I would not mind paying the higher fees to bid on jobs if all of the needed information was provided. I need dates and more specific details from the potential client before I can determine if I am even available to do the job. The information provided by the requestor is extremely vague and basically useless.
A recent example of unfair pricing: A potential customer contacted us directly through Thumbtack without having listed a job. We discussed the job, agreed on cost, and set up a time to get the work done. This customer later wrote back that they had changed their mind. The charge for that exchange? $30 for a job we didn't even bid on.
I do not like your structure, it consistently demands I increase my limit. I am very conscious of what I spend on advertising and cannot rely on a quote becoming a client, therefore I will pay what and when I can afford it. Your structure no longer allows for that and is becoming useless to me.
I have called a few times lately because of pricing issues. Customers have no skin in the game and we pay for all undecided and price fishing prospects. Twice lately I have been asked for my phone number by a client who then never contacted me. That "contact" costed me $50. My subsequent emails to the customer went unanswered as the client, did not give a phone number. These clients have to be told that we are paying to get their business and to only contact us if they are seriously looking for a service provider.
I do not respond to anyone whose job is way too far in the calendar, who does not provide a phone number, who seems confused with their budget and the amount of work required. I know it's a waste of my time and money. I have spoken to potential clients who have told me that they have been overwhelmed by the amounts of contacts and calls, if they put their phone number down. So maybe we have to go back to a maximum amount of bids on a job. And maybe.. customers should pay some money down which gets reimbursed if they hire someone.
I'm currently paying $30+ for leads for people that've told to contact multiple vendors. So I'm paying to compete for a customer who might simply be "just looking,".
I think customers should be charged for contacting pros rather than the other way round. I have had customers from Thumbtack but it can be very hit and miss. Also, sometimes you can unwittingly waste money. For instance one time, I paid to respond to two or three seperate ads which were worded very similarly. It turned out that these were spam. I would have wasted my money had I not flagged it with Thumbtack and to their credit, they refunded the money, but having the customers pay for contacting pros would decrese the risk of spam and also show a potential client's commitment to hiring a pro via Thumbtack.