Last updated on December 26th, 2023

ClickUp for Agencies: Why It Might Not Be the Best Choice

Key points

  1. ClickUp offers features that are essential for managing projects in an agency setting, including task management, time tracking, and collaboration.
  2. It falls short when it comes to payments and subscriptions, which are essential in an agency that doesn’t want a separate tool.
  3. ClickUp also doesn’t have other features such as forms or referral tracking, which are needed to grow an agency.

ClickUp is a hot commodity in the world of productivity tools. With a valuation of $4 billion and roughly 100,000 paying customers, there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay.

But is this a proper tool for agency project management? While ClickUp’s comprehensive feature set allows agencies to streamline their workflow, it’s not necessarily the best choice for all of them. There are certain features that are missing, and ClickUp needs to be integrated with third-party software to cover all aspects of your agency workflow.

In this article, I’ll be outlining a few agency use cases where ClickUp shines, where it doesn’t, and introduce an alternative that warrants a closer look.

What is ClickUp?

ClickUp’s tagline says a lot about the product’s ultimate goal: “One app to replace them all.”

While this is a bit of an exaggeration, it does do a good job of highlighting the company’s commitment to blurring the boundaries of traditional project management by regularly expanding the scope of ClickUp’s features.

With features similar to those of Trello, Asana, and Basecamp (albeit with a different presentation), ClickUp is among the best project management software you can opt for. You can create and organize tasks, assign work to team members, and view detailed project information in a single user interface.

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But ClickUp also offers features that go beyond a standard project management tool, including:

  • native chat, email, document features

  • 1,000+ native integrations for simplified workflows

  • 30+ ClickApps for advanced customizations

  • calendar and timeline management

  • custom user-permissions

  • deep automation capabilities

Further reading

Why choose ClickUp for agencies?

I’ll get to specific use cases in a bit. Right now, I want to answer a more basic question—why choose this tool for your agency when there are so many other options?

Competing tools like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp are all well-designed and feature-rich. The way I see it, there are two main reasons why ClickUp has an edge for agencies.

Also read

1. ClickUp’s hierarchy is good for agency work

Agency work is complicated. It might make sense to organize work based on clients, but the fact that there are usually multiple teams responsible for delivering services to each client complicates things.

ClickUp’s hierarchy is a near-perfect solution. You have three levels of organization—Spaces, Folders, and Lists—to create a logical structure for your work.

2. ClickUp’s customization respects agency roles

With ClickUp, every team and their members can customize views and dashboards so that they’re only seeing relevant information.

Believe it or not, this is actually a big deal for a project management tool. Most of ClickUp’s competitors only offer administrators the ability to customize.

Specifically, your teams can create:

  • custom roles and assign user-permissions

  • color-coded labels for tasks

  • custom views and dashboards

3 ClickUp use cases for agencies

What is ClickUp used for? A question, that gets often asked, as the tool seems to do just about everything. However, ClickUp is predominantly a project management tool. It falls short when it comes to certain features you’d expect, such as invoicing clients, which is popular among productized businesses.

Let’s look at three use cases where it makes sense to use the tool.

1. CRM

Managing client relationships is a big part of running a successful agency, but is ClickUp a CRM even?

There are plenty of purpose-built CRM tools on the market, but ClickUp manages to check all the boxes without being a standalone application.

ClickUp CRM template

Start by creating a Space for your CRM. Then, just download ClickUp’s CRM template and add it to the Space. You’ll be able to customize pretty much anything you want—from client tags to custom fields—but the templates work well out of the box with 16 fields, including:

  • account size

  • close date

  • company revenue

  • contact info

  • email

  • employee count

ClickUp’s CRM works especially well when you integrate it with SPP’s client portal via Zapier, webhook, or our API.

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When clients and projects fill in SPP intake forms, you can create a Zap that automatically adds the data they input into your ClickUp CRM. That means less time manually inputting data and less chance for errors.

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2. Task & project management

Agency project management is the bread and butter of your work. It’s also a vital part of ClickUp’s feature-set.

ClickUp task & project management

ClickUp makes it easy to create tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, attach files, add labels, and more —all within a single dashboard.

You can also use ClickUp’s reports feature to get a detailed overview of your team’s progress. You can view reports on productivity, estimate accuracy, and task completion rate—plus much more!

3. Time tracking

Time tracking can be a tedious chore, but it’s essential for agencies that bill their clients by the hour. Fortunately, ClickUp makes it incredibly easy to track time from anywhere—desktop or mobile.

ClickUp time tracking

Adding time tracking to a Space, Folder, or List lets anyone with access track time spent on tasks within. Tracked time can be tagged with tags and descriptions and marked billable or non-billable. If you’ve input a billable rate, ClickUp will even calculate a running total for you.

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This makes it easy to quickly generate accurate invoices for clients using your billing and invoicing tool. Plus, it helps you get a granular view of how your teams are contributing.

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Where ClickUp falls short

A project management tool cannot do everything an agency needs—that’s just how it is. ClickUp is not different as it lacks features such as billing and referral management, which are essential to grow a digital marketing agency.


Let’s look at a few features that are unavailable but needed in your business.

Subscription management & invoicing

If you’ve productized your business, you don’t want to spend time issuing invoices manually. Most of your services will be on a self-service model: leads visit your website, click a buy button on the pricing page, and pay. They can download their invoice right away, log into your client portal, and fill out intake forms.

SPP recurring billing service order form

This doesn’t just work great for one-time services, but also recurring services. By allowing clients to subscribe to a monthly recurring service, you can focus on delivering orders instead of admin tasks.

Receive payments automatically on time with our billing feature

Sadly, ClickUp doesn’t have invoicing or subscription management features, so you’ll have to hook it up to Stripe, or a different payment processor.

Referral management & tracking

Growing an agency is a tough task—but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re doing great work, your clients will refer you (for free). You can even reward them with discounts on their upcoming orders, but how do you track all of this? ClickUp sadly doesn’t have a referral tracking feature.

Convert your clients into brand ambassadors with our affiliates feature

At SPP, we know that many are interested in setting up referral programs for agencies—so we’ve built it into our software—available on all plans. Know exactly who’s referred new clients, track the commissions you have to pay out, and download a CSV file to make payouts easy.

Powerful forms for any use case

Although ClickUp is geared towards internal agency processes, it lacks a very important feature: a page builder. How often have you been stuck waiting for an email reply, stalling important work? Not all clients are responsive, so you might be waiting for an approval for a long time.

SPP Client intake form example

With SPP, you don’t need to wait because you have everything from the get-go. Ask the most important questions during checkout in your custom build order forms. And project related information? Create intake or onboarding forms that clients fill out after purchase.

Get all the data you need with our powerful form feature

You can even set up contact forms for lead generation, embed them on your website, and handle them via tickets through the helpdesk module.

Service Provider Pro as a ClickUp alternative

The dependency on multiple tools is one many business owners fall into. It’s a slippery slope because you’ll need to keep a constant eye on changing features and price increases, ensuring that your marketing agency operations continue to run smoothly.

As someone who’s worked with multiple agencies, I know how difficult it is to manage everything if data is spread across multiple tools. Project management software for agencies can solve this issue.

This is why SPP tries to bring all of it together into a tool that both your internal team and clients can rely on. You no longer need to check your email inbox, task management tool or payment processor dashboard as everything is inside SPP.

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And your clients? They can just log into the portal to manage subscriptions, fill out intake forms, download invoices, and submit new tasks.

Avatar of Deian Isac
Head of Agency Success
Having worked as a content writer for 8+ years, Deian has partnered up with a lot of different agencies for content production. He understands their processes and now helps agencies scale up their operations with SPP. Besides his success activities, he also manages the content strategy of Service Provider Pro, writes captivating blog posts himself, and produces case studies.

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