I am a wedding officiant. Often my quote is sent as a higher price than I actually get as the person says they want me at a rehearsal which is a price added to the quote and then they change their minds. They say they don't really know how to answer your questions so just say, "yes I want her at the rehearsal" and figure they will then figure it out. It turns out they don't need me at a rehearsal because there is an event planner at the venue, but I am charged based on the quote, not on what I get, so I don't feel that is fair. I think the charge should be on what I am hired to do. This happened just this week and does much of the time.
Your new system is inching me closer to canceling my affiliation with Thumbtack, despite being an ardent defender of your service for several years. While there are advantages to being able to send bids without being charged for each one individually, there are problems. Just this week I was charged for a "client contact" when the person simply wrote a note asking what the process was for setting up an event. I responded and never heard anything back. There has to be a better way of filtering these so called contacts so we aren't charged for clients who are only making simple inquiries.
Secondly, removing the "budget" from leads makes it impossible to gauge whether a request is even worth responding to. I've not landed a single job through Thumbtack in at least three months and I assume it's because the leads were either lowball or fishing expeditions. I've had success via Thumbtack previously, but since you started tinkering with the system, nothing at all. If this situation does not improve, Thumbtack will not be worth my time and resources. A number of personal chefs have already dumped Thumbtack and have been highly critical on professional forums. I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to agree with them.
Your pricing based on job types is fair, however how you price is not. You price based on contact from prospects. Prospect contacting us does not always equal job booking. There have been weeks due to volume where I have paid in excess of $170 and my job charges for the week was only $300-400. Taking 50% of my income seems excessive. My fees are somewhat low to make sure I get the job. I charge $40 for ceiling fans, $25 for light fixtures, etc. I have tried charging more, but that does not get me the job. There needs to be a better way of charging for contacts from prospects. Granted, some of the contacts have been call backs, but not enough to offset the pricing practice you have in place. There needs to be some better tracking of actual job bookings and not just contacts from prospects.
I agree with so many of the comments. I used to use Thumbtack for almost all of my business as an interior designer. For awhile I signed up to do the new system where they match you, but switched back to the old way because I found I was spending a lot of money and not getting any clients. I have been told by a Thumbtack representative that now they allow ten quotes in the new system, and five quotes from doing it the old way. That means 15 people can be quoting on the same project, way too many. Also, I don't feel that they really take in to account how they charge for a project - I have seen a customer that wants a whole home designed, for which they charge top dollar. But then I see where a customer may just want paint schemes and some lighting, and they still charge top dollar. I have spoken with Thumbtack about this and they say they charge the top pricing when a potential customer is in an area where there is a lot of business and competition - that should only be one of the factors, not the top factor. I have found I can't afford Thumbtack because some of my clients only need three or four hours of service and the quote rate takes up too much of my profit. When I talked to Thumbtack another time about my frustrations, the guy on the other end of the phone said that many people were upset with the changes, but hey, if they lose a quarter of their business they will find others that like the new system and will join. Why would you be so cavalier about losing so many of your pros?
The most important thing to me is to have an understanding of their budget. I did call customer service to discusss this & it's also iportant for me to know what the cost is to send the quote if it's viewed. A few of the recent quotes that have come in now show their budget but not all. Without this information i have stopped sending quotes. Also, the client needs to understand that their quote is for food only. Every event is different- so the drop offs are clearly understood. However a wedding for 100 people will also include staffing (1 per 25 guests); beverage, flowers & rentals if necesary. So they need to understand their overall budget when sending a request. It's not just like mowing somebody's lawn- it's much more complex.
I feel like I cannot accept jobs through you because I cannot afford to submit any quotes due to the fact of price buildup.
It's very likely I would if the prices go down. I think it's a great service you offer I just am not able to pay this much.