Honestly, I don't really think you want the answers you are asking for.
The reason, you will edit and moderate what is written here to suit your own vision of what you want to hear.
I have been experimenting with the variables in the thumbtack universe and this is what my research yields.
Keep instamatch off, while having it on does put you in the prime position of being sent out first. it also opens you to scam artist, ghost phone calls that lead to non-working phone lines or fax machines, but a charge. The all too common interested but no reply customer and upwards of $150.00 per week in charges. Having it off for one month saved me $600.00 and I got to weed through all the jobs outside of my service area that I would have rejected anyway.
Before you tell me to adjust my preferences, I have!!!! More than once and you continue to send jobs well over two hours away.
You have finally put into print what you charge in the catering division, anywhere from 15.00 to 49.00. However, you do not actually have the jobs vetted into proper categories, many of the jobs that you call events are dinner parties, 20 heads and below, not an event. Party planners continue to abuse the pro's on here gathering quotes at our expense. Party host submit multiple queries, changing variables by as little as a name, day, china vs disposables.
Like so many others on here, I have funneled my funds into self-generated and sustainable resources.
If you truly wanted to correct the problem you would change, period.
To substantiate my research I turned instamatch back on for one week, In that week I was charged approximately $50.00 dollars.
Two scam calls, one ghost... no jobs.
I don't even know when nor what I have been charged! Thats bad.
Before we could see each request with the amount they were willing to spend. For a while that was gone. Now I see it on SOME jobs.
Charge when a service is provided, PERIOD. Otherwise you as Pro are simply gambling and TT being greedy for something offered as HOPE. I would have to look at the 2018 marketing expenses to know how much I have been charged.
Regarding photography services.
I think the business model is a poor one because a vendor pays per contact response whether they get the job or not. Vendor loses.
If a final job is $500 and a person contacts 10 people at $20 each and receives 5 responses already they lost $100.
If the headshot job is $250 and they contact 10 and receive 8 responses at $27. That's $216. Vendor earns $34.
This does not take into account: transportation equipment usage, rental, insurance, and especially editing time. Vendor loses.
Vendor should be charged per job aquired. A low percentage like 5%.
At this point a photographer will spend more than they earn. So it isn't worth it unless you're going for the big jobs. But there are very few big jobs on here because most of the people on here that are looking for photgraphy services have no idea what it takes to do this kind of work. They come on here looking fora full day of wedding photography for less than $500 or even less than $250. And they expect amazing work.
Something very wrong there.
I might be in the minority but I think the pricing is fair. I understand Thumbtack is a business and they have to do what they can to make money. I simply put in a quote and let the customer respond. I do not send follow up messages repeatedly because that alreaey tells me they are not serious. It is still cheaper than the credit system. I am payiny for leads not jobs. Leads get me the customer and eventually become a client. I don't see it as getting jobs anymore
The only thing I would say about pricing is to be more consistent with the lead price. Sometimes its 9-$13. I do like the budget system.
Thumbtack I do ask to look into us having custom domains powered by Thumbtack. Also, to have some customization with looks on our profiles also. Nothing to major.
I used to use Thumbtack for leads for jobs, but almost none anymore. I have always disliked the pricing structure, but have tolerated it until now - now it is TERRIBLE. I'm paying sometimes upwards of 10% for a job. I would rather just pay one fee for listing - period. Clearly I'm not the only one who dislikes the current fee structure. I'd suggest you make some changes before it puts you out of business.
I stopped using thumbtack much a couple years ago when the price started to skyrocket.
With the very imprecise targeting you employ I can not justify paying more than a dollar or two for leads. You allow people to put in requests for services with so little information that it is not really possible to craft a quote accurately, and now all the bottom feeding scammers and low skilled workman seem to dominate, with auto bidding filling all the spots in a few minutes.
If the leads were a better quality, I would have no problem paying $20-30 for them, but they simply aren't.
For me it is not about your pricing, but the value.