Thumbtack used to be a great platform that I recommended to freelancers like me. Now, the platform is completely shattered top to bottom. Bottom line is this: You have forced us to lower our prices to stay competive all the while making us compete against more pros which has drastically increased your per request profits, which I'm more than certain is the only thing Thumbtack's upper management cares about. I know VERY well how startups work and the types of conversations that happen inside their four walls.
My recommendations based off of my experience, reading your community comments, talking to other pros that use the platform and talking to customers that use the platform are this...
1. REMOVE INSTANT MATCH - It devalues your professionals and overwhelms your customers while lining your pockets with gold. More quotes filled with less information = maximum conversations started by customers. You think you're "helping" them by giving them responses right away, but you're not. Instant Match has removed the ability to leave a personalized and positive first impression on customers. Now, pros can just NOT use Instant Match, but, according to you we're significantly less likely to be hired. So is it really an option not to use it?
2. LIMIT QUOTES TO 5 - Probably for good, but at least to start. And, if the customer opts to "pass" on all of them, then re-open it to anyone, no cap this time, who has not already submitted. At this point the customer should definitely be charged, and, the pro should be charged even less than the first 5.
3. REDUCE PRICE FOR PROFESSIONALS OR OFFER MORE FOR IT - We're paying $10 - $60+ for a message that guarantees us nothing. That, is out of this world insane because you're in no way shape or form vetting / verifying the validity of these leads. Your customers are more often than not, NOT actually looking to hire, or are just looking to lowball pros and get the lowest possible price. Which, is pitting 10-15 pros per request against each other to see who can drive their price the lowest without losing money. You are bad news for the freelance / small business industry for this reason.
4. INCREASE PRICE FOR CUSTOMERS - This one should be easily since they pay nothing. Ever. Why shouldn't they have to pay to be connected with hardworking, skilled and reliable professionals ready to work for them? I'd even say (if you're willing to listen to 2.) not to charge the customer until they pass on all of the first 5. This will start to help weed out the bogus leads
5. BE MORE TRANSPARENT AND LESS CONDESCENDING - Things like Marco's video message a couple months ago, or saying in this thread that your "goal" " is to help customers find the right pros and hire them" have got to stop happening. Us professionals are not dumb and see through your PR diareha of the mouth, which is why In 8 hours you've gotten hundreds of negative comments on this post and have thousands of negative reviews spread all over the internet with very few people having anything nice to say about your platform as of late.
6) LISTEN TO US - You're literally asking us to do your job for you by always asking for feedback. Clearly, you're doing a very terrible job at improving your product, which is why you have to keep asking, but the funny thing is, you never implement any of it.
7) GET RID OF THE EMPLOYEES THAT MADE YOUR PRODUCT SO BAD - Pretty clear cut here. Business is cutthroat, and whoever is responsible for ruining the platform should not be involved with trying to fix it.
8) HIRE ME - LOL, just kidding, not interested. But, I have more relevant experience / ideas to creating a lead generation platofrm than any of you babboons; clearly you have no clue what it's like to fulltime freelancer or how to keep the users of your service happy. Sucking them dry might make you rich quick, but it'll also put you out of business even faster once they all leave and you have no cash flowing in. I guarantee you I could run your business better than you are.
Sad thing is, you won't listen to any of these recommendations and will instead either never read it, not respond if you do, or have a customer service rep reply with a robotic and "sorry" tone that is underlined with excuses.
130+ pages of responses, mostly from unhappy (former) clients and I'll bet not one person from TT is even reading these...
Like many of you I loved this site when I first joined up, for $3 a credit I could pick and choose the jobs that fit, and let others have the rest. The last time I (almost) replied to an inquiry I was notified that I'd be charged $30.88 to reply, for a $75 job?? No Fng way...
So to start with lets establish that I typically pay $60 per week for leads. I typically get 2 leads per week at $350.00 each after speaking with 6-8 people. The annoyance of paying for clients who ask one question never to respond again or ask how much you are charging when its listed right in the quote gets old fast. Contrary to what many others have stated..I would suggest the current system is working for me. While the price to speak with someone doesnt thrilll me at $15.00 each in some cases.. I feel that it has been worth the cost for the leads so far. I also feel like that at least some of the leads are really looking for dog trainers (which is my market). I do feel that most of the leads are people "looking for a deal" and as such I often get the jobs because my service offers exceptional value for the price I am quoting at on thumbtack (I charge more elsewhere). This leads me looking elsewhere for where I might find customers who are not just looking for a deal. A part of what keeps me interested in thumbtack currently is the fact that we do not pay for quotes like the old system used to have. In addition I really enjoy the auto quote (instant match) system..even if I do still have to reach out to almost every client individually to get the job. Paying the varied prices for different customers doesn't concern me much although it would be nice to have some idea why each one costs the price it does. A large pet peev of mine is that my radius is set for 40 miles and I have set my settings to accept jobs nearby my radius. However I often am getting jobs 65 miles .. when they were free this was accceptable because if I wasn't willing to travel that far I could just decline. However in some of the cases they reach out causing me to pay for the job. I wouldn't mind so much if the jobs weren't so drastically far out of my specified range.
Overall I still consider Thumbtack to be worth it for me at this stage. I have been in business for about 2 years.
@Steve I'm sure it's irritating to get job requests you can't take. Make sure to keep updating your preferences until the jobs you get are just right for your business. We’ll send you jobs outside your typical preferences unless you tell us not to. This is to help you meet more customers. For more tips to get the right leads, read our article in the Help Center.
Thank you to these pros who also sent in helpful feedback about getting jobs in your area and availability!@StLFacePaint @Fergie @BurlesonBooths @jase_121 @elephantquilt @tinogrigoriou @Mkat4464 @TrustedPainters @Kphoto87 @JCerzosie @Cmkm @Del_DelDeejay @Spurs32 @barkcall @Mrolon @TyeshiaB @Steve @Tafkald @DREAMfab @unarumbera @computers6 @Tina @cheriopelt @gabybras @ThatOCDgirl @CSID-Inc @ComputerPartner @Cheryl @LM_DCN @whooper @Rhinopest @Amandamount @Zekewolf @Sorellas @Jamie163 @suzannestuesse @attorneyarlene @Kelsi @Jimdellamano @PCharlesMusic @AtHomePetCare @Alex1973 @Mel954 @chrisandrews @Vtmagic @Darren73 @Jflex @JLau @trainerann @luvtoteachmusic @karenlake @linfitwellness @Godwithus2 @FinishCarpenter @gmoore9093 @dugie18 @accessganted @Jess @stephanie @Sunsetweddings @jonturino @Mary @Krumklean @Kwestman @JayJzz @Minnie @Kpmulkey1 @Bodydesigns @Justreadthejoke @AJ-Gonzalez @Best_Bartender @ChristopherW @SCBI @LindaLee1976 @GMC @jeichenberger @jbwcruz @Deborah306 @yopastorearl @MattDiAno
Your return on investment can be used to measure or evaluate how efficient your marketing or investment on a platform whether it be Google AdWords, Thumbtack, etc. (Investopedia, 2018). How cold, warm or hot the lead is depending on your platform. To be able to assess your ROI you should calculate it by taking the gross income, minus the cost (lead) and divide it by the cost of investment to get your ratio. Something to consider is the type of business you are doing. Service-based companies should adhere to a standard. According to Rob Adams from New Venture Creations, a service-based company should consider adopting 20% of gross income to marketing, 0% to manufacturing, 20% for the cost of goods to retain 60% profit (Adams, 2016). When we consider the different types of business, this will vary obviously. In continuing this example, we would say that service-based companies would have a low fixed cost and high variable cost. This would allow you to market without using a lot of your capital. Therefore, service companies are typically very profitable. So, let's go back to the formula. If we were to assume that we are charging 250 for our service and our lead cost 25 dollars, you would subtract that from your cost of 250 to equal 225. Divide this by the cost of investment to get 9. So, you are making 9 dollars off every dollar you spend on marketing. This is a simple example of course, and I would consider all marketing and all cost for the period before calculating the ROI.
Someone made a good point in identifying risk. Knowing the cost before submitting the quote would assist in incorporating the cost of the lead into the price of the quote.
Adams, R. (2016). Business Models. New Venture Creation, 11.
Investopedia. (2018, 10 24). Return on Investment (ROI). Retrieved from Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/returnoninvestment.asp
Should you not also factor that in your formula the lead cost assumes that you get the business for the cost of the lead. What if you bid 10 times at the cost of $25 each to get one order for $250. How does your formula work then? And remember when you get the business you still have to perform and pay all the costs associated with performing the business. Suddenly your formula went to he77 in a hand basket.
When the lead cost was formerly about 1/5 of what it is now, I accomplished over 25 orders as a Top Pro. Unfortunately I never made one dime net/net on all the business collectively. So when multiplying the cost of the lead to what it costs today with the hit ratios we are seeing, we no longer want to even bid until TT rationalizes "our" value of "their" service.
It would be really nice if the changes I've made, repeatedly!, acutally made a difference. I've reported this several times and have gotten the equivalent of hands thrown up in the air. It's the mileage that I can't seem to set and have it work.