Recently three amazing Project/Client Management SaaS (Clinked, Plutio, and Swell) were offered as an LTD (Lifetime Deal) on Appsumo and SaaS Mantra. We decided to take a look at them to see how they compared, what the weaknesses and strong suits were, and which one we feel was the best all around. Even if you don't necessarily have clients, you can still use them for project management and/or collaboration.
So here's our personal experiences with these three client/project management tools.
Clinked has probably one of the nicest dashboards in regards to customizing it for your business and for your clients. You can easily style it and add a logo for each individual client you have.
The main dashboard displays a list of your clients, recent activities, your tasks, notes, and files. It also provides quick access to your clients dashboard. They have done a great job with making their dashboard feel inviting.
Overall Clinked is pretty solid and easy to use. With that being said we were disappointed that they have no plans to add a native invoicing and signature features. As far as collaboration, they've definitely done well with the file sharing, notes, chat and more. At no point did we feel discouraged with the features they do have, or any of the setup. Their customer support was very quick to reply to a question we had and it we felt like they did an excellent job quickly.
The only issue we had is that Clinked is pretty established with it's SaaS, and while it functions well, they seem stagnant with adding any major new features such as invoicing. If they want to stay in the game, they will have to constantly improve their software and since it works very well, that means new game changing features.
Plutio is the most minimalist/clean of the three. They utilize what's know as a Kanban style layout. If you've worked for pretty much any production/manufacturing type company, they typically implement some form of it. This makes it easy to find most features, but does almost become too sterile like. Customization is again minimal, but does offer some options with colors.
Logging in as Owner or Client automatically sends you to the tasks board. While I like this, I honestly wish they had a page that provided an overview of multiple things: tasks, invoices, projects...etc. Overall the dashboard is welcoming and clean.
Plutio has earned it's place as a reliable business/client management tool. We had a few minor hiccups when first working with it, however the guy behind it, Leo, was quick to make sure things got fixed. Plutio is a very solid tool and is constantly being improved upon on both it's existing features and new one's. The kanban style layout makes things very easy to find, and the ability to add images to the cards helps break up the sterile monotony it sometimes has.
There are a few minor things we would love to see improved/added with Plutio. The first is adding a landing/home page after login that would display similar kanban style cards that basic stats on things such as tasks, invoices....etc. The second is the ability to truly archive old/completed tasks, and projects.
Even though Plutio doesn't have those two, it is an amazing all around tool that works well and has great custom support. Honestly it's a very solid and reliable tool that has an excellent price point.
Swell also has a great dashboard area. They allow for some styling options, so you have a few choices as far as color choices. They recently did a few minor UI updates such as the ability to choose what you want displayed on the left side menu. They have future plans to continue improving the overall look/feel of their dashboard.
It's great that the initial home/landing page of the dashboard provides an overview of what's going on. It's even better that they allow you to add/remove what widgets you want. Being able to customize this is a plus. Overall their dashboard is quickly becoming our favorite.
Swell is almost like the love child between Clinked and Plutio. It offers a lot of what we are looking for in a client management tool. The features we did use, it worked very well. The overall concept and design is pretty solid. It offers a nice client login area, however it's not white labeled on the URL. Not a deal breaker but we look forward to this feature being implemented.
The devs at Swell are working to make several improvements and have already made some recently. They have a few minor nuances to work out such as setting up IMAP emails, and some UI improvements. One key feature we loved about Swell is the ability to disable modules (under settings) we didn't use. Disabling those modules also removed them from the menu, which means less distraction with features we don't use.
All three of these SaaS have some pretty great features, however Swell definitely exceeds both Plutio and Clinked with all they offer. While this is great, sometimes it can actually be bad as some of the features may not be developed to the level they should be. We haven't fully tested all the features with Swell, so we can't comment on if this is the case but they are definitely on course to be an all in one business/client management SaaS.
All three offer basic client/business management, however Clinked does not offer invoicing, contracts, or proposals of any type. When asked, they stated they have no intention of adding these functionalities as they provide integration with JotForm. Clinked also does not support signatures, but does support integrations that do.
While all three support a client login and dashboard, Swell does not currently support White Labeling of the URL associated with it. The good news is that this feature is coming soon.
All three have a mobile app for both iOS and Android, however Clinked is the only one that supports white labeling of that app for an additional cost. The apps for all three allow access to most if not all the features found on the desktop version. Plutio has both a Mac and Windows app, but we aren't sure what this offers over the browser/internet version.
Both Clinked and Swell currently have public API's available for 3rd party devs, while Plutio has one in beta and should be released soon. That's great news for allowing further integrations for these three.
This is a tough call as it's pretty close between Plutio and Swell. If we had to pick just one, it would be:
For the price and features, you can't beat what it offers. The simplicity and feature rich Plutio makes it a great choice for beginners, and beyond.
However, that could easily change because the folks behind Swell are doing a lot of work to their software and pushing out a lot of needed updates. So keep an eye on them as well and to be honest you can't go wrong with either.
As for Clinked, it's a great collaboration SaaS but at their current price point it's lacking quite a few features and out of the reach of most folks.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you like this article, please share it.