Musicians and Event Professionals on Thumbtack - Paying For Non-responsive Clients

edited September 2021 in Thumbtack Resources

I am a highly rated musician on Thumbtack with a robust client base. I have used every major online marketplace you can think of to get clientele, and I am highly rated on all of them. I am lucky enough to make 100% of my income through my craft, and I often feel grateful for that. But I'm very fed up with Thumbtack these days. Thumbtack prides itself (or so I've heard from many Thumbtack reps in the past) on clientele that are more eager to book, and more willing to spend money than on other platforms. It's possible this used to be the case, but it certainly doesn't seem to be any more. Not in my industry. Thumbtack BY FAR takes the greatest percentage of my earned income compared with any other platform I've used. There remain huge ethical issues in the sheer fact that clients using Thumbtack don't have to provide significant identifying information about themselves (phone numbers have finally started to combat this). The potential for fraudulent use is high, but the more benign and common result is that many clients just use Thumbtack as if they are window shopping, unaware that every Professional they click on is paying a hefty premium (I've paid over $40/lead in some instances) just to communicate with a client via Thumbtack's messaging app, view the full name that the client provided, and now, have access to their phone number. In my experience thus far, about 75% of the clients simply won't respond to texts or phone calls, and while that's typical compared to other online platforms, the difference is Thumbtack has already earned its premium from you by simply providing this questionable communication method.

Do others feel the same way, and what have you done or what are you considering doing to help combat this going forward?


  • Hoping for some discussion and thoughts here. Anyone care to chime in?

  • I can understand your frustration being a musician, too. Like you, I use multiple marketing platforms and music is my only work now that I’ve retired from corporate life

    I am a bit surprised to hear that you paid upwards of $40 for a lead as most of mine are between $10-$20.

    I do believe that enhancing/expanding the services options in profiles will resolve some of the issues. I get some leads that are looking for a DJ when I am a guitar/vocal performer. I made this recommendation during today’s workshop and hope that it will not fall on deaf ears.

    Best of luck to you.


  • Thanks Bill! Appreciate the feedback.

    Yeah, I've since changed some of my preferences and it has resulted in a better experience overall so far (though far fewer leads, and concurrently, fewer bookings). I had myself accepting most price ranges, lengths of service, and genres, since I play a bit of everything, in a variety of formats. I'm also based in NYC, which definitely affects the price-per-lead.

    It's most frustrating because it's so poorly designed for musicians. For example, though I have my hourly rate listed on my profile, the hourly rate is not included in the preferences that determine which leads show up in my inbox, so if the client doesn't pay attention to my hourly rate, then even leads that are not a match for me will be considered a match by Thumbtack's algorithm. Until recently, this just meant that I had to contest it and they would refund it, but Thumbtack has apparently stopped doing this across the board. To make matters even more frustrating, I've learned recently that the cost we are paying per lead is actually calculated by Thumbtack's algorithm assigning a market value to the lead, and then determining the cost from that market value. However, in the case that I most recently followed up with support about, the market value assigned by their algorithm EXCEEDED the cost the client said they were willing to pay in their request. In other words, their lead said explicitly that it didn't match my hourly rate, nor the market value assigned by Thumbtack, but when the client didn't budge (because I was outside their budget), Thumbtack still refused to refund me... Ridiculousness.

  • Great feedback. I’m in Raleigh NC so not as much to contend with

    i also complained about the hourly rate mechanism as there is no way to state my minimum of two hours.

    Hope they listen to us.

  • Same problems here. I use Thumbtack as both a performer and instructor. Many leads are posted as remote lessons being an option -- but the client apparently never agreed to this. As a performer, although I clearly state I'm a solo ambient acoustic guitarist, I get leads for vocalists / bands / entertainers. As a "GOLD" level member, I'm supposed to have enhanced phone support, but cannot find a phone number. I've been victim of window shopping, as several times after contacting leads I was told they were not ready to hire.

    Admins, if you see this, will you please reach out?

  • Thank you for the response Scott. I can relate. And those metal tier member levels are very frustrating to me now, because I was a "platinum" level, until the cycle reset and now I'm back down to silver which means it's impossible to use the phone service. (Phone number is 866-501-5809 by the way). By having it set to a 3 month cycle they ensure that Customer Support doesn't have to deal with phone calls year round.

    If I were you, I might remove "band" from my targeting preferences. That would probably help a little bit.