Is there a tax/accounting forum specifically? I know the general forums usually don't work well with industry-specific commentary, but not sure where else to put it(?)
YOU NEED TO ADD A CATEGORY UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF TAX-PREP= ADVICE!
Many people don't want preparation services, and the quotes/ templates are based on this. They want just advice. And, guess what?... they try to get it over the initial consutation phone call so it will cost them absolutely nothing. They contact 3 pros, get info from them, then done. Thumbtack gets paid as it always does, and pros get nothing and lose money on top of it.
Right now, almost all "cases" in the tax field are not for filing returns, but the quotes I am paying for are for prep. So, I am not paying for what the service actually is, and I am sick of it. $10 here, $8 here... about $30-$50/ day, with no money coming in. The customers do not want to pay for advice, and I do not want to pay Thumback to give free advice.
You need to add an advice category, so pros can quote an hourly rate, and customers can understand up front that the adviced of a qualified tax professional is not a complimentary service that we just give out.
Otherwise, I will have to protest my charges for "tax preparation" for what is not tax preparation.
Also, though this is a universal comment, could you please find a way to tell these "customers" that checking "over the internet" will not lead to a CPA down the street from them?
Thanks Christina for this comment. I am one of your competitors in the accounting category and have been charged for the priviledge of giving free advice more than once. Generally, I complain to customer service, but I am having less success in getting refunds recently. I think your other post about requiring customers to pay something is spot on and would go a long way toward cutting this behavior out. I would even suggest making the customer pay a deposit, which gets refunded to them once they have hired a professional and paid for services.
And yes, the phone/internet travel preference is ridiculous. Many customers do not understand that checking this box will return quotes from professionals outside of their local area. TT needs to rename or otherwise clarify to the customer what this option means.
Thanks for commenting, James. It helps to know that others are struggling with the same issues, and willing to speak out about it. While I have no doubt that there are some pros on Thumbtack that do crappy work and communicate poorly, from my end the customers are just not being led to understand the service. If Thumbtack doesn't improve how customers treat pros (I am apparently ranked pretty high now, which means I get more people contacting me once and never again.... thanks so much for that promotion, Thumbtack), Thumbtack will lose pro revenue.
I am a CPA, respond within minutes, charge low prices, have been in business 15 years, have great reviews.. yet I cannot get someone to respond a second time? Fix these people, Thumbtack!
Hi @chriseshar and @jejcpa, I hope you had a great holiday weekend! You both bring some valid suggestions and I'm happy you voiced your concerns here! You're feedback has been passed along, please reach out if you have any additional suggestions! I want Thumbtack to work for you and if something isn't working, we want to hear about it.
For what its worth, making some of these improvements would be a better experience for customers too. If a customer stupidly checks the "over the internet" box, and really wants someone close, they will probably end up not using Thumbtack at all. They will be frustrated, will cause frustration in the pros they charge, won't hire anyone, won't refer Thumbtack to their friends, and won't use Thumbtack again. The person may even complain on the internet, where other people will see this complaint. All because they didn't understand the process, regardless of whether that was laziness on their part.
I adamantly stand by the post that customers must be charged a small fee to improve statistics, weed out scams, and improve relationships. Otherwise, the stats surely suggest that hardly anyone is hiring a Pro. How can that be good for a site that supposedly exists to match pros and customers?
Thank you @Meckell.
Just to add another thought regarding potential changes to the taxes and accounting category. It would be nice to see an option for the customer to choose a licensed (CPA, EA) vs unlicensed accountant/tax preparer. As a CPA, I am subject to higher educational and ethical standards than an unlicensed practitioner. Obtaining the CPA is not easy and there is measurable value to the certification with potential clients willing to pay more for our expertise. Not to disparage my competition, or anyone specifically, but I see competitors who appear to be primarily wedding planners and handymen offering ultra low prices for tax preparation that I cannot compete with due to the higher overhead of maintaining my license.
For customers, any who are seeking a licensed accountant are looking for higher levels of service and are willing to pay for it. For other customers, they are generally only seeking the cheapest option. These are completely different markets and the option to choose should be available to the customers.
Well, I certainly agree with you on this one too, @jejcpa. I don't hold anything against a person for not being a CPA or EA per se (not everyone is interested in accounting, for one), but I also don't understand why someone who calls themselves a tax pro would never even become an EA. It is pretty easy to be an EA if you already know the ropes. Anywho, I don't expect Thumbtack to regulate the heck out of this, but I would like to know- when you accept uploaded licenses, are you only accepting EA or CPA, or are you also accepting some of these IRS things like the Annual Filing Season Program certificate holders as licenses? If you are accepting the latter, that must stop immediately.
When I uploaded my license upon joining Thumbtack, it was accepted very quickly.... so I did wonder if the contents were even reviewed.
Either way, yes, helping the customer distinguish between license holders and the rest makes for better customer choices. Some people think everyone who does taxes is a CPA, which is incredibly frustrating.
I would also add that the opportunity to review customers would add a lot of value to ThumbTack's service, especially if the professional has the opportunity to see the reviews before responding (being charged) to the customer's request. The professional would be able to assess the seriousness of the lead with this feature. Also, additional information could be made available, such as the number of requests and hires the customer has made.