@Aura we encourage pros to do what they feel would be best for them and their business. If you feel that charging the customer upfront is a better way to go then I'd recommend trying it out to see how it goes and you can adjust as needed.
@1jc I'm happy to learn more about your situation and see what we can do to help. Go ahead and send me a private message with the name of the customer and any additional info you think will be helpful.
I've had the same situation with a Thumbtack customer. It was 'only' for a $125 job. She left as soon as we showed up, saying she had errands to run and just send her an invoice through Thumbtack and she would pay. Well, communication stopped on her end from then on.
I was most disappointed with Thumbtack's response. They essentially washed their hands of the situation saying they couldn't do anything about. They simply shut down her account so I now had no way of communicating with her whatsoever. They also wouldn't provide me her e-mail address or phone number, saying that's against their policy.
We stopped by her house several times, mailed her invoices, and even sent an invoice via certified mail. No luck. Because it was 'only' $125 dollars, it's not worth losing half a day of work tied up in court.
Marcos and Thumbtack need to take on greater responsibility. If they're going to take our money for leads, they should have some level of responsibility as well. Essentially they've gone into a level of contractual agreement by taking my money. They're response, 'sorry, there's nothing we can do.'
How about holding up your end of the bargin? How about part of the lead money is an insurance policy that covers failed payments by customers.
How about we, the professionals on here, can rate customers similiar to Uber or Airbnb? We should be able to give feedback on good or bad customers. That let's other pros to NOT do business with customer X. Anything is better than the response I was given.