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HubSpot vs. Keap 2023: Total Cost of Ownership

HubSpot vs. Keap CRM Contents

What’s The Price of a Free Pony?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it?

A free pony is free. It costs nothing. Take it home and enjoy.

“Okay…but ahhh…I don’t have a truck…or a trailer...or a yard...or grooming tools…or hay…or a saddle.”

“Not my problem. I gave you the pony. I gotta get my bridle off of it and get home for supper. Enjoy.”

Imagine being at a swap meet or standing in the parking lot of Wal-Mart with a pony that had just been given to you.

On the one hand, your kids would probably be quite excited. On the other hand, your spouse would probably read you the riot act.

A new truck is $50,000, easy.

A trailer could be $10,000, no sweat.

“Ah, but Wes, I’d board the horse, and my friend has a truck and trailer, so we just need to get it to the ranch.”

Okay. But are you going to stall or pasture board your horse?



You could get lucky and pay as little as $100/mo for your horse to roam on someone’s pasture out in the elements, or you could pay $3,000/mo for VIP treatment.

The point is there are no free rides, free ponies, or free CRMs.

You always get what you pay for.

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Now let’s see how that applies to your HubSpot vs. Keap CRM.

Hey Wes, which CRM should I buy and how much is it gonna cost me?”

If I was given a Bitcoin every time I was asked that question…I wouldn’t be here writing this blog post!

But seriously, this is such an unfair, unclear, unrealistic apples-to-hand-grenades question that despite being in this space since 2006, it still boggles my mind every time I get it.

It’s like calling your uncle, who’s good with cars, and asking, 

Hey Uncle, which car should I buy?”

Now, he might be fond of a particular manufacturer and say something like, 

Well, I love Fords.”


Don’t buy a Saab unless you have more money than brains.”

But if he’s really smart and really loves you, he’ll ask some clarifying questions like, 

  • Who’s it for?
  • Do you want a sports car, minivan, truck, or sedan?
  • Are you worried about gas mileage?
  • Do you want new or used?
  • How long will you keep it?
  • Are you concerned about resale value?
  • Etc.

That smart uncle will also know that there are several prices when it comes to your vehicle purchase.

  • The purchase price + 
  • The finance price +
  • The operations price +
  • The maintenance price =
  • The total price

The same is true for your CRM.

However, CRMs are dead.

At least standalone CRMs are dead because a standalone CRM is just a Rolodex in the sky. It's a graveyard for your contacts, leads, prospects, and customers.

The entire reason you have a CRM is to have an accurate, up-to-date growth engine that can be accessed and leveraged in a timely, simple, efficient manner to execute your sales cadence via...

When this is done properly, your sales grow, your income grows, your business grows, and you live a happy, fulfilled life.

So you need to really dig in to determine which is the best CRM for you, which is why I created this free tool...

Which CRM Is Right For You?


In that free survey/quiz, you'll answer a series of multiple-choice questions and be taken to a landing page with the results, and you'll receive an email with your recommendations based on your current situation and goals.

You'll also receive a link to my calendar where you can schedule a free call with me to discuss your results and ask me anything you'd like about sales, marketing, CRMs, kids, college football, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or whisk(e)y...but I digress.

Let's get back into HubSpot vs. Keap.

Don't Be Monkey See, Monkey Do

Another thing I hear from prospects on the regular is...

Hey Wes, I'm an aspiring speaker and I saw that Tony Robbins uses ABC CRM, so that's the one I want."

"Ahhh, you still have $80,000 in college debt, you live in a van down by the river, and you've never earned more than a chicken finger lunch plate from your local Rotary for speaking...so maybe buying what Tony has now is a big...ambitious."

Hey Wes, we're a technology company and we see that Dell uses Salesforce, so we want the double-diamond ruby platinum titanium edition with 24/7 mind-reading support and free pho on Fridays."

"Ahhh, sounds good. I was actually brought in to help Dell deploy SFDC to their 3,000 North American salespeople back in 2007.

It's powerful software, but you are still using the free wifi at Starbuck's for your Zoom calls and recycling soda cans to pay for your part-time UpWork contractor, so maybe you should consider a different CRM, at least for starters."




Should You Switch From Keap to HubSpot?

On September 30, 2014—after six years of monogamy with Keap, writing "The Definitive Guide To Infusionsoft" in 2012, and being named their Partner of the Year in 2013—I started seeing other CRMs by buying HubSpot for my business, and I became a HubSpot certified partner. (I also got certified on Ontraport, and you can see my Ontraport vs. Keap review here.)

Why would I do such a thing, you ask?

From late 2013 to early 2015, Infusionsoft stagnated in its development and allowed the competition to catch up.

Those issues, along with some changes they made to their partner program, forced my hand to expand and diversify away from my 99% focus on Keap/Infusionsoft. 

Since then, I have mostly made the switch to HubSpot from Keap.

I say "mostly" for a couple of simple reasons:

  • I am still certified in Keap and sell it when it makes sense for you.
  • I know, like, and trust the leadership team at Keap CRM, and they did great work in 2019-2020, and I like what I’ve seen since then.
  • I have remained current on Keap because it is the correct choice for a lot of my clients. Keap does a lot of things right for entrepreneurs and small businesses at an affordable price.
  • It was hard to move 11 years of CRM, email marketing, and E-commerce data—along with 700+ posts and 200+ webpages and landing pages—but I did it, and I'm glad I made the switch when it comes to HubSpot vs. WordPress.


Have Wes review your sales and marketing processes to unlock your full potential.


In analyzing the move, I looked at this HubSpot vs. Keap comparison like you, the business-owning entrepreneur, would, and I started with costs for each application.

But I didn't look at just the published retail price.

Accessorizing Your CRM

I dug deeper and looked at the ACCESSORIZING COST of ownership for both applications, and included such things as website hosting, blogging & SEO software, direct mail and shopping cart integrations, and more.

To make it easier to review, I created a Google Sheet and embedded it below.


As you can see, even if you are a power user deploying leading-edge solutions and pushing your Keap Max Classic edition to its limits, it’s still less than a HubSpot Marketing Professional account with SalesHub.

However, if you need advanced eCommerce and sales team tools as you move up into the Max Classic from Keap, HubSpot could actually cost you a little less when you take into consideration all of the 3rd party applications you would need to purchase to get the same type of functionality out of Keap that HubSpot provides natively.

Look Beyond The HubSpot vs. Keap Sticker Price

As you can see, there is much more to this total cost of ownership than just the retail price. 

If you're like me when I first started out:

  • just need an easy-to-use, affordable CRM
  • proven marketing automation
  • time-saving meeting links
  • effective eCommerce and deal tracking 
  • email newsletters
  • text messaging
  • voice calls

And you DO NOT need to get all wonky and geeked out with trying to connect all sorts of 3rd-party tools and  API integrations…

And you have a straightforward WordPress site…

And you’re are comfortable doing your own content research and marketing, then…

Keap + Wordpress + WP Engine Hosting is fine.

Using those tools is how I built not only a 6-figure business with a 6-figure recurring revenue stream while working from home, and I’ve helped thousands of others build, launch, grow, and/or optimize their own businesses ranging from laser eye centers, chiropractors, attorneys, pet supplies, photographers, and more.

However, the market is evolving.

Ontraport came out with their 5.0.

ActiveCampaign is performing miracles with a small team and a lot of new funding.

And Nimble is a solid social CRM that can sit on top of almost any other platform.

So there are more options—and more powerful, flexible, capable options—today than when I got into this in 2008.

But the tool is only part of the equation.


Digital Marketing Done Right: Free Report


In much the same way Tiger Woods and I can swap golf bags, and he would beat me every day of the week and twice on Sunday, a professional can achieve tremendous results in any given situation with any tools at their disposal.

That being said, my father was in commercial insulation his entire life.

He ran projects with upwards of 700 workers, and the first thing he would ask an applicant that wanted to come on as a journeyman instead of an apprentice is, "show me your tools."

Professionals know the value of good tools and having the right tool for the job. They understand the ROI of investing in good tools and using them properly.


Platform Speed

If you only use your CRM or marketing automation tool occasionally, you might not even notice if it's "a little sluggish" from "time to time,” and it may not even be a big deal.

I mean, you don't trade in your car that's paid off, running fine, and gets 24 mpg for a brand new one and go $50,000 into debt just because the new car gets an extra two miles per gallon.

However, if you got a new job that's 30 miles from your home and you're here in California, where gas is as high as $7 per gallon, it probably makes sense to trade in the 24 mpg sedan for the 54 mpg Prius.

As a user and partner of Keap since 2008 and HubSpot since 2014 and using them both on a daily basis, I can tell you that HubSpot is faster to load than Keap. Much faster.

It's so much faster, I made the following video to demonstrate it.



Below is a spreadsheet I made to help you calculate the impact a "little 7 second time delay" can have on the profitability of your business...and it's amazing.


The Impact of CRM (SaaS) Speed On Profitability
  If CRM work is 100% of your day If CRM work is 50% of your day If CRM work is 25% of your day If CRM work is 10% of your day
Hours 8 8 8 8
Minutes 480 480 480 480
Seconds 28,800 28,800 28,800 28,800
Tasks / Day @3 Sec 9,600 4,800 2,400 1,200
Tasks / Day @10 Sec 2,880 1,440 720 360
More Productive @3 sec 333% 167% 83% 33%
Staff 5 5 5 5
Cost / Year / Staff $70,000 $70,000 $70,000 $70,000
Total Annual Staff $350,000 $350,000 $350,000 $350,000
Total Revenue at 2x/Staff $700,000 $700,000 $700,000 $700,000
Annual Revenue Increase $2,333,333 $1,166,667 $583,333 $233,333
Monthly Revenue Increase $194,444 $97,222 $48,611 $19,444


In other words, if you have a staff of five who spends 50% of their time working inside your company’s CRM and they all earn $70,000 per year, and your company sells twice as much as your staff costs, you’d earn an extra $1,166,667 by giving them a tool that’s 167% more efficient.


Setup Price: HubSpot vs. Keap 

In 2008 when I purchased Keap, they had one setup price: $5,000.

And you know what you got for it? Not a lot.

But when you put that kind of money on the line, it gets your attention, which we could all get a little better at, if we're being honest.

Then Infusionsoft went to $0 down, and they got a lot of new clients…but lost even more.

You see, back then, they didn't have a good onboarding process, so people would get frustrated with how hard the software was to set up, which led to a lot of client churn.


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Then Keap came out with the Campaign Builder along with a clear process for onboarding new clients.

This justified bringing back a setup fee.

It fluctuated between $1,000 to $2,000, and their sales grew as people's utilization of the software grew. 

Now you can start Keap for free with a demo, then convert to a paying customer with no setup fee.

They then offer a $499 setup if you'd like some help.

For the $499, you get some good coaching to get you up and automating your sales quickly. (The Keap staff can process your order and do your training, or you can order Keap from me, and we can help you get started. I recommend you let me help you!)

Keap now comes in 3.5 flavors. (The 0.5 is the free trial, so really it comes in three flavors.)

  1. Free, at $0/mo (100 contacts and 1 user)
  2. Pro: $169/mo if you go monthly, or $129/mo annually
    • 1,500 contacts
    • Two users
  3. Max: $199/mo if you go monthly, or $249/mo annually
    • 2,500 contacts
    • Three users
  4. Max, at $249/mo (Formerly Max Classic by Infusionsoft)
    • 2,500 contacts
    • Three users

Now my beef with HubSpot is that they seem to be channeling their inner Salesforce in how they continue to roll out new features and programs and add-ons, and their pricing is becoming complex, but at least it is visible.

HubSpot is the Cadillac of the inbound marketing space. For most users, the Pro package is what you'll need, and it's $3,000 down and $890/mo. 

For that $3,000, you get a dedicated HubSpot onboarding coach—which can be my team and me—that provides 90 days of support and training to ensure you have a positive experience and achieve a positive ROI quickly.



Keap has always avoided long-term contracts.

They’re like the smiling, happy-go-lucky Luke Skywalker of the CRM world.

Keap CRM is like the happy-go-lucky Luke Skywalker of the CRM world.


You can get started with Keap now on a truly-free 14-day trial, meaning you don’t even need to enter a credit card.

If you decide that Keap CRM is for you, you can enter your billing info and begin with a simple month-to-month contract that you can cancel at any time, as long as you give notice at least ten days prior to the next invoice date.

HubSpot, on the other hand, is Darth Vader when it comes to contracts.

You will pay for the setup and commit to a one-year contract. PERIOD.

There are no free trials.

They do offer small discounts if you pre-pay for the year, which is fine for larger companies, but small businesses don’t usually have $11,600+ lying around for their CRM in order to save $1,200 or so.

HubSpot is the Darth Vader of the CRM contract world.


But don’t get me wrong. HubSpot is not “mean” or “evil.” They’re just by the book when it comes to their annual contracts, and I must admit I like it in more ways than one.

First of all, it creates stability for partners like me, who earn commissions and consulting fees from those who buy the software.

Second of all, it makes you commit as the user. We only appreciate what we invest in. That investment can be time, money, effort, etc. But we don’t value free.

When you commit to $3,000 down and $890/mo as a small-medium business, it gets your attention, which will pay off for you sooner rather than later.

So press real hard, the third copy’s yours.”

Partner Community

Having a diverse, experienced partner community is a benefit to you as a CRM owner.

It creates competition, which benefits you as the consumer.

It also creates a more knowledgeable, competent group of partners, which also helps you because you need results when you invest in a CRM and when you invest in professional services and/or consulting in that space.

Both HubSpot and Keap have robust, vibrant, experienced partners who can help you do anything you want with either platform, including setup, switching platforms, customization, enhancing, integrating third-party tools, and/or ongoing service and support.

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Support & Education

This is where HubSpot shines.

While Keap has great phone support and 24/7 chat support that can help you quickly, HubSpot offers 24/7 phone support by some of the most capable support technicians I’ve ever worked with.

Additionally, the free training and certifications HubSpot offers are second-to-none.

So if you need support and/or training on a wide range of topics from inbound sales to SEO, buyer personas, the buyer journey, inbound marketing, marketing automation, CRMs, Calls To Action, landing pages, Social Selling, reporting, and more, the extra you pay for HubSpot each month for a year could be worth it.



In many ways, this is not a fair comparison.

Infusionsoft—now Keap—has always been for solopreneurs, speakers, authors, coaches, and small brick & mortar businesses.

They were first to market in the sales and marketing automation space a year or two before HubSpot was even started as an SEO/website grading platform.

Over the years, HubSpot evolved, as has Keap.

HubSpot is now a large, publicly-traded SaaS company with powerful tools for small to large businesses.

I think there is some overlap between HubSpot and Keap in the micro-business space, but the prices and contracts HubSpot requires can scare most solopreneurs and micro-businesses.

The reality is if you dive in and really use either platform to its full potential, you'll have a positive ROI with both.

But that never happens.

Every business owner I've ever met who was looking for sales and marketing automation help since 2007 has overestimated what they could achieve in 30-90 days and under-estimated what they could achieve in 12-18 months.

You're looking for the easy button, the silver bullet, the hack, the shortcut, the missing link, the secret...and it just doesn't exist.

So the two-fold question becomes:

  1. How hard are you willing to work on documenting and designing your sales and marketing automation so you can sell more and work less?
  2. How much time and/or money can you invest per month for a year without losing sleep, your appetite, your nerve, your home, and your marriage to make this happen?

If you have little experience in building out systems like this, both HubSpot and Keap provide great tech support, have thriving user groups and partner communities, and you can get good help from both overseas VAs and in-country partners, depending on your budget.

But you will have to hire someone to help.

It's not because either platform is hard; they're just different from what you're used to.

Both companies offer solid onboarding for new users.

HubSpot charges more both for their onboarding and the monthly usage, but their onboarding is more thorough—as it should be since you're paying $3,000 vs. $499—their software does a lot more, and they require that you commit to a one-year agreement.

Keap has a good setup at a fraction of HubSpot's, but it is shorter, and you're on a month-to-month agreement.

Keap has mastered the fundamentals for small businesses at an affordable price:

  • CRM
  • Pipelines
  • Get paid
  • Email marketing
  • Landing pages
  • SMS
  • Meeting links
  • Mobile app
  • Reporting

HubSpot has mastered all of that and more, and they charge accordingly.

HubSpot is for businesses that need the best of class, plan to grow into all of the offerings sooner rather than later, will use all of the tools that are provided, are focused on content creation to maximize their inbound marketing, and are willing to commit to spending at least 12 hours per week on the software. 

So if you were thinking, "$3,000 down and $890/mo to buy HubSpot is a lot more than Keap," maybe it is, or maybe it isn't.

If you're still wondering which CRM is best for you, please take the free quiz via the link below or contact me to set a time to review your current situation and needs, and we'll figure it out together.

Now go sell something!

Take The CRM Quiz