I came across this email late since I've generally stopped reading TT emails; however, I feel this topic is the reason for my discontinued use and felt it was worth responding.
To start, I will never provide my banking information to TT to take money from my personal financial accounts. That's dangerous and just bad business in my opinion. I can handle my own budgets and do not need TT to do that for me.
Also, I don't understand how TT can justify tripling their fee for services. It is just significantly less expensive to use alternative methods of marketing my services.
The last time I tried to send an offer, it would not allow me to continue without creating a budget; whereas, TT can take money from my account. This is not a procedure I can work with, which is why I have discontinued using your service.
If you do the math, whether you pay a smaller fee for every bid you send, or you pay a larger fee for only the ones that respond, or if you pay an even bigger fee only when hired, it's all works out about the same. But, if you don't do a COA (cost of acquisition) analysis, you won't have a clue what you were paying per hire before vs. what you're paying now.
If you're on IM, you've got no control of what you're bidding on and you'll be paying for conversations with people on jobs you don't want. So, that's your own fault if you've elected to give over the bidding to TT. If you want them to do that work for you, then look at it as paying a premium to have them do the work. If you want to be a take-charge responsible entrepreneur that makes all decisions on bidding yourself, then you don't need IM and don't need to pay that premium. Bid manually on just the jobs that meet your standards. If you do that, you're doing the work of bidding, instead of paying TT to do it, and you'll spend LESS on your bidsi because you'll only be paying for the decent ones you want, not the crap you don't. I am paying LESS now than before! The only caveat is that the IM system destroyed the bidding process and has driven prices into the ground by increasing competiton to 15 pros instead of max 5. Because I'm down $150 per session due to having to cut my prices in half to compete, I'm down $9000 from last year. So, yes, my COA is down, but profits are down too.
I think the client should be charged a nominal fee to weed out the players from the serious. If they end up signing with a professional the fee goes toward the cost of the project. It can be split between TT and the Pro. The professionals should not be charged if the lead has no phone # personal email, address or any other direct way in which we can contact them directly. It is a dead end period, without their info.
The fees can also be split 50 /50 client and Professional. The idea that TT can qualify any amount of money to charge based on the leads outline is nonsensical. You are relying on a customer base who is uninformed in the way many pros charge , whats actually involved to get the project accomplished and pricing varies from pro to pro. Even when it states our hourly fee the consumer has a disconnect between what the budget is, they are most often unrealistic in their budgets. The way you have them check off categories to include aspects that they may have little interest in, such as art purchasing is both misleading to them and to us the Interior designers. You need a standard flat fee per lead and it really ought only be charged if we are hired. The other way would be to charge a $10 fee for the lead and if we are hired a follow up fee of another amount $10 to $15 ?
You seem to have alot of very unhappy pros and its important to listen and not take a defensive approach like customer service is instructed to do.
Give it time and it will change again. I feel they keep searching for a model that will work. They need a good dose of realisim in their business practices. We have been everything from a Top Pro to not using the system for over a year. This is because they kept monkey mousing around with their business model. If it does not work they will change it, "guaranteed".
I feel for you man, I'm a wedding officient and my buisness through TT has gone from 90% to ZERO, the last time I tried to submit a quote they wanted to charge me $30.88 to reply for a $75 job, how they feel they deserve almost half of my income is beyond me.
I believe that with 1,700+ responses to your question "let's talk about pricing" - Thumbtack now has a good amount of responses that can be used as a sampling of how pros feel about the increase in pricing, added competition and Instant Mactch. All the answers you need are withing these pages. It's a good amount of sampling from across the country and across different fields to determine a direction to go in. Fact here, a significant amount of pros are not using Thumbtack anymore. Is 1700+ enough of a sampling? Well, its enough for me to know that pulling back my money from this platform is a good choice right now. That all these posts I've read has given me confidence is what I believe to be true. To see my business drop off 100% . . . . . . thank you for putting this question out to the community. It truly has helped me make some choices. I hope the same from Thumbtacks view.
I stopped working with thumbtack after losing about $300 in bidding. I complained numerous times and gave many suggestions both by phone and online. As a writer and editor, my clients want to kow exactly how much they're going to pay, right away upfront because there is a big range. Since your questionnaire give them a selection of big ranges I first have to bid, then ask them for a word count. So I have to engage them by writing a ps. I need the exact word count or at leaast an approximate one to get them the right pricing. So I kept losing out because I had to pay for all the bids right off or I could not tell them the cost. I suggest you ask for AN EXACT WORD COUNT.
Secondly, I don't like that the request is sent to 20-25 people. That's much too many. When it was five the person could make a reasonable assessment of the offers. I had been getting steady jobs from you for the last 5 years, and suddenly last summer I couldn't get any. Not one out of many many bids. I don't think that was just a streak of bad luck on my part. I think the system got worse and I was paying much too much per bid. Sometimes as much as $30 when it used to be $13 at most. I think you should take a straight percentage of any job that is landed. You tripled your costs and it just wasn't viable for me anymore. With a straight percentage only the person who gets the job pays you as opposed to having everyone pay you exorbitantly when 24 out of the 25 will not get the job. Yeah, that's great for you but not nice to your pros. I have been a Top Pro for the last 3 years, but I couldn't get any jobs. I am a freelancer and to be honest, live pretty much hand to mouth. I also edit for some publishing houses remotely. But your clients in general are not that experienced in writing and can't pay a lot. I specialize in Fiction and Memoir and it's very chancy that these authors will land a publishing contract. Most of them self-publish which is another big expense for them. Also you had this ridiculous category of Non-Fiction Novel. A novel is by definition fiction. So I would always have to ask what the book was about to determine the genre.
For an average 250 page book, I was charging $650 in two payments and didn't seem to have much resistance. Editing is painstaking and a lot of hours are spent to edit and polish and proofread and offer a letter of feedback which is how thorough I am. I met some very nice clients through you. I realize you are providing the forum, maybe on top of the percentage you could charge an annual membership fee. I just thought the system you switched to was all wrong, all against the pros. I think you can figure out something fair. The system you changed to was unfair. if even your top pros can't land a job then something is wrong. And ps, I lost my whole summer vacation money on useless bids to Thumbtack. I did not take down my page but I've taken a break to see if you would react to all the complaints I saw in the discussion board. I don't have time to do discussions and I'm not interested in getting badges. I just want the jobs I need to live, survive, pay bills, eat, very basic needs.
Thanks for offering to listen.