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Feedback, Suggestions, #couldbebetter - My experience so far using Thumbtack

Community Regular
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First off, let me start by saying.. Please don't reply with suggestions of what I should / should not do with thumbtack.  I am pretty sure I have a clear understanding what they offer as I have been using it for a several years now.  The purpose of this message is for feedback directly to thumbtack and also to write out my issues I have with thumbtack that other pros might have in common, to validate what they might have also been experiencing.  It is my hope that with this post, thumbtack will get some of these issues resolved asap, so I can feel free to be using thumbtack how I once did, spending more money on leads than I currently do.

Issues I have with thumbtack:

1.  It is convoluted, cumbersome and hard to find certain things i'm looking for.  First off, I used to be able to easily set my target area or location I wanted to received customers via a map or radius of x # of miles from my location.  That should be a simple, basic function of a lead generating company to provide - a quick easy solution for pros to seek out new jobs based on a <x> number of miles radius.... Especially for contractors that always travel to the jobs.  Honestly I dont know why I have to even be writing this, its kind of annoying that this involves more discussion than just having common sense.  

Right now the process for this is currently; in order to have the option to have a "target location" area for your jobs... you MUST setup "target preferences" for "target jobs / services" you do.... The problem is, I DO NOT WANT to setup this option.  It is a automatically charging system scheme when target with a "exact match" customer.  This might work well for larger companies that have a employee that can constantly be replying to "exact matches" and setting up appointments / scheduling etc... but what about a small contractor / electrician, such as myself... I don't always have time to reply to these "new leads"  and When I reply it is CRITICAL for success!!  I don't want to be automatically charged for a customer that sent me a message but I didnt have time reply and never got the job.  I need to have more control / management over when I message them... That is only possible, if I reply to customers like in the old system, where when messages come in for work they need done, I would reply, if I had the time... and I would be mindful of those messages I sent out to potential customers to check regularly during the next 1-2 days to see if they reply.  

Sure I don't have to setup these automatic payments, but what happens if I dont?  I don't get to choose my map radius location... I am getting messages from potential customers in places 2 states away from my location... Places I will not travel to nor do I have electrical licenses for in those states!  Waste of time... I don't want to see that / decline those so I dont have to see them... When time is $ you are just wasting my time.

Thumbtack represenatives are always trying to convince me of what "they think" that "I need" to do or what would best help me, if I only do "xyz" and set it up how they suggest.  Like I said at the start of this, I don't need suggestions how to run my business, I am NOT here for suggestions.  I am here to use a service that fits what I already know what I need.  It is thumbtack that should be listening to me.  So @thumbtack - start listening... Give me the option to have a map radius regardless if I signup for the <target job> preferences with automatic payment for exact match leads!

2.  Map radius options... another issue, with thumbtacks multiple changes, testing out "new features" and options.  It went from mile radius to these target job map ranges with having to select the exact city / states or counties, instead of just having a simple / basic map radius of x # of miles.... I get it that some ppl might find the more convoluted option helpful, but at least give us the basic option of x # of radius miles by default too!

3.  Pricing for leads.... Pricing for leads through thumbtack went up significantly.  Not only that, but we are paying for leads (if we are too busy to reply) that we never actually use.  When I first brought this up to thumbtack, they tried to explain away the fact that the leads are "better" because they are targeted.... well thats only the case if I actually pay for the automatic targeted leads where I can be auto charged for a message I might not have time to get to and less in control over.... which I already went over in point 1, why that wont work for me.   They have tried to tell me, well you can "adjust the pricing" for that category.... If I'm not sure I have time, I have to remember to adjust that every single day and there is bound to be errors on my part forgetting to turn it on / off or to adjust the slider for how many targeted messages I want to get in x amount of time... Just another convoluted process I dont want to waste my time with, if I am being honest.  But getting away from that, since I've made it clear I dont like it or want to use that feature... The prices I used to pay for a lead were anywhere from $3-10 ish dollars in the old system with thumbtack before all the changes.... now... the prices are 3x that... I am generally being charged $30 per lead I send out to a customer and get a reply from.  This large jump in price is huge when I could be utilzing another company that offers lead messages for lower.

Now another issue I've always had around pricing is how they determine how much it should cost.... This is some kind of randomized figure or idea they get in their head how much its worth, when they are generally not qualified to judge that.  Its the contractors themselves who judge that... so why should these non pro thumbtack agents be deciding how much the leads are "worth"?  It should just be a FLAT rate or % instead of this scaling system they have that has no consistency of innacurate of the facts.... For example; (even in the old system) a "troubleshooting job" i would have where a customer would have power outage and needed service, a lot of times these price points I would pay thumbtack would be MUCH HIGHER than a remodel of a whole house.... Think about it.. If im going to a customer's house for a potential short, that can be solved within 1-2 hours (thats with the repair), how could THAT be worth more to charge me for that lead than a lead that could be re-wiring a whole house that is about to be remodeled?

3.  The spam on these "target lead" options... where is the option to turn that off completely.. I'm so sick of seeing it on every single page.... Sometimes I accidentally click on it without intending to (purposely put there for me to do that by thumbtack i wonder?)  If I am not signed up for these targeted leads because I disagree with the setup and choose not to use it, why do I have to always be seeing these options to target leads when I dont want to... literally on every single page... This is not a good experience for me and wish to have the option to see those gone, turned off.

4.  The different <target lead> type of <services>:  This is also pretty annoying.  So I am a electrician.  I do bascially any type of electrical wiring, both high and low voltage in residential, commercial settings; businesses, factories, homes etc....  I will take just about any job!  So why is it I would be forced to <target> specific services when am qualfied for them all?  I feel most contractors would take the work, regardless but I understand the need to have options for those that dont want to do certain aspects of their job description... Thats fine... break it into a million differ services for them if you want, but give us that dont want to have to waste time selecting all those - the option to just have <all services> targeted within our field of expertise.  This should just a simple 1 button setup.

5.  First Simplify Thumbtack down to basics... Then expand within those simplistic options the convoluted options you want or think other pros might want.  This would give us all what we want.... Dont take away the simplistic options for the majority just because the minority might want them... Don't force options we dont want to use on us just because you "think" it would be more helpful.

I liked the old system thumbtack had setup... and there is another company that still has it setup that way with pricing etc... If things continue on the path they are going with thumbtack, I might leave completely (as I have already drastically stopped using thumbtack since all the changes) and just seek out new options and sources for lead generation. 

This is one of my last attempts at trying to convince thumbtack of the need to have some of these BASIC things implemented.  I hope they listen

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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, #couldbebetter - My experience so far using Thumbtack

Community Expert
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@aeiwired I know that this post took you some time to go over and write up before sharing, so I just want to start by saying we appreciate your feedback and the amount of effort you put into sharing your point of view with us. You’ve made quite a few points here in many different areas. I likely won’t be able to touch on all of these concerns but did want to address a few.


1. I understand that you may have your hesitations with setting your targeting preferences and being automatically charged for exact match leads. It sounds like your largest concern is that you feel like you won’t be able to reply quickly enough. In regards to this aspect, we’ve seen so many pros across several different specialties do very well in being able to respond quickly to those leads and keep their response times low. This can mean simply responding to say “Hey I’m on a job, or with a customer right now, but I want you to know I’ve seen your message and will get back to you as soon as I’m available”. We’ve even seen pros create a saved reply like this so that it can be a super quick way to acknowledge the customer but actually take time to check in and discuss their project with them later.

2. We’ll be sure to report your preference of a travel radius over the selection of cities and counties. Although in order to further distinguish the areas that you offer work in it will require setting your targeting preferences. As well, in the Opportunities section you can filter those projects by using the basic mileage filter.

3. It’s true that the cost has changed, but so has what you’re actually paying for. Back when you were paying lower amounts, it was likely to send a quote with no guarantee of any response. Or the lead reached out, but we didn’t have pro preferences to see how good of a match it could be. Now pros only pay if a customer responds or reaches out to you directly which has shown overall to hold more value, hence the higher prices.
 

4/5. That’s great to hear that you prefer most jobs within your field and are open to the majority of that work. What we hear from the majority of other pros when sharing their feedback is that the more specific they can be with their preferences and the more options we can add the better. We want pros to be able to have as much control as we can reasonably allow because in the end they know what they want and it’s their business. Any options placed there were done so very deliberately and backed up by our own research of the marketplace (including feedback from pros). I know this can be slightly more time consuming at first to go over and set up than a one-button setup, but it only takes setting up once and going back over every so often.

We understand that self-made pros such as yourself will likely need to use multiple types of lead generation sources and marketing in order to grow. I’m sorry to hear that at this point in time you feel as though Thumbtack might not continue to be the best fit for you and your business, and are considering leaving behind the great profile and list of reviews that you’ve accumulated. In the end, we respect any decisions that you feel need to be made and want you to do what you feel is best for you and your business. As I mentioned you’ve made addressed a number of points and concerns here and I will do my very best to capture your feedback to share with our teams. However, I don’t want to set the expectation that any larger-scale changes will be made due to this like reverting back to any previous systems.

Give me a 'Kudo' if you find this post helpful or mark 'Best Answer' if it answers your question.
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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, #couldbebetter - My experience so far using Thumbtack

Active Community Member
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@aeiwired Well done.  Thank you for the time you invested in writing that out.  I've only been on TT for a few months but many of these issues have become apparent (and a hindrance) to me as well.  I too am about 1mm away from pulling the plug on TT.  I wish that wasn't the case but it is.  One of the big things to me is that TT executives are absolutely detached from us Pros and refuse to have any direct interaction.  I've consulted for many Fortune 500 companies in the past and have not seen this level of separation before.  Most successful companies have ways for customers/the public to contact them directly, and they respond in some manner. 

@Kameron In your response, you stated that we are getting more for what we are paying for because the leads are better.  I would disagree with that - the amount of ghosting by job posters is significant, meaning Pros pay for leads that are not real leads, but they meet the initial threshold of "making contact" with the Pro.  Yes Price Assurance is a positive attempt at helping, but more solutions are needed because that is something of an epidemic.  Can you comment on TT's understanding of the magnitude of this problem and provide us insight into what (if anything) is in development to address this?

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Re: Feedback, Suggestions, #couldbebetter - My experience so far using Thumbtack

Community Regular
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Thanks @lmheim 

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