Have a question for Marco?

Community Veteran
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On Thursday, March 21st, we'll be hosting a live Q&A with Thumbtack CEO and co-founder, Marco Zappacosta (@MarcoZ).
 
Post your question here for a chance to win $100 in Thumbtack credit. Terms apply.
 
Want to know what we're working on at Thumbtack? Interested in learning more about our vision and strategy?
 
Marco will answer some of your questions live during the Q&A on March 21st.
 
All other questions will get a written response in the days that follow. Our moderation team is on hand to answer support questions, too.
 
Thanks for all that you do!
348 responses
Community Regular

As a Pro that is high on the list, I get a lot of single requests for availability who ghost repeated reply messages, yet I still get charged. Can you please make this stop? A customer that does not reply to the pros message should not count as a paid connection. How is this a valid connection for the pro and customer. These should be refunded.

Plus, the Pro should also have the ability to decline requests without being charged because of low cutomer budget or a reason that does not match the pro's needs. Thoughts? 

Community Regular
Do you have any plans to listen to pros concerns and go back to the original format where we quote all requests? The promote format is very obviously a way for Thumbtack to get more profit. My business had tanked because of Thumbtack.
Community Newcomer
Why is it that I am suddenly receiving requests from out of state, or if in state, completely out of my area? This is ridiculous!
Community Regular

Hey Marco,

I'm curious if there is a way on your end to link Thumbtack reviews to Google search engine results.

In other words, when someone googles CVP Coaching and my info pops up on the right side of the screen people can see my google reviews and also reivews from other places like Facebook. I would like add Thumbtack to that.

I know that my google reviews show up on my Thumbtack profile.

Is it possible to link them in the other direction?

 

 

Community Regular

Do you have any plan to improve "match" on pricing? One thing I didn't want to promote is that I had many clients who was not "matched" with me in terms of pricing. They were all offerring a lot less than I was asking. Thank you. 

Community Newcomer

I agree with this post. I stopped responding to Thumbtack requests in January 2019 because I was not seeing a return on my investment. I am paying too much to just be an "information stop" for a person who probably is not really interested in hiring a DJ. I am finding more success on WeddingWire and Google.

Community Newcomer
Why don't you just get me the contact option with my phone number ? You get paid. and l run it from there w/o you micro managing me, my business, my clients.
I can handle my business very effectively on that level
Community Veteran

Marco, you made a post on this forum on 11/21/2018  in which you said...

  • "We’ve made a lot of changes with the goal of getting you more and more happy customers."

I've read all the questions and comments in this thread. My overwhelming impression is that many Pro's (myself included) are extremely unhappy with the recent changes to the Thumbtack platform and Thumbtack's new revenue model; specifically Search & Promote (and its now defunct predecessor Instant Match).

Based on the comments from Pro's in this thread (and in countless other threads throughout this community) many Pro's are reporting that they are seeing fewer leads and that the leads they receive (and pay to respond to) are of questionable quality, most of their leads never bother to even respond back. 

Fewer leads results in fewer customers which results in reduced revenue for Pro's using Thumbtack. That has been the result of the recent changes and it has lead to an erosion of confidence and immense dissatisfaction amonst the Pro's here.

Three questions - pick one, or more than one, its up to you.

QUESTION 1:

The Pro's in this thread are telling you they are getting fewer and fewer happy customers. Do you feel that you achieved your goal of 'getting us more and more happy customers'?

QUESTION 2:

What would you say to the many Pro's in this community who are reporting that they are now less successful (or have even left Thumbtack) as a result of your recent changes? 

QUESTION 3:
For your Pro's who have lost confidence in Thumbtack, what do you feel are the three most important issues that have resulted in their loss of confidence and how do you plan to resolve those issues in an effort to regain their confidence?

Regards,
Laurence.

Community Regular

Can I add...

1. Why do I have to pay for a promoted lead when they ask if I'm available, and then never respond, and there is no other way to contact them. It's like throwing money away.

2. Being "promoted" on dates when I have clearly marked my calendar as not available. And after being promoted, paying to decline because of availability.

Community Regular

And if I'm "promoted" I have already PAID for the lead that I'm not available for. How do we stop that? 

Community Newcomer

What are some helpful things you have learned about starting a business that you can share with me/us? 

Active Community Member

 Why do you like keeping us pros in the dark.?   In the past you provided much more useful information than you do now, for example, logs of messages sent to and from pros and customers?  

Community Regular
I have slowly started to phase thumbtack out after being very happy with thumbtack for several years. I am getting charged upwards of $25 dollars for a job that may only be $150. When leads were $5-$10 I would crank leads out and even if I only landed 3-4 out of 10 estimates I didn’t mind losing the orher ones. At $20-$25 a lead I cant take that risk.
For years my clients have commented on having such a positive experience on thumbtack vs. your main competitor.
Thumbtack needs to realize we care about the clients even if they dont hire us or we don’t provide the service they are looking for. In the previous model I could still chat with the client and help them figure out what they needed. Now because TMBT is trying to micromanage it greatly diminishes our ability as top pros to communicate with the potential client so they can find exactly what they are looking for. My recent feedback from clients have been pretty bad with their experience using thumbtacks new platform.
I feel like thumbtack really needs to be asking the pros what details do we need to see in order to provide a quick and accurate estimate. The fields you require customers to fill out dont help in my particular category or are confusing to the client.

Question : Over the years I have seen that clients who post pictures with their estimate request are wayyy more likely to hire and are more serious to get the job done. With pictures I can usually provide a quik and concise estimate without having to do a field site. Would you be willing to make customers provide pictures when requesting an estimate in categories that it would benefit?
I would be way more willing to pay the extra money for the lead if I had more details.

Question: Why is it saying on an instant match lead that sometimes 5 or more pros have contacted that individual? That would mean thumbtack charged 5 pros $20 dollars a piece for a job that may only be $150. That seems like some serious price gouging. I could understand paying a higher lead fee if I was the only pro the client was matched to but it doesn’t seem to be that way.

I wish you would go back to the older model. Thank you
Community Regular
I agree with this completely. With he old TMBT model I could always chat with the client and help them find what they are looking for even if it’s something I didn’t provide. Thumbtack needs to recognize that the top pros genuinely care about the clients and want them to have a great experience with TMBT. Now they have moved to the Home Advisor model charging more per lead but only hiving the clients a few estimates.
Most of my clients have had a bad experience with Home Advisor but really loved thumbtack but recently Ive started to hear complaints fron clients using thumbtack.
Community Newcomer
In your opinion, what are the top 3 services with the highest demand and growth in Thumbtack? What cities have the most requests for these services? Thank you
Community Regular
Well put!
Community Expert

@Iclifephotos if you've blocked a date out on your pro calendar but are contacted for that date by a customer you shouldn't be charged. If you do get charged I'd recommend going through our new refund experience which we recently posted in the Community here: https://community.thumbtack.com/t5/Product-news-updates/A-new-refund-experience/m-p/21349?advanced=f...

Community Veteran

My question is:  With all the dramatic changes in the last 6-7 months,  how do you justify the increase in price for a lead contacting us when our odds of getting book have decrease?  It is a fact - we went from 1 out of 5 chance with a reasonable cost for the lead - to a triple cost now competing against the entire data base of pros in our field that fit request.   I see customers responding to 7 - 8 - 9  pros in some cases.  This has significantly increased TT's opportunity for profit - but decreased the opportunity for individuals getting booked.  If a customer now gets to see a huge list of possible pros for their request . . .   shouldn't the cost to us pros be lower when competition is fierce?  I have been told by TT staff that if they contact you the odds of them hiring you are greater because they contacted you.  Shows serious interest.  Well not if the customer is contacting 9 other pros.  And last week I saw two requests come in that were $50 to respond and the customer contacted 9 pros.  That's a $450 profit for Thumbtack.   I was shocked to see that.  It's shameful that TT makes that much profit.   I looked back a year ago and that same lead would have been $12.   Maybe a cap on how many pros a customer can contact should be applied.  Maybe customers should see all that is available but only allowed to contact 3 pros. That would justify increase in prices, make my odds better and make more sense.   If TT is allowing a customer to contact as many pros as they like - then the increase in price to us pros is not justified in my mind.  Something to consider because I really dislike the fact that I see 7-8-9 pros contacted.  There is no need for a customer to be contacting more than 3 pros and TT's profitability should have a cap on it.

Community Veteran

I've noted the same thing.  Thumbtacks profit is now over the top.  Allowing customers to respond to as many pros as they want and Thumbtack increasing the cost triple is a fact we can all see now.   My question would be Why not put a limit on how many pros a customer can contact.  I cringe everytime when I see a customer has contacted more than 3 or 4 pros at a cost of anything over $20.  No lead should ever be over $10-$15 if the door is wide open for customers to contact as many pros as they want.   

Community Regular
As a Bridal and evening wear Fashion Designer for me very important to help ladies on the most important day of. Is TT considering to create a “tab” custom design or wedding dress??? Because right now if you go to the tab under wedding all the service available ( photo , hair, make up etc, but not one of the most important wedding or evening dress. I’m doing great with TT but having the custom option and the alteration under one tab is not the best because it’s differe t skill level for the customer and for the client. WEDDING Dress deserves a section 👗👗✂️✂️👰🏼👰🏼🍾🍾🙏🙏
Community Veteran
Why is the service pro not thought of and respected as a Thumbtack customer? I mean after all without our money and support you would have been out of business years ago!
Community Veteran

I hear you. Loud & clear. I've suggested this for 10 years now! If we're paying for a lead then we should have their e-mail address & home number. These leads that we get today aren't cheap!

Community Expert

@Lar 

Excellent questions!!! Looking forward to what the responses will be.

Community Expert

@MarcoZ 

Thank you for wanting to take time out of your busy schedule to hear my and my fellow peers questions, comments, concerns and suggestions. Hopefully you will take time to answer ALL of our questions with concrete answers, and not the vague responses that we usually receive. I am also not  interested in winning the $100 credit, as I just want to have a successful 2019 and beyond with Thumbtack, just like the success that I had for most of 2018, until the new system came to be.

With that said, My input is as follows:

Some Pros have mentioned here why are we charged for conversation starters? Personally, those aren't very interested customers, just "tire kickers" or what I call "click happy"

1) For my business, If I'm using Promote, I need to see customer profile, event information and lead cost ahead of time. After reviewing that information, and I decide to reply to customer, THEN charge me. There are many variables that go into my decision making, that all preference settings don't have the capability of providing me.

2) Why was the control of contact put in customers' hands? I was told by Thumbtack that 80% of customers weren't in touch with a Pro, but now with this new system, it seems that 80% of Pros aren't in touch with customers. We pay for the system, not the customers. Therefore, I feel that we should be back in control. We know our business better than anyone else. If Thumbtack is a lead generation company, then provide us with the leads as we used to get.

3) With Promote off, majority of us are receiving leads 150+ miles away. Why is that? As a DJ, I will not travel 150+ miles for a 3  hour gig, where customer budget is under $300. I've expressed this concern with the moderators, on line reps and a rep via phone. Only response I receive is that Thumbtack doesn't know what jobs I want, so it is left to me to pick and choose. 95% of those jobs I pass on. I'm sure that there is way that Promote preferences can be set for whether Promote is on or off. We shouldn't be punished for not wanting to use Promote. The way Promote is  currently set up, it's not for every job category, or the way that majority of the Pros conduct their business.

4) Please give back the "customer viewed quote" tool! That was very valuable. I know that Thumbtack wants us to focus on conversing with the customer, but how can we converse with customer if we don't know if quote/message was viewed, or if they even saw our response to their so-called conversation starter?

5) Why are lead costs so high, even with Promote on? Why not set a flat rate for each job category? In my business, a lead can cost $25-$40. With the lead cost high, and if a customer wants a DJ for under $300 because of a personal situation, it doesn't give me much room to work with the customer, when I have to figure in gas, gobo purchase, insurance, etc. And there's no room for profit.

6) I know that we get matched to customers via preference settings, but even that's not perfect! I take into account many variables on a daily basis before I decide on if the customer is a good fit for me or not. Update the preference settings, especially the quotes page. We're supposed to set a prices by the hour, yet in my business, I usually charge by the event, so each job is different.

7) Please do away with the conversation starters. Customers aren't viewing the Pros profiles in their entirety. If they were, we wouldn't receive "What's your estimate?". "What's your availability?", etc.

😎 Also, please give back the jobs as they come in real time, instead of grouping them into 1 or 2 emails. This was another useful tool, now when those grouped emails come in, it's too late for us to bid on.

9) Can our credit cards go back to being charged once per week instead of for every $50 usage? I can reach that $50 in 1 or 2 jobs, and the once per week charge helps me maintain my weekly budget, as I discussed with a rep via phone.

10) Why aren't reviews listed in chronological order from newest-oldest? If I'm a customer and I see older reviews listed ahead of newer reviews, I will think that the Pro hasn't done much business recently. I had one customer contact me as to why reviews are scattered, thinking it was me. I told her that's how Thumbtack does it and she didn't believe me. Please fix the review listing asap.

Thank you for allowing me time to give my input. Looking forward to answers not only to all my questions, concerns and input, but to answers to all of the pros who are commenting here

Stephen

 

Community Regular

I’ve been a proud Thumbtack “Mentor/Top Pro/Best Of” – Handyman Contractor for almost five years. However, with each change in your software and quoting procedures over the last few years I get more and more inappropriate job listings.  For example; They come through as “Door Repair” (which I do) but they are in reality plumbing, electrical etc jobs that I do NOT do. This is due to your default settings on the customer form and should be a very easy software fix.

Paying Thumbtack more to “Promote my business” is, understandably, not an option as long as inaccurate jobs are sent to me. As a result, even with my over 125, 5-Star reviews I do not show up under the local contractor search, while companies with only two or three marginal reviews DO show up.  This is a disservice to both your Pro Contractors as well as to your Customers.

Can you please help me STAY a happy Contractor and continue to provide outstanding Top Pro Services to Thumbtack customers?

Mike Walrath

Aloha Services LLC

Community Regular

exactly my complaint too !

Community Newcomer
Hi- I know you offer refunds when people say they will travel to us but decide its too far. They often just don't reply when I ask if they are in fact willing to come to my location, and you require that they say in the app that it's too far. It would seem fair to me to get 50% back at least.
Community Veteran

@MarcoZ If you are going to continue to use conversation starter questions then let me suggest as I have several times in the last few months on these forums & also with Chris a support supervisor who is based out of Salt Lake City, UT. I spoke with him last December. This is the ONLY conversation starter question that is needed in my opinion.

“I've read your profile & your reviews. I really like what I’ve read. Your reviews are awesome! I would love to speak to you further about my event. Please call me at (insert phone number here) or e-mail me at (insert e-mail address here). Thank you”.  Heck if I'm paying for a lead after they reach out to me because they like what they saw in my profile & reviews or back in the old days when the credit system was used then why can't we have that leads e-mail address & telephone number? Why play the cat & mouse games?

I've been using Thumbtack for about 10 years now. I've seen every platform. I've made dozens upon dozens of suggestions over those years. It seems like every upgrade that is done benefits Thumbtack & the customers that use Thumbtack. Not the service pro. You'll see on this thread the major disappointments with the latest upgrade where the customer viewed your quote has been taken away. Used to be at one time in the early days of Thumbtack where you were able to see that a lead read your response to them. Promote may work for Thumbtack & the customers who use it. Doesn't work for the service pro. Not in it's present format.

I've said this statement ad nauseum over the years to anyone at Thumbtack who cares to not only listen but hear......Please work with your service pros! Not against us!

Community Expert

@Hankster 

That's an excellent conversation starter because it gives those so-called interested customers our contact information. Most don't take time to read our profiles in detail for whatever reason, and this gives them a contact info so not to play that cat and mouse game.

Community Newcomer
Hi- I know you offer refunds when people say they will travel to us but decide its too far. They often just don't reply when I ask if they are in fact willing to come to my location, and you require that they say in the app that it's too far. Do you agree it would be fair to get 50% back at least when they don't reply, and to make up for the app's I ability to avoid this problem.
Community Veteran

@MarcoZAnother flaw with Thumbtack. I'm a DJ service pro. You have customers out there who have no flipping clue as to what a DJ service charges. On the manual quoting system I very often see a leads budgets under $300 for a 4 or 5 hour Wedding event. See the usual notes in the message. "This will be a small reception" Just need the DJ to make a couple of announcements", etc. These leads dont take into account the prep time & hours that are spent by me planning & organizing to make their event a special, memorable & successful event. No matter how many hours or the number of guests.  Other lead sites out there who use the credits system to pay for leads let their customers know up front what they should expect to pay. For example:

Wedding DJ | Guests: 50-100, Age: 16-80, Required: 5-6 hours
Customer name in Glendale, AZ
Average value: $650-1000
 
Thumbtack has been in business for over 10 years now & you have NEVER provided this information to your customers. Why? You folks use analytics to charge us the ridiculously high prices for leads. You mean to tell me that same system can't spit out numbers to let your customers know what to expect to be charged when they decide on a service to use. Your customers need to be better educated before  submitting a request. 
Community Regular

How is the amount we pay for a lead determined? Are the leads 'vetted' at all? Anyone can request services on thumbtack, but it seems there are no 'options or controls' to determine if the prospects are serious. As a travel specialist, when will the option be available to list the types of trips we do plan & the states we are not allowed to sell travel in?

Community Regular

Hankster,

I could not agree more!!!!!!!!

 

Community Regular

Hi Marco,

Your customer support people are the best at customer service that I have experienced in years.  They are patient, seem sincerely concerned and determined to help with my needs.  I really want Thumbtack referrals to work for me, however, it seems now when even only 2 minutes go by, a notice pops up saying 6 or 7 pros have already contacted the client or the red bar pops up.  I reply as quickly as possible, however, some requests are either real late at night or real early in the morning.  It seems that some pros must not work and just sit by their computer day and night.  It is good for the potential client & Thumbtack, however, not for the pro.  Why is it sometimes it will say that 11 or 12 pros have contacted the client? 

Some of the clients - especially Motivational Speaking leads - I have really wanted to contact but 6-7 pros have already contacted the lead.  Most leads do not reply to me even though a few will write and ask when I am available, which means I have to pay.  Thanks for lowering the prices.  2017 I paid a lot.  Any ideas for getting leads to reply?  

Have you ever considered just having us pay Thumbtack a percentage for the jobs we get?  I think you would make more $ that way.  

Have you considered having the leads who confirm hiring a pro pay Thumbtack and Thumbtack paying us?  (Did you do that before?)

I have plans for Wednesday night, however, might be able to listen while driving.  Will you be sending a phone # we can call?  I want to hear this conference call.  Thanks for doing such a good job.  Summer Simonton, Top Pro with Thumbtack

Active Community Member

Here's my question for Marco!  When it comes to running Thumbtack, what keeps you up at night?

-RCPS

Community Regular

Thank you for writing this EXACTLY how I would have said it. As a fellow DJ that does primarily weddings I have the same frustration. Customers have little clue as to what the going rate of a given professional is or what it takes to perform the service they're requesting. An educational "snippet" letting the customer know what the range is in their area would be very helpful. 

Community Newcomer
Why don't pros have the option to see a customer's response before deciding if they want to pay to reply. I'm sure a lot of other professionals are tired of paying for a lead that just says something to the effect of "thanks but I'm going a different direction" and thumbtack customer service calls this a potential client relationship so we can't get a refund.
Community Newcomer
I keep getting requests for work for either different services or sometimes even the same service from the same person. The problem is I dont get a single response but still get charged. I don't click on the 2nd one because I don't want to get double charged for basically a non-existent job. How can this be fought without having to dispute it everytime. Which is almost happening daily. To add to it the jobs that this happens on are always vague with the basic information. The ones that respond more are the jobs that took the time to write something in. Makes it hard to swallow that they are legit leads. Just being honest and want this figured out so we all can maximize our time and money.
Community Newcomer

I own a music school in CT Rock House School of Music and use Thumbtack for new students. I am opening a 2nd location and want to kn ow how to keep all my great reviews and ranking for the new school. 

Community Newcomer

With the new way Thumbtack works, I am charged when folks look at my profile.   For a professional musician, this is a tough one.   Many customers are just "shopping" and not really interested in my skill set.   They are looking for a specific style of musician (cellist, singer, etc.) but look at my profile (harpist) out of interest.   Also, is there a way to make it so that when I am booked with a client on one date that I won't get any more leads on that date?   Some sort of calendar or something.   Since it is wedding season I am getting a lot of hits all on the same days.  I can only do one job at a time and I hate paying for all these leads that I cn not possibly take.

Lastly, it would be great if we (the pros) could rate (or warn) other pros about "bad clients" - like folks that don't pay.   I have been burned a few times and would like to warn other pros about these clients.   

Community Newcomer
Hello Marco,

When will you implement a real customer agent when we have immediate questions on a job?
Community Regular
My biggest problem with THUMBTACK is some of the rates you charge for leads. I have paid $6.18 for a lead that netted me $6100.00. You clearly under charged me. I have paid $16.00 for a lead where I only made $140.00 off the job. I was clearly over charged.
It's very clear on both sides of the fence that you guys need help clearing up this money losing situation. My question to you is.
Do you want to fly me out to headquarters to help address this situation. I can help you create a guideline for New Lead Cost that works for both THUMBTACK and the CONTRACTORS.
I look forward to seeing you.
A sit down Q n A in front of a computer screen isn't my style.
I appreciate your time. Thanks Marco.
Community Newcomer
I have gotten that reply every time for last 3 years not once has anyone ever checked back
Community Newcomer
What was the reasoning behind all the changes to the “view competition” section of quotes? The information it provided was helpful.
Community Newcomer

Marco, 

Lately I have been having interactions with "Customers" that seem to be very robotic and I am getting charged for these inquiries. Is there anything that cooperate can change so this can be monitored so I am not getting charged for such bogus inquires? 

Community Regular

@jcp Give promote a few weeks with the budget you are comfortable spending and I think you'll be happy. Although I'm sure depending on what service you're offering it could be different for you. Promote has been very successful for me. I've booked at least 5 clients from Thumbtack over the last couple of months. Some of the leads are not good, and I just ask for a refund because it is clearly not matching up with my criteria. So overall, I'm only losing money on very few clients. 

Community Regular

@TrainerDad Hi! There already is an option for this. If you click on your photo in the top right hand corner after you go to Thumbtack, there is a Calendar button. You can block out any days and times you want to so you dont get requests for those days. Then, if you accidentally do get one for a date you're booked you can ask Thumbtack for a refund. This happened to me yesterday. A customer put in their request that they wanted a photographer March 20-22nd, but they actually wanted someone this weekend when I am booked and blocked as unavailable. So I will receive a refund. Hope this helps!

Community Regular

Hi! I am willing to travel as far as a client will pay me to go for a job. However, sometimes Thumbtack misquotes my travel fee which does not make sense to me since I've already input how much it'll cost a customer depending on how far they live from me. 

Has there been any progress made to fix misquoting travel fees?

Community Newcomer
Why does the cost of submitting a quote fluctuate?
Community Veteran
@keiradavis27 thank you for responding and yes I am trying it this week. Happy Instant Match is gone - that was costly. I did book two clients the first day back on promote. Luck? We shall see. But that is promising so I’m glad I stepped back for several months. However, As for your experience, booking 5 customers in a couple months does not sound good to me. That is unfortunate from my perspective. Maybe you are new to TT because you don’t understand that those of us Top Pros who have been with TT for years were booking 5-8 customers a month. A month. Five customers in a few months is not a successful platform my perspective. But it does depend on what you spent in that time and money you’ve spent getting those five bookings in several months. Profit and loss to your business is critical for success. However, we each have the freedom to decide what is worth investing in from our own personal perspective. So, therefore, I am happy you are happy. 🙂
About the Author
I've been a mobile DJ/MC for 29 years this year. Very proud to say that I turned a hobby into a successful business. I've been a part of many organizations, and played at many weddings through the years, but one very dear to me is being a regular DJ for the Tim Tebow Foundation "Night To Shine". I have my parents and best friend, Tommy who was a monsignor and part of the God Squad who had a weekly radio show on Long Island, to thank for encouraging me to pursue my dream of being a DJ. Even though they aren't here to see me be a part of a high profile event, I know that all 3 are looking down at me, smiling proudly.