Having perused the 10-12 comments ahead of mine, I totally agree with all of them. With the new "get charged when they reply" system, I have tried to move away from Thumbtack altogether. It's totally ridiculous and outrageously expensive. if someone replies to my introduction, I'm charged $25-$50 on average, and that is far from a guaranteed job/work. I have not been hired in months, and that's likely due to my fear of inviting a reply and getting charged and then never hearing from the client again. Was much better, though still costly, with the old system. At least if providers really wanted the job they could bid on it.
I am both distressed and reassured to find others expressing the same problems that I now have with Thumbtack. When I began my wedding business back in 2015, TT was the core of my marketing. Fellow professionals were at the time dismissive of TT, but it worked wonderfully for me - and I was an enthusiastic customer. When my fellow professionals scorned TT, I figured that diminished my competition, and I simply took advantage of the enhanced opportunity. When I could buy credits in advance and make a personal pitch to each customer, I won many contracts and felt like TT was an excellent source of business and a good deal. When the "changeover" occurred a year or so ago and I was forced to use canned responses, (by being badgered every day with messages and personal calls from your representatives) and the price structure changed, my business through TT dropped to almost zero. I am now just barely staying with TT because I might occassionally get a wedding, but I am very dissatisfied with the whole new structure. My price on TT has dropped, and my TT fee has increased. TT has moved from the core source of my busniness to something far out on the margins.
It has not been entirely clear to me whether this change was driven by TT's new structure alone or by the market in general. I fully understand that in the current internet marketing environment people are tempted to look primarily at price with quality being a distant second. I have marketed with severel sites similar to TT which turned out to be for "bottom feeders." I soon cut them off. I wasn't even going to reach for that market. TT dropped into that category for me. With my being forced to use canned responses, I assumed that price became the only issue for my potential customers. Since I am at the high end of the market, my TT business shrank to almost zero. But this sharply contrasts with my earlier experience when I was able to make a personal appeal, specifically respond to the needs of potential clients, and convince the clients of the value of my higher prices. Whatever all the contributing influences, the radical change in my client base from high to almost nothing occurred at the exact time you changed your system from autimated quoting to canned and your price structure from pre-purchased to whatever formula you now use.
Since you are unlikely now to return to your previous system, I don't know what the solution is. What I do know is that TT is now - unfortunately - almost useless to me. Which is the reason I have dropped from being a "Top Pro" for several years running to having only 1 out of 5 points now.
Pricing has changed over the years, from a few dollars to now over $15 a lead and over time it gets very costly. Even if the customer writes you saying not interested because the quote is to high and us replying to workout a better deal, and not getting a reply back we lose and have to pay the fee. The system was easier and less expensive, and now we dont know what things cost and get charged directly to our account. I understand that Thumbtack is growning and Thumbtack is asking for more money but it shouldnt effect us. I'm a top pro and get around 1 landed client a week compared to 3-4 landed clients a week, and now Im getting charged different amounts because we all dont know what a quote cost. I think we shouldn't pay until they hire and not when they reply plus going back to credit systems and dropping down the pricing.
The only thing that I really don't like is that for the Instant Matches when I get a message that states customer wants to know your availability or would like to discuss further, I rarely ever talk to those customers. If I respond or not, I've already been charged. I had 3-4 of those last week and they get up there in pricing for someone that never responds no matter how many times I reply to their messages. I wish it was a better way to handle those.
From reading the responses already posted, I have to I say that I agree with each of them on some level. When I first came across your site, it was amazing and simple to understand. I knew how to budget (which for a small business is essential) around my marketing needs and habits. Now, I don't get that luxury and have stopped quoting/using Thumbtack as much as my alternate marketing strategies. I also get random charges and have no idea who they are linked to without "doing research" of some kind, which is hard to do on the phone app, as is.
In short, i feel the charging structure needs to be set and not fluctuate so frequently (every few months it seems to change).
One other aspect that I disagree with is how on my pofile, I got a 1 star review by someone who has never been a client, and yet that takes me out of the "top pro" status (also getting less responses because of that) and it isn't even someone i've worked with or for.
there needs to be consistency.
I used your service a lot when you had the OLD SYSTEM. The new system has me paying for a LOT of "low ball" people wanting a wedding for next to nothing. On the old system I would pay $6-7 for a wedding ceremony. Now it over OVER $20. Most want a wedding for $100 at the most. Your price is not worth it. WeddingWire has higher quality people wanting a wedding and works much better fror me. Under the old system I could pick and choose who (based on my experience) I wanted to send a quote to or not. The new system does not work for me. If you choose to allow people to choose between the old system and the new system I will choose the old system. I don't expect that so I do NOT USE TT ANYMORE.