Clean up your targeting preferences.

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Thumbtack Employee
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Outerlands_Preferences (1).jpg

When we say “set your targeting preferences” it means “tell us what kinds of leads you’ll be happy to pay for automatically.” Those are leads in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right kind of work.

When pros call support telling us they just auto-paid for a lead that was too far away or for a job that wasn’t really their specialty, the first thing we do is have the pro take a look at their preferences and make sure they accurately reflect what that pro is willing to pay for.

So let’s start from the top. Thumbtack understands who you are and what you want through your profile and preferences.

When you make a profile, you tell us who you are. For example, you say:

  • I’m a tutor.
  • I’m located in San Francisco.
  • I teach Spanish.

With that info, we can start showing you to customers. We won’t show your business to people in Los Angeles or to people looking for French tutors, but anyone looking for Spanish tutors in the greater San Francisco area might find your business in their search results and contact you.

The challenge is that with just your profile we don’t know everything about the jobs you want most. We’re missing the details:

  • You don’t work weekends.
  • You’ll travel to Daly City but not Oakland.
  • You only teach kids, not adults.  

We don’t want Oakland-based adult students looking for weekend classes to contact you. That would be a waste of time for them and for you.

The best way to avoid that is with targeting preferences. You go to your Services tab, promote yourself, and spend some time filling in the blanks. That’s how you tell us the locations, times and jobs you’re most interested in.

That’s also how you tell us which leads you’re ok automatically paying for.  

So if you’re a Spanish tutor mostly looking for jobs in San Francisco and cities south of San Francisco, your location preferences would look like this:

Travel Area (1).png

If you prefer not to work weekends, your timing preferences would look like this:Business Hours (1).png

And if you only teach kids, your job preferences would look like this:

Kinds of jobs (1).png

Once you set that up, you’ll start targeting those kinds of customers — we’ll try to get as many of them to you as possible. And if a customer who’s a bullseye for all these preferences contacts you, then you’ll auto-pay for that lead and get 20% off.

If your preferences are all cleaned up and if everything works right, then you only auto-pay for jobs you would have happily paid for anyway. If a job comes in that doesn’t hit all your targets, you can look at it and decide whether you want to pay for it or not.

Have a question about what you should do with your preferences? Ask below.


12 responses
Active Community Member

This will be a great help to some pros. So thank you but... As a pro who performs services at the client's locations.


The calendar feature lacks several layers of nuance. I'm not, yes/no, available/not available. I am, "if this then this". For Promote to work I would need to set very different preferences for each time block I'm available.


For example next week I am available Monday for no more then 4 hours, with a start time no earlier then 9 am and no later than 10 am. A 3-hour appointment can start at 10 am etc. Also, I am only available in one subsection of one quadrant(approx. 1/8 of total) of my service area. In addition to those criteria; the appointment doesn't have a window person available, so no jobs with windows. It could also have a person allergic to dogs, possibly no pets too. On Wed I have room for an estimate only and only in a completely different quadrant. On Thursday I have room for a short 2-hour appointment but only if it books before Sat and only in a very tight subsection of my service area. Now if a lead comes to my jobs tab that is for Monday in that quadrant, yes I'm jumping on it.


While I do have more openings the week of 14th they are still restricted to "If this then this"


I'd like to note here this is exactly why I chose TT originally I could sift through bid request and target those narrow "if this then this" opening in my schedule.


Honestly, I would not be willing to reselect preferences over and over for every time block, so please don't take that as a suggestion.


There are things that will help some pros... Letting people "Draw" their availability map is one.


Setting a time block for the prospective booking. E.g I set "5-bed bath home takes 5 hours" then the clients won't see 2-hour opening as available.


For my service "book/check availability for an estimate/in-home consult" would also be helpful.


the "Shared availability" that is limited to 3-5 times, is a huge step in the right direction.


I will add additional suggestions shortly

Moderator Meckell

@mrs You bring up some great points which are super useful for us to know. These suggestions have been passed on to our Product Team, but if you have any other thoughts come up about this, please don't hesitate to let us know. Thanks for always sharing such great feedback!

Active Community Member

Again,  it isn't always a "one size fits all".   I still would like us to be able to edit our base price and what it includes.    Why can't we pick and choose from a list of things instead of having everythign grouped together.

Community Newcomer

HiSmiley Happy I live on an island that is 12 milesx4 miles long. I would like to change the 25 mile perimeter to less. I keep getting requests from people across the water. I do not work across the water!

thank you!

Community Newcomer

Your pricing options need to be more flexible.  I charge by the hour for language lessons and a flat monthly fee for piano and violin lessons. 

Moderator Meckell

Hey there @GChef64! Are these requests ones your seeing in the Jobs tab or are they customers reaching out to you directly from their search?

Moderator Meckell

This is always helpful for us to know @JulieReneB. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

Community Regular

I would like to know what happens if I dont turn on targeting?

Community Newcomer
I'm still didn't understand how to Clean up my targeting preferences ??? Thank you, Gene
Community Newcomer
How to turn targeting OF ???
Moderator Meckell

@genedol we're happy to help eliminate any confusion! What questions do you have about your targeting preferences?
To turn targeting off, just go to your services, select the service that you want targeting off in and then just select pause under targeting preferences. 

Community Newcomer

Thank you for exploration