"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?...
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
@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.