I think to establish pricing you must look at it from the Pros point of view rather than just a price a customer pays for an arbirary service. We have been with Thumbtack for a "long" time and watched the deterioration of the service from our perspective. Selling us a worthless lead is exactly that, worthless. Selling us a lead based on gross pricing without consideration of the amount of net money we generate on doing the business is less than worthless. We specialize in boudoir photography "only" and have shot several hundred of these shoots from our studio. They no longer carry much value when compared to the effort required to produce the results. Most clients want to spend $100-200. If we examine a $200 shoot (we do not bid on $100 shoots at all). The customer can shoot with another photographer if their price point is $100. Conversely if they say they will spend $500 it does not change our pricing model. All of our shoots are premium shoots for our published pricing. We do not charge based on their expendature we charge for a consisitently excellent product producing all 5 star reviews. We have published pricing for the type of shoot they are looking for. If they pay us $200 gross we will spend 1 hour in customer planning, 2 hours with 2 photographers in the shoot session alone plus an outfit or two. So we already have 5 hours of labor and hard costs in the order and have not really started the photo selection, cleanup & editing, organizing the finished product, printing, and the photobooks. So if you calculate the cost we incur to do the shoot we hope to net $50 on a $200 gross order after all the work is completed. Therefor a 19.32 lead in hopes of making $50 if we have no overage costs (such as , required props, or shipping the final product) is not only futile, it is stupid, especially since there is no guarantee we will even generate real business from the lead Thumbtack provided.
In all of our shoots where Thumbtack provided the leads that converted to bookings, after paying the fees for the collective lead generation, we have not made "any" net money with the Thumbtack business "at all". Not even when we were a Top Pro. All we saw was a lot of effort to make no net money since so many leads were fruitless. Therefore doing a "budget" is not only futile or stupid, it is impossible and not worth participating in the service.
At the present time we view the Thumbtack current model based on our past experience of so many worthless leads and no profit business, as a Thumbtack license to steal if we set up a budget. We also "require" the option to bid or not to bid based on many factors including our workload. Our business is labor intensive. We no longer view Thumbtack, under the current model, as a partner.
When Thumbtack was founded we were charging between $500-1000 for a boudoir shoot package. When Thumbtack entered the market pricing erroded, quickly, mostly due to the hobbiest and startups with a "startup" pricing model. The further pricing erosion was gradual to where it has now stabilized at about $200 with a minimal net profit. There are other factors in the pricing erosion as well that are not related to Thumbtack but the overall net result is the erosion took our pricing from an average of 500 per shoot down to 200 per shoot to remain competitive in the stabilized market. We adjusted our pricing and now we charge about 200 for all shoots to keep it simple and have increased our volume outside of Thumbtack tremendously.
But with everything considered our industry is no longer profitable enough to pay much for a lead. If it does not produce an order we have to take the lead costs out of future business or business not provided by a Thumbtack lead.
In the boudoir category we formerly paid 2-3 credits costing from 3.34 - 5.01 for leads. Now the minimum is 19.32 for the least expensive lead we have seen. Again in hopes of making $50? With all that work and responsibility?Not worth it to us.
I suggest Thumbtack view pricing from what the pro will generate net on the business rather than gross charges and Thumbtack will be more in line with the value of the service they provide.
We also know from our years with Thumbtack that if we wait, it will change again so we are hopeful that one day everything will mature to the point of being a good partner again. That is why we have not deleted our profile even though we have not had one lead convert to an order in 2 years. We are still hopeful reality will produce a good Thumbtack service again. But if not our business will continue as it has for 20 years with or without Thumbtack.
Best to all. Bonnie & Bill
For photographers, I'm not sure that Thumbtack is a viable means of generating leads... let alone business.
Let's be clear, the Uberization of everything is upon us and we all need to embrace it but, as with all tech platforms, the cycle of birth and death is swift. Thumbtack may well end up like Sears because of how they refuse to change in a way that empowers providers a way to create revenue via a platform that generates real customers. The window shoppers and tire kickers are not who makes Thumbtack successful, it's all of us that pay hard cash to Thumbtack. They need to remember that. The problem is that there are so many people out there struggling to "gig" their way to success that when seasoned pro's say no way, a neophyte fills that spot until they run out of money or say enough is enough.
I can give you an example from last week. There was a technical job listed for shooting crated artwork. Client would deliver crates and they wanted high quality images created. It's purely a technical exercise in physics. You need to know your stuff though to do it correctly to make sure color rendidtion is accurate and represents the actual art pieces.
Art is not all the same dimension or type. Acrylic vs chalk vs oil...
Large pieces in excess of 8 feet in length down to 8x10 in size.
You have no idea what the crates contain until you open them and carefully remove the contents. Once photographed they need to be recrated.
Then you provide color matched files to client in whatever format that suits them.
So, how on earth do you quote it with the Thumbtack mentality? You can't. You can't even get a phone number for contact.
Yet they will charge a huge amount because of the wonderful opportunity they provided for you. Seriously?!
I need to get with my partners and get back with you. Sure they will. Person doesn't respond to Thumbtack email and you have no other contact info. But Thumbtack wants their money.
If you can justify doing headshots on location for $100 or provide a day of your time for $200, good for you. I can't and won't drag $50,000 worth of equipment on location and be equipped for every eventuality to make sure your job is done correctly for that kind of revenue. Maybe we just need to do a self help self instruction video and charge $50 to view it on how to use your new iPhone or Pixel 3 to get your job completed.
While everyone likes the work we may do, the gig economy has devalued things so much that no one wants to pay what it actually costs to do the work. It's a problem that is enriching a very small group at the expense of the many. The Marco's of the world will just jump the next new marketing ploy with lots of possibilities and then take their wealth and move on yet to another when that one loses favor.
I was quite startled by the $65 charge for my last lead, since it was much higher than previous charges. The contact came to nothing, which is often true of contacts where there is no previous connection or referral. It might be useful to know ahead of time what the charges are likely to be.
I have used Thumbtack as a professional for the past 3 years and there have been many changes that have been implemented. Some good and some that have been of no benefit. Pricing and the number of professionals allowed to quote on a single job have continuely been the challenges for me in using Thumbtack professionally as a handyman. Thumbtack has taken a stab at trying to make quoting to customers quicker through the auto -response to customers via the job types that are selected. I have found that you have to be really careful in using this feature as you can definitely send quotes quicker but it can also be expensive in the number of true leads that you land from this. Also Thumbtack needs to limit the number of professionals that can quote on a single job, I had one rececently where I counted 14 professionals that had replied to the job request, that is ridiculous to allow that many to quote on a single job. There was a recent job request for someone to do a small trim work project in their home, the Thumbtack cost was $18, that is way out of line, the Thumbtack cost on that kind of project should have been at the maximum half that price which would be $9 or less. I also think and have mentioned to customer service before that pricing can't be a cookie cutter cost across all regions of the country as some parts of the country may not bare the higher prices which is not the case in the Midwest. It would be one thing if the average billable time for the Midwest was $100 per hour then maybe $18 wouldn't seem so out of line, but that is not the case in the Midwest, the average billable rate is probably closer to half that so if you pay $18 on an average billable rate of $50 per hourit doesn't pencil out as financially feasible. I think Thumbtack needs to either get the quote pricing more reasonable or else they need to start passing some of the cost on to the end consumer who is making the request rather than the professional footing the entire cost of the quote responses. Maybe that is part of the solution is that the end consumer does foot some of the quote cost if the end consumer hires a Thumtack professional, rather than the Thumbtack professional footing the entirel cost of the quote if the quote prices are going to remain as high as many of them have recently. That is part of the challenge today is that Thumbtack has focused on catering to the end consumer and has often failed in many ways to make sure that they are looking out for the best interest of the professionals as well who are the ones paying for Thumbtack to exist. The customer service when you call Thumbtack is always good, they have obviously been coached to listen to the professional which is good and as a professional you always get the canned response that the feedback will get passed on, which it probably does, but often when it does get passed on, then it seems it may go on deaf ears at times. Is Thumbtack usable, yes. Is it the best bang for your professional dollar for marketing your business, probably not a lot of times. It is definitely not a one stop tool for the professional. From my perspective pricing and number of professionals allowed to quote on a single job are still in need of much attention
Midwest Handyman business professional