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JENNIFER2018
Level 6

No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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We just received an email that beginning Monday (8/27) potential clients will no longer be asked for their budget for catering projects.  If this is the case NOW how will fees be determined?  That's kind of an important piece of information for Pros to know wouldn't you think?

Under the new plan will I be charged the same fees for someone that has 100 guests and ends up ordering burgers for $8 as a client that has 100 guests and orders a full, plated meal with service during the meal that ends up being $30 per plate.  

It's to the point I'm almost afraid to bid a job because I have no clue what the potential cost to me will be.

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Thumbtack Employee MichelleT
Thumbtack Employee

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Hi everybody -

We owe you an apology.

Three weeks ago we stopped asking customers to tell you their budget. We did it for a few reasons, which I’ll get to in a minute, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been incredibly frustrating for a lot of you:

  • This change makes it harder for you to quote on jobs and decide which ones you want.
  • We didn’t give you enough notice.
  • We didn’t explain why we did it.

Here’s what we’re doing about it:

  • We’re testing four new budget questions. By the end of next week, we should know if they’re working and be able to tell you if you’ll start seeing some budget info again soon.
  • We’re working on two new features: Packages and Price Ranges. They’ll be ready in a couple months and will hopefully make it a lot easier for pros and customers to meet on prices.
  • If anything changes, we’ll let you know here.

In the meantime, let me try to explain what happened.

The budget problem.

Whether or not to ask customers for their budget is a huge debate at Thumbtack.

On one hand, we know seeing a budget can be really useful for you:

  • If you’re looking through the Requests/Jobs tab, a budget helps you figure out which customers to contact.
  • Customers with a higher budget sometimes seem more serious.  
  • You were able to tailor your quote to each customer, especially if you offer a variety of price points and services.

On the other hand, we saw a problem for customers:

  • A lot of pros quoted higher prices for the same services if they saw a higher budget.

We know it’s an industry norm for some, but it didn’t seem fair. A waiter doesn’t ask you how much you’re willing to pay for dinner before he sets his prices. So we didn’t think it was right that some customers were getting charged more for the same service.

Also, customers aren’t stupid. On their side the budget question was tricky too:

  • Many figured out what was going on and set their budgets lower as a negotiating tactic.
  • People who weren’t sure just picked the lowest option by default.

Customers with lower budgets generally received fewer quotes and left Thumbtack unsatisfied. Other customers with high budgets got a lot of quotes but left feeling like they got ripped off. Needless to say, many of those customers did not return.

Where we messed up and what we’re doing next.

We took the budget question away. But we didn’t give you fair warning – we didn’t explain ourselves and we didn’t help you figure out how to use Thumbtack now that that question is gone.

A lot of you have told us that Thumbtack just doesn’t work for you if you don’t know people’s budgets.

So we’re testing new budget questions. One version is an optional open-text budget question. The other is a variation on the original multiple choice, with the ability for customers to indicate more than one budget range they are open to. We’re also working on building Packages and Price Ranges. And we’re hyper-focused on getting this right.

If you have ideas for what we should be doing, we want to hear them. Post them here or email events@thumbtack.com. We’ll be working on this all weekend. Needless to say, we’re paying attention.

And please know that we hear everything you’ve told us and appreciate you taking the time to post your thoughts in the Community. We’re still a startup and we rely on your voices to make Thumbtack better. So keep them coming. We’re working to fix this for you and the best way to do that is for you to tell us where we let you down and what you want to see us do next.

 

Sincerely, 

Michelle, Category Manager for Events

Thumbtack Employee MichelleT
Thumbtack Employee

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Hi everybody -

Quick update here. We have been analyzing the results of tests we had running in Food Truck or Cart Services, Wedding and Event Videography, Portrait Photography, and Personal Chef. Early results are mostly positive but not entirely clear yet. If you are active in any of these categories, we would love to hear your thoughts! Please email events@thumbtack.com with any suggestions for ways we could improve the questions (e.g., wording, answer options, other).   

To keep things moving forward, we are launching two additional customer budget test questions - one in Wedding and Event Catering and the other in Wedding and Event Photography. They are going live tonight. Again, feedback would be great. Just email us. 

Additionally - if any of you would like to talk with me about this situation, or anything else Thumbtack/Events-related, I'd love to connect. You can book a time on my calendar here: https://mtandler.youcanbook.me/

Thanks again for all the feedback, and have a great weekend! 

Michelle

Category Manager, Events

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jdpage
Level 6

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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I'm with you on that! If my wedding photography packages start at $1,800 - I avoid wasting my "bid money" by sending info to those whose budget is $250 - $500. This guarantees that I won't be sending any bids unless the client puts the budget amount within their project description.

hoosierok
Level 4

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Totally agree.  We too are photographers and base how we bid almost exclusively on the clients budget!  We are totally perplexed on why this latest move by Thumbtack!!  Do they really expect us to bid on jobs with no posted budget?  I would really like to see an explanation from Thumbtack, has anyone noticed anything explaining this (or attempting to explain this)?

Jb11
Level 4

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Me Too, I'm also a photog & since they have made this change, I don't bid on hardly anything. & i'm confused that how can a headshot cost me almost 28.00 & a portrait setting, example a family shoot or a couple , can cost me only 18.00 & my headshot prices are lower than my portrait prices, so I would be wasting money.  I will not bid on head shots @ all now.  I'm getting pretty fed up with TT @ this point.  When I first started out with them, it was so nice, now.....  not @ all !!  

Janice Butler
jcp
Level 9

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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I stopped bidding on headshots solely for the cost to quote. I must see their budget!
Serendipity
Level 5

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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My issue is a little different.  I have a set fee for my wedding business.  Actually it was nice when i had pre set answers depending on if a couple wanted an elopement, traditional wedding, day of coordinator, or planner.  Sometimes I had a question because the client accidentally put the date of their wedding on a day that had already passed.  When I tried to ask if this is what they meant to say, I was told I could not ask this question because the couple filled out their form (incorrectly.  They are not getting married in 2017).  On top of this, I have no idea what TT is charging me to bid. Simple question, and I deserve an answer.  Tell me you are charging $6 for a bid or $60 for a bid, whatever. If I am shopping for a dress there is a price tag on the item.  It does not say "Select this dress and we will let you know what your dress cost when you get your credit card statement.ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!!

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Just a follow up to our previous post, IT’S NOT WORKING FOR US! Call me a wimp, but I am not going to take a chance on getting charged $64.46 for a quote when I don’t know if the clients photography budget is $500, or $1500. It’s just not worth it. Since TT’s change in not posting a clients budget, we have had to lower the price we charge. It’s just not worth the chance, sorry TT!
jcp
Level 9

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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Oh because TT doesn’t like that us pros won’t quote on small, unrealistic budgets. Because TT said customers were not getting response to their request. ($200 to film a wedding - yeah right) Because TT said that budgets don’t matter. It’s beyond unprofessional what TT is doing and I am sitting back waiting for some serious changes. Will not use IM - was highly successful with the five quotes only - cost to quote tripled with no real explanation when the odds of booking increased 1 out of 15 chance. Ridiculous! TT - please start posting comments from Pros that are loving this new system. I want to read actual names of TT pros that are happy and doing great with this new system. Put me in touch with someone so I can chat with them directly. It’s been a few months now since this was put in place - let’s hear some happy results. My business droppped off 99%. Thank goodness I am getting work from repeat TT clients!
jcp
Level 9

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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I just TESTED Instant Match for a week to see if I would get any responders. For my photography services. I narrowed my details of course, so I could at least see the insights (the only way I can find out what’s going on out there). Got my weekly report today - which is the only way I know how many Instant Matches are being sent. Results: 3 instant matches sent. In a week. And all three Instant Matches DID NOT contact anyone. DID NOT hire anyone. I will change my settings this week to make more likely to get contacted and see what happens. Try it - get your results - review- let your voice be heard. I really truly would like to read some posts with happy TT pros. Let us read about what is working for them - how pleased they are.
mbidstudio
Level 6

Re: No Client Budget...How Will Fees Be Determined?

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I tested "instant match" last month and quickly found that it was very unprofessional. I was unable to give a personal note just an automated short blurb from TT. I am now back on the regular system with the"set your budget" option, I can send a personal note and hope to stand out among the 10-15 pros that were matched instantly. I send out close to 10 a week and may get 1-2 responses. None of them used the auto response they actually sent back a note however these responses are a minimum $45.00 a piece. So I was billed $135.00 last month and sadly none of the three who contacted me came out a client. So TT is making a a ton of $$$ from this new  system with no return, so far as the quality of these leads are not good. And why? They peddle people who have unrealistic budgets and we can not see that option any more. 

BTW why is this comment burried in the middle of the page with comments from 4 weeks ago? Not sure how they organize these comments.