I do magic shows and balloon animals - when I get a request for balloon animals, I can send a customized quote based on the event and give them specifics as to what I can provide. Sometimes I also get "Face painting" requests and it lists the customers budget range.
However, if I get a request for a "Magician" (my main business) my only options is to "send them my profile" - I can not send a tailored quote like I used to be able to. Why not? I want to give them specifics about what I can provide based on their event. On top of that, the customer budget went away. Instead of "$100-$200" or "$500+" we get "$ - Basic", "$$ - Standard", "$$$ - Premium" --- what in the world does that tell us? Who on Thumbtack feels they are just a "Basic" performer? If you want to hide the customer budget from us to make more money - whatever - but at least get rid of the insulting "basic" option.
There have been a lot of changes recently, so I'm happy you're reaching out with concerns and questions. Magician is now an Instant Match category and, because of this, the profile is the main focus. When customers open up your message, they'll see a price breakdown, your introduction, and then your profile is on display. If you have additional info that can't be added to your profile, you'll be able to let the customer know once they reach out.
Customer budget is tricky. We've received a lot of feedback on both the old and new version. For now, price range was switched to dollar signs instead of a number amount to focus on quality over the price tag (For example, we'd hear that a customer put $500 as their budget, but expected $1,500 worth of work). Our hope is that with the $ option, customers will think of the type of quality they want and leave the price to the professional. If you want to give us more detail on what you'd like to see for the customer budget (or anything on the request form, send it on in. It's important for our product team to see what professionals are thinking: https://help.thumbtack.com/suggestions
"Currently for Magician, a typical customer contact costs around $13, and a contact will never cost more than $43"
Your instant match for magician is broken if you have add ons. If I do 1hr of magic and 1 hour balloons for 2 hours total, it presents a price of 2hr magic and 2 hrs of balloons which is double the price. Go back to the custom quotes and let US handle our pricing!!!
Also, TELL us what it is going to cost for each quote. I was SHOCKED today when I saw you charged me $34 for 2 quotes that used to cost me $8.00. With this new system, your rates for magician went up 80-250% depending on the "job"!
The "old" system wasn't broken...there was no need to "fix" it. I'm sure this looks good in your profit margin, but I'm sure it will be sliding downhill very rapidly as you start losing Pros because of this "new system".
I spoke to a rep a Thumbtack to voice my opinion about this service. What customers don't understand is that it's not realistically possible to give a blind quote without lookng a job first. I have been a contractor for many years and the expectation from customers are very unrealistic. They don;t realize that we have to factor in the cost of gas, insurance, wear and tear etc... before we even start the job. There are many people ( I say people not contractors) that googled how to wall mount a tv, how to put in an outlet, how to do this that and the other and they sign up to thumbtack thinking they are now pros and give ridiculous pricing. They can give low ball offers because they don't have insurance and expenses and think that $99 for a wall mount with hidden cables is a good wage for joe schmoe looking for beer money. There is no way a reputable company is going to bid $99 for a wall mount its just not possible. As sated above insurance ( both liability and commercial vehicle) gas, travel time, wear and tear on vehicle and tools etc...Just to start my truck up in the morning and start driving to my first job I am down $80-$100 so a $100 quote for a wall mount TV with hidden cables there is no way I can compete. How is it possible to quote $100 and still make money? What about the year warranty on the work? Do the other people on here factor that in? There is no way I can put in an accurate bid without looking at the job first ( unless its straight forward). So how can a contactor give a quote without looking at the job first? Someone wants a new deck built, there is no way I can give a quote without looking at the site. My guess is that some of the people on here have a full time job making $15 an hour and doing the extra work on the weekends and evenings to supplement their income and making $100 for a couple hours work is great to them ( yeah if they have no insurance etc...) Most reputable contractors know their worth which is why its so hard to land jobs. Not only do we have to compete with joe schmoe giving unrealistic bids but also the shoddy contractors that have no pride in their work making the rest of us look bad. I do think that Thumbtack should screen all contractors to make sure they have the proper licensing and insurance to do any work on here. They should have to verify their insurance and have periodic screening to make sure they carry it at all times. Or it should be mandatory that its says it in their profile that this contractor is not licensed and is not insured ( and it should be viewable any time they send a quote , under their name should read it). To most contractors this is not a supplemental gig, this is their full time job. So in the end of all my rambling I know nothing will change, but if the real contractors would speak out and stand tall and stick to what they are worth then maybe we might have a chance to actually get more than just a couple jobs on here.
As far as the new pricing, I would rather pay the old way, per lead. I contacted a customer about a gazebo assembly and was charged $25 for it. Turns out the customer doesn't need it assembled until next year, Really?
@steveduch thanks so much for sharing this, as I’m sure there are other contractors with similar thoughts and feelings along with pros in similar categories.
In fact, we had a pro panel here yesterday answering our questions. One was a mover and he expressed some of what you’ve written here about how every job is very different and the more information we can obtain from the customer up front the better. This is definitely something that we are keeping in mind for pros in his category and yours. Our teams are working hard to find ways to get more information from customers about their project, along with making it easier for them to access the pros in their area.
There was also time for one of our project managers to speak about the pro profile and how things will be changing there. Take a look at a recent post of his in the community about profiles if you haven’t already and weigh in with your thoughts about the profile: https://community.thumbtack.com/t5/Get-hired/Let-s-talk-about-your-profile/m-p/3070
We’re currently working to make the pro profile appear with more value in categories like yours when it comes to licensing, insurance, and other certifications that will give customers more peace of mind and show them that pros with those listed are of more value.
@steveduch you have described the situation quite well. And a key part of the issue is the fact that Instant Match is fast, but so poorly suited to the job of providing acurate and profitable quotes. Another issue is that thumbtack is providing pricing to customers that may be national averages. I am unsure they have any way to gather enough infor mation about local pricing.
When customers see a Thumbtack price guide of $100 to hang a TV, and a seasoned Pro bids it at $120 they might have the impression that the Pro is over-priced. We simply do not know if that price guide from Thumbtack is local, statewide, or national averages.
Another question you bring up is: "What research has Thumbtack done on the buying habits of the Customers who are using Thumbtack?" Are they all predisposed to make their choice based on lowest price?" And, to be quite blunt, if Thumbtack does know their customers buying habits, I doubt they wish to share that information with us if it means we may leave Thumbtack for other sources of jobs.
The Thumbtack business model may actually be built on the constant influx of new "green" contractors and as the Pros gain experience and eventually learn the cost of doing business, they drop out of Thumbtack. I simply do not see a comitted effort on the part of Thumbtack to retain the experienced Pros.
That makes me ponder the question: "How much turnover does Thumbtack experinece in their base of Pros?" Again, I doubt they want us to know that answer because right now it appears that they are more concerned with doing TV advertising to get more "customers" as they call them.
Hi @InspectionsJCH, you bring up some great points as well that I'd like to elaborate on.
The average we show a customer is based on the zip code they're searching in. For example, you can check out the average for local Home Theater Specialists on Thumbtack here: https://www.thumbtack.com/p/tv-wall-mount-install-cost.
Even though the average price is local, you bring up a good point about us giving an average and then worrying about a seasoned pro coming in with a higher price. This is when the profile comes into play. The profile is where customers can compare the quality of professionals' work. They can do this through pictures and also the about section. I'm seeing a lot of pros talk about why they price the way they do in their about section. When they explain what's included in their price and the work that goes into the job, it helps the customer better understand.
Currently, we have many seasoned pros that use the site regularly. To help keep them around, we have an entire team that specializes in retaining top pros and helping them continue to be successful. As for our recent increase in TV ads, you're right, they are pointed toward getting customers to use Thumbtack. We want more customers aware of us, so we can get you more leads.
This being said and as you mentioned, you are still our customer as well. While changes do take time, we are working on them and will continue to take in feedback along the way.
All I keep hearing about is profile, profile and more profile. Or get more review. I am sorry but I have been a contractor a long time so I am not new to this, but if a customer sees a price before I even get a chance to quote them that price is in their head. I am in this business to make money, just like thumbtack. So if a customer goes on thumbtack and requests a bid and gets a quote from some joe down the block and he bids them an unrealistic quote ( he can bid low because he has no expenses I.E. insurance ) then reguarless of profile joe from down the block is going to get the job. Customers arnt asking if contractors are insured or licensed all they care about is the bottom line and thats the end price. I have a customer that I do alot of work for and currently I am putting vapor barrier in his crawl space, my price to him @$2100.00 because he knows that it will be done right and he trusts me ( I never showed him a profile or pics or anything else he justs trusts my work and knows I am insured), if this were to go out on thumbtack you would get ridiculous quotes of $500 or even less because alot of these so called pros on here don't have expenses and dont know any better. Thumbtack needs to get off of the profile bandwagon and get a reality check, because thats not what drives customers the bottom line is $$$$ lowest price always wins reguardless of how experienced the pro is or even if he has credentials