It's official: You no longer pay for quotes.

Thumbtack Writer hannahL
Thumbtack Writer
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Gone are the days of paying for every quote you send, whether or not the customer gets back to you. Now, you set a budget that only covers the quotes that your customer actually responds to. That means getting in front of more customers while only paying for interested leads.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Top Pros on Thumbtack have to say about the new way you pay to connect with customers on Thumbtack.

Pay for customers, not quotes.

Setting your budget gives you a new level of control on Thumbtack. “You’re not just sending money into the darkness and never hearing back,” says Manuk, a personal trainer on Thumbtack. Now, Thumbtack promises not to charge you for quotes you sent but never hear back from (regardless of whether you have Instant Match turned on). Instead, Thumbtack only charges you when a customer responds to your quote, so you can focus your budget on customers who show interest in hiring you.

How it works.

“You only pay when the customer reaches out — and when they do, you know they’re serious,” says Courtney, a Top Pro fitness instructor in Georgia. To determine the number of customers you hear from in a week, you’ll be asked to set a weekly budget based on how much you want to spend, and that money goes towards customers who contact you about a job. You might come in below budget — but you’ll never be charged more than the budget you set for the week.   

Why it works.

In a word: more. That’s what Thumbtack’s new budgeting tool offers you. As New York City DJ Joel explains, “It’s widening my reach by putting me in touch with people who are actually interested in my services, not people just who I hope are interested.”

You’ll still browse jobs yourself and send estimates to the customers you want, only now you just pay when a customer contacts you. If quoting for yourself is eating up a lot of your time, consider letting Instant Match do some of the hard work for you.

What to do today.

“Set a budget that makes sense for you today. And give Instant Match a try before business gets too crazy,” says Matt, a Top Pro music instructor on Thumbtack.

If you haven’t been on Thumbtack for a while and you’re still paying for every quote you send, Thumbtack will ask you to set your budget when you send your next quote. Take time to think through the budget you set, including how many customers you want to take on in a month and how much you want to spend.

What to do a month from now.

The budget you set is flexible. It’s one of the things pros tell us they like best about Thumbtack’s budgeting tool — Thumbtack gives you a suggestion on where to start, but it’s always open to tweaks and changes. Because we know your budget isn’t ironclad and changes depending on the season you’re in and the projects you’re working on. (Not sure how much to charge? Use Thumbtack’s Pro Community to connect with pros in your area and find out.) Continue to play with the amount you spend in the next few weeks until you settle on the right amount. Then, know that changing it up is always a few clicks away.

Questions? Learn more about paying for customers and catch up on other recently added Thumbtack tools.  

139 responses
Level 8

You want to charge me $7+ for a $15 pet sitting job!!!!!!!

Level 4

The new pricing structure is crazy. I paid $50 for someone I gave a quote to to ask me one question and never heard from them again! I really don’t think I will be bidding on anything until a better system is put in place. I preferred paying $5-$7 for each quote I sent. At least I knew what I going to be paying! With the new system they don’t even tell you exactly what it will cost if someone replies. And frankly, asking one stupid question doesn’t mean they are truly interested!! 

Level 5

This is an excellent spin piece. You do a great job of making it sound like you are on the side of pros and working to save us money. Never did you mention, though, the increase in quote costs or that when a customer responds to multiple pros, even though they are only going to hire one, ALL pros get charged. Clearly that is information you did not want to share because it demonstrates you are not for helping pros, you are for helping your bottom line at the expense of pros. Nice try, Thumbtack.

Level 4

I am in the IT space and WTH is with all the "remote" services that cant be done remotely?

Level 5

I'd mostly gotten out of the habit of using thumbtack because I felt like it just wasn't worth my while more often than not, but now?  This new pricing structure is ridiculous.  The old way wasn't great, and I didn't like paying up-front just to be able to send bids, but at least it felt fair.  I don't see myself using Thumbtack again until you guys make this more workable for freelancers.  You need to focus on freelancers and what makes sense for us--not just on making money and bringing in people to post jobs.

Level 4

I prefer the old method of quoting, this is starting to feel like Angie’s list, which is a ripoff!

Level 4

This pricing structure is awful. As a photographer who is just starting out, being charged $40 for a customer response about an event that they didn’t hire me for is not doable. I do not at all recommend using Thumbtack unless you have money to throw away.

Level 6

Yup, still broken , and I'm betting

It ain't gonna be fixed... saving my Buck for some one else

Bill, 987118 (B) IICRC 150594

951-247-2373 Cell 951-202-3200

Level 4

Pricing has gotten out of hand. This most recent change has tripled the cost to bid and does nothing to solve the issue of those who say "no thanks." 

I now pay $20 to bid on a wedding officiating gig. When I started with thumbtack, it was $3, then it doubled, now it tripled. If I decide to continue using this site, I'll have to increase my prices just to make a profit. 

Level 2

Thumbtack, you should look at other sites as a model. The fair way to run your site is that you collect a booking fee upon Confirmation of hiring. I shouldn’t be afraid that a customer might write me to ask a question for more information , but I am because I don’t want to throw money away being contacted and not hired. also, you need to post upfront what the fee is that you collect 

Level 8

"It's official: You no longer pay for quotes."

This is what's wrong!

I have almost stopped using Thumbtack as a result. It ws so much better before this "new" system came about.

Level 2

I just saw my bank account... $16????? It was previously $5 (prior to that $1.87!) I was NOT alerted to the more than triple in price. Thumbtack, this just confirmed that I can’t use you. It’s not the $16 fee.... it’s that it’s completely shady that I thought it would be $5! 

Level 3

I cannot agree more with all of the comments here. I feel like Thumbtack is robbering me with the new ridiculous system of not showing how much will the charge be if a customer contact me, even if not hired. Paying money for someone who never get back to you is not worthy.

Level 5

 Same here I don't like the not knowing... not knowing how much it costs each time till it's to late. Not knowing if they are going to ask a ridiculous question and poof! there goes my money. 
I don't like being set up on a 'budget' that repeats every week. Sometimes I don't see a job that I want to quote on for a few weeks.

Also, I'm particular about which clients I want to work with as much as they are about working with me, and seeing the specs about the job prior enables me to avoid a lot of jobs I can already see are not worth my time.

In addition, I have had people reply to my quote and then I find out that the job is nothing like what they posted/requested. I then have called TT to refund my money. How will that work with this new scenario? I won't have a leg to stand on if they are unreasonable in their expectations.

Not a fan of this. 

I would be willing to pay a higher percentage upon being marked as hired. 
in all honesty... I have had plenty of clients ask me questions... say they will get back to me and and then they find their nephew Joey who can shoot their product with his phone. Or some other reason... the job falls through. Even once I am marked as hired it's no guarantee.
The percentage of clients I get thru here is quite small. The only saving grace is once I have them in my studio it is highly likely they will not be looking for anyone else in the near future. So, I get the fact that you only see them once and then they are a regular client for me afterwards. But the marketing cost to actual client ratio is extremely small.

Level 4

When I first joined Thumbtack you were able to buy credits to send quotes. Each quote you sent cost a certain number of credits, and if there were few pros in the area the quotes cost no credits at all. If the customer didn't respond to the quote within a certain period of time the credits were refunded. No money was wasted on one way conversations, and I felt like my money was actually working for me at the time. As I've said in previous comments, I understand that Thumbtack has to cover the cost of maintaining their website, but having to pay high quote costs to "have a conversation" with potential clients is just not the way to go. I literally threw away $20 last week engaging in one way conversations and not booking any clients. I would much rather pay a one time membership fee each year to quote and converse with as many clients as possible, or better yet, only pay when I've landed the job and have been marked hired. I'm hesitant to respond to anymore potential clients on Thumbtack in fear of losing more money that I could use to buy gas or groceries for my family. 

Level 2

I am leaving thumbtack. Starting out and can no longer afford to pay these ridiculous fees to answer questions anb not hear back from a potential customer. 

Level 4

I'm with everyone when I say I feel ripped off. Being charged for when someone contacts me with a bogus job offer. Then to be told by thumbtack oh well you have to pay because the other person sent you a msg. Even when I never replied back to them 😡 What a bunch of bull!!!! Thumbtack needs to get their stuff together. 

Level 4

Hmm, anybody want to weigh in in FAVOR of the new pricing model? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

Not knowing IN ADVANCE exactly how much they're going to charge me for a question on my bid is ridiculous. Apparently they have some secret formula that spits out some magic number on how much a contact is worth, but their "budget" is effectively just handing them a blank check. They can fill in any number they want. Their price for me is about the cost of a lesson; it's completely pointless. Their Ts&Cs are nicely vague on how much they charge and when - i recommend reading up on just how they can skim our credit cards. I don't trust them.

Level 4

Thumbtack....I used to sing your praises to other professionals,  and have been deemed by you, a Top Professional 2 years running.  But for what? For you to treat your professionals poorly by gouging them with your new price structure?  If I  continued to buy into this, that would make me a fool, not a Top Pro. Thanks for the treatment of charging me a surprise cost of $50 for a woman who asked what the process was to hire me and then she never followed through AFTER I answered her.  So hmmm...I charge $85 for my service, minus your $50 pocket padding to your revenue base and then pay for rent to perform my service....that equals $10 in revenue for me.  Please think about the bigger picture for your pros before making these changes and being more transparent on how your price it out.  I called customer service and they told me, "well, you had more communication with this potential client and that is how we priced it." WAIT WHAT!?!? HUH?  So you are telling me that you..Thumbtack, are deciding how much to charged based on how many sentences a potential hire messages????? WTH!! How about charging us when a client marks us hired? Now THAT makes more sense.  The old process of paying low amounts per quote was much better.  Your Pros are you bread and butter.  Why would you do this? You lost this Top Pro but I am not sure as a company you care much. I called in with my complaint and filled out a survey to receive not one call from someone who manages or makes decisions.  EXTREMELY disappointed but I will just take my business elsewhere. where it is valued.  And yes, this will get out mainstream.

Level 4

I used to love this site back when you bought credits and you knew how much you were paying. Now I don't have a clue. I called and asked, and they couldn't tell me how much it would cost to bid on a job. Like the rest of you all, I'm was happy paying the lower prices even though some customers didn't respond. What's happening now is nuts. Have not signed up with Home Advisor because of this same kind of crap. But if thumbtack is going to go that direction, Home Advisor has a way larger media presence. car crash on most jobs now simply because I have no idea what it's going to cost me. Please bring back the old pricing structure.

Level 3

I agree with all of these comments completely. The new pricing model is unsustainable. An additional concern is that customers are not informed in any way, that the Pro will be charged for contact, which I feel is a root cause of these frivolous charges.

Level 5

If that's actually the case, why did Thumbtack ask me to increase my budget when no one has contacted me in weeks???

Level 4

Please listen to your Pros. We ALL hate the pricing. It just doesn't make sense. This is a great app and fantastic for small business and free lancers. This has helped me grow my business when I was just starting out. It's a great idea and app! But your pricing is ruining it. I can't afford to keep using this app when such a large portion is taken out to pay for quotes. Some of which are 50% or more of what I am earning. Why don't you just do monthly subscriptions? Netflix, Hulu, Spotify ect. all do monthly subscriptions and they are worth a ton of just do that? Or risk losing all your clients because as you can see we are getting sick of it. 

Level 4

Thumbtack Your bussines will grow if you help ur costumers grow... The more we grow the more we Will use you..

but if you are not helping us how can we trust you. 

If iam spending my money just to answer questions and not getting booked..the only one making money here is thumbtack..

Find a way, so we can  stay here and be able to use your site, with out emptying our pockets

Level 4

I was really happy with his sight for a couple of years and had some success with it. A quote to talk to a customer cost 12$ now instead of $3. I called them but they just gave me a horrible sales pitch. I removed my credit card and will more than likely remove my account. I see many other businesses on here feel the same thought maybe I was missing something...

Level 5

This new system sucks.  I am not going to pay some expensive mystery price just because someone responds to a quote.  From experience, I already know that the vast majority of people on Thumbtack - even those who respond - will not actually hire my services.  Pricing must be up front and transparent AND very reasonable.  I feel this website has really gotten off track and I haven't used it for quite some time.  I agree with the person above who suggested payment should be upon actual retention of services, not conversations with prospective clients about possible work.  I'm willing to pay a higher amount for customers who actually hire me.

Level 4

This new pricing "guessing game" is ridiculous! Why not just charge a set percentage of what our quote is IF we are hired. You are now making money off every pro that bids on a job and gets asked a question......gravy for you, crap for us! I am probably going to leave was nice at first but honestly is becoming "not worth the extortion" very fast. From what I'm reading here you better fix it fast or lose most of us pros. I'm beginning to think pros is short for prostitutes.....and yes, I speak my mind VERY clearly.

Level 4

I agree with all of the above comments about how things are not fair for us.  I do not like the fact that I am charged for some one saying "what's next" and it cost $12.   The problem is people respond and you reach out to them and they never get back to you. Why does TT not charge people to use the service and then charge us a small fee.  If people had to pay a small fee to use TT then it would not be as many false clients out there.

I can and will not continue to keep doing this.  thumbtack, you should only charge us when we are hired at a flat fee.  We are not making money with the new system and to check my account and see the amount of money being withdrawn is ridiculous.  I have to take a break until TT comes up with a better plan.

Level 5

This new system as well as "instant match" is a joke! I no longer use Thumbtack for my wedding officiant business. I now have a featured listing on and in two months have more bookings at a lower cost than the "new" thumbtack. And notary work???? I can only charge $10 plus travel for to notarize a document. You charge me more than $10 if a customer contacts me whether they book me or not. I liked the "credits" system better. I was a Top Pro for three longer since I am no longer sending quotes. Bye Bye, Thumbtack!


Moderator Kameron

Hey everyone, you all definitely make some great points about the new pricing system.

Giving you a better sense of what you’ll be charged has been a priority for us and we have some good news to share: we just started showing prices up front to some of our pros. Some pros will now be able to see the price they’ll pay if a customer contacts them before these pros actually decide to send a quote.

This is our first version of this update. It’s still a work in progress and we’re working hard to make this available to all of our pros soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to remind you that the amount you pay has changed but so has what you pay for. We’ve seen a much greater hire rate from customers on the new system now that pros are less hesitant to send a quote and wonder if they’ll get a response. A customer response has proven to be of much more value and in the long run most pros are spending less per response they receive than before. As mentioned, we know the new system isn’t working for everyone, but with your feedback, we will get there. In the meantime, we recommend relying on your weekly budgets for spending. Another great tool to use and become more competitive is using your insights page.

Level 2

Someone is going to make the money and guess who ?Not the contractor of course but thumbtack.  Too bad they want to please their shareholders instead people who make them money.  

Level 4

would be nice if we knew  how much the est.  was before we sent it.  But after we send it then you tell us, weird.  

Level 8

@Kameron said that TT will be showing charges up front and are introducing that now. 

Nice to know that we are being charged three times what we were being charged before too.

They say that TT hire rates are up. Can't see that except in the "Race for the bottom" where people are quoting really low prices, just to get that first response. I think that is unsustainable. It's only a matter of time.

Level 4

Yeah. I can't make a living when I'm getting charged more to send out business stuff.  Especially when some clients are just paypal scams trying to get my card information.

Level 5

What's your next availability is not a customer contact. Does that price include la Dee dah is not a customer contact. Can you do it for less than quoted is not a customer contact. Do you own your own equipment (duh) is not a customer contact. People who reach out from locations well out of my service area are not customer contacts.  Any consensus here?

Level 4

In days gone by (and, TT could wake up and return to that model):

1.  I knew what I would be charged if my reply to a listing was interesting enough for someone to look at it and respond to me.  That seemed reasonable; I could judge what I wanted to spend.

2.  As I recall, there was a credit back if all they did was look but not follow up with a contact.  Made me feel like my $10 investment was honored.

3. Now, it seems to be like $40 or so that I have to commit to spending, and TT will decide what it costs (with no notice to me) and take that cut if the prospective customer looks at what I sent, even if there is no follow up from them.

4.  It had better be a pretty good prospective job for me to throw $40 at it.  So, I'm a lot less likely to do anything with a TT listing that comes my way.  Thus TT  gets $0.00 from me, week in and week out.  On the other hand,  back in the $10/reply days, I might have spent $20-40 every few weeks.  I guess $0.00 income, with the possibility of $40 once a month, seems better to TT than a semi-sure thing of perhaps $15 a week on average. 

Level 4

Revbrian says

"They say that TT hire rates are up"

Well, if they are comparing the chance of me getting hired when perhaps 4 or 5 responded under the old pricing, to the chance of me getting hired if I'm the only one responding (because the other 3 or 4 are not actively using the new hidden-price, more expensive version of TT), then maybe so.  But I'm still not biting on may of the possible projects.

On the other hand, I could just blaze away, and then charge anyone who did hire me using TT a handling fee to cover the TT cost ...

Level 2

How do I know if a customer is "serious" if s/he reaches out to me?  How do you define serious? Like me, folks shop around and compare prices which they cannot get unless we send them a quote.  Perhaps you could explain how we are charged to the customers who reach out to us so that they will only contact us if the are truly "serious."  So, we are still paying for quotes!

This works well for TT, but not for us!


Level 4

Well, to be completly honest with you guys.......

this new system is no good. Just on the outside looking in, nobody likes it and if you guys wanna keep the ol’train rollin, I’m not your CEO, but hey it’s not rocket science, this xxxx ain’t gonna work. Just sayin. 

Level 6

Scoot over and read all of the posts in the thread I started about a week ago titled, "the need to come together as one LOUD voice...

Several posts have been removed by TT because they cant handle the truth. 

The entire situation is sad. Very, very, sad.

Level 4
I much preferred the former format of bidding on jobs. As a Cat Concierge, I specifically work with felines. Now I am categorized under pet sitter and the only person whom contacted me was looking for a dog walker, which she thought I was! I was unfairly charged for this contact.Thumbtack has meddled with the recipe far too much in their method of doing business, both for the potential client and the professional seeking to grow their specific business. At this time, I am quite unhappy with Thumbtack.
Level 6


dag omatic Jul 23 (1 day ago)
Hi Devin.... I just wanted you to see the email I sent to your CEO about the pricing structure.

Jul 23 (1 day ago)
to me
Pricing transparency is the number one issue that we are dealing with right now. I would expect an update around that to happen within the next couple months. Our pricing new pricing structure will be much more transparent.

Best regards,



dag omatic <>
Jul 23 (1 day ago)
to Devin
TT is getting clobbered on multiple review websites, on a daily basis, and those reviews never go away. I would suggest correcting this sooner than a couple of months...

Just Google: "Thumbtack Review", which is exactly what people thinking about joining TT are going to do.... The first page Google returns is all very negative. FYI.


Level 8

@dagomatic - Have you seen the reviews on the BBB web site?


I'm not going to tell people I'm on TT if that is typical!!!

Level 4

Like so many other Pros here, I am not happy with the new mystery higher pricing for quotes.  In the past, I used Thumbtack to find new music students and encouraged other music teachers to sign up too, telling them the fees to give a quote seemed reasonable.  And if there were few Pros in the area, as was sometimes true in my case, quotes could be free.  I can no longer recommend TT and I no longer give quotes on this site.  I have no idea what I will be charged now, which is completely unacceptable.  At least in the past I knew what it would cost to quote up front, which was 2 or 3 dollars.  I hope you will return to the old system.  If not, I believe this company will fold due to all the Pros refusing to use your company.  Very disappointed with TT.

And I'm not at all impressed that I was just sent 2 emails in the past few minutes saying I was given 2 badges (a "Cheers" and a "High Five" badge) for giving a "kudo" to (agreeing with) so many other Pros who have complained here.  That's hilarious and sad at the same time!

Listen to your pros and go back to the old system.  Low fees will make us happy customers of your service.  The new system is completely unfair.

Update: I've received a "Big Props" badge for receiving 5 Kudos on my above complaint.  Help me out - Let's see how high we can get this number, guys!  And I just received a "Good Vibes" badge for giving Kudos to so many other complaints here.  I'm on a roll! 

Also, for the music teachers here: If you haven't already, sign up with Music Teachers Directory.  It's free, and several nice students have found me through their site.  Best wishes! 


Level 2

I used to consider myself a Thumbtack ambassodor, but no more. When you went to the instant match that killed almost any chance to snag a client. I don't have the ability to set more specifics with who gets my quotes, so I could not sign up for that system. I can't hang on my phone watching for requests. 

Now this!!!! Ridicules!!! I have said from the time I started using TT (4.5 years ago) that the customer needs to have some skin in the game or it will kill us and now with this new system it most assuredly will. I have not sent a quote with TT in many months.

Level 3

Thumbtack still hasn’t gotten it right. I completely checked out once I was charged for leads that did not LEAD anywhere. If your pros don’t win, why should you? Now you’ve changed the structure that still is in favor of Thumbtack. It is extremely uncomfortable to go from paying $7-10 for leads that go no where, to an ever more extreme quoting system that can charge you up to $45 for one lead without ever disclosing exact costs. Freelancers don’t have time for surprise charges. I find comfort in knowing exactly what every lead will cost me. Also,  what even is considered “being contacted”. 

Help your pros win and you will always win. Try one flat fee tiered monthly membership for every budget . Or pay per lead ONLY when marked HIRED. I won’t be sending out any quotes AGAIN, until there are changes that actually benefit my business.  


Stop allowing clients to “not know” what they want. “ I‘m not sure yet” shouldn’t even be an option. Discourage clients who aren’t actually ready to get projects done, from seeking quotes. And please force people to put their project budget in their requests.  

Level 4

I haven't used TT since the bogus instant match idea was started. I have had at least 5 times over the couple of years I was active that scammers were requesting bids and contacting me so I knew then the process wasn't reliable. TT in those days would fix it and give your credits back.

I saw this so called new "you don't pay" statement in the newsletter and discovered it's just more of the same lies and inconsistencies.

I believe the rise in prices is because the cat is out the bag and so many pros have stopped using the service as well. When you have this many negative responses to something yet decide your customers feedback doesn't matter and press on you must know the ship is sinking. 

Ultimately I will never use TT again unless there are drastic changes and every forum you see TT mentioned on is full of others with the same thoughts about the platform. You had a decent product that could have been improved upon and been very successful but have made horrible decisions for over a year now that will likely result in your demise. Sad

Level 3

Sometimes " If it aint broke don't keep trying to fix it"  TT you had a WINNER


Pay to Play .... The old pricing model was not only better it was an upfront propostion directly related to interest.   If you wanted to get on shoot me out first list you could sing up to auto quote but at a given price that was fixed and low or nominal.   

If I wanted to splash around I knew the cost.  There was a value in paying to start a conversation with a possibly interested customer and engaging with them at a low cost or " worth it cost".   

The "up charge in pricing coupled with a new method that asks you to pay regardless of the outcome and 3 - 5 times as much in some cases (depending on the appetitie for the job or service) simply was a bad idea and really takes away from the value TT once offered.   

Now its Pay 1st, for a chance to see how much those maybe customers cost you "AFTER", then determine if it is worth it after the fact if you realize success.   NOT SO GOOD


Take it back to what your paying customers are telling you they are wanting ( back ) and willing to pay for.  PUSH THAT!     

Level 4

What's hilarious (in a not-funny way) is that the TT people think that their "budget" system fixes the problem of mystery charges. HA - it does nothing of the sort. I have to set my "budget" unnaturally high because i have no idea how much i'd be charged in a given week. Any one of the mystery charges could be a large fraction of my total take on a job & i wouldn't know that until it was too late. But if i set my "budget" based on what landing one job is worth to me, i couldn't answer more than one request each week.

I guess if TT actually told me up-front how much i'd be charged for a quote answer, they'd be afraid that they'd scare me off. And they would be right.

All their "budget" fix has done is angered their own customers (namely, the Pros). Ticking off your customers is never a good business model.

The unfortunate part of this is that consumers use the platform. At least they will continue to use it as long as there are still Pros around to answer quotes. Once the Pros disappear, so will the consumers.

Should we take up a collection and send the TT leadership to remedial business school? Or just wait a couple of months and the problem will fix itself (because TT goes defunct)?

Level 4

Moderator Kameronk, I hate to call out your comment but it really doesn’t address the issue of unsustainable pricing for quote responses that don’t result in hires. In any way. There is no way to discuss  your pricing honestly and still be able to talk about it in a positive light. I agree with a previous commentor that, IF hire rates are up, it is ONLY due to the thinned out crowd of pros who can stomach using this shady site. And once they get tired of paying, they’ll probably say sayonara as well.