Lots has been said about this, and I think the industry a person is in may impact their opinion of how it should work. I think the problem is not only the pricing, but in all honesty, the customers. Reaching out to 7 people, and hiring not one, is a sign of a failed customer screening process. While I have managed to figure out how to make money on Thumbtack (hint: Turn off Instant Match so you can filter out the abundant crap), I think customers should at least be required to place a deposit down.
For instance, the customer puts down a deposit of a mere $3-$5 to get information. When a professional verifies a hire, they get it back. If not, they don't get it back. Customers should bear some of the costs of their insincerity. My estimate is that, of say 2000 jobs bid on, 60 result in a hire. Totally made up stat, but you do get an alert when another pro is hired, and those alerts are pretty rare.
It is not fair, or sustainable, for 7-10 pros to spend money and not one get hired. This happens like 97% of the time, and will eventually drive away the pros. If a minimal investment is required, you can keep some revenue and maybe minimize the number of ticked off pros.
THUMBTACK USERS - I have tried very hard to get behind thumbtack and have been a user since 2016. I am a wedding photographer and used Thumbtack heavily go get clients and leads to start my business. When I started out it was a credit system. I didn't like the system but it got me infront of lots of clients. Then they switched to a monitary value at about $15 a lead and for no reason at all except in my opinion greed they shot their prices up to $40 - $50 a lead with no added benifit. I use Wedding Wire now and get way more serious leads and only pay about $100 a month and don't pay for leads or responses. The clients on thumbtack in my opion are window shoppers. They are not serious buyers and what I have found is that they are only out for the lowest price. So for thumbtack to charge a ridiculous amount for cheap leads made me stop responding or even sending out leads.
THUMBTACK - If you don't cut your prices and work with us vendors in a more equal manner I feel they you are doomed to fail. You are only here because of us. We pay your bills and as you can see we are not happy... so shape up or ship out. One; you hide your prices under a view details tab and I think that is BS be upfront and stand behind your decision. Two; why arent we vendors on a membeship plan and get to respond to as many customers as we can so that both our customers and ourselves can make educated decisions and not feel forced to say yes to our customers or not respond at all and look unprofessional because we don't want to lose $50 on a dead lead. The ball is your court Thumbtack, either you clean house and give us a system that is consistent and affordable or I can guarantee you will lose at least me a loyal user.
PS. I have met your Pro User requirments two years running and you still refuse to give me the badge. I have 5 stars 15 reviews and a solid storefront. I think it is very much like dangling a carrot in front of the donkey but you should know this ass kicks.
I think there should be a way to pass some cost to a customer. I find it at times it is not really fair for a customer to ask questions to 5 companies and all 5 companies are charged just to answer questions. May there should be verbiage to inform the customer to only contact a business if they are serious about booking with them. It is becoming costly for each lead.
I wouldn't have an issue with your pricing, but it's so often not commensurate with the clients budget. As an illustrator/animator, the biggest problem I face on Thumbtack is unqualified clients who have NO understanding of what a professional budget is. As the clients almost never mention their budget in their requests, as you don't require it, or EVEN a discription past "Illustration" I can spend $15-$30 to meet a client who thinks $100 to illustarate and entire children's book or create a quality animation is reasonable.
I can't give them an estimate without a job discription, so it costs me a LOT when they reply and reveal themselves to be unqualified and without a reasonable budget.
I like your service, but you require so little from the clients that I feel like I'm bidding blind and now that costs me BIG.