Here is my perspecitve as to why I rarely quote anymore. Why the triple cost is not effective for my business. Why all TT's changes made my business drop off 99.9%. I am a photographer and a videographer so I get to see leads in both catagories. I've see a lot.
To begin, the triple increase in cost is what I can not afford anymore. For TT to say that now these leads are more valuable if they contact us thats why the cost is more is simply not true. TT has simply decreased my odds of getting hired by adding 14 more to compete against. Sure, if they contact me it's a shock - but it doesn't make it more valuable. Sometimes there are not 14 others who quote a job. Before the true insights were removed I could learn there was only 6 against me. So maybe the cost should be different if less than 14 all respond. If 14 others make it triple cost - what is the reasoning behind a triple cost if only 6 others quote on the job. Maybe that's why the insights were taken away so we don't know. Becasue I do not need to see the name of the business that did get contacted and their star rating. Who cares. It is information that does not help me what so ever. The simple "1 pro contacted" is good enough.
Also, I've seen customers contact 3 or 4 pros and then hire No One. I once bid on one and the customer contacted all 8 of us - didn't hire anyone. TT profit huge. Pro profit zero. To say that pitting us against 14 others makes it a more valuable lead if they contact us is just not true. No matter how you put it. When you increase the amount of quotes - you reduce the chances of getting hired. Its a mathmatical certainty. If feel unbelievably lucky if they contact me. Surprised actaully. But that is not the confidence I always felt with Thumbtact. With so much more competition - I am getting contacted less frequent. I used to average a booking every 3 or 4 quotes - 7-8 booking a month. Last 4 weeks: 12 quotes out - 1 contacted me - Zero bookings. Less quotes out because of cost. Less visable because of Instant Match. FACT
Cost Increse Thought: When I see a a $40 cost for a request and the job request is for a event photographer for Under $250 - 5 hours at the location - not including the time to go through photos, another 2 hours - I find this rate not fair and balanced. A job like this should be anywhere around $350-$450. I see a lot of requests just like this daily and have to pass all together. A lead like this used to cost maybe $12-$15. Also, not being on Instant Match I come as #11 or higher - and only hope they get down the list to see my quote. This is a bad lead to begin with because the customer doesnt understand the cost of professional photography - however I could quote if I want. But this job would end up being about $30 an hour if they would agree to $250 for 7 hours work - then I minus $40 to pay for the contact. So cost is $210 for 7 hours of work. Well - Im a professional in business for 20 years. My low rate is $65 an hour. And I would not want to be Instant Matched with this person and have them end up contacting me. Then have to spend the time with cusotmer service trying to get a refund.
How about 3 Instant Matches - let the customer know that these are Instant Matches. You solve the problem with customers complaining no one contacts them. Which is what we were told as to why IM was added: Customers complained no one was responding to them. The 5 interested leads they used to get were just fine - for me personally - but I am (was) a Top Pro. Pros just don't respond to unreasonable requests and TT can not hold that against us. Customers who cant afford us will leave. Let them go.
Allow for 3 personal responses - That keeps the split fair. Not a 10 - 5 split. Mathmatically that is not a fair split. Period. 10 is toooooo many and therefore is reducing the chance of being hired on a more consistant basis.
Keep prices within a reasonable range for the business. I've heard some say the charge was $40 for a quote for a $150 job. That should never be. A quote cost should at least be set in accordance with the customer budget. Not the time needed or demand. As the sample above, $40 to quote a 7 hour job that pays Under $250? Did that person get 10 Instant Matches???? I'll pay a high cost if they book me. But not to just "contact" me. I'll pay a low cost to quote more requests for sure.
Show us all the insights as before. TT added these insights for a reason. To help us. To remove it is to be secretive. Too much information for us now? Probably. Too much information generates too many questions. I liked seeing the full timeline and the quote ranges of those that quoted - so I can see where my price is coming in at and it was a great tool to navigate and be successful on TT.
TT needs to look at their prices from before and go back to that. For TT - or you - to ask what's confusing about the prices - well, do you not see that triple the price seriously effects the small business that pay to be on your site. I've read sooooo many people on the community board that have suffered. Small business like house cleaning services and self employed painters, etc. It's truly sad. Because TT was a great tool for these people at one time.
Lets just say everything that TT was doing a year ago - 2 years ago - worked for me. Since May of this year - business dropped off dramatically. That is due to the triple cost, Instant Match and being lost and not seen among 14 others. It's a fact.
I am a Top Pro. TT tells me how lucky I am because I am in the top 4%. Well, if only 4% of us are (were) happily making a living . . . what about the other 96% that are not. So I do not see TT addressing the needs of the 4% that have been happy. Somehow, TT is not being as profitable as they should be so they are implementing all these new things to help them profit. They have to in order to stay in business. And I do want them to stay in business. Don't get me wrong. But I just have a feeling that the changes have been made in order for TT to continue as a business and changes must be made. That would be the only logical sense for me to understand all this. Because a triple price does not help us. Having us compete against 14 others doesnt help. I just simply doesnt. "Gets my name out there more"? Is a response suport has given me. That is just not true. I would much more prefer to have TT implement the changes and be honest about it. Something like this maybe: "we are changing our format to help us to grow and to be able to continue providing a great service to our customers. Our growth has been tremendous but we need changes in order to continue to survive and provide this service to you professionals. Though we feel these changes may effect many of you personally, we will do our best to maintain your loyalty to us." This would be a better statement. Because I just will not believe that increasing to 15 total quotes and triple price is a better plan for me. And I do not believe all these changes have been strickly for the sole benifit of us pros.
I hope your team finds solutions soon. Not months from now - but soon. Annouce changes in a mailer out to everyone - not just on the community board - which is what I see a lot. I want to find confidence with Thumbtack again but these last few months I lost it all. Thank goodness I have a lot of work coming from past TT customers.
I look forward to learning about some positive changes soon. In a mailer. ))))
Im not a big fan, and I miss the free quote options. If I had to pay for every person I handed a quote out to or wanted to send a quote to I would be throwing away a few hundred dollars a month for the ability to tell someone how much I would charge if they had hired me. There are huge problems with how people are able to set up classes with you as wll, especially in the cpr / first aid field. I need to know what someone wants to learn (adult cpr, adult/child cpr, adult/child/infant cpr, first aid, do they want to be certified or do they want to take a class becuase they just had a baby). Additionally, I need to know how many people will be in the class, there is a differance in charging someone for an 11+ class or if they have more than 20 people.
Only Pay if lead hires you because there is a lot of people who randomly search for a DJ or whatever other services, with zero intent in actually hiring. Aswell the prices should be lowered. I should not have to raise my prices just to cover lead generation. I have been using Facebook Ads because they are much MUCH more cost effective then Thumbtack. Thumbtack my Cost Per Lead is average $50. On Facebook, my Cost Per Lead average is less than $15.
Do like Upwork! Don't have your bidders pay up front for bids until the bidder lands the bid and then Upwork charges a flat rate 20% commision for all transactions whether hourly or project price. Where you would have an advantage is to keep the correspondence between the client/applicant and professional/bidder. Upwork has the applicant and bidder bonded or attached to their program and all project correspondence and transactions go through Upwork's bank account or system and on to the bidder when the contract is complete and the applicant is satisfied. I'm assuming they take the applicants C.C.# as insurance and then charges when the job is fulfilled? Reduce your commision by 10% that leaves you a good space between what you were profiting and what you are now. The professionals are choking and gasping for air with the astronomical hike in commission charges with your service. I do not like using Upwork because of the bondage to their program, the high percentage of commission and the one full week wait from closeout of the project to the digital deposit of the money in my business account.
The tire kickers will be the tire kickers, it is their right to shop for the best prices and the professionals who are bidding for the job are aware of the competition but they will not go broke trying to get their first hit after dozens upon dozens of failing bids and hundreds of dollars burned in a blaze of fire using Upwork. You guys had a good system and you jumped from the frying pan directly in to the fire with this new system. Hire a good business major and a UX/UI designer to do over. Remember, little snow makes big snow! The large snowflakes are pretty to look at but do not last and do not accumulate depth of snow on the ground the little snowflakes do last when falling and make large massive quantities of accumulation of snow on the ground. Cheesy I know. Lower your prices and get your bidders back.
I liked the old credit system better, I knew upfront how much a lead would cost. When the avg job is only $50 and you have to pay for gas, truck maintance, plus the cost of supplies and now the arbitrary lead cost its no longer profitable for a mobile small engine and tuneup mechanic to make money and use thumbtack. People often are just kicking tires wondering if i'm cheaper then a shop not realizing the value in me coming to them so i pay for leads that end up no where bc they were not really going to need my services. Or worse they put down in the listing they need XYZ done give them a quote which tumbtack then charges you against that quote amount you get to the job and find out they really only need half of what you quoted bc they don't know the first thing about there mower and its engine so i paid more for the lead then it was worth based on what the actual job cost. I can see how a lawn car company that gets a weekly service from a customer at lest say 40 a week all season paying 20 bucks for that lead was well worth it. But when your customer are 1 time customers and most spend a total of 50 paying 6 bucks for the lead is not worth it.
I'm frustrated with the fact that you don't ask customers how long the project is for. My company specializes in dog-walking and pet-sitting, so I need to know if a customer only needs us for one day or a couple weeks, etc. Obviously, I am more willing to bid on a job that will yield my company more money (the two weeks of visits) rather than one that is only for one day. I have too much time and money invested into bringing on new customers to be bothered with a job that only lasts one day. It would also be extremely helpful to know their closest cross-street. We drive directly to our customer's home to care for their pets and just knowing the zip code of where they live is too general (especially for areas that are very large like some parts of St. Paul and Minneapolis). I need that information to help me decide if I should put in a bid.
I, unlike some of the other responses, actually like the newer system of only being charged for customers who respond back to a bid rather than the old way. I do a lot more bidding because of that and don't mind paying a little more for it.
I have no concerns about how much you charge for a dog training lead. However, I am baffled by why the amount keeps changing! I don't believe you can evaluate what a lead is worth to me based on the factors you have mentioned. For sure, you are not experts on canine behavior/dog training. My fee is always the same, $450 plus $.50 a mile. Unless you have a crystal ball, you should be charging the same amount for each lead. Even I do not know how the variables in an in-home consultation will play out until I am in a client's home for an hour or more.
Given the range of prices you have charged, I think $10 per lead would be a fair price.
Here are more thoughts now that I have read comments submitted by others.