[Update 5/9/2018: The winter is over, and it was time to do a little spring cleaning on our free and open source CRM piece. We sorted through all of the great comments and recent research for new CRMs to check out and updated information on existing products as needed.]
CRM costs (Source)
The good news is that, while lunch may not be free, customer relationship management software can be! This can be especially useful for small businesses getting started with CRM tech.
Free and open source CRM software: What’s the difference?
Free CRM comes in two categories: free but limited (also known as freemium) and open source.
Freemium versions set caps on the number of free users, contacts, storage, and extra features (or some combination thereof).
Open source systems provide an unlimited, fully functional CRM for users. The caveat? Your small business will need a person (or team) who can install and configure the CRM. Open source systems are extremely customizable, and most open source CRM companies offer a preconfigured version and/or installation and support, for a fee.
Open source CRM software is a great fit for technically inclined companies that want to adjust their software’s code themselves and are less concerned about tech support and manual upgrades.
If you don’t have access to cost-effective developer talent, though, and still need an affordable solution, you’ll want to stick with freemium software.
8 top free and open source CRM solutions
Where can you find these magical free and open source CRMs? This list!
To be included on our list, systems must be free forever (no free trials), support at least 250 contacts, and have no limit on the number of emails you can send at the free level.
Take a quick look at this comparison chart before we dive deeper into each system:
Systems are listed in alphabetical order.
1. Agile CRM
Agile CRM overview video (Source)
- Customizable data fields
- Lead scoring
- Email and click tracking
- Zapier integration
- Landing page builder
- Email scheduling
Capterra reviewers dislike Agile CRM’s mobile experience, and multiple users complained about bugs and glitches that sometimes resulted in lost data.
Agile CRM—number 19 on our list of the most user-friendly CRM software—is a cloud-based CRM with a ton of great features and email support at the free level. It offers the most users at the free level out of the eight options on this list Bitrand also manages 50,000 contacts and unlimited deals, tasks, and documents.
Agile CRM is a great choice if you need lots of users and lots of storage at the free level, are willing to sacrifice on your mobile experience, and want the lowest fee should you choose to upgrade ($8/user/month).
Have you tried Agile CRM? Leave a review!
- Project management features including tasking, Gantt charts, and time tracking (Bitrix is one of our top free project management software solutions.)
- Built-in email marketing
- Telephony features (such as call recording and dial-out from within the CRM)
- Sales automation
- Sales funnel and reporting
- Sales team management
Capterra reviewers don’t love dealing with Bitrix’s customer service, and some find the system slow and user interface unattractive.
With a completely free account, you get five users and 5GB of storage. The vendor also offers an installed option for a one-time fee of $2,990, which gets you their small-business installed CRM (good for 50 to 500 users). If you need a system that has telephony and project management and don’t need a lot of handholding or the easiest UI, Bitrix24 is for you.
Have you tried Bitrix24? Leave a review!
- Email marketing via integration with MailChimp, Mad Mimi, MPZ Mail, and E-goih
- Integrates with at least 33 other software programs
This option is a little light on features compared to other products on this list, and it’s worth noting that so-called “premium” integrations like Xero, FreshBooks, MailChimp, and Wufoo are only available to users who upgrade.
Capterra reviewers find Capsule easy to use and easy to learn. They find the mobile-responsive site easy to use as well. Capsule is free for up to two users with 10MB of storage and 250 contacts.
Upgrading costs $12/user/month, and includes 2GB of storage, 50,000 contacts, and premium integrations. The system’s limited contacts and lack of integrations at the free level means it’s best to use the free option while testing the system, rather than relying on the free level long-term.
Capsule CRM is best for reps who are looking at a free CRM as a way to test out paid software, rather than locking in a free long-term solution.
Have you tried Capsule? Leave a review!
4. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM overview video (Source)
- Email marketing capabilities
- Up to 200 real-time email open, click, and tracking notifications
- Five email templates
- Unlimited users and accounts at free level
- 15 minutes per user, per month, of call tracking
- Email scheduling
- Scrapes the web and email engagement for more information on your prospects
- Lead scoring
At $50/user/month, this is the most expensive option on our list if your business ever wants or needs to upgrade.
HubSpot CRM is number seven on our list of most affordable CRM software, fifth on our list of the most user-friendly CRM software, and sixth on our list of most popular CRM software. The company specializes in marketing automation software, and their CRM is meant to get you interested in trying it.
Try HubSpot CRM if you can benefit from powerful data-gathering capabilities, especially if you can swing their steep upgrade fee should the need arise.
Have you tried HubSpot? Leave a review!
Raynet promotional image (Source)
- “Account card” shows most of the relevant information about a customer at a glance, including the revenue they bring in
- Keep using Gmail or any other email provider and just copy Raynet on relevant emails to get them tracked in the system
Raynet doesn’t track referrals or offer sales pipeline management functionality.
Capterra reviewers find Raynet easy to use, and their customer service fast and friendly. It’s free for two users, 150 accounts, 50MB of storage, and full customer support. Upgrade to 20,000 accounts and 1TB of storage for just $19/user/month.
Raynet is a great choice if you don’t want full email integration but, instead, want to pick-and-choose which emails to track in your CRM. However, its limited number of accounts and storage at the free level means it may not be a long-term solution for growing businesses.
Have you tried Raynet? Leave a review!
Really Simple Systems’ promotional video
- Fully customizable dashboard; only show the information you care about
- Sales pipeline management
- Task management
- Integrates with Xero
Capterra users don’t find the system’s reports super useful, and note that they can be difficult to customize on your own.
Users find Really Simple Systems easy to use, and report that the vendor offers excellent customer support, even at the free level. Really Simple Systems offers a free two user system that includes 100 accounts (businesses that you deal with), unlimited contacts within those accounts, tasks, and 100MB of storage, along with full, free customer support. When you’re ready to upgrade, it’s $14/user/month.
If you need a simple and intuitive use interface with excellent customer service even for free users, Really Simple Systems is ideal. But if you need robust reporting features and to track more than 100 accounts, it may not meet your needs.
Have you tried Really Simple Systems? Leave a review!
- Ticketing functionality included
- Invoices and quotes
- Flexible workflows
- ROI calculator
- Marketing automation functionality
Capterra reviewers complained of system bugs.
SuiteCRM offers an intuitive user interface and free forum support or paid dedicated support in three tiers based on response time and maximum hours of support, starting at about $2,000 per year.
As our only open source option on this list, SuiteCRM offers a lot of features for companies with the expertise to install, update, host, and customize. It’s worth noting, though, that hand-holding from the company when the occasional system hiccup arises doesn’t come cheap.
Have you tried SuiteCRM? Leave a review!
ZohoCRM overview video (Source)
- Native apps and responsive website
- Numerous integrations, including HubSpot, Constant Contact, and Zapier
- Can automatically import contacts from LinkedIn
- Sales forecasting
The biggest drawback is that integrating Zoho CRM with email requires paying per user. In addition, Capterra reviewers cited the system’s unattractive and counterintuitive user interface. The system can be slow, and reviewers also reported issues with its mobile app and support team. A lot of the integrations offered by the system require technical expertise to implement, which can be difficult without adequate support.
Zoho ranks second on our list of most popular CRM software and ninth on our list of most affordable CRM software. It’s free for three users and 1GB of storage. Upgrade to more users, features, and 100,000 records for $12/user/month.
If you want a ton of features, including the ability to import contacts from LinkedIn automatically and forecast sales, Zoho is a great option, especially if you don’t mind a clunky UI and potential support struggles.
Have you tried Zoho CRM? Leave a review!
Choosing the right free CRM for you
We covered a lot of ground here, but there is a host of cheap and affordable CRM options out there to explore. While most of these other systems aren’t free, they might be a better fit for your organization.
Start with Capterra’s list of the most affordable CRM software. And to compare even more options, check out our customer relationship management software directory. (Be sure to use the powerful filtering tool to narrow down your options.)
Did I miss any other great free and open source CRM programs out there that support at least 250 contacts and have no limit on the number of emails you can send at the free level? Drop them in the comments below!
Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.