Thumbtack works if you work it

Hello fellow pros and top pros in the community. I just wanted to take a minute to send my gratitude to thumbtack and all the great people who work there.

Sometimes as contractors we get caught up and just running our own business and forget the symbient relationship of our partners that help us to succeed. I have been in business many ways in many different years. I started using Thumbtack exclusively about 6 years ago. I meant a wonderful friend Dusti. She took time so many years ago to tell me the secrets of how to succeed. Since those conversations in the early days we have been hired almost 500 times have almost 400 great reviews and have been blessed to been a top pro every single year we've been on the profile. My greatest joy is giving back to my community and to helping other pros succeed. If you're confused about the instant booking or you need some ideas to help grow your business. Please reach out to these wonderful people or you can contact me Brett Douglas. 386-500-8217.

I'm a real contractor located in the central Florida area and just want to help everyone to see the beauty of what Thumbtack is to me. God bless all the wonderful people that use the app, make the app, or hire people off the app


  • By the way I'm the tall gentle giant in the background with the blue shirt on and the prayer beads. I'm a simple man who absolutely loves Thumbtack and all it stands for. I'm not paid by thumbtack. I have my problems like everyone else. But a true winner is one who overcomes problems and day-to-day activities to succeed. Thumbtack is my trusted partner and I will continue to spread the message of what works for me and my family

  • @Bretdouglas your praise of Thumbtack rings hollow, when the rest of us get shafted and harassed over nonsense like "$0 on-site estimate." This app may work like a charm for some unknown segment of the service world, but not mine (structural engineering). Every single person that reaches out to me now has to get a lesson on why a structural inspection isn't free. And then I have to educate people what the difference is between an architect and a structural engineer, and still get charged for the lead. I could easily be wasting 30-45 minutes a day on "no, Thumbtack does not mean that" kind of nonsense.

  • Sorry to hear that I guess it only works for certain elements of the business world. But I would imagine that type of business would not really work for thumbtack. It's more of a professional based. But for simple landscaping it works great for us the leads are awesome and we can make a living. I wish you luck in your future business endeavors

    Warm regards

    Bret Douglas

  • Jeff_jtv2020
    Jeff_jtv2020 Posts: 32
    edited December 2023

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 1,546

    @structuralguy65 I'm curious, since I have seen you post a few times re: $0 estimate — you are able and encouraged to set a fee for estimates (they only default to free if you haven't set a price), so why are you left explaining to customers that estimates are not free, if you are able to set a price for your estimate? Are they not seeing the price for your estimate when they book? Do you not want to set a fee for this, and if so, what is the reasoning?

    If I am understanding your posts, is it because you aren't doing an "estimate", but you're doing an "inspection"? Would it be possible to set your "estimate" price at whatever your "inspection" price typically is? You can edit the outgoing message that automatically goes to customers who book and you could explain what the estimate/inspection entails there? You may already be doing this, but if not, maybe this would make it a little better?

    Obviously I am not an engineer and don't know how your industry works so feel free to ignore me 😅, but if this might be helpful I can share a screenshot of where you change that outgoing message. Maybe this could be a workaround for the time being?

  • @DustiO

    "so why are you left explaining to customers that estimates are not free, if you are able to set a price for your estimate?"

    Because Thumbtack is using the wrong terminology. The vast majority of my work as a licensed engineer involves providing - as part of my work product (an assessment and report) - a professional opinion of the cost for the repair that I am being asked to assess. A vast majority of the leads I get are for assessing structural items that come up as part of real estate due diligence, and the customer needs an estimated cost for repairs, which they then use in negotiations with the seller. Since the advent of the $0-onsite estimate, every single customer I have had this battle with is expecting me to deliver those estimated costs for repairs FOR FREE. It is pure insanity. Furthermore, each one of these structural assessments is unique. It could be a three story structure, single family, multi-family, crawlspace, on a slab, on a hillside, just a retaining wall, just the roof structure, etc. And on top of that, this is not the only thing that engineers do. Other tasks can sprout up that the customer isn't aware of, like wind calculations, wind mitigation assessments, site plans, foundation certifications, beam sizing, deck design, the list is pretty long. There is no one-size-fits all price for this work, and I am absolutely gobsmacked that there are people at Thumbtack that actually believe there is a one-size-fits all price. For the last century and a half, engineers have adhered to the following process: discuss scope, discuss property, present proposal, get signed agreement, and then show up at the property.

    If Thumbtack is dead-set on sticking with this, at least change the language from "$0-onsite estimate" to "$0 for proposal." Stop confusing the customer by making them believe engineers show up at a property and give free "estimates." Make it crystal clear that proposals are free, and leave the words "estimate" and "on-site" out of it. No engineer needs to show up at a property in order to put together a proposal. Everything we need, we can get from the chat log or a phone call. That's probably different for architects, but for engineers it is not necessary.

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 1,546

    Ok so if I am understanding correctly, you don't want to add a $ amount, as you still want to do these for $0, but the way it is worded is setting the wrong expectation for what they will be getting for $0 (because you don't go on-site to do these assessments)? Sorry I am still a little confused (I will blame end of year madness) - just want to make double sure that you know you can add a set price for those estimates if it's also the $0 part that is incorrect and not just the terminology!

    Have you tried editing your outgoing message for the time being to let customers know that you won't need to go onsite, but that you do these over the phone/chat?

    I would also recommend (sorry if you already did this) that you send this category specific feedback to [email protected] and I will also share this thread with the team who works on the onsite estimate stuff.

  • The sole act of stating "$0-onsite estimate" is confusing these people into thinking a licensed engineer is going to show up and provide them with free service. I can provide a proposal for my work for no cost, but the words "$0-onsite estimate" is leading folks to believe I will unpack their home inspection report and provide a dollar amount for the repairs for free.


    "Ok so if I am understanding correctly, you don't want to add a $ amount, as you still want to do these for $0..." - NO. No.

    1. I want to replace the word estimate with the word proposal.
    2. I want to provide the client with a proposal for my work.
    3. The act of providing that proposal incurs no cost to the client.
    4. My work in producing an assessment and repair estimate, however, has a fee associated with it, that I can only determine after having a conversation with the client.

    Some cog in the Thumbtack machine may think it doesn't matter whether the word estimate is used or proposal. But it does matter. Here's an example:

    Client reaches out on Thumbtack, and he's buying a house. The home inspection report came back with a list of structural issues, and the client wants a structural engineer to assess them and provide an estimate of what the repair cost would be, so that he can negotiate the price. The words "$0-onsite estimate" is currently leading the clients to believe that the act of providing that assessment and repair estimate is free. If you don't believe me, read my chat log.

    "...but the way it is worded is setting the wrong expectation for what they will be getting for $0 (because you don't go on-site to do these assessments)?"

    Also incorrect. I do go onsite for the assessment, but that is not a free service. Engineers get paid to do assessments. The proposal is $0 to the client, but the actual assessment incurs a fee that is spelled out in the proposal.

    "...just want to make double sure that you know you can add a set price for those estimates if it's also the $0 part that is incorrect and not just the terminology!"

    But there is no set price. I can think of 20 things that I do as an engineer, and they all have different fee structures.

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 1,546

    OK, makes sense. I would still recommend sending the feedback to [email protected] and I will also share this thread. Thank you for patiently explaining this to me!

  • @DustiO it has been a month since I sent feedback. I have not heard a peep back.

  • Matt
    Matt Posts: 157

    @Bretdouglas I’m glad you found value in instant book for your industry.

    For what I do, murals, it’s a joke. It simply doesn’t work. I drive all over California and Arizona, I don’t have a set schedule that I can base my calendar of availability on since every job is different and I rarely do on site estimates. Since Thumbtack forced this “feature “ on many industries they are leaving it up to the Pro’s to explain their process after someone books. I then have to quickly explain to them , “no, even though you made an appointment I don’t do in person estimates”, which then makes me look bad, and Thumbtacks solution is no better, “just put Virtual estimate only” in your name. OR how about let me run my business how I know it works best for me, and let me turn on or off whichever feature I feel valuable. I have no problem spending money, it’s HOW my money is being forced to be spent, that’s the issue.

  • Matt first of all thank you for mentioning me. I completely agree where you're coming from. It seems to me that when Thumbtack started the pro had a lot more control about how things were going on. And if you look in the business model it's certainly seems appropriate that we as independent contractors should know how to run our business and what's best for our own businesses. In my mind Thumbtack is a lead generation tool and is thus should stay out of our business side of things and just sell the leads to us. I absolutely love Thumbtack and I'm one of their greatest fans. I always pray for Thumbtack success because I know that translates to my family's success. However I truly believe the problem is somewhere there's a failure that that link between the pros and thumbtack is just not being heard. One of the things I think is done so poorly is how they communicate changes they basically just force it on us and we're supposed to adapt on the fly. Many of us a small contractors are merely holding our heads above water and really want to focus on our craft and doing a great job for the client. Maybe one day we'll find that perfect blend and we'll all succeed. In the meantime I certainly will pray for you and your moral business and I know that that's definitely a really neat niche to be in

  • TravisA
    TravisA Posts: 2

    Thumbtack is a scam website that benefits greatly from generating fake leads. Leads are 100% NOT verified, but charged. This is grounds for a lawsuit and there are already class actions being put together.

  • If you don't mind me asking. Why would they be fake leads. Do they not respond to you?