Ive thought the same same thing. something needs to change with this. I posted yesterday that there should be a flat fee like 5$ for replys that give no implication of a contractor being hired. You should only be charged a premium if you are marked as hired. I was charged 100$ dollars last week and landed nothing. It would be cheaper to just spend 100$ dollars and have an ad in the local free post that is distributed to nearly 40 thousand residances. One job pays for that and your ad sits out there for months. Ive had calls from these ad 2 years later! ThumbTack needs to change this if they want to keep real pros on this app. Its all about the bottom line and when my bottem line is being comprimised by bogus charges its making me not want to send out bids. This also forces you to cut your own throat just to get a job to cover the exspence of T.T. Im about done if this doesnt change.
The main issue with the Thumbtack pricing model is that clients are pretty confused about what they want/need or whats even possible with a certain budget. They are also usually shopping for the lowest price, which isn't surprising in the least but hurts when they contact every pro in sight and we all take a hit. They need to understand that their need to save a buck is costing someone else many more bucks.
Heres a common confused client scenario: someone responds to a video edit quote with "I really like your work, can you edit my video? It was shot on a RED camera, the footage is great". To that, I say "Send me that sweet footage and I'll perform magic" and then they reply "well I don't actually have the original footage but can you re-edit this finished video, fix the spoken audio, adjust the music and change the titles out?". I respond "sorry, the titles and color grades are baked into that compressed 720p video, and the spoken audio is mixed with the music, it's like separating a cake back into its base ingredients. You need to get me the original footage". The client tells me "well **bleep**, guess we can't get it done because the original shooter hasn't responded to me in months! Thanks for the consultation, later!".
I ask Thumbtack for a refund for a non-lead and I just get "sorry but they said 'hi' to you already so you're screwed! g'day mate!"(paraphrasing but still valid). Needless to say... the jokes on me, right?
That's an example for video editing but it also applies to any photography or video production jobs. It's absurd when people ask a single question then never return, likely because they're shopping around (totally normal) but the problem is they have NO idea it costs the pros money for them to simply ask about various scenarios. I've quoted jobs where the bids were around $150-$200 and the contact cost $20.... and the client contacted all 7 pros that sent a quote. That's basically been my experience with half of the leads on Thumbtack. Profitable leads, sure! But profitable for who?
Thumbtack is sometimes (or perhaps quite often) making more money than the jobs are even worth. I understand that Thumbtack needs its cut... but it just feels like thievery upon the unsuspecting right now. The clients I've closed on thumbtack have said that they would have handled things more thoughtfully if they knew about the charges to the pro. One lady tried to squeeze me for a discount after reaching out and I declined, citing the original offer for my quote. I still had to pay for it because apparently, that was a valid lead.
The leads for photo and video cost $20-$45, and with how often they don't hire (but do reach out) it's basically like running in place. Even Google AdWords crushes these returns and it's usually considered expensive.
I'm sorry to say that I won't participate in this system until something changes to stop taking money for non-leads, but I somehow doubt TT will adjust any time soon.
I'm hugely disappointed with Thumbtack these days. The rules have been changed so many times, I have no idea how much it costs to bid on anything. I find alot of the people who claim to want services are pretty flakey. They respond with enthusiasm, just enough that I am charged for the bid, but then drop off into nowhere. I also find that alot of the students I have found through Thumbtack don't really last long. Don't know how you can find a filter to see if it's something they really are serious about. Or it's a teenager who dreams of being a singer, signs up on Thumbtack, and forgot to tell their parent who will be paying for the service. Anyway I find it very confusing how this works anymore. Those are my thoughts! Haven't been bidding at all....
Just lost more money here...
If I get a job, I should THEN PAY and an amout that is more reasonable, like the old days. I suspect fake inquireries using the Instant Match system and have turned that off. Because:
Twenty-Four Hours and 5 bids are not equitable in either my tutoring or music business. If one is successful, then you are either tutoring or performing at the times when potential clients are applying. By the time I get the message, it is usually too late.
Why do we let the customer set what price they will pay, when they haven't seen our qualifications? If a tutor client puts down $50-70 per hour and I charge $95, it is likely that they will not even read my proposal. When people actually read what differentiates me from the rest, my conversion rate is 90%.
I just want to pay a annual fee to be able to do everything on the website. I do not want thumbtack as the middle person.
The website is useless to me right now.
I hate the new bidding system. Since there is no cost to submit the second a "rare" well paying job comes (most are crap priced amateurs looking for a cheap job) it's snatchesd up before it even makes it to my inbox. In the old days if there was a job with a 5-10K budget (a real job) it would be costly to bid on and then only people who were qualified, and willing to put some skin in the game, were bidding. So it was a real market. Now anybody can throw their hat in the ring and try their luck. It's a disservice to the clients and a disservice to the photographers.
Also I really don't want to see $250 dollar jobs. Never! Why cant you offer a filter so that those never show up in my inbox. Let the children have them- but they waste my time and make me dislike Thumbtack. If you want to make this platform a tool that professionals can really use and hone the ways that best serve their needs then implement some programming changes. Call a few of us up. Have a focus group. The service is a great idea, but the implementation has some serious flaws.
I would gladly pay triple for confirmed leads, but sending 10 quotes and getting not one contact is ridiculous. Is there any way the system can allow the potential customer to see all pros profiles and then let them contact who they want and not charge everyone else? For example, if a potential customer is looking for a new deck send them all pros doing that kind of work and if the customer contacts one of them then charge only them for a quote.