@onecall2 I am a long time pro on Thumbtack - 4 years before working here. I earned my Top Pro status through blood, sweat, and tears - good customer service - and LONG hours in my kitchen - just like all of our other Top Pros.
I bid on jobs just like everyone else. I don't know anyone else's pricing and I use the app just like you and all of our other pros.
If I can offer any assistance as a business owner, Thumbtack Top Pro, or Thumbtack employee - please let me know.
I have a unique view point because I am in your shoes. Happy to help in any way I can!
I'm a Top Pro, and have been since I was here long enough to be eligible. I hate the new system, and I hate the twisted sales pitch being used to push it on us too.
Using a profile is not the best option. Sure, if I had one single service I could draft my profile around that, but I provide multiple services. If someone is just looking for roof cleaning, they don't want to sort through all the information and photos on house washes, garge cleaning, flatwork, driveway, sidewalk cleaning and such. It is just distracting and overwhelming, especially now that TT is allowing an unlimited number of professionals to contact the customers. Wow, is TT racking in enough money on that combined with increasing what pro's pay to place a bid?
I want to keep my templates so I can send out information and photos based on exactly what the customer is requesting. Beyond that, TT is putting items in the bid by default that do not pertain to me. For example, if I bid on a house wash it says by default it includes a ladder or something like that. Well, no, it doesn't, not for that original bid price. I can easily clean a 2 story house from the ground without a ladder. If I need to break out my ladder I'm going to charge more. Guess what, when I tell a customer that they say, "Well, your bid said the ladder was included?" Oh, unhappy customer because I changed my bid. Oh, no, I had no choice in what was in my bid because TT thinks it knows more about my business than I do and shoves us all into a box for bids. I cannot speak for every pro, but we're not a one-size-fits-all solution. If TT cared they would put more time into things like this before shoving it on us.
Yes, we can send a follow up message to the customer. Let's see, we go to the request tab to look at the request and send the bid. Then we go out of there to the inbox, then from the inbox we go to the filter, and from the filter we go to the sent items, then open the bid and start sending our REAL repsonse. Guess we are just out of luck if the customer looks at the first bid that went out before we are able to get out our REAL message. If we want to send a message, TT should allow us to do it with the ORIGINAL bid. And as far as that goes, we should be able to just send our bid without being forced to send what TT "thinks" we should send a customer. TT is in the business of putting customers with professionals, but you really should stay out of forcing professionals to send what you think we should because TT cannot understand every business, so as a by-product you're really hurting some of us that don't fit in your box.
Yes, we're ONLY paying if a customer contacts us, but not for each quote we send. I was reading that someone went in as a customer and put out a quote for some work, and TT was compelling them to contact AS MANY PRO'S AS POSSIBLE for information to make a good decision. Spin that however you can with a sales twist on how that is a good thing, but for anybody with common sense, TT is just trying to get customers to respond to as many pro's as possble so TT can fleece as many pro's as possible and increase their profits. And what is up with the price hike on bids this year? I was billed $54 for a bid that was only about $9 3 years ago. How is that not price gouging? That is a 600% increase in bid cost, where our profits are far from matching that increase over the past 3 years. I cannot charge $1,200 for a job that was $200 3 years ago. I do great work, which my back to back to back Top Pro proves, but I cannot win any jobs at that price range. Why has TT increased the prices so much this year? What is the sales spin to make that sound reasonable?
And saying TT has studied putting instant quotes in front of people helps them decide faster doesn't make sense. If you had allowed us to keep our templates and use those for instant match, crafted exactly as we wanted with the info we needed to get across, that would have made more sense. I can tell you as one Top Pro, I'm very dissatisfied with TT, the price gouging, and removing our ability to interact with customers in a way that makes the pro's happy too. After all, the PRO's are the ones that pay your salary. We are the ones that are here day after day, year after year. The customer you're saying you're trying to help...they may come here one or two times a year. I've personally stopped placing bids until I can KNOW what a bid is going to cost BEFORE I place the bid. I'm tired of being gouged and handing blank checks to TT on a bid with absolutely no recourse when I get gouged. I spoke with a TT rep a few years ago and they explained that the goal was to be fair, and instead of taking 10% of the cost of the job, TT was trying to average it out so if you won an average of one in 5 jobs, what TT was getting would average out to about 10%. Well, now I'm getting billed for bids that are taking up to 22% of the entire cost of the job on a single bid. Oh, and that was a fake request by the way. I'm guessing it was someone trying to get into the field and just price shopping. TT says they do not allow that, but that is not true either. I have a roof cleaning business. I had someone put a request out for roof cleaning. It tied back directly to someone I knew was a roof cleaner. I tried to take the high road and open friendly discussion and offer to send work his way (and recipriate) when we were busy or had someone that needed work done ASAP and one of us was too busy. He never responded. I mentioned it in passing to a TT rep and he or she wanted to look into it and "handle" it. I never heard anything back so I followed up, maybe multiple times. I finally got the answer that this person, although a TT professional, they did not offer roof cleaning services. The guy has photos of him cleaning roofs plastered on his website and facebook page, oh, and here is the kicker, TT told me that this guy with the website of "No More Dirty Roofs dot com" did not offer roof cleaning services. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot??? Seriously? I find that a bit hard to believe. I am not frustrated with you personally. I'm sure you do a good job and do it to the best of your ability, but TT has made changes that benefit TT more than anybody else, and since only the Pro's pay TT, we're the ones feeling the empty wallets.
I have been a Top Pro for the last 4 years now. I have been hired 195 times and have 114 reviews (avg 4.5 stars). TT USED to be GREAT for me!! I, like everyone else used to pay about $4 per bid. Here are a few things I have discovered with this "new and improved" system:
1) Regarding the templates and the profile. My main service is children's party magician with a 2nd service of balloon twisting. If I place a bid on a magician gig (new TT charge $13-$43), TT forces me to use my profile. If I bid on a balloon twisting gig (new TT charge $12-$18), TT allows me to use my templates.
2) When I get a gig notification via my email, there is a link in the email to pass on the job. When you do so, you are prompted as to WHY you are turning down the job. There are several "canned" reasons, but I have been selecting "other". This option allows one to enter text and TELL them why. I have been entering this lately: "Because your new "system" pricing is outrageous and very unfair to us Pros. It is boarder line criminal. Myself and MANY others will be passing on all quotes until you get this fixed!".
BUT.....if your on the TT website and pass on a job there, they don't ask you why.
Anyway...just a few observations
I've been on this site about 3 1/2 years and been a Top Pro ever since I was eligible. They say Top Pro's get preferred treatment, but I don't see it. If non-Top Pros are not getting the service I am, oh my goodness....
Anyway, they are forcing people to use their profiles instead of our templates on the broadest scope possible to hit as many customers as possible to inflict the most damage to us as quickly as possible. For instance, I do roof cleaning and exterior cleaning, such as house washing, driveway cleaning, etc. House washes are very common and in high demand so they can inflict their new rules of instant match and profile/no-template quotes here and hit a lot of customers. Roof cleaning has a much narrower market so they are not forcing the changes there, yet, at least until they have hit all the more popular items where they can force the changes. I've stopped using TT for pretty much anything. I don't think I've put out a bid out in about 2 months using TT because of their new rules and price gouging.
A job that cost me $9.00 to bid on maybe 3 years ago just cost me $54, a 600% increase. I sure can't charge $1,200 for what I charged on a $200 job 3 years ago. Well, I could, but I'd never land the job. Maybe if I did to my customers what TT is doing to us I could do that? You know, just tell them to hand me a blank check for the job and I'll put whatever number I want in the check? And when the customers ask me why the price was so high I'll just do what TT does, say it is a very complex algorithm that takes into account a lot of variables for each job, but not be able to explain ANYTHING on why it was price gouging beyond that, just like TT does. Oh, and when they ask for a refund, I'll just say I'll make a note of it and log the complaint for the record so if we see enough complaints we'll look into it and change it. Guess what, that doesn't help anybody that has been gouged. Basically if you read through the lines, every time you place a bid and get gouged, TT is saying, "Thanks for the donation!"
I wonder how things would go if we simply started reversing the charges at our bank and letting the bank deal with TT? I wonder how a bank would handle it when you can prove you should be charged a set number based on past instances, then all the sudden TT doubles the cost?
Thanks for the info on the "Pass" on the job. If I really thought anybody was paying any attention to this, I'd take the time to do it myself. I read another post and when I did all of the price changes, gouging and such made perfect sense. TT massively increased what we pay for each bid this year, they opened it up to where customers can get a LOT more than 5 bids instantly, and on the customer side, they are encouraging customers to contact as many pro's as possible so they know they are getting the best deal (all drastically inflating TT profits). The execs at TT are probably doing is spiking the profit on paper so the company looks much better than it is, and then they will sell the company and laugh all the way to the bank while the TT employees, customers and pros are left with a broken system that is gouging everybody. I really wish I had the programming skills to start a site like this myself and the capital to get it out to people so I could do this in an honest fashion where the customers get treated fairly, the pros are treated fairly, and my company can still be profitable as a match making service for customers & pros.
Thank you so much for such a well thought out post. So many good points to address.
As you may have read, I am a long time Thumbtack pro myself - and recently joined the Thumbtack team. I do have a bit of a different perspective. I understand the real impact that Thumbtack has on businesses and lives. I know this stuff is important and that it all makes a difference for your business. We don't take this feedback lightly, I am here with you. We all are.
Let me see if I can address some of these concerns, and then you can feel free to direct message me and we can have a continued dialogue.
When looking at offering multiple services, it can be difficult to put all relevant details into one profile. Have you tried using separate profiles for the different services that you offer? Are the services related enough that you could condense the relevant info in to one intro? I am happy to look at your profile for you, as well as the different services you offer, to see if we can fit it in, or if it might be better to have different profiles. Here are the steps to add another profile.
I hear you on what information is given in a request. I remember once before I worked here I got a call from a Thumbtack agent - they wanted to talk to me about the types of questions I would like answered in a customer request. They talked to me about what goes in to building a wedding cake bid, how I priced my cakes, what questions I asked potential customers, etc - Because they wanted to get the right information/questions in to the customer request flow. These types of calls are constantly being made - because we want to get the most pertinent information to our pros.
- What questions would you like to see for your services?
- What relevant information is missing?
- How could Thumbtack help the customers get you the best information for jobs in your field?
I absolutely believe in the power of follow-up messages! However, I see where you are coming from on this. What would make the experience better for you? Would you like to see a notification when a quote has been sent out? Even if a customer has already viewed the original quote - they will still be notified when you send a follow up - and that will prompt them to go back, read your message, view your profile, etc. I think this is one of the most powerful things you can do.
I would like to share this video with you - I don't know if you have already seen it, but it will show you the future of Thumbtack and put some of these changes in to context. While it would be great to continue sending quotes out manually, with a personalized message, what the future holds is such a win for both pros and customers. Statistically, customers hire more when they get instant results - it's just the day we live in! That's why I think follow up messages are such a great tool - you get the best of both worlds - instantly being put in front of a customer, while also having the ability to send them a personalized message.
As far as competitors putting in requests - if you want to direct message me the email address you use for Thumbtack, as well as the customer (competitor) name, I would be happy to look in to it for you.
I hope this helps. My offer is sincere, please feel free to direct message me and we can continue to work together. Your success is my sucess!