MeckellB, no, you are wrong.
You said, "One thing to keep in mind is that you used to pay for every quote you sent, whether they contacted you or not. Since now you're only paying when they respond, it's more valuable than before."
No, this is not true, and even right here on this forum, pros are telling you so.
You encourage customers to "reach out" and respond to quotes. Because of this, many customers select a standard response that does not, in fact, imply any greater intent. In fact, this new system is much, much less valuable than before, and the vast majority of pros are telling you so.
The old system was a thousand times more valuable. I would be happy to pay the old reasonable amount for each quote, instead of this new system. Actually, I really, really loved the old Thumbtack. I recommeded it to everyone. No more.
I refuse to use Instant Match because I cannot personalize my response. Even so, by quoting without Instant Match, I am charged a ridiculous amount, and I don't know how much until later.
Instant Match sends out a automated response with no way to personalize. But if I don't use it, potential clients have been innumdated with 20+ Instant Match responses, and my chances of being seen are slim.
I am a Top Pro, with excellent reviews. I do amazing work, and my clients love me. Thumbtack had been great for me until these changes. But you will soon lose me, and many others, as well. Probably the most highly skilled pros.
I will use Thumbtack now as little as possible until I set up with a new service and quit Thumbtack entirely, unless these practices -- lack of transparency and the truly awful Instant Match -- are discontinued (or, in the case of Instant Match, unless it is entirely re-worked to allow personalized responses).
I had two identical requests. For one I was charged $15 and the other $27. I called in for an explanation and thumbtack said they couldn't reveal their corporate secrets about how they were calculated! This is the only source of advertising that you buy with no idea of what you're spending! I have to calculate cost of acquistion to see if any given job is worth doing. For that reason I've always passed on way more than I bid on, because they don't work for me. Now, I've no idea what I'm spending and no ability to calculate if I should bid!
Wow! I hope they are reading all this. It's so disappointing. I didn't even turn anything on yet because I too always customized my quotes so they knew I was a real person and I loved only competing against 5 people. Thx for posting...I don't think I will turn it on!
Ive been hesitant to turn it on, but just did... Now I'm rethinking that after reading all these posts.... For the serice I offer, residential design, I have no idea what they actually show the client for an instant match quote anyway... I have never even posted a price for my service because every job is different.
Yws, I only quaote now on gigs close to home. I am not signed up for the automatic quoates since they offered my face painitng fo r$35 Has anyone used Gigmasters?
For photography, automatic quoting is not even possible. There are too many variables. I also have to weigh each one for its value. I might go locally for a cheap job and I might go past my normal distance if its paying well. A computer can't figure that out, how is it supposed to factor in all the other variables?
I'm trying that service now. I've been with them several weeks and just booked my first job. They offered to extend the 30 day trial period since there was nothing for me to bid on. I got my standard intro rate on it. It's just a one hour party. Very few jobs come through in my service area. The job will pay for my membership for the year, so I'll keep it and see what happens. One job every 6 weeks isn't sufficient, but if you get a fill-in job here and there and it doesn't cost you anything, it's worth having it as a trickle source.
Been with Thumbtack close to ten years and have spent close to $2000 by spending $50 here, $30 there, etc and only got two jobs the entire time, making a whopping total of $125. I am beginning to believe that they just suck the money from you without any return. Most people fall off the grid and newbies spend new money!!
I've been on it 4 years and really figured out how to work within the system to make it profitable. Last year I spent $4000 on bids and netted $24000 in profits after all taxes and expenses. A 600% net on my cost of acquisition is phenomenal! Now, mind you, I am working 12-18 hour days, seven days a week, virtually 365 days a year to do that, because the budget options cause me to have to discount my work 50% - 90% off my regular prices in order to get those jobs!
Now, in that profit were two repeat clients that each has spent over $10,000 with me doing multiple sessions with me over the past two years, so that 24K is significantly less if you factor those profits into the previous 2 years, as that's when I paid for those bids.
So, if you're willing to work insanely long hours, and figure out how to work within the system by knowing what to bid on and what to pass on, you can make it work!
I have another division that I'm opening that, when up and running, will earn me in two jobs a month and only 20 hours of work a month, what I now am earning for about 350 hours of work a month!
The new changes have definitely hurt my system that was all figured out. I used to get hired for one out of 8 bids. I just saw last week's stats that showed 34 bids and no hires! It's putting me on track for a dozen less jobs this year and $10,000 less in gross sales. Now thats with the current system when I get to pick and chose each job to bid on, if it qualifies for my parameters. If auto-biddidng is forced on me, then I have no control of what's bid on and can't provide personalized quotes! Ie. I just bid on something for an in-home session. I can't go on location for that price, but I can do a smaller job in-studio for that, so I gave a quote that was in thier budget, but not thier location. I then offered an option above their budget for in their location. Auto-bidding won't let me do that! I also work some areas an hour away, but only if I can get more for the job. Auto-bidding will force one price on me and I'll be stuck paying for people who respond for whom I can't do the job!
Changing doesn't mean improving!!! When TT first told me about this cockamanie idea of auto-bidding, nearly two years ago, I flipped out and told them they were insane and it would never work!!! I've spent countless hours on the phone with reps and supervisors, in detailed conversations about all the problems with the whole existing system and the proposed changes, and all the ways they can fix everything and make this an amazing site for pros and customers, as well as being immensely profitible for TT, but TT only seems to care about how much money they can pull out of us without doing anything to make it better for us or the clients. I warned them that pros would be outraged, hurt, and dropping like flies. Obviously they don't care - because here's everyone flipping out, getting hurt, and dropping like flies.
I even saw a TT commercial that was all about home improvement, giving the entirely wrong impression to viewers! What about photogrpahers, magicians, palm readers, DJs... etc. I came up with an amazing concept for a commercial that would really show off every type of pro they offer! It had a promotions that would go viral on FB as well, bringing massive amounts of free advertising! I emailed my ideas to them, starting off with how disippointed I was that they advertise TT as only a home improvement service. To that I received a canned response that said, "We're glad you liked our commercial!". Are you kidding me? I said the commercial was horrible!!
Same way with refunds - the reps tell you how much they agree with you and that they can see why I'm deserving of a refund, and in the next breath they recite the refund policy which is basically no refunds for any reason - unless the request contained erroneous information that can be proven, and even then, it's a 50-50 shot that they'll ok it.