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Basecamp Review

Simone R. Johnson
Simone R. Johnson
  • Basecamp offers both free and paid service plans.
  • The free plan accommodates up to 20 users.
  • Basecamp's interface is simple to understand and navigate.
  • This review is for small business owners considering implementing Basecamp for its online project management needs.

It's difficult to find a free online project management tool that's useful. Free versions are typically limited with the features they offer. Basecamp's free version, Basecamp Personal, offers a variety of features and accommodates up to 20 users at no cost. Basecamp Personal provides enough components to be a complete and functional project management tool that you and your team can be happy with. It's for these reasons, and more, that Basecamp is our choice as the best free online project management software.

Basecamp

Basecamp

Best Online Project Management Software

The Verdict

Basecamp is the best free online project management software. It provides a variety of very useful features that helps business owners organize their team's workflow at no charge.

Pricing

In addition to its free plan, Basecamp also offers a more robust paid offering. Here is a breakdown of each plan.

Basecamp Personal

  • Cost: $0
  • Number of users: Up to 20
  • Features: Basecamp Personal gives you three projects to manage simultaneously. It includes a message board where team members can post progress updates and give feedback on topics; a to-do feature; a schedule element through Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook; space to store documents and files; group chats; and automatic check-ins for assignments
  • Storage: 1GB 

Basecamp Business

  • Cost: $99 per month
  • Number of users: Unlimited
  • Features: You get unlimited projects, a company headquarters space, where you can make announcements for the entire team to view; a team project space; unlimited clients; advanced client access that gives you complete control over what clients view; project templates; and priority customer support
  • Storage: 500GB of storage 

There are no per-user fees, long-term contracts, minimum contract, and you can cancel at any time without penalty. If you pay for a year in advance and then cancel, your money is refunded according to the number of unused months remaining.

Key takeaway: Basecamp offers a free and paid plan. The free plan, Personal, supports up to 20 users. The paid plan, Unlimited, is $99 per month and has no user limits.

Features

Basecamp Personal is designed specifically for very small teams or startups, freelancers, or entrepreneurs working on personal projects.  Basecamp offers multiple collaborative tools that present information clearly and encourage communication and transparency. Here's a breakdown of its more valuable features: 

Notifications: Through reports, you can track which tasks are complete, overdue or are coming due. This is enforced by Basecamp's "Hey!" menu, which records all of your team's conversations, tasks and pings. You can control how frequently you receive email notifications, such as if you want to receive an email whenever an update occurs (such as when a to-do is checked off) or an email summary every few hours. 

Message boards: With this feature, you and your team can post alerts, questions or messages related to a work project. Like Facebook, you can like comments, which allow you to provide instant feedback.  

Client sharing: You share information and files with clients and get their feedback. You can keep communication private. You can also keep email correspondence between you and your clients linked to Basecamp, which keeps your project data and communication organized in one place.  

Hey! Menu: This feature informs you of every notification you receive in Basecamp, such as new messages, to-do assignments and mentions.  

File storage: To upload files into Basecamp, users can drag and drop Google files or files saved on your network or computer directly into the Basecamp to do. Each project has its own space to store documents.  

Campfire: Campfire is ideal for quick communication. It's a chatroom for individuals working on a project. You @ team members by name in the same way you would on social media.  

Automatic check-in questions: Rather than having to follow up with each member of your team individually about impending deadlines, Basecamp apprises team members of their responsibilities through customized check-ins that you can set to repeat throughout the day or whenever you choose.  

Pings: Pings are direct messages that can be sent to small groups or individuals working on the same project. 

Schedules: You can sync your Basecamp schedule with Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook. This gives you access to upcoming deadlines, projects or events. 

Search and bookmarking: If you want to quickly locate a project, using Basecamp's search feature, you can type in a keyword or name; Basecamp hunts through the entire program to locate your project. You can also bookmark the information you want to keep on hand. 

To-do lists: When you assign to-do lists, Basecamp automatically follows up with team members if tasks are overdue. 

Key takeaway:Basecamp's free plan includes a number of valuable features, including a message board and scheduling tool. The pain plan also offers a team project space, project templates and advanced client access.

Pros and Cons

Basecamp has an incredibly simple and easy-to-use layout. Its interface is not difficult for users to grasp, because the tools are presented clearly. Basecamp does not have a steep learning curve for new users, though it would benefit by providing more tutorials and resources.  

For each to-do list, team members can post comments, questions, and files, and each to do can be checked off. Although Basecamp Personal doesn't offer as many tools as the paid plan does, very small teams will appreciate how the app encourages collaboration and communication, not to mention its tracking features, so you are always up to date on the current status of a project.  

Another significant benefit of Basecamp is that its automation features take a lot of pressure off project managers. As assignments and to-do lists are created, team leaders can automate reminders for team members.  

There are two main drawbacks with Basecamp. First, for those who are new to Basecamp, there isn't a lot of information available about how to use the program. The information – a short tutorial video – that is available is extremely condensed, but the video doesn't cover all of the available features.

There is only one way of reaching Basecamp's customer support team and that is by submitting a message through their site. Having a customer support messaging system is helpful, but restricting it to one form of communication can be frustrating for users who prefer to communicate directly or differently.  

Key takeaway: Basecamp is simple to use, and its free plan is perfect for smaller teams. One downside is that you can only reach the support staff by online form.

Customer Service

As mentioned, you can only initially reach the support team via an online message. Basecamp's customer support team's hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (CT), Monday through Friday.

When we reached out to Basecamp, they responded to our message within the same day. After some initial email correspondence, we were able to connect by phone to learn more about the software. We spoke about the organizational issues we wanted the solution to solve, and the representative explained how Basecamp's tools could help with those concerns. After our call, Basecamp emailed us on several occasions to make sure we didn't have any follow-up questions. 

There was no pressure to buy the software, but we were encouraged to use the free version and the 30-day free trial for Basecamp Business.

Key takeaway: The only way to connect with the Basecamp support initially is via the online form on its website.

Image Credit: Ralwel / Getty Images
Basecamp

Basecamp

Best Online Project Management Software

The Verdict

Basecamp is the best free online project management software. It provides a variety of very useful features that helps business owners organize their team's workflow at no charge.

Simone R. Johnson
Simone R. Johnson
Business News Daily Staff
Simone R. Johnson was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a dual degree in English language media and communications and film media production. She has been a reporter for several New York publications prior to joining Business News Daily and business.com as a full-time staff writer. When she isn't writing, she enjoys community enrichment projects that serve disadvantaged groups and rereading her favorite novels.