I just had a long conversation with a rep about this issue. I explained that I understand the model, but there needs to be some sort of way to weed out customers who aren't serious. This one-and-done thing would be fine if the contacts were just a few dollars, but when the contact costs $14.xx, there isn't much of a value proposition. It's one thing if I have a detailed conversation with a contact and they choose someone else, but when a contact reaches out to 10 pros and then doesn't hire anyone, you have to question if they were serious or not. If they aren't serious, then the cost that we pay for the contact should be lower.
If each of the ten pros are charged $14 because the customer reached out to them, then Thumbtack just made $140 --- which is possibly even more than the pro who gets the job will make! I got charged $21 to respond to a job where I quoted $160.
My experience is a little different. I've been able to land a reasonable percentage of the customers who actually engage in a conversation with me and the income has more than covered the expense.
But you raise a great point. If the customers are allowed to auto respond (which these messages seem to be) are they really the "interested contacts" that thumbtack claims they are.
We're not charged when a customer says "no thanks" on the first response. I think that list should be expanded to include typical responses from these ghost clients. I've seen things like: "Do you have any references?", "Sounds great! what's next?", "What's your next availability?", "When can we chat?"and the list goes on.
If a potential customer asks one of these questions and then doesn't respond when the Pro responds, I question the validity of the contact - especially when I check the insights report and see that they haven't indicated that they hired anyone.
I hope that Thumbtack will make some adjustments in these areas. As I told the rep, I'm willing to participate in a focus group and/or provide any insight that I can to help the platform become a success, but I won't keep paying for ghost contacts if they aren't willing to make a positive changes in the system to eliminate them.
I agree this new format of charging us undetermined fees for work Is at best unreasonable. We are not being told what we will be charged. I have never worked with any company that says we'll determine what to charge you based on the inquiry / What ??? . Now I just tried to make a quote and it has changed again and wants to charge me 15 dollars for a customer that asked , am I available on the date she requested. obvioulsy i said in my first line of response that I am available . I have had it with Tumbtack that is it.
I definitely agree with you it’s ridiculous to waste that amount of money and only get 1 one 2 repeat customers...there has to be another way...the other issue I have are the ones that lie about where they live to generate more quotes...I wasted a good amount on quoting people who don’t even live in the area I service and no refund, or the people that ask for a quote and then cancel the job after contact then put the job back up the following week...again ther has to be a better way to stop all this from happening...you should only be charged if you get the job that’s a great option.