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Dubsado Form Templates: Choosing the Right Option for You

Wondering which type of Dubsado form template is right for you? In this post I'm discussing the pros and cons of: Canva, Code-Free, Hybrid, HTML & CSS Snippets, and External Editor templates to help you make an informed decision before you invest!

Code-Free vs Coded vs External Editing Platform: Which Dubsado Form Template Option is Right for You?

When it comes to creating an on-brand experience in Dubsado, there’s only SO much you can do natively in the platform itself. So what’s the solution when you want your entire client experience to look the part, but you can’t even upload custom fonts into Dubsado? It’s simple — Dubsado templates. While there are a range of options to choose from, they all differ in price point, customizability, effort required, etc. which is what I’m here to break down for you today! I’ve tried all of the different types of templates that I’m talking about today, and am sharing the pros and cons of each from my personal experience and what I’ve heard from other business owners.

Table of Contents:

  • Why should you invest in Dubsado form templates?
  • A full breakdown of the types of templates available including: pros, cons, price point + more
    ◦ Canva Templates
    ◦ Code-Free Templates
    ◦ Hybrid Templates
    ◦ HTML & CSS Code Snippets
    ◦ External Editors
  • How to determine which type of template is the right option for you
  • A quick introduction to my Dubsado form templates

Why you might want to invest in Dubsado form templates

Your visual brand isn’t something that should just be utilized on the outside of your business. In order to create a truly cohesive client experience, it needs to be implemented on the inside of your business as well — through the platforms you use with clients and resources or materials you’re sharing. By utilizing Dubsado templates, you’re able to increase your design capabilities and ensure that every client touchpoint, from proposal to contract to questionnaire, is on-brand for YOU, not Dubsado.

Types of Templates Available:

Canva Templates

  • What they are: These templates are created by accessing pre-made Canva graphics, customizing them and uploading them into your Dubsado forms.
  • Average Price Point: $65-$100 USD
  • Pros:
    ◦ No need to learn any coding
    ◦ Quicker/easier to set up initially
  • Cons:
    ◦ Inconvenient to customize or update (you have to go into Canva every time you need to change a certain element)
    ◦ You have to have a Canva Pro account to utilize your brand fonts if they are not included in the free version of Canva
    ◦ Not responsive across screen sizes
  • TL;DR: This is the most cost-effective option, however, it doesn’t provide an optimized experience across screen sizes and is tedious and time-consuming to update content or personalize content for an individual client because of the need to utilize an outside platform.

Code-Free Templates

  • What they are: Code-free Dubsado templates are made utilizing existing features in the Dubsado form builder. You’re able to swap out your colors, content & images to customize this and choose between the short list of fonts that are included in Dubsado.

    *Disclaimer: Many templates that are titled as ‘code-free’ are still using Canva graphics, so it’s important to check the description of the template before you decide to purchase!
  • Average Price Point: $97-$150 USD
  • Pros:
    No need to learn any coding
    ◦ Quicker/easier to set up initially
    ◦ Typically responsive across screen sizes
    ◦ Easier to update content than other options
  • Cons:
    ◦ Limited design capabilities
    ◦ No option to add your own brand fonts
  • TL;DR: If you’re looking for a solution that is around the $100 mark, these are a great option! While you don’t get the same level as customization as some of the options that include code, it is a step in the right direction for the brand experience and allows you to still prioritize the mobile experience.

Hybrid Dubsado Templates

  • What they are: A hybrid template that combines the ease of code-free templates with the design customizations of CSS code. Reap the benefits of CSS which allows you to upload your brand fonts and style native Dubsado elements such as form fields and buttons, while editing your text content and imagery is done with no code at all! The best part? All editing (code and non-code) is done directly in the Dubsado form builder, no need for Canva or outside plug-ins/platforms.

    **Disclaimer: To this date, my own Dubsado form templates are the only ones I have been able to find that utilize this hybrid approach. I don’t want to set the expectation that there are multiple options for this category, but if you know of any or have created some yourself, please let me know so I can remove this disclaimer :)
  • Average Price Point: $300
  • Pros:
    ◦ Make your design adjustments one-time via CSS, and easily apply it to all your templates with a simple copy + paste (this part typically doesn’t need to be adjusted unless you rebrand in the future)
    ◦ Editing your text and image content is done as you would in a normal Dubsado form
    ◦ Easy to make quick customizations/changes for each client before sending
    ◦ Templates can work for multiple use-cases and there’s no need to purchase additional templates if you re-brand
    ◦ Templates are responsive across screen sizes
  • Cons:
    ◦ A little work with CSS code
    ◦ Not as many features available as HTML snippets or plug-ins/external editors
    ◦ Initial setup is more time consuming than Canva/Code-free options
  • TL;DR: This is the perfect option for you if you’re looking for templates that provides just the right amount of customization, without the use of code snippets or an external editing platform, and capitalizes on the capabilities of the existing Dubsado form elements to make updating/personalizing content a simple experience.

HTML & CSS Snippets

  • What they are: HTML and CSS snippets available to copy and paste into Dubsado to insert sections/elements into your forms. You will be editing HTML to adjust your text content in each section and editing CSS to adjust the snippets to match your brand colors, style, etc.
  • Average Price Point: $200
  • Pros:
    ◦ Can provide additional elements that are not natively available inside of Dubsado (such as hide/show FAQs, testimonial sliders, etc.)
    ◦ If you have coding experience already, you’ll have more control over the mobile experience
  • Cons:
    ◦ You need to learn and understand the basics of coding
    ◦ Troubleshooting can be time consuming and difficult
    ◦ You won’t always be able to see elements in the Dubsado editor if you’re not in Preview mode (example below)
    ◦ You have to edit code to update any of your text content and images any time you want to change things
    ◦ You have to edit code anytime you need to update the design of your templates
Example of how some coded sections appear in the Dubsado form builder
  • TL;DR: Unless you have a decent bit of coding experience already, there are some other options that provide the same range of customization without needing to work with so much code and for around the same cost.

Templates via an External Editor

  • What they are: Templates that use a plug-in or an external website to design the templates that are installed into Dubsado via copy and pasting code. Most well-known options include Search & Grow and Dub-Ins.
  • Average Price Point: $200-$350+
  • Pros:
    ◦ Offers the most design customization without having to actually edit code
    ◦ Typically provides a responsive experience on mobile
  • Cons:
    ◦ Time consuming and sometimes confusing to set up
    ◦ You can’t usually see what the form looks like unless you’re in Preview mode, which makes editing & designing take longer
    ◦ You can’t edit these unless you have access to the plug-in/external website (aka if you hire someone and they use a plug-in/external editor, you won’t be able to make any updates without buying the plug-in/external editor yourself or hiring them again)
  • TL;DR: While these options offer the most options in terms of design capabilities, it’s important to consider the trade-offs and determine whether you’re willing to spend extra time (and potentially money, if a membership is needed) and time you need to personalize or customize one of these templates. They are typically more work in the long-run when updates are needed to the content and design!

You've seen your options, now how do you determine the right one for you?

The most important things to consider when deciding which type of Dubsado template to choose are your budget, how much customization you’re looking for, and how much time you’re willing to spend on the setup and maintenance of your templates (and, which one of those you’re most set in stone on!).

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help determine which of these options is the best fit for you:

  • What is my ideal budget for this investment? Is this something I’m flexible on or no?
  • Is ease of setup or customizability more important to me?
  • How much time do I want to be spending to make small edits (such as changing one color, or a line of text in the template)?
  • Am I looking for a single template (proposal only, for example) or do I want to customize all of my forms in Dubsado?

And the last question to ask yourself: Do I even want to be the one handling this task in my business? If not — myself and many other Dubsado Specialists and some web designers offer template customization, or custom-designed templates as well. So if it’s something you determine you’d rather not DIY, there are options for you, too!

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for a paid Dubsado account yet and are just doing some research for when the time comes, make sure you save my link for 30% off your first month or year (or use code: TPC30 at sign up!).

Why I created my own Dubsado templates

As someone who has a degree in Graphic Design but currently works in the Systems & Client Experience industry, I had tried all of the options listed in this blog and wasn’t satisfied with any of them. I saw a gap for a solution that offered the benefits of custom-code, without the headache, and provided a much more streamlined editing experience when it came to the actual form content.

I spent over a year experimenting, designing custom form templates for myself and my clients, before landing on the solution that’s currently available today: one that doesn’t sacrifice customization for usability or vice versa.

See for yourself!

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