A message from Marco

Community Veteran
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It should come as no surprise that Thumbtack is going through a period of change.  Many of you in the Community have been asking why we're making these changes in the first place.
 

Our CEO and co-founder, Marco Zappacosta, recorded this message, explaining our vision and where we’re heading.

As Marco notes, we’re making these changes with one goal in mind: getting you more customers.

We know it’s still a work in progress.  And we hear your frustrations around pricing in particular (prices not being transparent, prices being too high).

We’re working as hard as we can to make improvements, find solutions, and bring the vision that Marco articulates to life.  

So stay tuned.  And keep asking questions.  We created this Community to help you find answers.

 

130 responses
Community Manager
Community Manager

@DannyPhung great question! You're only charged for a response so if they just view your quote or pass on it, you won't be charged 🙂 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @Natalie we handle these on a case by case basis as every situation is a little different. I definitely am willing to look into these for you though. Send me a DM with examples and I'll look into it and get you more info! 

Community Regular

I have been monitoring the responses to this post all week. Still looks like the Pro's are getting the run around. Have you considered finding your best Pro's and treating them as such by having them come to your corporate office collectively for a good solution? It may take a good few days and cost you. It costs us for your unwillingness to change.  It would be coming from the actual people that do the work, not corporate who is trying to come up with answers as if they were contractors. Does not work! The money that has been made here lately off of your Pros surely constitutes justification to spend it back on the Pros that made it for you. The only thing I continue to hear from Thumbtack is that the customer didn't get a quick enough response from Pros. Who pays you? Who does the work? Who in their right mind absolutely needs a client so impatient that they can't wait for a response? Another issue Thumbtack says is a problem for them is that they could not consistently get 5 Pros to quote. That is where it all started to change. Pros are not going to quote on things they feel are too high. If you only have one or two people quoting "IT'S TOO HIGH" or the work being conducted has few contractors. I have noticed also that the old way of doing things seems to be shut down real quick. Why? Come on! You have seen a dramatic increase in profits. The truth is it won't last long because you are running the business owner with integrity off. So a word for those of you that are reading this. I get it. It sucks that we have run into another situation with a company that has the need to be on top with or without you. Do not give into your fear of not having work and subject yourself to once again another charge from Thumbtack that comes to nothing. Another thing..... Look at the kudos for Marco's video. This was sent out to every Pro in Thumbtack and possibly more. It probably went out to the general public as well. Enough said! The people that care about what you are doing are the ones that are hurting and responding from the poor choices that have collectively been made at our expense. I would think that if your changes were good you would know. Sorry, a hand full of kudos within your own community is a good representation of how we feel about your changes. Instead of speaking to you cohorts at work about this and trying to come up with a solution get out of your chair and hit the pavement where it counts. Your Pros pay your salary brother! Talk to them. Egos have to be smashed if you are to come up with a solution. The solution is not in the office.

Active Community Member
@JasonB please take a look back at my post where I identified what I feel are the three big issues and how to solve them. Value added pricing is a win win for both seller and buyer. The fundamental problem is you moved to a value added pricing strategy without clearly understanding your value levers. Don’t worry companies do this all the time. I did pricing strategy consulting for many years and would be happy to offer more details if you’re interested.
Community Manager
Community Manager

@Artistryshop1 thanks for reaching out! Pro involvement is something we're huge fans of and bringing pros into our office for meet-ups and Q&A's is something we already do. We have held interviews with pros and are starting to do more pro events to interact with you guys and work with you to get your feedback on our product. I know some of you aren't happy with the changes and I'm doing everything that I can to make sure your voices are heard by submitting your feedback. Like all things, changes take time. Yes, we say this a lot, but I promise we're working on things and truly are taking pro feedback into account. With that being said, keep it coming. You can send me a private message at any time with your feedback and I'll be sure to pass it along. 

Community Regular

@JasonB. I know you refer to " short of changing things back to the way they were" often like that's off the table. At least realize what once was successful for Pros and acknowledge how your changes impacted that. You also refer to "we heard from Pros and customers..", by the way, those two would the same things to TT. I am pretty sure a service seeker has never had money drafted out of their bank account and into yours. I was never consulted or participated in a survey on changes. Your changes, however small, have an impact. In the SAAS world, they vet, quality check, beta test changes that have the potential of affecting customers (that would be Pros). Your protocol seems to be CHANGE first, make a nice innovation video and then see how things play out. That's got you where you are today. A large turn over of customers ( Pros ) is imminent because ROI has dropped out of the bottom with these changes. Is the loss of GOOD PROS, PROs with high review rates and high success rates, good for return service seekers using TT? You also mentioned my frequent hires thru TT. By the way, those new PROS will never have the success the first generation Pros did. Those days are gone with the current mass quotation system. My success came because I understood the ( old ) system and had my own formula for approaching quotations. I knew what I was willing to spend and the projects that were in my wheelhouse. I was also REWARDED during the times I could be "glued to my phone or computer" because it offered me a competitive advantage being the first of 5 quotations. My stats showed being in the first three responses for quotation greatly improved my chances of being hired. If the quote was over 3, wouldn't touch it. Kudos to the Pro's that got there first because there was enough business to go around. Every piece of that successful equation that allowed me to apply strategy is now gone in the new way of doing things. Force me to use a one size fits all quotation template and lump me in with 10..15+ other Pros to a service seeker, not interested. Insta-quote needed to be better vetted for potential issues before it was launched. It was a death sentence to the once successful Pro.

Meaningful change that sure would be nice to see?

  • Have a simplified schedule of charges for using your service all Pros can understand.  The simpler the better.
  • Limit the number of quotations a service seeker sees.
  • Consult your Top Pro's and solicit feedback on upcoming changes.

I understand change and finding new ways of approaching business. Allot of success stories came out of the OLD THUMBTACK. At least consider those older elements that once had your Pro's trust and appreciation you were facilitating good leads. This new way is a cluster. - CM

Community Regular

All of this is a blessing in disguise for me. One thing for sure is you have a customer service group that is well mannered and says all the right things to give you temporary comfort from the truth. My hats off to those that have to deal with the Pros directly even though you don't make the choices. My question to each of you is do you know more than you let the Pro know and therefore lie by omission? Do you stick to what you are told to say even though your own value system says it is not right? If you were a Pro would you personally use Thumbtack right now? We can all put on a pretty face and give the public what they want to hear. Will your actions speak instead of your customer service? We will see. I have a feeling it will be something I hear about from someone else. I feel the end of using your service is near for this business owner. I am just another business owner with a thought that maybe just maybe they will hear me. Customer service did. Thanks. That's your job. I'd like to see the list of Pros that you have had in the office with the agenda that was discussed and speak to them personally. Can you get that info for me? Action speaks louder than words.  

Community Regular

These changes may be good for the buyer but they are killing your providers. First you hide the cost of talking to a client until after the fact taking away any opportunity to decide if the ROI is worth the risk of not getting the job. Then I look at billing to see that on average, this cost has gone up more than 6 times what it was in the old system.

Now I get a notice that we will no longer know the customer budget making it nearly impossible to make a reasonable decision as to the value of gambling on a bid (because without knowing what it's going to cost me up front, it is nothing short of a gamble)?! 

Once this goes into effect, because so little information of value is collected from the client, bidding on Thumbtack jobs is going to be a huge risk. I've landed some great gigs through Thumbtack but no question they have dropped off since the first change. This latest change will be the nail in the coffin.

As a drone photographer dealing with geographical locations where I cannot fly, I can't see Thumbtack providing any value at all once this goes into effect. It isn't worth the risk to pay $20+ only to tell a client that drone photography isn't allowed in their loction. 

Community Regular

Hi Jason,

I realize you asked CMartinez2018, not me, but I would like to weigh in on your question, because I used to work as an organizational consultant in the areas of employee engagement and change management, before returning to full-time music (and becoming a pro violin teacher on TT).  You guys are a classic case of how not to do changes.

First, trust depends not on what you say, but what you do.  It's not clear what you mean by "response" - are you asking us what we want to hear you say, or what we want you to do differently?

Second, the common complaints I keep seeing are transparency of pricing and a flood of competition.  There are probably other issues that matter a lot, but those are the two I am most aware of.  And I think it would be really simple to solve those problems - no "there's still a lot of work to do" needed.

Here's what I would do if I were TT:

1. Get good information from service seekers.  I see a lot of input from pros in various industries about what that means in their area.  For violin teachers, the information is sort of OK.  A couple tweaks would make it much better.*

2. Instantly send service seekers 10 pros who look like they match.  Just 10.  Service seekers then look over the 10 profiles and decide who looks like the best fit.  If they want to see more pros' profiles, charge them a fee based on how many more pros there are to choose from.

If you have industries and markets that have a lot more than 10 pros, then have pros list their services in order of importance.  And then ask service seekers enough information to match their specific request to the top 10 pros who prioritize that service.

3. Allow them to pick up to 3 pros to contact directly.  Charge those pros a flat fee for being the first choice.  THIS FEE SHOULD BE VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT PROS USED TO PAY TO SEND A QUOTE.  All the pros should know exactly what that fee will be.  Back in the credit days, I used 0 to 2 credits to quote on a potential violin student.  So it seems reasonable to me to pay $5 or $10 if a potential student picks me out of the list and contacts me. 

If the service seeker wants to contact more pros, maybe have a second tier pricing - just charge those pros 50% of the full fee.  Or something like that.

4. When a service seeker contacts me, give me all of their information so I can take it from there.  Phone number, email address, location, and what exactly they are looking for. 

5. When setting a budget, if I know that any potential students will cost exactly $6.50 (or whatever) if they contact me, THEN  I know how to set my budget.  As it is now, I have to set a dollar amount, not knowing how many potential students that will cover.  And that amount is really, really high compared to what I used to spend sending quotes.  This is why these changes feel really greedy to me and broke my trust.

*Btw, I am now on Bark.  And they let me draw a custom service area on a map.  Genius!

*I also wish TT would have a calendar with time slots that potential students see when they look at my profile.  That way, they can see when I actually have openings, and won't contact me if they need Monday afternoon lessons and I am already booked on Monday afternoons.  Right now, I am only able to set M-F 10-5.

Thank you for considering these suggestions.

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Artistryshop1 We definitely don't know more than what we tell you, I can say that with 100% honesty. We pride ourselves on being transparent. As far as a list of names, that's not something we can share as it's part of our guidelines on The Community to uphold privacy. @DustiO is an employee here at Thumbtack who does indeed use the platform. She might be able to give you more insight on some of your questions. 

Community Regular

hello,

am new to thumbtack. can i please have some explaination. i signed up, got background checked, started quotes, got one respone and about 30 dollars gone, and i have mail saying i owe an extra 30 for just the response to the quote. have not secured and contract and am already having to pay about 60 dollars

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @dandehao I sent you a DM about this. Feel free to return there with any questions 🙂 

Community Regular

Hi @JasonB,

I just went through all 7 pages and I am yet to find the Pros that your team is talking to, for the changes you have implemented. Let me say it again. I just went through 7 PAGES to find one Pro who came here and expressed their 100% satisfaction vs. pros like me who sincerely want to use TT but we saw ZERO I mean $0.00 success in profitability since the chances you implemented.  

You know what would make every Pro happy, if you or anyone from your team come out and say: "Hello Pros, with our old model our company was not profitable or didn't reach the return we expected, hence just like you all are in the business to profit, we are implementing changes which will make TT a profitable company. This changes will not make you happy but it is necessary for us to stay in business. If these changes work for you we love to hear back from you, if these changes are not profitable for you we understand and we wish you all the best. We will continue to provide you with all the current and future updates and changes we implement so you can make a decision which will be beneficiary for both TT and you. "

I am pretty sure this would make everyone who expressed their disappointment on 7 pages understand that TT is only for those who believe in quantity not quality. As for the majority people on these 7 PAGES wants to provide quality work by knowing the budget potential client wants to spend. 

I hope this helps you with what we want to hear. 

It is ok to say out loud that we are here to make a profit. 

Community Regular

@Meckell

I am right now laughing at my desk as you are constantly posting that we (TT) interact with the pros for the changes, Hummm!

Where are these pros?

Why not one of those pros here defending you guys?

Why are none of those pros sharing their success story here?

Do you see why everyone here is frustrated? It's your constant try to convince everyone that changes are hard and it will take time for you to get it.

Do you really think that we are clueless about changes, or we don't understand these changes? 

What TT needs to understand, you are losing your customers (Pros) who are frustrated due to lack of clarity in your communication.

I understand and I am pretty sure others also understand that changes are inevitable but when you change your core business values over and over again it is a clear sign that you as a company either don't know the direction you want to go to or looking to sell your business to big fish by showing short-term profitability. 

I am pretty sure my feedback won't be taken seriously because for me I will only return if I am able to see the budget. I refuse to quote anyone without knowing what their budget is, because without understanding what my client is looking for it's pointless to give them any quotes.  It's not like I am selling a jean all size same price, so for me to target the right customer I need to see if they are realistic with their budget or not. 

Your current model is for sure profitable since you have to constantly tell everyone here that changes are hard etc. So obviously the good old days (at least for me) on TT are long gone. The know your "clients budget" is RIP.

Thumbtack was great for everyone when it was initially started, now it's great for those who want to book an event at any cost. There is no space for people like me to stay as the quality factor from here is long gone.

It's all about quantity.

 

 

Community Regular

I just heard Marco's "chat" and referral to being partners. I do not feel like a partner nor valid part of this business that I signed onto almost 9 years ago. Was the first personal chef and caterer in my area of NC. There was a moment in time, that I was to communicate with Marco directly...Do not come into this arena without 32 years of being in business hard knocks and lots of blessings. Some wisdom that I learned from my deceased fiance, Fred Rentschler; former president of Armour-Dial, Hunt Wesson and CEO of Beatrice in the late 80's. (Probably before most of you were born!) He always told me to go to "the top" and often practiced what he preached as a seasoned leader by answering the phone directly...I would like to talk directly to Marco again...Tomorrow night, do have a 30 minute time slot to speak my mind with, I assume some of the decision makers. At this moment, I need to rethink what I want to really say. I am SO disappointed that besides outlandish pricing for a "maybe or maybe not client" to receive a contact back from the possible client. THAT client has NO IDEA, he/she is, by contacting us, is an automatic draw from out credit card.

Now, tonight, had my first experience in trying to assess whether I want to take a chance and throw out a random price to a potential client...Cannot even put in NEED MORE INFORMATION. And, what a waste of MY TIME, in trying to figure out DO I or DO I not, as there is not enough information to give a reasonable quote. My mantra continues to be "WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and BUDGET? I have written this before, that Martha Stewart, who I worked for in the early days, talked about the importance of knowing a budget...and she is a pretty sharp cookie. We need to KNOW a prospective client's calculated budget as best as they can offer it, instead of our guessing.

Helping us to get more customers? No Marcus. This new way of change is not to benefit us loyal pros; it inhibits us and we should be your first priority. It is very evident WHO makes money here and it is not us. There is something so very wrong here. I hope you make it right.

If anyone would like to send me some consolidated "wisdom" with bullets, please do so now. I have my assistant here tomorrow to help me put together this opportunity to express not only my thoughts but yours, too with hopefully some decision makers who will listen!

Chef Zacki

Community Regular

AMEN!

Chef Zacki

Community Manager
Community Manager

@BNG1 there have been quite a few pros who've shared their success stories on The Community. You can see some here and here. Feel free to interact and ask questions if you'd like. 

I can assure you that your feedback about the budget is being taken seriously, and so is everyone else's. I want our platform to work for you, but I also want to give you the why behind the change. Customers often anchored on the wrong budget or had an unrealistic sense of how much a project could cost. That put you guys in a tough spot, so we decided to get rid of that question. Our hope behind this change was that pros could still come up with a quote based on all of the other information that the customer has given. 

I want to find a solution for you and I want to help in any way that I can. What additional information are you looking for? What about our communication needs to be more clear? What business values have changed? I genuinely want to hear your thoughts. If you'd like to discuss this further, please send me a DM so we can talk about this. I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Community Regular

Dear Mr. CEO and Co-founder,

Let's talk business.

Back in the glory days of knowing your customer's budget and using credits I used to use all my credits within a week sometimes in just 3-4 days. I used to purchase a $100 package. That would have been $400/month almost $5,000 in revenue from me to TT.

That's $5,000 off your revenue, now add everyone like me to this and see how your P&L looks. 

With your new system, I get 1 quote, just 1  per week with the same budget.

Please convince me to use Thumbtack now!

I am waiting. 

Sincerely, 

Your customer that you don't care anymore. 

Community Regular

Tpt_1002 Great points here, Thumbtack is working for people looking to get service on this platform but charging us Pros to make a profit. If your changes are in view of customers (Pro's customers) why not charge them?  

 

Community Regular

I feel sorry for you moderators.  You have a script you have to read from, offering absolutely no help or solutions to these issues.  Marco's videos are only a band-aide for the giant wound he has created.  So here is what I feel needs to be said to Marco.  Fix the problem, you created it.   Stop price gauging all the pro's, maybe even charge a small fee for the prospects so that they will not put up a maybe job only for us to rush to the finish line and get absolutely no prize.    Marco seems like a smart guy, so he should know that if all of these people decide to take their complaints off of the TT community and actually start putting them out there for all to see, just like the NFL, Thumbtack is going to tank and in the long run spend more money trying to build it's reputation back up.  

Maybe he should actually listen to the pros and find a happy median price.  I really don't know how he gets his pricing in the first place.  Demographics play a big role in pricing, so a one size fits all price doesn't work in any professional service field.  It's not like going out and buying a plain t-shirt, there are plenty of variables in house cleaning, office cleaning, painting, photograghy, cooking, construction, etc.  There are hardly any jobs I can put an exact quote on without first seeing the area that needs to be serviced, but yet you want us to do that.  Maybe you should put an appointment setting on there, instead of requesting a price, the prospect can request your company information and set an appointment to see the area.  Now that I wouldn't mind paying for, not the price that you people are charging, but at least it's closer to a sure thing than what TT is offering now.   And stop turning all the jobs into a bidding war against all the pros.  5 contacts were plenty, may the best man/woman with the fastest fingers win.  Sending one job out to 13-15 pros is just pure greed.  

Community Regular
Im getting decidedly less customers. I've been Not only using but recommending Thumbtack to other pros and to my customers for other services they may need...for several years and have had great success. Now I hesitate to mention the site. If your goal was to bring in more pros and cover more clients you are having the opposite effect. The Prohibitively expensive prices as of late have been a huge detriment. I went from purchasing multiple leads a week to none. This is terrible. Please revert back to the old system and prices. Under this new pricing and structure I can't see utilizing the site effectively. I've made literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 5 years with Thumbtack... it wasn't broke, and the attempts to fix what wasn't broken have rendered the site un usable. I don't know if the thinking was to try and eliminate the fly-by nighters but as a "pro" with over 30 5 star reviews and ratings I would hope I'm one of the people youd want to cater to. But it doesn't seem that way. Much love to you guys at Thumbtack. I anxiously await for the old system to come back. If not, I can't in good concious use or reccomend the site. Thanks for reading.

Jason May
Community Regular

This is my exact same situation and frustration.

Active Community Member

I got charged when a customer told me they were not the decision maker.   That was not even a customer but just someone gathering info.  fishing,  I hate to pay for people just fishing around for prices and info and not even in the market.   Oh and I disputed it and guess what the response was.  No it is valid charge.   very frustrated. 

 

Active Community Member

First put customer budget back into every catagory.   

Add back how many pros have quoted.    Keep how many responces the customer has made. 

Next ask customers if they want a bunch of instant responces or customized and individualized quotes.   (you already know what they will choose) 

Go back to an option for pay per quote at the previous reasonable price. You can offer pay for response as an option.  Let the market decide which your customer (the Pro) wants.   (again you already know the answer) 

You said it was what people wanted.  I haven't seen anyone anywhere any praise any of your changes.  

Community Regular

@JasonB, I replied to your response as YOU requested and have seen no reply or acknowledgment to this point. 8 pages and counting with disgruntled Pro's. I'm still holding out hope your executive level can get out of its own selfs way and make changes that directly impact Pros for the better and start addressing concerns. Will it take over 10 pages and 90 comments? Eventually, this will get out on social media if it hasn't already. I'm sure when an investor voices concerns they are listened to. Ohh wait, we are your investors....

In the meantime, I urge all Pro's to take themselves off Insta-quote. To show me the default message that a "Pro's ON Insta-quote is 2.8 times more likely to be hired" is an insult to our collective intelligence. 

Active Community Member

Checked that out and nope not a single one is praising the changes pretty much everyone talk about starting years ago and not one mention about things improving with new changes.   Have you read them?  Seen one that actually is praising any of these changes?  Please tell us there is at least one that can help justify your chages as apposed to the pages of very upset Pros??????  

Active Community Member

hang on @dandehao  the ride is bumpier and costlier still to come.    Be very careful how and what customers you quote bids to.  Only quote those you feel you have the greatest chance of winning.  

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Vensent I want to look into this charge and get a better idea about what's going on. Can you send me a private message with your account email address and the name of the customer? 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@CMartinez2018 I don't want you to feel like we aren't listening. Believe me, everyone's feedback is being taken into account. I'd love to talk with you about the recent changes and get your detailed feedback on your category in your area. With 72 hires and amazing reviews, I want to hear your thoughts on what we can do to help you to continue growing your business. Go ahead and send me a private message and we can get started. 

Community Newcomer

I've aleady vented once but, looked back to when I started and the system was simple ( credits and being able to manage your budget instantly ).  We were able to decide for ourselves who and when we quoted.  And were actuall y told it was " instant ".  If the customer got a slew of quotes, so be it.  Then it's THEIR choice to call one or all of the Pros.  They win and we hope that the bid we present wins !!  Then we ALL win:  you provide a service and get paid; we get work and get paid; and the customer gets the work done, professionally....

Credits or no credits, pricing was up front ( we could or not quote, albeit, our conscious budget decision ).  There was a better way for customers to detail their project and we could better prepare our quotes to them.  Most of mine, especially now, are sent N/A becuase of the lack of detail on both sides.......

This can't be good for the very person this type of business is designed for, THE CUSTOMER !!

I'm a small company that works hard to get that satisfaction of delivering a customer a good job.  Everyday estimates for us are free.  I wonder what they would think if they new what we are going through.  With the old system, I didn't even think of " adding " extra to cover the " credit " because it was fair.

Any hoo, I sure hope ya'll get your head out of the sand and figure this out.  I'd be willing to bet someone can easily figure out that a small investment, a few system operators, a website and a brain will realize that $10 times 500,000 is enough money to feed all involved.......you get the point.

 

Frito1955

Community Newcomer

I had forgotten......there was a time where the # of Pros was limited to 5.  If you didn't get off your butt, you lost out and the customer ONLY got 5 responses, not more.

We also had to work harder to get the customer what they wanted; quicker beacuse of the healthy competition and in a effort to serve the customer.  Which is the very reason we all exist !!!!!!!!

 

Frito1955

Community Regular

@Frito1955, I could not agree more. Before the Service Seeker received 5 quotes from Pro's most on their game that day. They received a quotation from a Pro that had read their projects specs and evaluated the fit for their services. Those Pros were best engaged and prepared to help them at that particular moment.  Here is a laugh ( or cry ),  I once had so many projects going on from Thumbtack leads I would avoid quoting new ones until I could catch up! Those days are long gone and I think TT leadership are victims of the own success.

Competition was good for business in those days. Competition is always good.  I think its a generational difference of opinion.  The quotation experience has been reduced to just a crap shoot for the service seeker with 15 quotes sent out for every project. How many would even LOOK at that many quotes? I wouldn't. What it does do is take the pool of Pros to potentially charge for lead services from 5 to 15. Since a service seeker might only reach out ( that's an entirely different conversation what "reach out" means ) to a limited few Pros, they had to radically raise the price for leads.  That leaves a whole lotta Pro's on the outside looking in for no fault of their own. 

Community Newcomer

@CMartinez2018, here we go......5 - 15 Pros send quotes = $75 if 15 Pros @ just $5 a quote.    Now I'm charged $75 for the same quote ( originally approx. $10 or so ).  What's the justification ??  Where's the money going ??  I'd gladly pay $15 for this lead and if 4 more Pros ( if limited to 5 quotes to a customer ) would = $75.  I was raised when there was simple math and this is just that........

I had the same issue with having to put myself on " vacation " because I needed to catch up.  Life was good with the program and everyone benefitted.  No way the new charges are justifiable unless TT has visions of Grandeur they don't want to share.......

nevermind that, a good thing is going bad.  You're suffering, I'm suffering and of all things, the customer is going to leave the site because of TT's lost vision !!!!

 

Frito1955

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Frito1955 one thing to keep in mind is that not all customers contact all 15 pros who send them a quote. Yes, they want more options, so that's why we allow more pros to quote. We made this change for pros too as we heard a lot of feedback saying that they wanted more opportunities to get in front of customers. 

You're completely right that prices have gone up. But what else has changed is what you're paying for. You used to pay for every single quote, even if a customer didn't respond, it wasn't as valuable as it is now. We're still making changes to our pricing structure and we'd love to hear your thoughts on pricing for your service in your area. Send your suggestions here and it will get sent directly to our Product Team. 

Community Regular

@Meckell - I have to take you to task on this response. "We made this change for pros too as we heard a lot of feedback.." Feedback where and how? I follow a few forums and I have never been posed that question. In this case, we are approaching 90 responses of REAL feedback. Who arrived at the notion "they" the service seeker, needed more options? Previously you had 5 qualified and motivated Pros ready to do the project. My customers were very happy and so were the majority of the other Pro's customers. I didn't mind investing in each lead, purchasing a credit package because I had a formula for success. The process was calculated. You reference "value" in your response? Are quotes more valuable now? Pro's don't even KNOW what we are quoting until you have charged our bank accounts. How in the name of all things big and small is that value? 

I get you are doing your job and trying to appear attentive. E for effort for sure to the moderators.  I mentioned "canned" answers from staff and I think @JasonB had som about that. Honestly, I said that because these responses make no sense. You reference things that arbitrary and ask Pro's to accept them as truths. Here is a truth, once successful Pro's are dying on the vine in droves on your new system. There is lots of data to back that truth.

 

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@CMartinez2018 Pros leave feedback in our Suggestion Box, and when they contact any of our support channels and give us feedback, we always note it. Yes, quotes are more valuable now because you're only getting charged for responses rather than sending a quote and wondering if you'll ever hear from the customer. Now, pros do know the cost of the contact before they send the quote. To see this, you just need to select on the request details and click on "Learn More" the price will pop right up. 

I won't try and argue that there are pros who aren't happy with some of our recent changes and I'm happy you're all voicing your opinions here. One thing to remember is that changes take time and we're working day in and day out to continue to make the right changes to the platform to get pros in front of new customers. Keep sharing your feedback and if you have any concerns or even questions about your account, I'm happy to help. Send me a private message at any time! 

Active Community Member

I can appreciate thumbtack wanting to make improvements but so far, none of the improvements have been for pros.  First, you added instant match, which now instead of bidding against 5 people, we are going against upwards of 20. So now we have a 1 in 20 chance of getting the job.  I understand that we don't have to pay unless they respond, which is a good addition to the platform because in my field (video production) 90% of leads that come through end up going no where.  I have asked over the course of 2 years that thumbtack start asking customers a "willingness to hire" question.  This would help greatly in knowing whether customers are window shopping or if they are in dyer need. This request has been ignored. Thumbtack did start asking for customers to set a budget which was a huge help in determining if the job was worth bidding on and also gave pros who were just starting out a better chance at picking up those smaller jobs to build up their profile. Now...for a reason that is beyond any type of comprehension...Thumbtack has decided to do away with that prompt.  I've been with thumbtack for about 7 years and I will no longer quote until they start listening to the pros requests.

Community Regular

@Meckell In the old system if the customer doesn't open the quote for 48 hours we get a refund on the credit. 

If Customer is not opening all 15 then why are you sending them to 15? There is no way anyone can justify the jump from 5 to 15. If customers wanted more option may be from 5 to 7 is an acceptable increase but from 5 to 15 is pure greed. 

You Said "We made this change for pros too as we heard a lot of feedback saying that they wanted more opportunities to get in front of customers" and on other hand,s you said this "one thing to keep in mind is that not all customers contact all 15 pros" You see the gap here? 

"You're completely right that prices have gone up. But what else has changed is what you're paying for" - You right, we used to pay $5 per lead now we are paying $75-$100 per lead. 

"You used to pay for every single quote, even if a customer didn't respond, it wasn't as valuable as it is now." - With the credit system, we used to only pay if the customer opens our quotes, if it is not opened we get a refund. As per your own comment that not all customers contact all Pros, I don't see a reason to pay $75-$100 a lead where customer opens up the quote and tells us sorry we are going in other direction. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@BNG1That’s right, you did get refunded if they didn’t view your quote, but since you’re only charged for responses, that doesn’t apply anymore. Customers can open and view all the quotes but pros aren’t charged until there’s a response sent. The cost is higher because if the customer messages you, it shows a higher form of interest, meaning they’re more likely to hire you.
 

If the first response is a “no thank you” or “sorry we are going in other direction.” you shouldn’t be getting charged. If this isn’t the case and you’ve gotten charged for these responses, I want to make sure you get taken care of. Send me a private message with the names of the customers you were charged for and I’ll take a look

Community Regular

No, I don't have a higher chance of getting hired as I was spending $5 a lead to compete against 4 other Pros.

Now I have to spend $75-$100 range to compete against 14 other pros. 

that's $1.25 (at $5/lead) vs. $5.357 (at $75/lead) cost difference. 

Based on your current model I will pay more for less probability of getting hired. Plus you forgot to factor the budget. I will be bidding against 14 Pros without even knowing if the customer can afford my service. So if they view my quote, writes back to me asking "Why are you charging so much where others are offering 1/3 price" I will not only be reaching out to a wrong customer but now I am down $75 bucks. 

Thank you but no thank you.

Active Community Member

Meckell,  I do feel like no one is listening. I am a Top Pro Editor who has not been able to secure a job since July. I had no problems with the old system. I sometimes had several jobs at once. One thing that is screwing me up totally regarding quoting is that the request form does not ask the customer for an approximate (or exact)  WORD COUNT. Instead you have ranges that are quite vast. Therefore in order to give a quote I have to ask the customer in a reply, "what is your approximate word count?"  Then I am charged when they merely answer that question!!! That is not fair. I can't give a price without it. I can give an hourly rate but that doesn't tell them how many hours they'll be charged for. I put Need More Info and then ask, then I get charged if they answer and they don't respond to my next reply. PLEASE JUST GO AHEAD AND FIX THE REQUEST FORM. I do think the rate you are charging for quoting is too high but at least as a first step, start here! I've already said this a number of times and no one appears to be listening.

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Metro2016 can you send me a private message with the name of the customer? I'm more than happy to look into this for you!

Community Veteran

@Bryn@CMartinez2018 - I'm going to do my best to reply to you both:

@CMartinez2018: yes, we totally acknowledge that there are pros who were winning with the old system, and for whom the new system requires some adjustment.  The problem with the old system was this: while you and others might not have minded being glued to your phone - and might have been successful because you were able to respond quickly - the reality is that there were a lot of pros who hated this.  As a result, we simply didn't have enough pros for a lot of customer requests.  Some customers wouldn't even get a quote back, and the customer would leave Thumbtack disappointed.   In order to grow our marketplace -- in order to attract more customers so that you all can get more jobs -- we realized that we had to make it easier and quicker for all pros to quote.  

Yes, to be successful on Thumbtack, it's no longer about sending a custom quote within seconds.  But we're confident that pros who were successful in the old world can be successful in the new world, too.  There's a reason why you were successful in the old world, and it's not because you were willing to be glued to your phone.  It's because you're a great pro and you're great at what you do.   The new system doesn't change that.  It just changes the specific tactics you have to use.  That's not insignificant and I recognize that.  But hopefully it's not a dealbreaker, either.  You're still getting quality leads, and you can still stand out to potential customers with your reviews, your profile, and your personal touch. 

I also need to push back on the suggestion that we don't test changes before we make them.  Of course we do.  We run experiments, we run surveys, we do focus groups and conduct interviews.  We are constantly soliciting feedback.  Some of that happens here in the Community, but it happens through our other support channels, through the work of our User Research team, through events we have in our office and in cities across the country.  Look out for these opportunities.  They're there.  

@Bryn: to your first point, we've fixed price transparency for all pros sending custom quotes! See here.  For pros using Instant Match, I hear you that it would be helpful to narrow the budget range, so that you can have a better sense of the number of contacts a weekly budget will cover. Thank you for that feedback; we're working on it.

To your point about limiting the number of service seekers to 10 pros, we're constantly testing what the optimal number is for customers, and what will produce the greatest number of hires for you all, our pros.  But this is also where I ask for just a tiny bit of understanding from you all.  In talking to pros, we hear folks say that we should only ever show 5 pros, others saying they'd be okay with 10, and still others saying they're cool with 15+.   We can't make everyone happy.   All we can do is whatever is the most fair and the most beneficial to our pros.  Of course, we have to earn your trust so that you can rest assured that we're in your corner and have your back.  We haven't done that well enough. 

Finally, a calendar with time slots is a great suggestion!  This is something we're actively working on. Stay tuned!

 

Thank you so much for weighing in! 

Community Regular

Thanks for hearing me, Jason.

If I remember correctly, we had 48 hours to send a quote.  If we weren't in the top 5, we lost out.  So, doesn't it seem that if a service seeker doesn't get any quotes within two days there probably isn't a pro out there interested in or available to do the job?  Sending them 10 or 15 pros' profiles doesn't solve that problem.  And then letting the service seeker get to decide to spend my money (for a job I wouldn't have quoted on because I know they aren't a fit for what I do) doesn't solve the problem either, it just makes me upset.

I was not one of those pros glued to my phone (or computer).  I didn't like the pressure, but at least I got to decide who was or wasn't a potential student for me.  If a student got quotes from 3 violin teachers, then there really are just 3 violin teachers who have space in their studio, on the day the student wants lessons, close enough that the student will be willing to drive there every single week, willing to teach a student that age the style/method that student is looking for.  Sending them 15 teacher profiles doesn't mean there are 15 teachers available.  So how, exactly, does this help the service seeker, or the teacher who gets charged for a "valuable contact" they don't want?

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Trevor I know that all of the complaints and feedback we get from you guys is coming from a good place. You guys care about your business’s and about Thumbtack. If you didn’t care, we wouldn’t be hearing anything, so we’ll take it. 
It never goes unnoticed how hard professionals work and the last thing we want you to feel is that you’re being taken advantage of.
Transparency has changed, specifically with pricing. We’ve started showing prices and now we’re working on the actual cost for each category in each area. It takes time, as all changes do. Keep the feedback coming because we do take it all into consideration.

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Hopeandfaith405 I'm so happy to hear this, congrats on the success you're finding! Do you have any tips for other pros or any advice? I'm sure everyone here on the Community would love to hear it 🙂 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@emu1975 I want to hear your feedback on Instant Match and why it specifically isn't working for you. Can you send me a private message with your thoughts and suggestions? I'd love to hear you out. 

Community Regular

Appreciate the response. Logged in after reading it. Checked the price of a real estate photo gig in my area (what I do the most) and price went UP from what was already was overpriced. Went to close the browser and noticed I had an inbox message...from the one gig I've been able to book in the last month. To cancel. Beacuse they're "doing it themselves". STOP CHARGING ME FOR FAKE LEADS.

I offer my services cheap on this site and work with customers budgets and get even further crushed with your bogus quotes and then the transaction fee from digital payment apps and then taxes. I'm losing money.

Look at my website and tell me I'm not a talented photographer that should get business from this website.

http://trevorpopovitscreative.com/

Every interaction I have with Thumbtack frustrates me more and more.

Community Regular

@Bryn@CMartinez2018 @JasonB

What's the reason to take away Budget? 

Without knowing the budget, I can't send a quote. 

Unless you are only looking to help Pros who are looking to offer cheap price then please communicate clearly that this platform is only for quantity people, not for quality. 

If your concern about other pros not able to send quote why did you change the entire credit system? That has nothing to do with increasing quotes from 5 to 15. 

How are you going to justify to me specifically where I was able to purchase $100 credit and send out 20 quotes at $5/lead and now if I sign up with your new system I will get 1 quote which will cost me $100.

That's $95 a lead difference Even if I book every single job I send a quote my revenue will drop by $95 dollars. 

Let's do a simple math. 

Cost for Pro (me) to send quote on TT = $100

Lead = Old system 20 leads ($5/lead) vs New system 1 lead ($100)

Average Job = $500. 

Let's say out of 20 quotes I book 6 gigs so my revenue will be $3,000 ($500 a gig * 6 gigs)

My expense $100 for credits I purchase so 3.33% spend on TT ($100 for credit purchase / $3,000 revenue) 

With new system My expense $100 so

Job booked 1 total revenue of $500 so 20% spend on TT  ($100 /$500 revenue)

I will spend exactly the same budget and I will generate $400 net with the new system. That is a $2,600 drop in revenue.  83% drop in business. 

A yearly drop of $31,200

How is this beneficial for Pros? 

I really hope you guys help me understand how this is beneficial for Pros. 

 p.s. I am not even factoring the probability of getting less hire ration due to 5 pros vs 15. So that I will save for the next reply. 

Community Expert

@BNG1 some thoughts on the removal of the customer budget and which pros are affected can be found in a different thread HERE

As far as pricing and seeing ROI, you're right in that you're being charged more than before. However, you're also paying for something different. You're now paying when a customer responds. Which in many cases before would take a handful of quotes. This Help Center page and video explain how pros are often spending less than before per contact they receive per customer: https://help.thumbtack.com/article/pay-for-contacts.

Yes, there are more pros being shown to customers. This was due to customers asking to see even more pros, and even going as far as to create the same project twice. Many pros also let us know that they'd like to throw their hat in the ring for more popular jobs even if it increased the number of pros listed. We did this and to be fair we made sure that pros would be being put in for consideration totally free, and then if the customer chooses to message you out of those 15 pros your odds of being hired go way up.