Photograper here. I have been a top pro for over a year and an active member for over 2. I have been hired over 155 times on thumbtack and if things continue the way they are now, I willnot be using the services after the begining of the year. Since the price hike on leads I have been spending 2-3 times the amount on leads and booking about the same ratio. For $100 week there are much more effective and sustainable marketing strategies. I could justify $30-$50 a week but this is now excessive. Especially since I used to have it down to a science and was happy with my booking/spending ratio. I would only quote quality leads who had a price range that I could justify. I understand paying more for jobs that will pay more but now with you taking away the "budget range" option in the client's lead form, I am essentially guessing at what they will spend, and lets be honest, only about 15% are not budget shopping. Charging $18-$20 for a lead who only wants to spend $100 is ridiculous. So yes, I was quoting more but half of the time I am getting contacts from leads (thefore wasting $18-$20) from people who 1. want a studio session and see that I am in the city but will not drive to the city, or 2. See my quoted price but only have a budget for half of my fee. 3 Respond with one of the automated replies which 9/10 is answered in my intro email. Also, all of the above complaints were 5x worse when I used instant match for the couple weeks, so I continue to and will continue to only quote with a personal introduction. And while I do like the fact that customers can now search for pros that might fit them, I don't really see a rhym or reason with that either. As a top pro who has been hired so many times how do I not come up in most searches?
Again, thumbtack has helped me build my business and been a great resource but it is getting harder and harder to justify the larger price hike. I feel like I have less control on how my money is being spent and am paying a lot more for the same amount of bookings. When I redo my branding and pricing at the begining of the year I will probably put the majority of this money into another form of marketing unless something changes. If the goal is indeed "to get you in front of lots of customers looking to hire pros like you, so you can show customers why you’re the right pro for the job" then I feel like this is a failure. I have had to take a look at where I am spending and subsequently I am quoting less and being much more selective because I am not sure what the budget is and I keep getting ridiculous or not serious leads. I'm essentially only quoting very specific projects in specific locations and generalizing. I used to quote lower than my average rates for areas where I was looking to build my portfolio, so everyone wins. For instance I wanted more engagement shoots so I would quote over $100 less than my normal portrait rate. But now that it takes $20 to quote, the risk isn't worth it for me. I don't book as many since my portfolio isn't as strong in that area, which was the whole point.
Anyway, long story short, I don't feel like the price hike is condusive to what you are trying to do. You will continue to lose quality photographers and beginners can't afford the price.
Luke Shaw - I am a videographer and I noticed today the price went up again to $50 . . . . . No Way would I quote this job. Which is too bad because these customers should learn about us. We are the people they seek. You say you are new to Thumbtack so your perspective is interesting to learn from . For us pros that have been on for several years have found our business on Thumbtack drop off drastically. Good luck!
In regards to your questions:
-- What do you find most confusing about our pricing?
* I think it would be nice to know exactly how much it is for each correspondance. I have the budget set and have instant match on (which both are super helpful), but I honestly have no idea how much I'm spending each time someone reaches out to me. It'd be nice if there was some indication like per correspondance or something.
-- What do you think is a fair price?
* I understand that the pricing varies per client, per situation, and per Thumbtack pro. Consistency is always better though. Knowing exactly what we're going to get charged everytime is easier for peace of mind and budget planning.
-- The only other thing I wanted to add is that it's frustrating to be charged just for a potention client reaching out with a mundane question. Being a personal trainer most of my initial contacts are asking when my next availability is. I have this posted in my introduction already and when I do reply with a simple "thanks for reaching out....here's my availability, text me etc" type message, I am still charged. Most of these potential clients don't reach back out. They're just doing their due diligence and reaching out to all the pros to compare pricing -- which I totally get. I've used Thumbtack to hire pros before and so I get the "doing your homework" bit. It'd be nice to just be contacted via phone instead of being charged for each mundane message.
When I receive inquiries where the customer has selected me specifically before Thumbtack has sent out a general solicitation for quotes, I have been charged $13 in recent months. The implication in the message is that the customer is interested in me alone, however, that is not always the case, sometimes they are simply seeking further information from me such as fee structure or location, etc. I believe $13 is too much in these cases, several times higher than the usual quotes when I respond to a general call for quotes. Yesterday I received an inquiry indicating that Thumbtack had selected me specifically to reply to a customer's inquiry and invited me to reply for free, but when I hit the reply button there was a charge announced of $4 were I to respond. I much prefer the former Thumbtack fee scale of a flat $2 per quote. James Chenevert, piano instructor
Hi. I was a Top Pro for Thumbtack but I had to stop using the service because it is no longer cost effective for me as a small business owner. The idea of providing quotes and not knowing what you will be charged just seems too arbitrary to build a business model on. I can’t even budget based on that.
The last quote I provided was for a resume. I sent a quote. The person got back to me and said “let’s get started”. I responded and tried to schedule an appointment or get any response from the customer. The customer literally never contacted me again and for that, I was charged close to $30. I contacted Thumbtack about it. The representative explained the pricing strategy which seems to work well for Thumbtack but I can’t imagine how it’s effective for someone like me. Further, I’m not sure how you determine the fee that you will charge for a lead but with the price range of most resumes in my area (Baltimore, MD), the fee you charge is about 25% of what I charge.
I also write business plans and I was told that one quote would cost in the range of $50. My budget does not allow me to pay $50 for one lead that goes nowhere. I’d prefer, for example, to pay $50 for several leads. Even if only one person comes through or I don’t get any responses, I feel that I have been given the opportunity to present my service to more than one possible customer and I know exactly what I’m paying for.
Bottom line: My primary issues are: (1) I don’t know exactly what I’m paying and (2) the fees charged seem to be excessive considering the service.
Write On Point
I think that you need to go back to a resonable set cost per lead like in the beginning. I also think that paying for the Lead once contacted was a great step but the increase of 4 to times the normal rate for a lead makes it harder to pull the trigger and place a bid. If you go back to a set cost as well as incorporate the no pay until contacted I think you will see pros chasing more leads since it will be feasible. It's hard to pursue a lead and pace a bid if you have no idea how much that lead is going to cost you. It significanly cuts into your profit if the job ends up being less detailed as the lead makes it sound. I also run into clients that will contact for explanation of a bid and then realize that the project cost is more then anticipated and decide not to continue. I have reduced my use of Thumbtack due to the high cost of leads and started pursuing other options whish is a shame because a lot of clients use Thumbtack to look for pros. Please take a hard look at lowering cost for leads as well as continuing the only pay if contacted portion that was implimented. Thanks.
How it is fair to charge $50 only for a question from somebody I not even answered??? You pricing politic is bandit and yes, it change all the time to be not transparent!
I think about deleting my account for all the fake and no serious leads I have to pay 50 doll per lead. Some people ask for services i not even offer and you charge for lead???
No problem if I answer a message but if I do not for WHAT I DO PAY???
This is not normal!!!
I'm late to the party but wanted to get my feedback in even without a response.
We do design and animation, and frankly the pricing is ridiculously simplified overpriced for most jobs.
For example, the shortest length a customer can choose is 30 seconds. Yet many then reply that they're needing a simple logo animation or something much smaller. Of course, we're charged for responding as if it's 30 seconds long.
In addition, complexity is a huge pricing factor in animation. A 30-second whiteboard animation versus a 30-second 3D product demo animation aren't even in the same ball park. Yet here they're treated as equal, even if they want 3D (which not everyone does) but don't bother saying that up front. There should be recourse if the project has vital information missing.
The ability to leave the comments/details section blank by the customer shouldn't be available, at least not in the animation field. It's a total crap-shoot to even respond to "blank" requests, and we don't even bother any more. We aren't going to pay you for responding to get more information only to find out that what they want either a) isn't animation (see below) or b) isn't a type of animation that our company does.
I've seen a few people just wanting info. I'm grateful at least one of these has said that up front in the request, so that we don't bother replying and then paying for a job we know isn't actually being requested. There have also been a few requests from people in school to interview/discuss the job for research or a school project. Again, why would we pay for this?
Job requests should be reviewed, or at least required to be filled out.
Animation specifically should be further broken down, at least into 2D or 3D, etc. It's impossible on your end to catch all the complexity differences, I understand, however the price difference from our end is huge.
Add a field instead of the drop-down for length. Require it in seconds, not huge ranges that really don't pinpoint a value, price, or scope of work.
Add a "Due by" date - this is huge in animation, and many reputable houses charge a rush fee. When the customer says they need a ridiculous amount of completed animation in a very short time frame that would definitely impact a bid.
Base prices on a combination of elements, from complexity, to timing, to actual length, etc. When in doubt, instead of starting all animations at 30 seconds and assuming they're pricey, maybe actually give the companies a break and benefit of the doubt and charge less. At this point everything is stacked in Thumbtack's favor. Your a business, and should operate for return on investment and gain revenue, of course. However it should be in a fair way that isn't just haphazard dart throwing and then rounding way up.
We are most definitely NOT going to invest in this platform any longer if fees continue to be so high. I invest $125 a month at WeddingWire and Thumbtack has been soaring to amost $500 a month sometimes without getting hired. I also do think that your customer is not really informed about how professionals really ellaborate their prices. I do too believe the client looking for a service should pay a portion of the fee. And Thumbtack should be more realistic about the crazy % you are all charging. For now, we are on a break from your platform.