Thanks for participating in the Search Results Q&A!

Thumbtack Writer
Thumbtack Writer
4 94 7,307

This week, we wrapped up our Q&A about the new Search Results experience. We got over 600 posts with great questions and feedback from our pros, so thank you for your engagement and participation!

We know there have been a lot of changes lately and we know it’s not perfect . That’s why your feedback is so critical, so we can keep working to make Thumbtack better!

Our product manager, Chris, wanted to share a little more about the new search results experience:

Check here to see all your great posts with answers from Chris. Take a look! Congratulations to the our raffle winner, @Kmossphoto - you’ll see the credits appear in your account shortly!

Keep coming back to the Community to share your ideas and get the latest news and information about product updates! We’ll let you know here as we implement some of your great suggestions, and thanks again for participating in the Q&A!

94 responses
Community Regular
Omg thank you!! Made my day 😍💜
Thumbtack Employee
Thumbtack Employee

Thanks so much to all of you who sent in questions and suggestions on how you’re appearing in search results! We got over 600 responses, and so appreciate all of your interest and passion.

Our team is working through your feedback to make sure the new system is working for you. There are a few aspects of this change that have caused some confusion and concern, and I want to address those carefully here for all of you:

Question: Why did we make this change when many pros are voicing that they preferred quoting for jobs?

Answer: When we let customers search for and evaluate pros right away, customers are more likely to find the right pros and ultimately hire those pros.  

  • In the old Thumbtack, every customer had to fill out a long form and then wait -- often hours or even days -- before seeing a single pro.  Think about how you shop for anything -- you would be far less likely to try to use Amazon or drive to a store if they made you fill out your detailed shopping list at the door and you weren't even sure if they had what you needed.
  • Browsing pros in search results gives customers the ability to understand the types of pros in their market and choose who they are most excited to work with. That means when a customer reaches out, they are informed and more serious about working with you.
  • By showing more pros in search results, we’re connecting you with more customers. And you’re only paying for leads-- customers who’ve seen what you offer and have decided to reach out to you.

Question: Can I control which leads I pay for and when?

Answer: Absolutely! We only want you to pay for the leads you want. So we’re giving you new controls to do just that.

  • On Thumbtack, you pay for the leads you want. When we send you new leads, you can see the customer’s project details. You can decline the job if it’s not a good fit (and you won’t pay a cent!) or you can pay to respond to the customer if it’s a job you want to pursue.
  • The best way to get more of the leads you want is to promote your business for the jobs you're most excited about. You set your preferences so we know what jobs you want. When you get a new lead that matches these preferences, you’ll pay automatically and get 20% off. You’ll also get a rank boost in search results!
  • After you've promoted your service, check out the Jobs tab and express your interest in other jobs you think you could be a great fit for. You'll only be charged if the customer decides to get in touch with you.

Question: What is “Promote” and how can it help me?

Answer: Promoting your service is a way to get more leads -- if you tell us what leads you’ll always want, you’ll get 20% off those leads and a rank boost in search results. I know we’ve made a lot of changes lately, so I want to do a thorough job of explaining this:

We know promoting your service looks a lot like Instant Match, but for customers who are now seeing you in search results, it works really differently.

Now any pro can show up in a customer’s search results. Generally, you’ll rank higher if you provide a better customer experience (i.e., you have a great profile, plenty of great reviews, and you respond quickly). Promoting your service is the best way for you to show up as high as possible in the list, for the customers you’re most interested in. When you promote your service, you set your preferences to tell us exactly what customers you want. You’ll get a rank boost in search results, you’ll pay automatically for leads that match your preferences, and you’ll get 20% off those leads.

Sometimes a customer might reach out about a job that doesn’t perfectly match your preferences. When that happens, you won’t be charged automatically and can decide to pay to respond to the customer if it’s a job you want.

Chris summary post image.png

We’re going to host another Q&A in the community to answer your questions about how ranking and Promote work, so stay tuned!

I know that was a lot of information, but thanks for sticking with me and I hope it helped to clear some things up. Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback and keep the conversation going!

Thumbtack Employee
Thumbtack Employee

In case it’s helpful, here’s an example of how Promote helps customers connect with the right pro for their job, and how it can help pros succeed!

Imagine you’re a customer: let's say you're looking for someone to clean your windows next weekend. You see a few great pros in the list, so you reach out to two of them. But later, you get a message that they’ve both declined. You're back to square one and Thumbtack hasn't worked well for you. At this point, you'd probably give up and deal with dirty windows.

But let's say you searched in the new system. This time, you’d see another pro at the top of the list - good reviews, decent price. That pro set up Promote, just for larger window cleaning jobs in your neighborhood - a perfect fit for you! The pro knows they'll be charged automatically for each new lead that matches these preferences, but they think it's worth it because they'll be shown much higher on the list for those jobs AND get a 20% discount on each lead.

You reach out, the pro sees the lead, knows they've paid, and immediately responds with a super helpful message about what's next and you go ahead and book. Boom!

To recap, Promote is a way to tell Thumbtack exactly what you’re looking for so we can get your business in front of as many of those customers as possible. To do that, you set preferences to tell us what jobs you want and commit to paying for every lead that matches those preferences. (BUT - if the lead is not a match, you don't get charged automatically. We'll send you the lead and you only pay if you reply).

Hope that was helpful!

 

Active Community Member

@cjk

you're citing a SPECIFIC example, with a Pro who has a specific service.  That's like a mechanic listing "Front brake jobs only", which he would never do. As an electrician, the TT categories are so vague that they encompass a multitude of options for the customer. "Switch & outlet installation or Switch and outlet repair", doesn't include "a tree just took down the service conductors going to my house". Where the electrician would need a bucket truck to facilitate the repair; or "I'm installing an electric range, I need the outlet changed from 120 to 240v".   Electrical work required a vast variety of interaction with the client, in order to come to a point where a responsible quote can be given.  The choices given to the customer, in most cases, aren't even close to the actual scope of work. This is the fault of TT, as they absolutely cannot narrow down every finite description of work for a Pro; so how can TT possibly ask us to Promote and get monetarily charged for something, that in most cases, the client cannot even explain to the Pro!!???

Community Expert

@cjk

Really? We only get charged for a match, but what constitutes a match in Thumbtack's eyes? A generic reply? That's absurd! We as pros should only get charged after we reply to even a generic reply!!! I turned off Promote/Match because I want to control my budget and view the customers that I feel are a fit for me, not Thumbtack deciding that. We don't know what the cost per lead is until after we get a generic reply, true? What good is that? We need to control how we spend our budget.

As for me being a DJ for 29 years, I want to be personable, it's how I have been successful,  and was told by various reps I can be personable in my profile. How personable can I be for each event that I service???? Every customer has different needs, issues, etc. I've expressed this most recently to @Meckell via phone, and she said she understood my concern. My question @cjk, So how can I be personable and work with every customer and their concerns in my profile instead of sending a personable message with my quote? Am I going to get a concrete answer to this question, or are you going to avoid that question as many reps have? Please do not belittle me by avoiding it.

I'm extending an invitation to have you call me so we can discuss in detail. Any day/time is good. This way I can explain to you everything that I told @Meckell via phone. Because if I do things your way, my profile will be very lengthy and customers will bypass it, I know from experience.

Community Expert

@cjk

So, I'm being punished because I want to be personable in my initial message and quote like I used to,  instead of using Promote/Match? Being told by reps to try to be personable in my profile, isn't going to work, not for me. I've tried Promote and it didn't work for me, as I told @Meckell my concerns, and explained them all. @cjk, If you feel that you can be personable for every situation in a profile, please provide me a 2-3 sentence paragraph to see. But you don't know my business and how I operate it. I'm tired of hearing how Thumbtack thinks they know my business. Just help the majority of the pros and go back to the old system. please! 

Community Expert

@cjk

So, we are getting more leads before quotes are sent out? MMMM. not my understanding with Promote. The quotes are sent, we don't even get to say yes or no before they are sent, true? But we get charged when we get a generic reply, true? So how is that benefitting us as pros?

Your words in the post On Thumbtack, you pay for the leads you want. Really? we pay for only the leads we want? How if Promote is on? Thumbtack is charging us before we say yes or no, and refuses to refund us for the ones we don't want. Why is that?

Then you contradict yourself, by saying When you get a new lead that matches these preferences, you’ll pay automatically and get 20% off. You’ll also get a rank boost in search results!

So which is it? We pay for leads that we want, or we'll pay automatically and get 20% off? But we don't see the lead until after Thumbtack sends a quote on our behalf, true?

If you want us to use Promote, then we shouldn't get charged until AFTER we reply to a customer, whether generic replay or message. But Thumbtack will not do that because they want every pro to get charged for using Promote. I'm trying to understand the fairness here, not try to abuse the posting policy.

 

Community Veteran

@DJStevieThat's why they marked this post as solved. So they can close it out, pretend like the issue got solved & not have to listen to us anymore. I had a feeling that was going to happen when I saw all of those solved posts/e-mail coming out yesterday.

Community Veteran

Hey @Hankster + @DJStevie 

I just wanted to weigh in quickly to clarify one thing:

When we mark a post as "Solved," we don't mean to imply that your question has been wholly addressed, that there aren't outstanding issues, or that we don't want additional feedback.  It's not meant to be the end of the conversation!  By marking a post as "Solved" we're simply noting that we've answered it to the best of our ability at this particular moment.  It's also our way of making the post more visible, so that other pros can see it.  

I recognize that you may not have found some of the responses here to be satisfactory, and I'm sorry you feel that.  But again, this is not the end of the conversation, by any means.  We're working hard to make Thumbtack work for as many pros as possible, and that won't change any time soon!

Thanks again for your feedback, 

Jason

Active Community Member
Quote:"We're working hard to make Thumbtack work for as many Pros as possible..."

I actually don't believe that. You're working hard to make as much money FOR THUMBTACK as possible. If you cared about the Pros as much as your own bottom line, you would have scrapped this new plan a long time ago.

How many Pros have to tell you "Promote won't work for me", before you acknowledge that it was a bad idea from the start??

Case in point: I'm a travel agent. I just looked at a lead that, if I had Promote on, would have matched me. However, all the client wants is a plane ticket. I make NOTHING on plane tickets unless I charge a fee, which is usually only $25. Yet Thumbtack wants to charge me $21 for this lead, so in theory, I would have only made $4. That's absurd!! Jason, would YOU do 1 to 2 hours of work for $4? I doubt it. And this scenario plays out in many variations - the client who only wants an interior cabin on a 3 day Carnival cruise; the client who just wants me to book a hotel for two nights in a suburb of Dallas, or the client who just wants to "visit family" in Bogota. None of these scenarios are profitable, yet if I used Promote, I'd get charged for all of them.

Thumbtack, we're all small business owners here, which means we're smart, hard-working, and driven to succeed. We also don't get a salary like you TT employees who are responding to these threads do. We rely on our clients to make any money, so stop acting like you know how to run our businesses better than we do. Trust us, you don't.

Consider listening to YOUR customers (that's us, the Pros) and change the path you're on. From what I've read, over 90% of the Pros are unhappy with the entire new system, since at least Instant Match. That's not good, and it isn't sustainable long term. When running a business, sometimes new ideas don't work out. The key is to acknowledge that, and be willing to change course. It's Thumbtack's choice whether they do that or not. The question is, how many Pros will you lose in the meantime?
Community Veteran

Well said @GT456! Well said! We know our lines of business better than anyone! I have the same heartburn with how things are run at TT & have expressed it very strongly at times! Of course some of those strong opinion posts have been edited because I've violated the Community Standards. 

Active Community Member

Thanks, Hankster!  I'm still hoping they'll listen to us eventually, which is the only reason I keep responding to these threads.

Anyway, have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Community Expert

@JasonB@Hankster@cjk@Kameron

Really Jason? Your comment "I recognize that you may not have found some of the responses here to be satisfactory, and I'm sorry you feel that." Do you really feel sorry for the way that we feel? Why can't you and other reps at Thumbtack see that majority of the Pros are very angered by this change and refuse to see our side of things? We are told to use Promote so we can be high on search list, @cjk said earlier "you pay for the leads you want." "When you get a new lead that matches these preferences, you’ll pay automatically and get 20% off. You’ll also get a rank boost in search results!" So which is it, we pay for leads that we want or we pay automatically? Chris' words not mine!!! Contradicting himself. Please do NOT insult Pros, especially those in their business over 25 years!!!! We worked very hard to succeed and get where we are.

How many times do I need to say that I need to see a customer profile and cost of lead before I sent quote out? I want to manage my own budget, not let Thumbtack handle it for me. I know my business better than any rep here on Thumbtack! I've talked recently to @Meckell about my concerns about it. From what I've read on Thumbtack the past couple of days is that if Pros do not use Promote, we will be very low on the customer search list. So that's punishing us for not using Promote, true? I guess Thumbtack wants pros to get charged for generic replies, regardless. Those customer are not interested in pros as they are only "surfing" the site. If they are interested, then they will reach out with a written message. Pros should not be charged until after we reply to a customer, generic lead or not. Is that difficult to understand and change format to?

Community Regular

Subject: RE: A reply to a topic you are following has been accepted as asolution!

 

I have reviewed the responses to the pros regarding the search results community forum.  Let’s start with the good news and the bad news.  Bad news first! Since the roll out of the new policies, pricing, and procedures my resume writing business via Thumbtack has declined significantly.  The good news?  I have time to actually sit down and write yet one more letter to TT in hopes of getting someone’s attention to reverse some of the parameters of your business model.

By way of introduction and history, I am a “Top Pro” and have been for the last few years.  I worked very hard to gain that status; reduced fees to generate business and produce a long list of strong reviews. When TT changed fees to the “pay for contact” structure my fee per client interaction increased $21 per contact.  My fee for services at that point in time was a flat $125 per resume (as stated on each and every quote I send as well as in the profile, services, pricing sections on TT).  TT was taking a whopping 20% of my income.  If one adds Instant Match fees to that we are getting beyond unsustainable.  I decided to raise my prices to compensate for the TT price hike.  The result? A sharp decline in my TT hires.  Now, with the new search process the number of customers who reach out to me is almost non existent.  I have gone from 3-5 solid jobs per week to 1 or 2 over the last month.

Something is seriously wrong here and I don’t think it is the just result of the Promote process and new search process. More on that later.  The problem goes back to the fact that pricing, at least in my sector, is completely out of whack.  Not only that, but no one can explain to me how prices are set ( right – special algorithms) and why in my case they fluctuate.  I provide the same service at the same price to every one of my customers.  That is stated up front – resume, conference, cover letter.  If they choose to check boxes that TT thinks up such as coaching, Linkedin etc that is your idea.  You have no idea, nor do I, if they even want those services.  So far not ONE client has required any of those as ad on services. My point is that my fee is my fee. 1)TT fee for a lead should be consistent 2) 20% of my fee to TT is extortion 3) even at the now $16 fee we are talking 13% to TT.  Please explain how that fee is derived and how it is justified.

One solution:  fees for a lead for a service should NOT fluctuate.  Standardize them.  But please make them justifiable based on the fee for service.  Currently in my resume service sector, they are not.

Solution 2: stop making subjective judgements about the “value’ of the job.  The job is valued at what I charge for it as per the quote I provide.  I am NOT like every other pro.  Most small business owners are quite unique.  Universal algorithms may be current technology BUT they are not producing a realistic business model for those of us actually performing services.

TT needs to get hold of who the pros are that are the backbone of TT business.  If it is, indeed, the small business pro such as I, then it would appear TT is not listening to what we are telling you. Countless pros tell you that pricing is way overblown, that their requests have declined, and the system is cumbersome, hard to understand, and arbitrary. Countless pros have told you that they promote very individualized and personalized services.  TT is NOT acknowledging that. TT is making everything one size fits all.  The old system allowed us, the pro, to make the decisions based on OUR business model, not TT’s. 

As to search results.  My clients (TT as well as outside of TT) tell me they do NOT like to scroll through some list of pros  and get canned, generic responses.  They value the direct and personal contacts that I made when responding to a quote directly.  Currently I am competing with a list of pros who  are not located anywhere near this service area.  When a client does not ask to do the work by phone or internet they should NOT be given a list of pros who only provide service in that manner.  That never was the case before the new plan, but it appears that is the case now.  That is the only way I can explain the tremendous decrease in my business.  Are my clients seeing a list of pros from Arkansas to New Jersey ( I am in Fort Worth) , getting fed up because they want someone LOCAL, and never contacting anyone?  That is the only possible answer here.  Of course, the fact that TT rate hike forced my rate hike may have a negative impact as well.

Solution: find out why and tell us why our business volume is decreasing.  If a customer does NOT want remote service for a job, they should NOT be given a list of pros that only work remotely.  

For 3 years I competed with only 3 or 4 pros in the area. For most jobs, there were only 2 of us offering in person services. That should make the quote or contact rate less and not more.

The customer could compare our rates and services via direct quotes easily. My success rate to land the job was 90%.  The new process has not brought me more customers, I have less than ever.  My profile is still A+ , superbly written and presented. I answer all requests within just a few minutes.  My performance is highest level. In other words, nothing on my end has changed to dissuade a client from hiring me.  Yet, my TT business is in the sewer.

Solution: Make the process simple for the client. You are providing them with way too much information they did not request.  It used to be very straight forward.   They could compare rates and services quickly and easily based on information in a quote.  Now they scroll and read and do nothing to hire.  They are put off by the lack of personal response. They are happy to initiate a request and lets pros compete for that job. They do not like having to make it through the list and sort information out for 20 pros.  Its time consuming!!

If that is not the case, please explain to me where my business has gone and why. Please,  no more canned, generic posts about profile strength, rate of response etc.

Finally, if the cost of a contact were less expensive (actually reasonable) then I might be able to afford to use Promote or Instant Match.  They are just another burden to my bottom line and that bottom line is shrinking daily. 

I keep hoping someone will see the reality of what is going on and listen to the vast number of responses you have received.  These responses are not abstractions or faceless metrics.  TT was a great vehicle for me and for others.  That has changed and you have the ability to alter that negative result, to turn in around in something viable for the small business pro and for Thumbtack. 

Thank you for reading this post.  Nancy E

Community Regular

Over 90% of Pros said they wanted the old Thumbtack back.

TT says they are listening to us, but confirms the exact opposite by trying to sell on us on an extremely flawed pricing model that has no basis in what it takes to operate and promote a small business in the real world.

Community Expert

@GT456

I totally agree with you! Just like @Hankster, I also strongly commented and gave my opinions along with some solutions, and a few of my posts have either been deleted or edited because as I was told "violated their policy". If the forum is for pros to interact, vent and try to help each other, as well as giving our thoughts and legit solutions to the reps, especially to see, then why aren't they listening to us?

Promote isn't going to work for me. I tried it against my better judgement with a phone rep a few weeks ago. It worked in TT eyes, as I got charged for generic replies, leads that I wouldn't have bid on because customer wasn't a good fit for me. Sure, many criteria matched, but that doesn't mean customer is a good fit. Would I travel to DJ a 2 hour event 30 miles away, or travel same distance to DJ a event for 4-5 hours? But because the criteria is filled out, they feel that a 2 hour party that I DJ is the same fee that I would charge for 4 hour event. I've tried numerous times explaining that to many reps on the forum, private message, email and by phone, but all they tell me "your feedback is important and we just forwarded it on. Where is that proof?

Also, I'm sure that @Hankster will agree, being DJ pros, each customer and event is different, customers have family issues, very tight budgets, other circumstances, and we need to be personable when sending out initial quotes/messages. We also can't put all that in our profile as the reps told me that I should, with prices. If I do that, my profile will be very lengthy and customers will bypass me. With this change, we can't do that, unless we turn off Promote, and when we do, we're on the bottom of the searches.

We aren't their customers, even though we are paying customers. I've been told that the change happened to help the customers, they even gave a percentage of customers who wanted a change, but can't provide that proof to us, better yet, refuse to provide that proof.

I just hope that they do listen to us pros, their REAL customers, and listen to us before many more leave.

 

Community Veteran

Knock it off @JasonB This issue will no longer be addressed. Who are you kidding! The post is closed. You folks at TT don't listen to your service pros concerns anyway.

Community Expert

@Hankster@JasonB

Some pros will accept that reply by any rep, but refuse to see that they are just trying to pacify us. Majority of us, are tired of being pacified.

Active Community Member

Quote nancykenright: "Currently I am competing with a list of pros who  are not located anywhere near this service area."

This is exactly what happened to me, as well.  I used to only compete with travel agents in my area, but they changed that, so now clients get quotes from all over the country.  And yes, I know about turning on or off the "show me clients outside my area" as well as "I can do business over the phone or internet", but I have to at least keep the former turned on, or I wouldn't get ANY clients.  I do work over the phone and internet, but I prefer local clients, so that we can meet in my office when necessary.  And now, clients who SHOULD and could just be getting local travel agents, are instead getting agents from all over, with generic responses.  I agree with Nancy; the clients are probably just giving up.  (And that doesn't even begin to address how confusing the process is for new TT customers.  Believe me, I tried it.)

Also, I know that Thumbtack's stance is that "customers weren't getting enough quotes, or quotes quickly enough".  Do you know why?  Because of what the customer was asking for.  How about, instead of punishing the Pros, try educating the customers.  Set expectations, and tell them what's realistic, and what isn't. 

Examples: A customer who sends a quote that just asks for a plane ticket from Phoenix to Los Angeles, probably isn't going to get a response.  We don't make money on those.  Or, a clients who gives no destination, a timeframe of 4 days or less, and says in the comments field, "Want a cheap vacation", isn't likely to get a response.   Agents don't make money on "cheap vacations".  Or if the customer doesn't fully fill out the form, or has unrealistic expectations, "Looking for a 5 star European vacation for a family of 4 for two weeks.  Our budget is $2,000 total".  Thumbtack, THESE are the clients that are getting ignored, so maybe put language in your forms that educate the client just a bit.  

Lastly, since the Instant Match change, I have gotten exactly ZERO new clients.  I have $28 left in my Thumbtack account, and once that is used up (on exactly one more lead, it appears), then I'm done.  I can't spend $21 every time someone asks a simple question that makes it clear they're just shopping.  I don't make that much on Thumbtack clients; they usually aren't luxury seeking clients, but it used to be a nice way to fill in the gaps, and get a few extra clients.  Not anymore!  I am very disappointed with Thumbtack, and sad to see it go as a resource, but it's just not sustainable for me anymore.

Active Community Member

Question for Thumbtack Employees:

I JUST received a message from a potential client who found me using the search results.  Thumbtack is asking me to send a reply to his question.  However, I have no idea what it will cost me to reply to him.

Q: Where do I find out how much it will cost me to reply?

Also, here is this client's question:

"Can you send me a price estimate for the job?"

I'm guessing this is one of TT's generic suggestions for the client.  The problem is, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE "JOB" ACTUALLY IS!  He says he wants to go on a cruise to Mexico.  That's it.  NO more info.  No budget, no timeframe, nothing.   So, this potential client is going to get ignored by me and by other agents, because no one is going to spend an unknown amount of money to reply to a quote like this.  I can't even send the poor guy a note that says, "Sorry, I can't quote you without more information" because I'll get charged for it.

This new system ISN'T WORKING!!

Community Veteran

TT uses alogorithms when determining what to charge us for each lead yet they can't tell us ahead of time when it was known as Instant Match & now Promote what exactly we are going to be charged. Makes no sense & that's why I'm not using Promote. I'm assuming they are also using some sort of analytics program & that's how they think they know each service pros line of business. Guess what TT? YOU DON'T! Leads respond using generic conversation starter templates, you get autocharged & then TT likes to call that type of a lead a "future business lead". However NONE of those conversation starters includes the option for the customer to leave their phone number or e-mail address which should be mandatory during this part of the process since the lead has done their homework & have narrowed down the choices of who they want to contact. I've suggested this numerous times but my suggestions go into the proverbial black hole. So the only information that you have for that "future business lead" is a name. And you're paying x number of dollars for a name & no other information. 

Active Community Member
I wanted to share a few questions and concerns about the new Promote feature.  I’m a Personal Wardrobe Stylist for women and I just relocated to a new market (Dallas, TX) a couple of months ago.  I had been preparing for the move since the beginning of the year and at that time, I was confident that Thumbtack would have been an integral part of my ability to establish a presence in this market.  In fact, I was planning on it based on the success that I’ve had with Thumbtack for the past three years.  Then Instant Match came…but it was at a time that I was dwindling my business down in my prior location.  At the time, I chose not to opt with Instant Match (see previous threads about why) and the leads that were delivered were few and far between.  Again, no big deal because I was prepping to move to a different part of the country.  But it was disappointing to see so many other Pros not having much luck with it.  Since arriving in Dallas late this summer, I’ve not received any hires (with Promote off, or most recently on).  Since nothing was happening with Promote off, I decided to turn it on a couple of weeks after it rolled out.  Really, nothing has changed.  I still have yet to have a hire.  I’ve been watching, experimenting, changing setting, etc. to give it a try but nothing is working.  While I understand the logic of customers selecting their requirements and then those being matched to the requirements we indicate that we want, I think that there is something still broken - well several things are broken.
 
So here are some questions/thoughts/feedback:
 
If EVERYONE in a particular category has ‘Promote’ on, then how does the algorithm determine who’s on top?  I’ve seen the comments that it depends on how strong your profile is, response rate (see below for more on that), and other factors, but it’s disheartening to see that in my category, I have the most hires (51 times), the most reviews (all 5-star and one 4-star), a ’Super Strong’ profile with pics, videos, media credits with major networks and publications, etc. and I’m not showing at or near the top.  Or I’m not showing as ‘High Demand’ - so I have another question there.  From what I’ve read from one of the moderators recently, it seems that ‘High Demand’ is based only on whether someone contacts you - as in how many leads are contacting you, correct?  It has no bearing how many times you’ve been hired?  To me, how many times you’ve been hired would be the proper metric in determining how ‘in demand’ you are - to me, that’s just common sense.
 
And regarding Insights and ‘Response Rate’ - mine shows as 0% compared competitors because no one has reached out to me via Promote.  I don’t think that I should be penalized because no one reached out to me.  The metric should be how fast I respond back once someone has initiated contact with me.  The way it appears to be calculated now is completely unfair.  Compare apples to apples; have that metric read as N/A until there’s actual data to show how fast one responds to leads when they contact you.
 
Also, I find it highly frustrating that when enrolled in Promote, you have NO idea when an automatic quote has been sent out.  Additionally there is no longer a notification letting you know that the quote has even been viewed.  I have to manually refresh my web page or app multiple times a day just to see that something new has populated in the ’Sent Quotes’ section of the inbox (by the way, from a UI standpoint, I think ’Sent Quotes’ should be in a sent box, not an inbox, but that’s another story…sigh).  I have ALL of my notifications turned on (email, text, etc.), yet a moderator let me know that these notifications aren’t sent out anymore.  On one hand, Thumbtack talks about how we should respond to quotes ASAP and there’s a ‘Response Rate’ metric that we’re measured against, yet we have no idea when a quote has actually been sent out or even viewed on our behalf.  That simple functionality could mean so much for us and allow us to try to be competitive given that we have to compete against so many profiles now.
 
Is there any way to include an introductory blurb along with the automatic hourly quote?  I DON’T charge by the hour as my services are delivered in packages and I want that to be made clear upfront (not when I happen to notice a quote has been sent because I received no notification that one was sent in the first place - that is so annoying!).  Anyhow, the quote is very misleading and confusing and doesn’t reflect how I work with my clients.  I actually was told by one of your moderators on this forum to put $0.01 as my rate so that I stand out.  Seriously?  I would never do something like that to attract a customer for SO many reasons.  That is totally against my brand and I think that’s rather shady and unprofessional.  My services are white-glove and I charge premium prices for it.
 
When it comes to pricing and how it’s perceived on Thumbtack, I have a few thoughts here too.  As mentioned, I charge a premium for my services but in my line of work clients respond better to seeing a package price instead of an hourly price.  I haven’t been hired at all (or had any customer contact) since the quotes moved to an hourly amount.  This is NOT working.  I really liked the quoted templates that we had where we could respond with (N/A - need more info for pricing) and pick and choose which template we used based on the info the lead has shared - we don’t see any of that.  You have to understand that MOST service-based businesses do not charge by the hour.  This is major pitfall with your new model!
 
Another concern that I have is that Promote doesn’t allow us to view granular details before the quote is sent.  I have the parameters I want set for the types of jobs I want; however, there are additional details that sometimes lead me to disqualify a lead.  My target market is age 30+ because anyone younger than that usually can’t afford my services.  Last week, received two automatic leads/sent quotes where this was the case.  I went ahead and sent a follow-up response as an experiment, but as I suspected, no response came back from the lead nor did they reach out to any other competitor.  Age group (at least in the Wardrobe Consulting category) should be a data point that we can choose in our job preferences.  In that same vein, I had a lead indicate that she needed someone to style her for a wedding in about a week.  I don’t do one-off styling for new clients (only existing ones) because they typically can’t justify the cost of my services compared to the price of one dress.  At any rate, my quote was automatically sent.  In the previous version of Thumbtack, when I saw something like this, I would automatically pass on it because it’s not worth my time nor are most clients willing to pay for that.  Thank goodness she didn’t reach out to me because that’s not the type of lead that I want and I would have been charged for it - the thought of that is really disdaining.
 
And once an automatic quote is sent out, how do we know how much we’ll be charged if someone sends us a response?  I have no idea how to figure that out.
 
And one more thing…from a business ethics standpoint, I think it’s wrong to serve up automatic response prompters to customers such as ‘When are you available?’ or ‘What’s included in the price?’ AND us being charged for it.  Most folks are fishing for quotes and are just experimenting to see what happens.  It’s very telling that many folks go ‘ghost’ after that.  This is NOT fair to your customers (meaning us Pros).  It comes across click-bait to entice people to ‘respond’ and then charge us for it.  Charge us when they take the time to write out thoughtful and genuine questions armed with the information we should be able to provide upfront.  
 
Clearly, there is more work to be done and I hope this feedback is helpful.  At this point, Thumbtack just seems like its own search engine that people use to browse.  The ‘connection’ is no longer happening due to impersonal responses.  I’m very disappointed at how this is shaking out.
Active Community Member
You do NOT listen. You attempt yo placate. When I counsel on communication, the key element is listening and absorbing, NOT being defensive. Too many of your responses are condescending and insulting of intelligence! I do not find a single incident where TT has made any effort to truly amend any of this newly initiated procedure.
Active Community Member
I am so disheartened by the changes. I like to gamble but not with my business assets or my employees future.

Sadly thumbtack has moved on from us. We’ve spent thousands less this year and I haven’t even got so much as a phone call inquiring why. They don’t care.
Community Expert

@PastorHoward

Well said!!! They are constantly on the defensive. We have been hitting a nerve by speaking the truth to TT. I've had my share of back and forth with them via the forum, private message and phone. I'm very patient, but really losing it. They claim they pass our feedback on, but don't have any proof to provide. They also claim to hear us, maybe they listen but they do NOT hear us. Promote is what they are selling, they make their money by having pros get charged for every generic reply. I can go on, but you know the frustration we all are facing.

Community Veteran

What these community forums need are a visit from upper managememt or even the CEO to address the anger that we as service pros are feeling. Or have some sort of a webinar with that same maanagement or CEO  so that they can hear from their service pros. A great product for the customer who uses TT. A below average product for the serviice pro.

Community Expert

@Hankster,  So very true!! I've had several comments and posts deleted because in their words to me "it violated our policy". As for TT being scripted, I have experienced that as well. Same responses by several reps, maybe some words substituted just to have some pros think it's not scripted. When asked, we receive no names of groups or people or where they get their info from. Case in point when we asked @Kameron for proof of where 80% of customers wanted changed. CEO in his Thanksgiving message and comments said same thing, but we aren't able to comment on that message. Wonder why? Maybe he doesn't want to hear the truth from majority of the pros. It's the very very few pros who like this changed service, and they are afraid to lose those pros, but in turn they are losing and going to continue to lose the majority who have kept them in business.

Active Community Member

I asked TT a question on Friday, and it hasn't been answered yet.  How do we know how much it costs to reply to a customer who found us using the search results?  Thumbtack wants us to reply immediately to a customer, yet you won't answer a simple question for me.  And there is no way I'm replying to a customer when I have no idea how much you'll charge me for it.  The charge could be $50 for all I know!

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Hankster @DJStevie @PastorHoward  you all have voiced a lot of concerns and thoughts regarding search results and I’m glad that you’ve voiced them here. That’s what the community is for; for pros to come together to share ideas and feedback. I do, however, want to take a minute and let you know that search results are working and we’re getting an awesome amount of great feedback from pros who are loving it (mostly in the form of private messages and one-on-one conversations). I know you may ask where these pros are and why they aren’t posting on the Community. Often, when positive pros post on the Community, they get shut down by other pros who aren’t necessarily on board with the changes.  They get scared away. And the pros left posting about search results publicly are the ones who are most frustrated by the changes.

 

We wouldn’t keep search results if it wasn’t working for the majority of pros and customers. It wouldn’t make any sense for us to keep a platform that wasn’t working; we couldn’t survive as a company if all of our pros were leaving.  That said, we want search results to work for everyone, and so we’re eager to make it work for you, too.  That’s why we appreciate your feedback, and that’s why we’ve taken the time to respond to all of your posts and messages.

 

We’ve heard you guys say that we aren’t listening, and we truly don’t want you to feel that way.  Because we are listening. So my question for you: short of going back to the old system, what do you need to feel heard? Short of going back to the old system, what improvements and changes can we make to the new system to make it work better for you?  

 

We’re trying to be as direct and straightforward.  The old system isn’t coming back. Given that, what do you need to give the new system a try? What do you need to know that we’re invested in making this work for you, as individuals, in the same way, that it’s working for the majority of pros who are using it currently?

Community Expert

@Meckell

Thank you for your reply here.

I have voiced my issues with you via phone about being personable when sending a quote to a potential customer. I'm told by many reps, including you, to be personable in my profile. How does one be personable for every customer, situation, customer's financial problems, etc in a profile? Why is that concern of mine seem to have been forgotten?

One thing that I have stressed, and it may have gotten lost with my anger and frustration, is how can a Pro be charged for a generic reply? Personally, I would rather be charged AFTER I reply to a customer. I need to review customer profile, cost of quote, etc and see if that customer is a good fit for me. After 29 years in business, I feel that I know my business better than anyone, I've expressed that to you as well.

If I turn Promote back on, I want to know how much the leads are, not after customer sends generic reply

That's for starters. But I don't think those changes will take place, just my opinion.

I will Private Message you to hopefully clarify some concerns of mine

 

Community Veteran

There's more then just the 3 people you tagged in that are upset about Promote. You've seen it! You've ALL seen it! Sorry I don't buy what your saying @Meckell. Smoke & mirrors. Please stop trying to coddle me OK? I'm a lot smarter then that! If the service pros that you mention praise the Promote product in private messages & one on one conversations why wouldn't they mention that in the Community forums which we ALL can see? If the service pros who you say have provided great feedback with the Promote product why aren't THEY reaching out to the service pros in a private message or reaching out to them in a one on one conversation? Not sure why I need to rehash what I've already mentioned in these forums. Some of which have been edited for not meeting the community guidelines & threatning to kick me off these same forums which I have a lot of heartburn with. Those posts that were edited WERE constuctive. I've made recent suggestions on what I'd like to see done with the conversation starter in the DJ category to @Kameron. Those were supposedly passed on. When I asked who they were passed on to I got the vague answer from him that was passed on to the appropriate teams. When I ask for names of the teams or just a name in general I never get a response back. Typical TT customer support. I've also made suggestions to @DustiO in private messages. I suggest you go back & take a look at my previous posts & reach out to her for my past suggestions. Once again the problem with Promote & with Instant Match that the MAJORITY the service pros are upset with is we don't know what we get charged until AFTER the customer reaches out using one of the conversation starters. I want to see upfront what I'm being charged. I want to be able to pick & choose the jobs I want to respond to. Not have TT do that on my behalf. Whether using Promote or the manual quoting system is the prices being charged are TOO HIGH! Skip using alogorithms for pricing & use a flat fee.

Community Manager
Community Manager

@DJStevie the concerns of yours definitely haven't been forgotten. In our phone conversation, I mentioned to put as much info as you can in your profile as well as utilize your follow up messages to send any additional info to the customer. I'm happy to talk to you about this further. I'll keep an eye out for a private message from you and will get back to you by the end of the day. 

Active Community Member

@Meckell

I will never turn Promote back on; and I cannot understand the longeviety of a system, where the Pro is constantly being charged whether they respond or not.  I simply cannot see how, in the long run, pros will continue to leave it funtioning, while it's charging them daily for nonexistant clients. I'm sure TT has thought this out, depending on the new pros to utilize the system, until they realize they're going broke as well, with no clients. 

There have been hundreds of comments about the new system, they're running 90% negative, but you're assuring us that pros are PM'ing you saying the new system is awesome.  I'm not drinking the koolaid.   I've voiced my difficulties with the new system, ie; costs, unwanted clients, etc. I want to pick and choose who my clients are going to be, as it is, I pass on 70% of the electrical clients on TT; Promote would simply take cash from me, for a client I didn't want anyway!!

Community Veteran

@RCPSBravo! @Meckell These are the complaints that MANY of the service pros including me have with Promote & also when it was known as Instant Match. TT is gouging the service pro with the rates we are paying for leads who reach out to us with the generic conversation starter. And if we're lucky enough they will provide a phone number when they reach out to us & not be a ghost after that first contact. Someone reaches out to me showing an interest in using my DJ service then it should be MANADATORY......I SAY AGAIN MANDATORY that they provide a phone number & e-mail address. Take that back to the powers that be! I've been suggesting this for over 9 years now! The customer has no clue that when they reach out to the service pro the first time that we get charged. They need to know this as well. Plus with having to compete with up to 15 other service pros I have to offer a discount to my already low prices just so I can compete. I want to make money! Not give away my business! The customers that have hired me for their event the one question I ask at the end is how did they like the process of using TT. They pretty much all say the same thing. They felt overwhelmed with all of the e-mails that they received from the multiple service pros. You all at TT say the customer wants to have more choices. From the folks that I've talked to this year that have hired me using TT that seems to be the complete opposite. 

Community Veteran

Case in point about price gouging. A DJ manual job request I just got from a Courtney F for a wedding event occurring on 10/26/19. That lead would cost me $58.94 if the lead contacts me! Almost $60 bucks! If this person reaches out to someone on Promote using the generic conversation starter that's how much the DJ service pro will be charged. Are you people at TT out of your minds? The algorithm method of pricing for leads has got to go! NOW! This person is obviously kicking the tires & price shopping. I'm not wasting my money on this one. And you folks at TT wonder why the majority of the service pros are angry about using Promote! 

Community Expert

@Meckell

See, this is why I won't turn Promote back on. I thought about it, but I do NOT want to be charged $60 for a lead. Not even $45 with some of the leads that have come my way. If I leave Promote on, I am at the mercy of being charged for numerous generic replies. As @AutumnElectric even stated about picking and choosing who his clients are going to be, as well as Pros constantly being charged for generic replies. I want to be able to see how much I'm going to be charged, and check out customer profile. He wasn't even tagged in your previous comment as were @Hankster@PastorHowardand myself. It's not just 3 Pros who are angry, upset and frustrated with the new system.  Check it out. @Hankster is correct, that there are more angry Pros than any rep is admitting to. For every 1 who likes the new system, there are at least 20 or more who don't. Simple math, figure it out, the majority hate the new system

I don't know if I am speaking for @Hankster@DJChuckBoogie and other DJ pros, but if a customer sends generic replies to me and my fellow DJ's, we all get charged. After looking at customer profile, we may decide that the customer isn't a fit for us. But Thumbtack deems the customer as very interested, even though customer may just be phishing. That's why I gave the suggestions that I did to you previously, in yesterday's message and even here now.

I gave you some ways to try and make the new system work, but don't know if any of it will come to pass. I'm tired of being pacified, (coddled as Hankster said). At my age and 29 years in the business, I don't need to be pacified. You asked for suggestions and we have been giving it to you, @Kameron@JasonB@DustiO@LydiaH@cjk and many others, even via phone with other reps. We get told the same thing daily that it's being heard, passed on to the proper team, etc. but is it really? We've been in our businesses for a very long time, longer than Thumbtack has been in business, so we know what our customers are looking for. @Hankster isn't the only one who asks his customer what they thought of Thumbtack. I ask customers too, and even though some have said they receive numerous requests/bids, but with this new system they get much more, too many. I told them to contact Thumbtack themselves.

Please understand where we are coming from. Something that has been successful for many of us, has suddenly been a failure for us in recent months. We know that changes are a part of life, but to implement a system without asking your Pros who are your customer, paying customer in that, Thumbtack isn't headed in the right direction. We have given many ways to try and improve this new system/format, but until it changes, or we see them implemented, we will continue to say that nobody is listening to us.

 

 

Active Community Member

Today's example:  I received an instant match from a prospective client; his generic message "how much is your estimate?"  I read the description of work, he needs someone at his COMMERCIAL property TOMORROW.  I declined the quote.

1.  I do this part time, on my schedule, not a clients.

2. I don't work on commercial properties, residential only. I have commercial work unchecked, I shouldn't even be listed as an electrician for that. If I had the Promote on, I would have been charged $20, for something I WOULD NEVER have bid on.

 

Active Community Member

In the Old Thumbtack a lead expired after 24 hours. In the Old Thumbtack a lead was limited to 5 responses. Clients told me that they preferred getting fewer bids as opposed to more. The New Thumbtack now allows up to 20 responses. 

Every lead I have gotten since the New Thumbtack started is "What days are you available" and "Can you send me prices", neither of which, I feel are responses that garner being charged for. I'm sure hundreds of other Pros feel the same. We've all voiced those opinions and concerns, over and over. 

Active Community Member
But the thing is with promote when you have it on you can narrow your jobs down to a couple specific things and you can have a $100 budget shot in a couple hours with all the leads that I'll come that you know aren't even close to what you specify or they are you just get bombarded with a bunch of leads you have to pay for?
Active Community Member

you are sooooo correct!!!!

Active Community Member

Meckell...you say: "put as much info as you can in your profile"

If I do not use promote...when does customer see my COMPLETE PROFILE????? 

Active Community Member

there is no longer a notification letting you know that the quote has even been viewed.  

WHY????

WHY???

Active Community Member

 

 
 

 

WELL SAID!!!

 
Community Manager
Community Manager

@fitcap even if you don't use Promote, customers can still see you and your profile on the list of pros as long as your preferences match what they're looking for.

Active Community Member

Correct. Don't do it! 

Community Newcomer
Added heating and prime was automatically added, As Minneapolis and St Paul has warm air and water licenses it would be illegal for me to promote in those two cities. Before I could turn off promote I was charged twice 38.50 for two leads from these two cities. If these leads would of been anywhere else in Minnesota it would be great. But getting set back that much as a small 1 man honest shop without me contacting them back made me feel that I was ripped off.
Active Community Member

YOU DID NOT ANSWER MY QUESTION.....

If I do not use promote...when does customer see my COMPLETE PROFILE????? 

YOU SAID: "customers can still see you and your profile on the list

of pros as long as your preferences match what they're looking for."

ME: BUT..PROMOTE USERS ARE HIGHER ON THE LIST RIGHT? 😞

 

WHEN IF AT ALL DOES THUMBTACK SHARE MY COMPLETE WRITTEN QUOTE  WITH PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS....

PLEASE....READ COPY OF MY COMPLETE QUOTE BELOW

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RJ'S Personal Fitness

Active Community Member

Let me start by saying that I do not use the "Promote" feature, nor can I envision a senerio where I ever would. Try as I might, I can not make any sense of the new TT. Where we were getting 5-10 "leads" a week that we could view, and bid on, we now get 2-3 a week, and none in our local area.

  We get weekly "insights".  My "competition" for the past 4 weeks have been a local company (listed as most popular) that has been hired on TT one time, yes ONE time. Not at all these past 4 weeks. In the search results for carpentry, they come in at #17, and we at #2. The second, a company 80 miles away in Maine. (I am in central NH). How does this make any sense? 

  When we go to quality of leads, my best was for "soffit" repair, but the attached picture was of a fireplace in the living room.

TT went from a realy great format for us, to a listing in the yellow pages, with a open end price, and no foreseeable future. I don't even see any value left in the analitics, let alone the "leads".

Active Community Member

@cjk, In your "Imagine you're a customer" scenario, which system is that customer using? Where did the list of a few great pros come from? Did they as the customer just get presented a list without searching? In the old system, they couldn't see the pros in a list.... And where did the message that the pros declined come from?

Most pros (using the old thumbtack system (choose if you want to pay to quote), which I would assume would be a good system to compare the new system with - oh, I just realized maybe you're comparing with the super flawed system you just replaced with promote - i forget what you called it - instant match?).... anyway, most pros would contact the client with a personalized message (VERY quickly when they could tell the customer was serious) letting them know what they thought about the project and how they might be able to help. If that client was serious (assuming the request was made by a real person who was serious about hiring someone), they would respond and continue the dialog with the pro. If by some chance they could not get connected with a real pro (unlikely in my opinion), they would definitely NOT just deal with dirty windows, they would go to a different service that works better. ALL of them would do this (real people that are serious about hiring someone). Pros will do the same (find a service that works better). Do you see where I'm going with this?

Last question: How much is 20% off of a boatload more than you used to charge a pro to contact a client? That sounds like a great deal for thumbtack. Not for the pros.

"In case it's helpful" 😉  Imagine you are a pro using your service: Let's say you used to get charged about $3 to $10 to contact a client and you had the choice to look at the request and decide if the client was serious ahead of time BEFORE you got charged. You were able to see the project details and YOU were able to decide if it would be a good project for you to bid on... BEFORE YOU WERE CHARGED A NICKEL. And it was easy to tell if a request looked bogus because the client would give some real details if they were serious.... If the client made a vaque request and got no responses, they probably weren't serious and if they decided to not use thumbtack (or just deal with their dirty windows, ha!), who cares? 

But now, let's say that thumbtack decided to change their system out of the blue multiple times, and each time YOU got charged more and more and thumbtack stopped telling you how much they would charge ahead of time and you started getting charged for every generic contact that came through their clearly flawed system (like where I just did a search for cabinet refinishing and had a lawn care pro show up on the first page mixed in with the other contractors). And you could call and request a refund for certain things, but it would be a crap shoot if they decided to refund because they were in control and they already had your money, so now you've had to waste time even if you did get your money back.

Go back to letting the pros tell the clients (directly) what they can do for them at a fair price and when the pro decides to pay for it and knows what they're paying for up front, and everyone will be happy - @MarcoZ

Active Community Member

Hi @JasonB,

"We're working hard to make Thumbtack work for as many pros as possible, and that won't change any time soon!"

If your quote above is true, that you're trying to make thumbtack work for as many pros as possible, then why has Thumbtack completely abandoned previous systems, creating completely new ones (that appear to greatly benefit Thumbtack and not the pros) instead of just working to make the original system better? It didn't need to be replaced, just needed better ways to get more detailed project information from the clients and maybe a way to weed out the clients who weren't serious about hiring someone. It was pretty close to great for the pros when we could either buy credits or pay a dollar amount and choose which leads we quoted on.

No offense, but we're MUCH better than you are at deciding if a job request looks like it might be legit and a good fit for OUR business. And we are certainly MUCH better at deciding how much a lead is worth to us too.

I've said this on so many threads already, but I'll say it one more time, just in case it makes a difference: NOBODY wants you to decide how much we'll pay without telling us up front exactly what we'll pay and what it's for.

All of that being said, @JasonB, I know that you are not the one who dictates Thumbtacks business model and I applaud the fact that you even responded to @Hankster and @DJStevie directly even if your response was super vague without any specific details. And I'm sure that's what you're told to do, but,... do you ever get tired of typing "I'm sorry you feel that..."

I'm just curious, because I'm starting to get tired of typing "Your business model was pretty good, and now it's horrible".... I guess I'll stop. I hear that bark does it the way you used to do it.... I guess I'll give them a try.

I'm just a very tiny fish in your barrel, and I don't claim to be the smartest person in the world, but I'm also guessing that if something doesn't change drastically that many, many other pros will do something similar.....

What will you do?...