Hey Scott; I think customers should be charged a minimal fee for contacting a Pro or should be limted to 2-3 pros for a particular job; You guys are trying your best but obsviously professionals are not happy wit the new improvement. Its sad to say, but extracting money from small buisnesses seem to be the main objective of this new improvement.
So it seems like the Thumbtack model is driving down the price of my services. If you first ask a client what their budget is, they tend to shoot pretty low. I see people putting a budget of $250 or $500 for wedding photography, when the industry standard is somewhere between $1,000 - $3,000. I don't think it's helpful to ask for someone's budget when they don't know what any of the standard prices are. It just leads the client to want unreasonably cheap prices, which ends up with the vendor undercharging or the client being frustrated.
I also waste a lot money on lead costs where it's obvious that it won't be a good fit. The prospective client doesn't know that messaging me costs me money in lead costs. So even though my quote says $450 but they only want to pay $200, they might still message me. I get the impression that a lot of people just shoot out messages to a bunch of vendors on the list. But now I've been charged $25-$50 on a lead that I don't want.
All in all, I think Thumbtack is doing a good job of bringing in a volume of interested clients. But the lead costs definitely have motivated me to look at other options. About 25% of my revenue from Thumbtack goes to lead costs. Keep in mind, that's revenue, not profit. I have other expenses that eat away at my margins. So I've been investigating other sources to see if I can spend less on advertising than 25%. If I could spend less on lead costs or if I could reliably charge industry standard prices, Thumbtack would be a much more sustainable model for me.
I am a one man small business wedding officiant, who can not afford to pay a premium every single time a potential client has a question about a specific detail that they are looking for. I paid nearly $200 in "customer contact fees" in one month, without getting a single hire, because though my profile is extensivly filled out, people still always have questions that they want answered before they make a hiring decision. Many of these poeple start inquiring 12 to 16 months before their wedding, and are no where near ready to hire. its good for them, but not for me. Paying $200/month to be contacted with random questions by curious people who are no where near the hiring stage, is not a sustainable business practice.
I have suggested it before, and will suggest it again now. If Thumbtack is truly seeking to help small business owners, you will only charge for a confirmed hire. Why is this not the way things are done?
@DanielC @BobsPCRepair pros paying when hired is certainly something we've heard pros asking about. Be sure to check out an answer about this from one of our PMs in our Pricing Q&A wrap up HERE. I'll also mention that we used to charge each and every time a pro sent out a quote. It wasn't too long ago that we would consistently hear feedback from pros that they'd only like to pay when the customer responded or contacted them back, and that's where we're at now.
... because that's the way advertising works! To only pay when contacted, is basically a pay-per-click service, but actually upgraded a step. With pay per click, you pay when they view you. With TT, you're not paying when they click on you in the search results. They get to see your profile at no charge to you! You only pay when they reach out! That is actually a very excellent feature! The new system is actually very good. There are definitely some issues with the prices charged in some categories, but I've seen prices knocked down a bit in my categories.
What I don't comprehend is how many people are running a business, completely clueless of their costs. This is very simple! Be it TT or any other form of advertising, DO THE MATH! Very simple! How much have you spent on the advertising? How many clients did complete projects for? Divide the spend by the number of jobs and that gives you your COST OF ACQUISITION. Once you know how much it costs you to acquire a new customer, then compare that to the profit on the job. If you're profitable after your advertising spend, then keep doing it. If you're not, then DON'T!
The average ROI (return on investment) is 1:3, which means you get $3 back for every $ you spend. 1:5 is considered excellent. For me, TT returns 1:10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is outstanding! But that's becasue I'm a top notch professional, providing top notch product and service, my heart and soul goes into every job. I've got excellent follow-up. I'm legit, licensed, insured, etc. I'm educating myself and improving my skills every day. When I started my business I wrote myself a corporate manual and follow it to a tee, reassessing any changes that need to be made based on unique situations that arise, etc. I'm a polished pro, through and through. I know my numbers - my costs, my profits, etc. I know that my product costs can't exceed 10% of my sales price, and am often in the 1%-3% range, and have not gone over 12% on any job yet. You must know the ins-and outs of your business, and know that you have no competition, because no one else is uniquely you! I establish warm relationships with my clients and we chat about various subjects and I've given advice on everything from breastfeeding, fungal infections, spiritualism, The Law of Attraction, real estate investing, and avoiding produce from Mexico. I learn from my clients and they learn from me. I am an aware, involved professional.
If you don't want to do these things, you're playing. You're an amateur, dabbling. That's ok if your a mom trying to make some side money from a hobby. If you're a full-time biz, dabbling and guessing isnt' going to cut it. Even the part-time mom needs to know her numbers. Do the above calcutation and determine if TT is working for you or not. If your numbers are coming in poorly, take a look at how you can better tweak the way you work within the system to fix the money bleeds. Fix them and recalucate the numbers. Numbers dont' lie! It's not an emotional decision whether you think TT is a scam or not, or whether they charge on bidding, or charge on responses, or charge on hires. NOTHING MATTERS BUT THE NUMBERS! Figure them out! Then either walk or pay. It works or it doesn't. But all this sitting here whining and complaining will not change the way TT does business. Yes, they massively screwed up and launched the new system piece by piece, which really hurt everyone, but now the new system is up and runing. Sure, they'll be a tweak here and there as it gets off the ground, but this is the new system and it is actually working - but those of you who rather complain than do a simple bit of math, wouldn't know that. Only the numbers will give you the answers. So, don't post again until you figure your ratio, because there's a good chance you're squawking about nothing! But if you do them and they are BAD, you've to make some changes! Read through all my posts becasue I've given some excellent suggestions on how to work within the system and be profitable. If your numbers stink, make my suggested changes and recalculate. When you've done everything you can, and the numbers still stink, then this system isn't for you, so stop wasting your time and money here and go find something that does work! But I think you're going to be surprised by what you find when you do the math. Like anything else, do it right or don't do it at all - just stop wasting your time complaining about it because that just sucks you down into a negative momentum.
I should just start charging for this already! Is there a category for TT business coaches?
We're also very happy that you're doing well and I was to the first couple months of a thumbtack I've only been on here about six months and at my mistake I put all my coins in one barrel and heaven using Thumbtack solely to get my business and I have been doing very well until recently I haven't had a job request in three weeks now and I'm a carpenter and handyman in California explain that to me? I have 23 reviews all five star except for two but the bad ones somehow are on the first page of the customer see Thumbtack says they have no control over this they know when someone calls you they know your credit card information banking information they know where you live to know when you text somebody but they can't rearrange review which by the way is not in chronological order or in any order that they can explain so that's what customers are seeing and I'm not getting any jobs so what do I do break the bank to advertise or go to Home advisor you tell me?