It streamlines your business and enables you to provide quality client services.

But how do you know which CMS best fits your coaching practice? 

HoneyBook and Paperbell are two very popular CMS platforms, so in this article, we’ll compare and contrast the two so you can choose the one that’s right for your practice. Pro tip: Join Coach Factory as a VIP Member (it’s absolutely free) to download a CMS comparison worksheet.

HoneyBook vs Paperbell: A Side-By-Side Comparison

HoneyBook has become a frontrunner in client management software by emphasizing user experience and quick handling of client interactions. It has quickly gained traction among business professionals seeking an all-in-one solution for their practices.

Paperbell is a newcomer, but it’s quickly made a name for itself as a go-to solution for coaches seeking flexibility and customization. This platform was designed with the specific needs of coaches in mind, offering tailored solutions that cater to different coaching styles and business sizes.

When it comes to choosing a CMS for your coaching practice, the decision often boils down to critical factors like features, functionality, and pricing. But there are a few more things to consider before making a decision. 

Pricing

HoneyBook offers monthly pricing tiers ranging from $19-$79. This pricing structure supports coaching practices of all scale sizes. Paperbell presents a more straightforward pricing structure with scalability that can grow with your business. You can expect to pay $57 per month. In the past, Paperbell offered a free trial, but that option is no longer available, while HoneyBook provides a 7-day free trial. 

HoneyBook’s tiered pricing offers choices but might be more complex to choose from, while Paperbell’s pricing is simpler but with more room for growth. Paperbell’s options may appeal to those planning to expand their coaching practice.

Functionality

HoneyBook is known for its intuitive functionality and offers a seamless experience that’s easy to navigate. The all-in-one solution focuses on streamlining administrative tasks and ensures efficiency.

Paperbell offers more in-depth functionality with better customization options. Since it’s still a newer platform, you may need to take some time to learn how to use it, but once mastered, it provides a unique tailored experience.

While HoneyBook emphasizes ease of use and quick setup, Paperbell prioritizes flexibility and deep customization. The choice depends on whether a coach wants a more straightforward system or a platform that molds according to unique needs.

Invoicing & Payments

HoneyBook streamlines the invoicing process by providing customizable, ready-to-use templates. Coaches can easily create and send professional invoices to clients with just a few clicks. HoneyBook’s automation features also allow recurring invoices and payment reminders. It also integrates with popular payment gateways to ensure a smooth and secure financial transaction.

Paperbell, on the other hand, offers a more flexible and sophisticated invoicing system. Coaches can create custom invoices with different currency options and unique payment plans tailored to each client’s needs. Paperbell also supports integration with various payment processors, allowing coaches to offer multiple payment options to clients. The platform provides detailed reporting on payments, offering insights into the financial aspects of the coaching practice.

User Experience

HoneyBook is praised for its user friendliness due to the clean design that helps users navigate the platform effortlessly. Paperbell offers a more complex experience tailored to those seeking adaptability and specific customization. The complexity adds depth but may require more learning.

HoneyBook is ideal for users wanting simplicity and quick navigation, while Paperbell serves those looking for adaptability and unique customization.

Workflow Automation 

Paperbell also offers automation features but it focuses more on aligning with specific coaching practice tasks like client communication and file sharing. On the other hand, HoneyBook excels in automating various tasks like invoicing, payment reminders, and follow-ups, saving time and effort. 

Both platforms provide strong workflow automation, but HoneyBook aims for broad efficiency while Paperbell emphasizes personalization in alignment with specific coaching methods.

Scheduling 

HoneyBook’s scheduling is user-friendly and offers an integrated calendar for easy client bookings while Paperbell’s scheduling allows more control over availability and integrates with tools like Google Calendar.

HoneyBook’s scheduling appeals to those wanting straightforward appointment management. Paperbell offers more control and flexibility.

Integrations

When it comes to integrations, HoneyBook offers a wide array of integrations with popular tools that creates a cohesive ecosystem for coaching practices. Paperbell focuses on essential integrations that are necessary for coaches. This includes external payment and virtual session tools.

HoneyBook provides more extensive integration options while Paperbell focuses on the specific needs of coaches. The choice depends on broader integration needs vs. industry-focused selections.

Customization 

HoneyBook’s customization primarily focuses on branding elements such as logos, color schemes, and templates for emails and invoices. While it enables some individuality, the customization is within predefined parameters, keeping the platform consistent and easy to use. In contrast, Paperbell offers extensive customization, like altering client portals’ entire layout to creating custom client questionnaires and forms. 

HoneyBook provides an attractive solution for coaches who want to personalize their branding without getting too technical. Paperbell’s extensive customization features suit those who want to mold the platform to their specific coaching practice and methods.

Project Management 

HoneyBook is a one-stop project management tool with a dashboard showcasing ongoing client interactions, upcoming appointments, and financial summaries. While this is useful for a general overview, some coaches may find it lacks depth for complex project tracking.

Paperbell’s approach to project management allows coaches to create separate project views for different client groups, track milestones, and set custom reminders. 

HoneyBook’s approach to project management is best suited for coaches who need a high-level overview of all ongoing interactions. In contrast, Paperbell’s multifaceted project handling is for those who manage complex projects and need customized tracking and detailed insights.

Centralized Communication

HoneyBook’s centralized communication hub allows coaches to manage all client communications, including emails, messages, and documents, in one place. 

Paperbell also centralizes communication but adds the ability to create custom communication channels for different client groups, coaching programs, or individual projects. This tailoring enables coaches to structure communication according to their unique practice style, such as creating separate communication threads for different coaching modules or programs.

While both platforms succeed in centralizing communication, HoneyBook simplifies the process by providing a standardized hub suitable for a broad range of practices. In contrast, Paperbell’s adaptability allows coaches to tailor their communication tools, reflecting their unique methodologies and needs, adding depth and flexibility to client interactions.

The Final Verdict: HoneyBook or Paperbell?

HoneyBook is best suited for coaches who need a user-friendly platform that covers all bases. From individual coaches to large-scale practices, Paperbell’s emphasis on customization and industry-specific features makes it an appealing choice for those looking to align their tools with their coaching practice fully.

Choosing the right CMS is critical for any life coach seeking to professionalize and simplify their practice. There are a few CMS platforms to choose from, so we created a downloadable worksheet to help you decide.

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Written by The Coach Factory Team

We're a team of coaching enthusiasts who hire and work with coaches. Members of our team run businesses in the coaching industry or provide services that support coaches, and several of us are coaches ourselves.

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