It is becoming more and more apparent that Thumbtack is virtually useless for anyone providing ghost writing and/or copy editing services. Customers are not asked or encouraged to describe their project in any detail. The subject matter could be literally anything from art history to engineering, and often is is unclear what the format is--book, essay, academic thesis, etc.
Often a job a customer thinks is "proofreading" requires extensive time-consuming developmental editing. The site either needs to figure out a way to dig deeper in getting customers to describe the project and the kind of work they need done, or provide an anonymous means of having a brief Q&A with the customer, before expecting Pros to risk (what has become a lot of money) on completely blind quotes to people who end up being just tire-kickers, or complete whackos.
@ElGolem I want Thumbtack to work for you and would love your suggestions! What questions should we ask customers? What details are missing? You can either respond here, or send me a private message. Either way, I'll make sure to send your feedback to our Product Team
I think at a certain point, the business model needs to make a commitment to who your customers really--the "Pros" or the "Customers." Since you derive all your revenues from the Pros who are essentially paying for informaton on potential leads, the site should go out of its way to maintain more precise detailed information from those seeking have have work done. They don't have to pay anything up front (and probably don't realize that responding to quotes costs Pros a substantial amount of money) so, if their initial investment isn't monetary, make them at least invest a certain amount of time and energy in describing their projects in a way that Pros can make a more well-informed assessment of which projects are worth quoting on.
Obviously, the more work you ask of customers to post a job, the fewer people will be willing to complete the entire process--but this is a good thing! It elminates those who aren't really serious, are not ready to make a committment to pay someone, or are just plain curious. If someone who wants a writing/editing job done isn't willing to spend the time necessary to describe their project, can't pitch their project to an extent that gets me interested enough to risk money to work for them, they are not ready to post, much less hire someone of true professional caliber.
I would rather get a lot fewer quotes tha are actually real, than dozens of tire-kickers and non responders.
@ElGolem - I couldn't agree more.
With the changes to TT, I stopped seeing any of the jobs that I used to put bids in on for over a month. I've actually made a point to diversify my writing and editing services to ensure I always have clients, and right now I should be buried in medical students who are applying to residency (applications are due mid September). On TT, I've seen one, and the contact cost was absurd given that these jobs only tend to run 1-2 hours.
TT made a few more changes and some writing/editing related jobs started popping up, but as you noted, there's not enough information to determine if the job is even in my wheelhouse. I had one today that was a request for developmental editing, science fiction. This was exciting because that's one of my areas. But when I opened the job request, the only additional information was: send resume and cost quote.
I can't risk the $17.28 this would have cost without more details. Was this a short story, novella, or novel, because I do those. Maybe it was a screenplay, and I don't touch those. Or a webpage or an RPG or video game story component. Was this plot driven hard SF (cause I'm booked on that front) or more space opera or character driven (I have openings there)?
Right now all my work is coming from Fiverr and networking. I check in to TT about once or twice a week to see if there've been any improvements, but I can't sit around waiting for a fix.