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 Newcomer
Are you going to reorganize the pricing structure? Why can't it be one monthly Flat fees for quoting? More times than not, we spend money and get no replies. I feel like I've spent more money on quotes and leads, than getting an actual return on making money. I get this company needs to make money but so do the business people who are trying to make ends meat as well. Thank you.
Community Regular

@jcp I wasn't a fan of Instant Match either! I've used Thumbtack for 2 years so I've been through a few of the cycles. 5 customers might sound like a little to you, but it's not for me with what I'm profiting. I could up my budget and get more customers I'm sure, but I'm at the same place a lot of people are with still getting a feel for the newness of promote. I hope you end up enjoying promote like I am. 🙂 

Community Newcomer
Hello- my biggest issue is that -I pay a fee to make a bid ( BUT - then there is proof that no one ever responds you can see my messages ) it’s not that I lost the sale - I never heard from them -

So I’m out $22-27 because someone didn’t feel like bothering to write me back ? That should be an automatic refund - treat us like the pros we are ....... no one will ever want to quote if we are tossing money away like that
Community Veteran
This is a good question. I too would like you to bring commercials back. National, internet, etc. However, please don’t make them silly - keep professional and a representation of your pros on this site. We are not silly people and want to be represented as the pro we are. Perception and first impression is critical. And ... don’t create commercials like the one that aired that appeared that Thumbtack was a site for only home improvement pros. I know - I used to write commercial copy so that one really left a negative response with me.
Community Regular
It would be fine if they actually refunded you for these leads.
Active Community Member

Hi Marco, what is the main thing that you think will keep thumbtack alive through the years?   How will you compete against the similar services?

Community Regular
This is more for makeup/hairstylist pro.
1. Can there be a section to mark follow up client later in a future date, as a side note for pro? Messages tends to be lost when so much quotes come in
2. Adding a column for event date that is visual in the inbox . It will help me to organize the dates.
3. Adding a referral fee option

Thank you!
Active Community Member
Hi, are we going to have the option to schedule a meeting with the client and be able to receive their contact information (email and phone number) to discuss the project?
Community Regular
Yes!! Please make this happen. I have been a top pro for 4 years now and hate how much money I have spent in under budget customers that want to pay pennies on the dollar for a professional service. And the pro has no way of declining bid without paying for it! This needs to change!!’
Community Newcomer

Is it possible to put an overall cost for a job as oppossed to an hourly rate.  For instance if I am shooting weddings, I would like to post a total cost which people could see because otherwise people are choosing me for a bid and I am getting charged and the folks really don't have enough in there budget to make it worthwhile.  I am always looking for ways to hone in on  jobs that are worthwhile  & not getting stuck being charged for a job I don't want.

Community Regular
I agree. Do not charge the pro unless the customer makes a legitimate and personal message back. PROS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR GHOSTS!!
Community Regular

My experience with Thumbtack is amazing. Their customer service always replies to me. 80% of my business comes from THEIR  marketing and getting the customer to me to at least to a chance to showcase my business.

My question is as we all continue to grow your business and mine, are you going to throw in incentives for customers to try the service. Or even incentives and maybe bonus points ($$) for vendors to bid more or get credits for a job well done? 

I give excellent service, so the experience with MY business and Thumbtack leaves a customer happy and will come back to try to find other vendors for other areas of their lives. I have used TT for my own home, looking for an exterminator and more. 

We all need to keep the customer in mind while building together. Thank you TT.

Community Regular

There are 2 questions that I would appreciate a response to.  I have requested clarification of both these areas before and never recieved a response.  Please also see my posting during the last on line forum regarding Promoting Services.

1. TT tags some promoted services with a "great value" description.  How is "great value" determined and why does TT make subjective judgments about the content of a pro's work without any knowledge of the actual content. In my sector, resume writing, value should be based on cost vs. quality ratios. How does TT arrive at those ratios? Great value tags give some businesses extra promotion by inferring those services are better than others. Without specific qualifiers and metrics presented, this ranking process seems a bit unethical.  Please explain your thinking and why this process is fair to all.

2. Reviews  Why does TT manipulate the order of reviews on my profile? Again, it seems that TT is making subjective judgements.  Reviews should be listed in chronological order to demonstrate to clients the continutity of work and that a pro is currently competitive in the sector. My test prep customers have expressed suprise that my first review is from 2017.  It gives the impression that I have not conducted any tutoring since that date. This, in turn, drives down potential hires and affects the bottom line for TT as well as my business.  Every pro should be listed chronilogically and TT should not, once again, be promoting winners and loosers according to their subjective analysis of which reviews are strong or weak.  If everyone's reviews are listed the same way, customers can figure out who they wish to hire by equal comparison. My reviews are a product of my expertise and performance within my sector. Why does TT have the "right" to manipulate  order and presentation of my reviews to "influence" clients?

Thank you for your reflection on and response to these issues. 

I would like to attend the live stream session, but my work schedule prevents me from doing so as I have students scheduled for that evening.

Community Newcomer

I'm a high end service provider, and I wonder what my potential clients are seeing when they view the quotes. Are they comparing on price first, or are they seeing the services I provide?

Community Regular

Agree. I do not hear from possible clients that I've paid in advance for the quote. Are these real requests?

Community Newcomer

You've awarded me Top Pro in Houston.  I assume I am a good customer you want to keep.  Until the promoted search feature was launched, I found your service helpful and useful. 

But then, your promoted search program was disastrous for my Holiday bookings.  For the first time, I received far, far fewer leads than even Gigsalad sent me!   I complained bitterly about the precipitous drop in leads (from many the prior year to only a handful) that came my way after you implemented this highly touted program just before my high season. 

I asked many, many times (8?) for a call-back from the executive responsible for this program so that I may complain directly to the person whose program caused it, but no executive has ever called me to take responsibility for this.  I hear only from courteous service reps that, basically, they are the first line of defense and no exec will ever call me.  And no one has.  

My question: am I, a Top Pro in my market, not important enough to receive a call from an executive decision maker when the company's actions have negatively affected my business?  Will you not attempt, at an executive level, to understand what I, presumably a valued customer of yours who represents your service to the world in a positive light?  If not, why?

Community Regular
When will the calendar interface be modernized so pros with other jobs can indicate different work hours for each day of the week? And are there plans to allow the TT calendar to sync with a google calendar (this would greatly benefit those of us with google calendars on our websites!)
Community Regular
What is thumb tacks view on the tire kickers of the world that submit forbids and then never respond to even the first response we make? That becomes very expensive a lot of times when people don't understand that we get charged for the initial contact?
Community Regular
What steps and training can be implemented to improve customer service received by Thumbtack? ( I always feel like they are never apologetic or sympathetic to my concerns.)
Second question, is how can Thumbtack be more transparent with the rates being charged to us vendors? And, what steps are we making to ensure we are only receiving quality leads and not fakes?

Respectfully,

Jonathan H
Community Newcomer

Why hasn't TT required those in need of services to be a *specific* as possible when requesting work, specifically photography work.  Providing a range for their budget helps but for a while, this was removed and then replaced.  Why would any pro submit a quote to someone who clearly does not understand what goes in to capturing images and they don't offer ANY number regarding what their budget is?  If someone states they can pay this much, I can then decide if this is something I want to submit a quote for because I [KNOW] exactly what they are willing to pay - even a ballpark range helps.

This has been an ongoing challenge and quite frankly why I'm seriously considering leaving TT, it just does NOT lend itself to a pro when they have to pay to *connect* with a potential client but with no idea what they are willing and able to spend.  

I was charged $22 dollars and change on a quote that did not offer any range of budget only to find out they wanted Ferrari performance at a Nissan price.  The more info the potential client provides, the better off PROs are when deciding to connect or pass on something that is not in their best financial interest. 

 

This is seemingly an ongoing issue and again, I'm ready to depart if this does not improve.  [this is ongoing from this time last year]  

 

Community Regular

Since the pricing has risen to the astronomical and all small businesses are feeling financially misused, what do you plan to do to protect us business owners?

There is no way for us to know if a prospective client is a real lead or not. Now in days, scamming is on the rise to an even more complex degree and we have no guard up to shield us. There need to be mandatory buttons implemented for customers to choose after they read our quote. “Are you interested? Yes, No, Maybe.” Adding an additional line that allows them to elaborate if they wish would be great.

We need to know if these people just want to ask 20 questions/window shop or if they’re serious buyers. I don’t want to pay 60 bucks for a browser. It’s utterly ridiculous!

Thumbtack was actually a primary source of leads for TTD but since the changes, my business sales have plummeted.  I’ve had no choice but to stop using Thumbtack. I have been waiting with the hopes of new changes that will honor and respect each of us hard-working business owners. Less income, suspicious leads, higher prices equals a lose-lose for us all.

Marc we are counting on you to protect the business owners that have led to Thumbtack’s great success. Thank you for your time.

Best!

Community Newcomer
Why aren't customers informed of the charges each pro is hit with when contacted for availability or an estimate? We all know why, but really think about what it could do for thumbtack if there were happy pros and more serious customers.
Community Newcomer
Why do I keep seeing jobs that are 60 miles out of my traveling preferences? I live in Orange County, and to get to San Diego could take two or three hours...
Community Newcomer
As a Automotive Locksmith, I need to know the Make, Model and Year of the vehicle before I can quote. If the customer clicks on "Vehicle" please make them put in Make, Model, and Year as "Required Information". I refuse to pay for the lead just to ask the question. I would bid on so many more leads if this one request were accomodated.
Tom
JMJ Locksmith
Community Regular
Do customers know that if they respond to tell us they chose someone else we get charged for bidding on their job, but if they say nothing then we aren't charged?

Are there plans for pros to be able to set minimum requirements for their bid request? ie when a client requests 1 face painter for 20-40 guests to be face painted in 1 hour it isn't physically possible. That may be possible with glitter tattoos (I'm not sure because I don't do that) but that isn't/shouldn't be part of the face painting category. When requests come in like this I don't bid. Sometimes I respond to the "tell us why" link that goes to TT. Do clients get our response as to why they're getting no bids?

I won't be able to attend more than 30 mins of the Q&A. Will I still be entered into the drawing?
Community Regular
As a Top Pro photographer that had been a TT user since 2017 I have seen some of the good and some of the bad off TT...

My question is when a potential lead wants family portraits done and didn't know to use the portrait photography label it wedding and events label... The client doesn't know there is a cost difference to the Pro if they label their job wrong... I pay $6-7 for Portraits and $10-15 for Wedding and Events even though the price would be there same for the client wanting family portraits done... Is there a way for TT to reevaluate how they label the jobs so the client clearly knows which label to choose and if they choose wrong is there a way for us as Top Pro's to get TT to change it after we have been hired...

Also, I firmly believe if a client is wanting to hire a pro they should have to give at least an email if not a contact number... Too many times we as Pro's have to decide whether to choose from responding to a lead because we don't know if it will result in a job or not...

Lastly, can we bring back where we can see if the client has responded to another Pro and if they hired that Pro... When a Client doesn't mark a pro as hired we as Pro's are left in limbo not knowing...

Thanks for your time and hopefully we as a community can work with TT to keep growing in a positive manner!!!

Christopher
Sunset Photography
Gulf Breeze, FL
Community Regular

Thanks for all you and the team do Marco. I appreciate how you are continually attempting to make improvements and offer a better a service. I'm grateful as I have made my living with Thumbtack for years now.

Here is my question and it his is not a complaint because I've been able to make thumbtack work for me but I am curious: Would Thumbtack be profitable if it ONLY took finder's fees from actual booked work? (as opposed to charging 5 or more pros to talk to a lead that may not book with any of them..?)

Thanks so much.
Josh

Community Newcomer
What inspired you to start Thumbtack and how hard was it getting going?
Community Regular
How we can protect from customers we did a services and they don’t pay us? We have some customers from Thumbtack that never pay for ours services. Thank you
Community Newcomer
As a Top Pro, is there anyway to become partner or shareholder on Thumbtack?
Community Regular
Hi Marco,

I understand that Thumbtack is trying to make improvements and must at times make changes with short or no notice. However, there are some flaws in the system and I am being overcharged for bids that dont fall into the correct category. Could you please reevaluate your prices? I'd love to share some samples of where I found flaws. Also, please offer refunds where they are due.
Community Regular
Completely agree with this! And another flaw is agreeing to "promote" your business, you get the 20% discount but are charged even if the potential client never replies to you! And the prices are outrageous!
Community Regular
Same here! And I've checked and rechecked my preferences to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong
Community Regular
Can there be an easier way built into the Pro App for credits to be issued for customers who do not respond or respond “no thanks”. Also, can the app be updated to have the option to sort by town/city name along with the zip code?
Community Newcomer
If I accidenly declined a quote request can I respond later?
Community Regular

I echo Chef_Aneva's grievences totally.  Since things keep getting changed, my business as a Wedding Officiant has drastically dropped.  I usually have around 50-60 wedding booked out for the next 12 months but currently, I only have 29.  Seeing that this is my primary source of income, this creates quite a bit of hardship for me and my family. Besides the prices wavering, my biggest problem is that I am competing against 15 other "pros" who most of them do not EVER respond to inquiries with a quote.  The better choice would be like it used to be and allow the first 5 pros to respond and then shut it down to others.  These "pros" that never respond are not pros, they're hobbyist and don't take the job seriously.  

I too have questions on some requests we receive where the person checks in and then responds "Sounds good, what's next?" and then goes into a deep black hole to be heard from never again.   But I paid for that black hole response.  smh  There's gotta be a better way.  I've also had spammers that want to send me a certified check...not happening. LOL  

Someone is making money but it's not me...well at least not what I used to make.  Take a minute and compare what I have paid TT annually over the past 3 years verse what I have paid you the past 12 months.  I paid a lot but I made a lot...now I pay a little but don't get much in return.  Quality verses Quantity is best.  Another wedding site I use, I can almost guarantee that one lead from them will become a contract.  Unfortunately they don't provide as many leads as TT does.

Please HELP Marco.  Thank you.

Community Regular
Are there plans to ensure that the mobile app has all the same functionality as the web portal?
Community Regular

I agree with SunsetPhoto.  Also the only repsonses I have been receiving is "____ canceled their request" but then I go to the lead and it says they hired another pro.  Which is true?? Also, I would love to have the "____ has viewed your quote"  response which allows me to hit them up while they are shopping around instead of messaging them while they are busy elsewhere.  This tells me they are handling their wedding plans at the time they "view" my quote.  

Community Regular

Sync with Google Calendars is a GREAT IDEA!!!  Posting to too many different calendars wastes time and is akward at best.

Community Regular
I can't understand why I keep getting job leads that are outside of my 50 mile radius. I get job leads for saint Louis and Kansas City which are at least 3 hours away from me. Just as an example. I even get leads for Illinois and Kansas what are further than 3 hours away. It takes time out of my day to go through each one of those jobleads and delete them are passed on them that's why I put down all my job profiles 50 miles away maximum. I have updated it several times to try and get it to stop doing that but it doesn't seem to work. I'm very frustrated. Thanks Phil.
Community Newcomer
Hello Marco just want to thank you for the support I get when I have a question
I get a lot of work through Thumbtack and I am a top pro. Thanks again
Community Newcomer

Like many Thumbtack pros, I feel I am spending a lot of money on quotes that don't go anywhere. I feel that the best solution is to only charge pros when a customer marks them as "hired." I mentioned this to Thumbtack customer support in the past, and was told that it didn't really work because customers don't always mark pros as hired. But what if it was a nonnegotiable part of the Thumbtack process? Currently, when I ask a customer to mark me as "hired" I often hear that they don't see the option, or can't figure it out. Couldn't Thumbtack work to make it easier? 

Community Regular

Hi, Marco! I have an event on Thursday so won't be able to make the live stream but I did want to ask a specific question. As a "promoted" life coach, I have clients all over the country. I decline so many leads because it would cost between $20-$30 to find out if they are willing to consider coaching online versus in person. If a potential client is not "an exact match" (because they specify traveling to the coach) and they have reached out to us (sometimes specifically), is there a way for Thumbtack to prompt them that we are not within 25 miles and to find out if they would consider coaching via phone or the internet? I feel bad declining without responding but I got hit too many times early on with folks saying no to the internet. Now I just automatically decline. Anyway to tweak that feature? It might get even more business for all of us! 

Community Newcomer
Hi Marco! Quick question for you. I have asked a couple different customer service reps the best way to handle this, but there doesn't seem to be an easy fix.
I have a KONA ICE truck which is a franchise. Unfortunately I can only service three zip codes. Is there a way to weed out all other zip codes from the leads I'm being sent? Any other leads from any other zip codes are worthless to me unfortunately. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have for me.
-Steve Park
Community Regular
Why is that when I don't pay to promote my service area doesn't matter anymore and I have customers and leads coming from over 100 miles away?
Community Newcomer
What advice do you have for young entrepreneur?

What has been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned running a business?
TackMaster
TackMaster
Greetings Marco,

My name is Vaughn and I’ve been a Thumbtack pro since 2013. Thumbtack has made many changes to the way pros interact with potential leads, with some being improvements and others making us feel isolated and less personal. How will y’all plan to balance this as the company grows as well as markets shifting?
Community Newcomer

Why isn't there a forum to answer customer's questions faster & cheaper when it's clear they're looking for advice/suggestions, and aren't looking for a specific job? 

 

I've seen requests where the customer is just wanting advice as to whether it's the correct time of year for a certain lawn-related job to be performed. I've had to not respond because doing so would cost the price of a lead. I don't care about making sure the customer knows my company or business X responded. Let us answer anonymously, I don't care. I just want the customer to be serviced and satisfied when they use Thumbtack.

Community Veteran

@BrokawLawn This is a great suggestion! All too often we wind up paying for a lead that just has a simple question and has no intention of hiring the pro.

I will say that the other lead companies I work with will give a 100% credit for these sorts of requests. 

Community Newcomer

What are you going to do to protect us as business owners from customers who don't pay or threaten to give a lower review? I've had a couple jobs where I've lost several hundreds dollars because the customer never paid. Thumbtack's response was to only ban the user. How does that help me when I'm out money? I've also had customers where additional material/resources were needed. The response was if I dont eat the cost they will give a lower review because the job 'wasn't done'. How does that incentivize us to spend money on this site when there are similar sites out there?