We recommend HubSpot as our 2018 pick for the best CRM software for very small businesses. For independent contractors and owners of tiny businesses, this software offers an easy entry into the world of CRM solutions. The free version of HubSpot is a must-try for very small businesses because in some cases it may offer enough functionality to improve processes and organization at zero cost.
To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of CRM software, on our best picks page.
Great for microbusinesses, but still scalable
HubSpot is excellent for tiny businesses and new startups because it offers users a wealth of training resources. The online library of learning guides, invoice template generators, email signature generators, and marketing plan template generators offer motivated users a great DIY buffet of options – without the need to spend money on development and training.
Another struggle some independent contractors and microbusiness owners face is not having a dedicated marketing team. Through HubSpot Academy, users can access an array of online classes and certification programs on topics as varied as sales software, design and marketing.
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Like most CRM solutions, HubSpot offers tiered pricing with more features as you increase in price, but these are the impressive features you can expect just from the free version alone:
- Task dashboard
- Up to 1 million contacts
- Automatic sales logging
- Click to Sync with Gmail and Outlook
- Contact and lead management
- Clean visual design
- Sales pipeline management
- Sort and filter based on name, owner, amount, stage, or create custom filters
The highly functional free version of HubSpot makes it a risk-free option for very small business owners, but HubSpot's paid services like the Marketing Hub and the Sales Hub, and programs like HubSpot for Startups, means this CRM can take you from a one-person operation through the startup process and into the growing business stage.
The biggest issue with HubSpot is its pricing structure. At the free level, this solution is a fantastic option for tiny businesses that want an upgrade from tracking things the old-fashioned way. Once you venture into paid tiers, though, things get pricy and unclear.
The Starter Marketing hub starts at $50 per month, Basic is $200 a month, Professional is $800 a month and Enterprise is $2,400 a month. All these subscriptions are billed and paid annually, and there are no minimums or maximums when it comes to number of users, as user number does not impact price. The Sales hub is billed separately, which is very unusual, and is based on user number. So, for Sales the Starter subscription is $50 a month, but that's per user, and if you add more users it will get more expensive. The next level, Professional, is a whopping $400 per month, but includes 5 user subscriptions. If you go beyond five users you must reach out to HubSpot for a price request.
This means Starter-level Sales and Marketing for just one user will cost $100 a month, which is far higher than the entry subscription level for any other CRM we reviewed. Additionally, one gets the sense that HubSpot documentation was written for a fairly tech savvy audience, and when you pair that with the somewhat irregular customer service, it could make for a frustrating experience for business owners who require a bit more guidance and tech support.
Ready to choose a CRM solution? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage: