This is ridiculous....
I learned a wise saying when it came to marketing budgets early on: Feed the Stallions and Starve the ponies. (THIS IS TERRIBLE LIFE ADVICE, BUT GREAT MARKETING ADVICE!)
So I've looking over numbers today and I've got to say Thumbtack is quickly falling from a stallion to a pony...
We (and 3 other pros) paid $75 for a commercial quote for a lady to reply with "Could we arrange a time for an interview?"
This isn't the first or only time this happens.. We've had numerous house clients ask whens our availability (get charged $30-50), the poof! Gone. Nothing.
I've always had my gripes about their business model but for a while it was working and brining in clients. But now? With their new pricing model... its getting ridiculous... $75 from 4 people... On one job.
I can't say I blame them, they're probably making great money doing what their doing... but its getting out of hand. I know we keep being told, "we're working on it", blah blah blah.
Well you better hurry up TT, because so are we. We're working on replacing you, if you don't figure it out, quick.
We did land one new account, $90/month (gross revenue) but it cost us $42.99 just because she replied back.... We got lucky with that one and we're lucky we're a reoccurring revenue model, but that'll still months to pay back... Also, she messaged 5 other people... So TT made probably close to $200 for a $90 job...
I don't know guys... What do you all think? Am I being ridiculous... I'm a part of several nationwide facebook groups who preach hatred for TT (there's groups just for how much they suck...), I've stuck around because they brought in jobs, but with this recent string of ghosts, non closed deals and small wins, is starting to make me look for other stallions to start feeding...
NEVER depend on 1 platform, especially one with a buisness model like TT.... Where their intersests aren't aligned with ours... (We want our customers/clients to talk to as few as possible, TT wants them to talk to as many as possible...)
Honestly, I'm not even sure why I'm typing up this big long message. Vent, I guess? I don't know. I do know I'll start telling others to watch their numbers a lot closer with Thumbtack and I'll be sharing this in other groups..
This is getting absolutely frustrating, with my chances are now 1/15 of getting hired and we are now paying $50 for a lead for wedding photographers! I feel like we are getting taken advantage of so badly now. I've been a very loyal Pro on here for a few years I shouldn't be paying way, way more and my chances be cut by 3x its such BAD business operations!
You're right on, Matt. I'm so tired of getting replies of "Oh, I didn't know piano lessons were so expensive. We can't afford it, but will keep your contact information and maybe contact you at a later date." (Yeah, right) And getting charged for that kind of reply. I, too, get lots of replies of "What's your availability?", and then nothing. It's like a robo reply or something. I don't think there is really a person asking that. A reply of "What's your availability?", to which I answer with my available lesson times, has not once received a reply from the client.
As you all know, Thumbtack is severely automated and control the Pros. For example, I am a Massage Practitioner, and when I receive a request for a quote, Thumbtack removes the date and telephone number from the Client, so the Client has to respond with the date requested, and e-mail address or telephone number.
I am new and spent so far three weeks, just setting up my profile, in addition they have not been clear how they make their money until I finally figured it out myself.
Thumbtack sends the Client the profiles of 15 Massage Practitioners, and each person wants to know the date the Clienty wants the massage, this gives Thumbtack $105.00 a pop. Two people did not hire me just wanted to let me know they went with someone else. Thumbtack deducted the money from my credit card. I can see if I would be hired, but not when the Client is nice and just leaves a message.
Thumbtack must have a line for DATE SERVICE REQUIRED and this goes for all services like dog walking, dog sitting, house sitting, cleaning services, painting jobs, teaching jobs, etc.
@Adelunde123 I want to clarify that you won’t be charged if a customers first response is a “Thanks, but no thanks” type answer or to let you know they went another route. If you’ll direct message me with those two examples we can take a look and verify if you were charged or not and clear things up.
The way Thumbtack used to work was pros would pay to send out any and all quotes. The feedback we received there is that pros didn’t like paying to send a quote and then not here an answer. So now you can quote as often as you’d like and only be charged for customer responses, which has been working much better for pros and customers. Paying for a customer response has much more value since the customer is that much closer to hiring their pro.
As for requiring the date service is needed. This is something that is optional, however, you’ll see that not all customers are always sure when they want their project completed or they’re open to see the pros availability. For example, I used Thumbtack for Bee Removal recently. I didn’t have a specific date in mind I just wanted it done soon. I received my quotes, picked a pro, and then worked out a day and time with them.
In what industries are the new model working?
There are over 200 standing requests in my inbox. Many have them have not received any quotes and the most I have seen after browsing is 3. In the construction industry, this model is definitely hurting the pros and by that example, it seems it is hurting the customers.
Many requests don't give nearly enough information to give an accurate quote so now we have to gamble twice. How much will we be charged if they respond to our requests for more information? Did the information they presented give Thumbtack enough to say that it was a valid response? If we don't feel it is a valid response but you do we are wasting time trying to get money back and time is money. Making your customers have to ask for a refund is not a smart way to keep customers.
And remember, the Pros are the customers, not the Requesters. The Requesters are not paying a penny.
The 48-hour model was ideal for Pros before. If we didn't hear back we got our money back and we could reinvest. If they wrote back after that time, it was a free quote. (Perhaps too many people were responding late so this new model is to make up for it?)
Smart contractors would read the request, determine the feasibility of the job and how willing the customer is to continue with the project, weigh competition and decide to bid from there. This for me was a cost-effective way to do business. Quotes now cost three to seven times more than they did before for a response.
I would also like to understand how a response other than "No Thanks" makes you think they are that much closer to hiring. People browse for costs all the time. Some people spend weeks or months deciding whether to go forward with a project after they have received quotes.
Have you added any measures to screen the requesters? That would be more valuable. Leads at Porch have always cost a lot more but they have also been Qualified Customers.
Finally, there is an option for "initial research." If a Requester replies to a Pro's message about initial research are they charged for that? Does someone conducting initial research sound close to hiring?
I have never fully understood the idea of "Initial Research". Basically, there is no reasonable motivation for a Pro to send a quote to help a customer do free research. I doubt any Pro ever quoted, so I doubt any customer ever learned anything. I have never quoted an "Initial Research".
@Usedtobegood we’re seeing the new model working across the board and not specifically for any one service. I and everyone here at Thumbtack definitely recognize that pros are equally our customers as well and we want pros to see success on our site. If pros aren’t successful we wouldn’t have a site to work for. Working to make your profile more competitive is key when you’re not seeing as many contacts or hires as you think you should.
I took a look into your profile and see that you’re off to an awesome start, but there are definitely some things that are hurting you against top level pros in your category. I’d recommend working on gathering more reviews and media, along with taking the background check. Reviews are the biggest factor when customers are choosing who to hire so be sure to check out this page to see the ways that you can gather more: https://help.thumbtack.com/article/get-reviews.
For information about how much you’ll be charged, visit the budget page of any service you’re curious about. Scroll down to the QA section and “How much do I pay”. There will be listed the average and maximum amount you’ll be charged for a contact under that service.
We recently had a pro panel here answering our questions. One was a mover and he expressed some of what you’ve written here about how every job is very different and the more information we can obtain from the customer up front the better. This is definitely something that we are keeping in mind for pros in his category and yours. Our teams are working hard to find ways to get more information from customers about their project, along with making it easier for them to access the pros in their area.
There is, in fact, a cut off point for when you’ll be charged for a contact. If a customer reaches out to you after more than 30 days of your quote then you won’t be charged.
I also want to add that a “No thanks” type response isn’t one that you’ll be charged for. If you’ve had any contacts like this feel free to send me a direct message with the customer’s name and I’ll take a look and we can clear things up.