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

Zero hired in almost 3 weeks now.

im gonna break a four year record with you guys for least amount of hires




Might go go a whole month without being hired.  Makes sense for the top pro in the Miami area 😑

Level 8

@NucleusG4 - I pay a little more than that for ONE contact.

Did you notice the cultural "misunderstanding" in the graphic?

It's in the use of the word "customers".


In strictly correct sales training terminology, from my days of 1980's IBM like computer sales training, these are "Prospects" (as in prospective customers).

They need qualifying before we can then get to convert them into other categories, like "customers". 

We are paying Thumbtack for the right to do all the footwork here without any of the tools and information to help in this up front from Thumbtack, that we used to have access to. Oh yes, and for me, with Instant Match, the price has more than trippled.

And then the staff there wonder why a big chunk of us Pro's are now whiny and unhappy with them?

Level 4

All this: "You don't need to pay for quotes" is an absolute fraud!!!

Looks like in the Thumbtack team nobody understands the basic of Architectural Services, for example. Nobody can quote any project just by words: Addition to existing house 500 – 1000 sq. ft.  First we need to schedule a meeting, meet, listen, see, touch, and only after this give a quote.

In the past, when you charged approximately $10 - $15, I responded on a lot of requests for Architectural Design. And it was absolutely OK when you charged us at the time of responding on the clients request – I always knew that could spend some for a try to get the project. And if no respond from the client – I knew that you will refund my money.

I understand that you want to make more money, but not the way you want to do it now!!!

I just received a request for Architectural Design, with Project Consultation in the Section "Services needed" To quote this I need to schedule a meeting with a client, and, if he reply, you charge me $44.30 (!!!). And you will not refund this money even if after an initial meeting client decided not to continue.

I never charged before for the Consultation Meeting. Now I just pass on this quote.

I think, that with this pricing system we'll see the end of Thumbtack!!!

Level 5

OK, since my last post was removed I will use a simple common sense logic path that should be easier for TT to understand.

A couple of years ago, I was involved in an on demand, tech startup.  It started out with enormous success.  They decided to move into monetization and those steps went well too.  The, they overeached, rolled out a horrid and devastatingly mistaken version and their worldwide membership went down by half in just a few weeks.  They too were barraged with similar (ahem,) non-positive complaints.  Not because people wanted to be jerks in pointing it out, but because it really was that bad.

After three weeks, instead of hyping a patronizing spin on a horrible rollout, they did what a good business should.  They sent an email, they admitted they screwed up, and they implemented a reversion to the previous platform to stop the pain.  It worked, their following came back and they are on a huge growth curve today.  They did do another rollout six months later after testing, input from the community and a LOT of work.  They admitted it and moved to at least return to a prvious state, like the restore points we often have to use on a computer.

Now, some of the comments from moderators I have seen have said that that the system is in transition, or is a work in process or whatever the catch phrase is to try and sell this until they can do something else and that their goal is to get to a "Pay when booked" system.  Logic, and common sense business practice and ethics would then beg the following two questions (these questions are sincere, not an attempt at negativity)

1. If you were working toward a pay when booked shema, then why didn't you just wait until you were ready to implement said schema instead of putting in a devastating mistaken middle step?

2.  Why don't you follow the path of the example above and just....admit the mistake, do a revision and don't roll changes out until you have tested and are ready with a "pay when booked" system?  The good will that would acrue to you within the community would be huge and you would find that people are willing to stay and see how it goes rather than flee a service that not only doesn't work for us, but one that is actually detrimental to us.  



Level 4

It's amazing to see all of these negative comments on here and that so many people have stopped using Thumbtack because of the new pricing structure, yet it still remains unchanged. It it absolutely ridiculous to think that I'm going to send out a quote without knowing upfront how much I'll be charged and if it'll end up being $12 or $50!! That's not a risk any smart business owner should take. Stop selfishly thinking about your own benefit for a second and try to ACTUALLY help out the small businesses trying to grow. In the end it may come back to benefit you as you wouldn't be losing so many customers! Poor choice for structure change.

Level 6

OK Thumbtack Pro's, is it just me or is something rotten in Denmark (-via the US). We all have been seeing what appears to be an exodus of previously loyal Pro's. I can't believe all the horrible comments on the internet! That being said, I temporarily removed my credit card info - hoping that Corporate will do some serious damage-control to hold onto their remaining Base. I'm not bailing yet! - Just waiting for the company to make a redeeming attempt to 'right' this new quoting / contact procedure which, in many cases, is costing some of us upwards of 500+%!... Employing a help center in the Philippines or elswhere in S.America, is NOT a good sign! With regards to this outrageous increase, many of us are now having to pay if a potential client simply contacts us - without ever hiring! REALLY Thumbtack! We may have better odds purchasing a $2 Lottery ticket?! In my case, my hourly fee is only $45 and my charge for being contacted, approaches half of my compensation - $17. How can anyone remain with Thumbtack with a business model and odds like that? What happened with all the hype about: "Now you only pay if someone contacts you." I think I'll opt for the OLD system!

Here's a sugettion: If they really want to regain our confidence, charge us only when we are actually HIRED!  ...Wouldn't that be something!

FYI, Angie's List is now free to Pro's -initially. You can decide later on Marketing strategies and fees.

...Let's all take a deep breath and see what Corporate's next move is!

Remaining Hopefull,     kneel

Level 2

Is anyone else actually liking this new pricing system?  I am being charged for heaven knows what and the rates are over 300% more than they used to be for less effective contacts!

Level 5

Yeah.. I was charged $33.00 for a client to ask me where my studio was located.
(is there somewhere on my profile that this info could have been made available to the client)?

From now on I am including in my quote the information along these lines. 

"Please be aware that when you contact potential photographers that we are each charged a substantial fee for any questions you may ask."

Is there anything in the TT guidelines that prohibits this? If so... then I'm going to have to pull the plug. 

Moderator Meckell

@NucleusG4 after feedback from pros, we made the decision to not show the exact address of a pro. Instead, we show your city and zip code. We want customers and pros to have the best experience possible on the site. Because of this, we keep some personal information about pros and customers private until they have decided that they want it shared with the potential lead. 
As far as listing that in your quote, that is against our Terms of Use. Finding someone online can be intimidating and we want to make both sides feel as comfortable as possible until there is a hire.

Level 5

Then I guess I'm going to start the process of finding a new source of leads. It's just too expensive here. Thanks.

Level 4

The "Are You Available" Quick response feature is KILLING my budget!

I'm totally available or I wouldn't send the quote!  Then I'm charged because they didn't say "I'm ok, or No thanks, or Went with another Pro." This is SERIOUS. I'm getting booked less and less because I can't afford this loophole!

A. This quick response feature must be STOPPED!

B. Customers MUST view profile before reaching out!

C. I NEED to know price UPFRONT for each quote!

Thank You

(P.s. By this time next month, I may be BROKE!)

Level 9

Would someone just explain to me wht TT hasnt changed back to a sutainable model, something we could at least LIVE with, even if we dont love it???? That is how TT was to me in the past. I resented paying what I considered high fees, but they were a LOT less than I now pay. Now, I simply cannot afford to use this site for work. Most of the responses I get are from people who seem to be windowshopping. They contact me once and thats about it. 

I really hate it that TT sends the quotes now, not me. I used to be able to pick and choose among requests, pick out the ones that I felt would be best for me, and then write that personal a short email explaining my hourly fee, give them my phone number, etc. Now I cannot do this and I believe this is one reason I no longer get much work from TT.

Level 7

The new pricing system has gouged me for the last month. No jobs, hundreds of dollars out the window. Top Pro for 3 years or not, 45 hires, 4.9 stars, I can't afford the new Thumbtack. 

Level 8

@missannienow and @Deborah306 - you can turn Instant Match off (just set your budget to zero and next week, it'll be off... Sorry "Paused".

Everything should be back to more or less the old system, except you can't see how much it will cost to send a quote. You can however guess. In my case it's about 10% of the price TT thinks that I should be charging, not what I actually have to charge to be competitive in my market, which is lower than TT appears to think.

This means that compared to the San Fransisco based prices TT appear to use, I am undercharging by about 25% and overpaying now by... 300% compared to the price to bid from 6 months ago.

To be fair, it's only actually worth it if the potential customers actually respond and we can engage in a decent dialog that ends up in a hire, but the quality of TT 'clients' in this respect seems to be very poor. The actual cost of sending a non-Instant Match quote needs to be about half what it is now (i.e. $10 or $12 not over $20 as the latest one was today). When you consider a quote cost me $6.68 in January this year, TT is fast becoming a waste of time and space.

Note to self: I should try to raise my fees by over 300% or so and see how long I stay in business...

Level 8


"The "Are You Available" Quick response feature is KILLING my budget! I'm totally available or I wouldn't send the quote! "

I got a stern telling off for saying that a while ago. Be more positive DJ-LA. 

Not sure how, but just be more positive.


Level 9

Excuse me, but WHY wont I be able to see how much sending a quote is going to cost me???? Why would anyone even BOTHER sending a quote if they dont know how much it will cost? This is nuts.

I just got a notice that someone needs house cleaning in my area. I attempted to send a quote. I changed the silly figures TT assigned to the sort of home described (NOT big) because THEIR quote was too high. Well, now I cannot SEND this quote.

Maybe that is a good thing, since I wont know how much it will cost me! I know I still have some credit with TT for monies refunded to me. But - I NEED to know what sending a quote is gonna cost me BEFORE I SEND IT!!! I do not think this is asking too much.

Fed up.

Level 9

Thank you RevBrian. A Mod (Jordan) sent me the way to fing you rmessage. It should not be this difficult to do but it sure is. At least now.

Not knowing how much a quote is going to cost me is not acceptable to me. I am not rich, nor do I make a lot of money cleaning houses. How on earth could I? I do not have employees. It is just me and I take great pride in doing a good job. I get paid fairly, but it surely wont make me rich! I am 68 years old. My main income is from Social Security. I work extra in order to be able to have a slightly better life for me, and my cat, Mr. Bear. Please do not feel sorry for me. I dont. I am where I am in this life due to many issues that I will not bore you with. I am happy and content and want to work. But Thumbtack has not been helping me accomplish my goals in quite a while now. I think about getting OUT of this business, just because of Thumbtack. Cleaning jobs are not all that plentiful. 

Thumbtack. You have let me down and many other people. We used to depend on you. Now we can't. We older people DO need to make extra money. That is a fact of life in the USA. Social Security is not enough to live on. Or live on and be fed and housed well. We older people have to depend on sites like TT USED to be to try to stay well fed and housed. I enjoy working. It keeps me fit, a LOT more fit than most people my age are. My work does that for me, and in the past, Thumbtack helped me achieve these small goals. Now you dont.


Level 5

Here's annother one...

The customer reached out to me... just to be polite and he responded "Thank you". 
That politeness on his part is costing me $39.02




Yeah.. I'm done. I have clung on in the hopes I could justify this.... but no more. As soon as this charge clears I will remove my credit card.

Level 9

I just re-read this. TT, it is too complicated and confusing. Your writers arent very talented in explaining, or perhaps TT WANTS to be confusing.

I keep reading that TT values "transparency." I hate those sorts of terms, but nor do I SEE any transparency on TT. I get the feeling you use terms like that in order to hide truth from your customers.

I keep reading that certain people have had posts removed, or even banned from posting at all. Okay, if someone used a 4 letter word, in a nasty way, I can understand that TT would want to stop that sort of thing. I used to be a Moderator on an enormous online support group. We didnt tolerate swearing, or personal attacks on other members. But it would take a LOT of this to make us ban anyone. I can only remember one incident where this happened. And it happened for very good reasons, which I wont go into due to the natrue of this wonderful website.  There are many much less threatening ways to address anyone being rude here or spreading TOTAL lies. You guys need to re-think all of this. I have read almost all of the posts on about 5  or 6 threads. I read the same things over and over, yet nothing happens.

Moderator Kameron

@missannienow it's definitely not intended to be confusing. If you have any questions about something specific let me know and we can work to clear things up. We do value transparency however the community does have a set of guidelines that we ask pros to follow. Any posts that violate these guidelines will be edited and or removed. A member being banned will only be the result after several post removals along with a guideline reminder from one of our moderators. I'm sorry to hear that you feel as though changes aren't happening quickly enough. It does take time to hear feedback from pros and customers and then to make any necessary changes. I do want to point out that because of your voices in regards to pricing, we launched transparent pricing this week to all pros. So now you'll be able to see the cost of a contact up front before quoting. 

Level 9

Kameron, I know you are trying. I have a sense you do care, but I guess you dont have any power to make the needed changes.

TT has gotten a TON of feedback from the Pros! If you read almost ANY of the threads here, the feedback should be quite clear to TT staff. The Pros have spoken, and now TT just needs to fix whats wrong. It is that simple.

Every time I have communicated with someone at TT about the confusing things, the explanations are even MORE confusing.  You are the ONLY person at TT who actually helped me. And for that, I thank you.

TT: Get with it! Your Pros have spoken. That Loud Voice has said everythng you need to go back to a better system that we Pros CAN use.

Level 4

I'm done. I'm tired of paying $25 for someone to respond 'OK' or 'What's the price?'

Level 6

With most of us Not quoting 

some one must be getting very wealthy

( inside job )

Level 9

Kameron, I just re-read your comment above. Are you hinting that I might be banned? My comments have always been worded politely. I am not saying anything everyone else here is saying! Many of the posts I have read used much stronger language than I have. 

I sure wish TT would hurry up with the changes they keep telling us are coming.

This past week I have NOT sent quotes for several jobs. Why? Because I just cant afford to. That simple.

Not being able to send a personal message with quotes has hurt my business terribly. The [potential customer only gets a rough estimate, when in truth the job may not be that expensive but I have no way of letting them know this. 

What I have done several times is change the quote $$ to a lower figure, hoping I would get a response. But I also do not like lying, and in truth, the actual price could easily be what the quote said. Or more! Cleaning houses can be a tricky business, because you truly do not know how dirty a house is until you actually clean it the first time. Many times, I have cleaned houses that looked clean but that turned out not to be true. This happens especially in elderly people's homes. They no longer can SEE all the dust, crumbs on counters and dried up spills on floors. All of that stuff adds on time, and time is money.



Moderator Meckell

Hi @missannienow sorry for any confusion. In your post before Kameron's you mentioned, "I keep reading that certain people have had posts removed, or even banned from posting at all."  Kameron was simply just clarifying why we do those things, and he was not hinting that you were going to be banned. 
I appreciate your involvement in the community and I know that you're frustrated with things. Thank you for always speaking up and letting us know your feedback, it's always appreciated! 

Level 9

Oh! You are right. So sorry.

Yes. I am frustrated. Most of us are. TT was our go to place for work and it isnt now. Why is it taking so long to make the needed changes???

Level 4

A lot of times I'll get a message asking if I'm available. And when I reply back yes I am, I get nothing in return and I get charged for it. I'm a single person DJ'ing with a limited income and this really puts a hurt on my costs. I feel you shouldn't charge unless someone gets hired.

Level 4

I am so bummed. I really enjoyed Thumbtack, been using them since 2013 when you bought credits to purchase bids.  The system was not perfect but it was fair.  You didn't mind if a customer really wasn't interested if you only spent under $10.00 to quote.  Today they have a new option that allows you to see how much a quote costs (under details) and some are upwards of $75.  Also, allowing 15 contractors to quote on a job is too many.  I honestly don't think an person seeking work done needs to see 15 different contractors.  It use to be 5 contractors could bid.  Such a shame they had to change things.  

Level 4

I'm pretty upset about the price changes.  I haven't had a quote cost me $5 or $7 in ages.  Mine cost $14 or $22.  I really am not a fan of this new pricing system at all.  I think they are going to start losing a lot of pros if they do not do a better job of explaining it.  They have it listed as "the size of the job".  That is not fair nor accurate statement, they have no way of truly determining that based on what someone puts on their initial items.  I just paid $22 on a quote to make less than $75 commission, not even counting the split to my host agency and taxes paid.  

Level 3

Even though someone messaged me back saying “they found someone else” I still had to pay $20 for the quote because they didn’t respond saying “no thanks” which no one really does. So even though their first message was telling me no thanks, I’m still paying because they didn’t put the exact wording. I find that ridiculous. 

Level 6

I'm seeing several infomercials on TV about the TT APP but, still no attempt to change our quoting structure. I can almost quess that TT is ok with the current mass attrition of the 'old-guard' so they can attract new young, unsuspecting and naive folks. That's probably why they are spending their resources on these commercials? -- instead of reverting back to the old quoting system that actually worked for the majority of us ... Sad!  -TT used to be a half-way decent option.

Moderator Kameron

@Jaysea I'd like to take a look into that one with you. If the first message from the customer was " we found someone else", we consider that a "no thank you". Just send me a direct message with the name of the customer so I can check it out.

Level 5

Just charge a booking fee. how hard is this???

Level 7

The problem is you are charging per contact instead of by hire.. and then allowing a lot of contacts.  It's a good business deal for TT, but not so much for the Pros.  

January 2018 under the old system, I spent $120.00 for 44 contacts, of which 16 turned into jobs.  This worked well, since my price is $60.00, I made a pretty good profit. 

November of 2018, I spent $96.00 for 8 contacts which were mostly just people "kicking the tires" or just pushing an automated reply button. only one turned into an actual customer. 

There are one of two ways to fix this.  The first would be to only charge per "Hire".  True, some hires might go unreported, but most will and you can charge for that.  The other would be to make contacts as cheap as they were back under the old system, since you are competing against 15 competitors instead of just five now. 






Level 2

I echo what has already been said here many times. I just signed up with Thumbtack a little over a week ago and have been dissapointed. I have been charged $35.00 already for a few people to basically contact me with questions like "When are you available?" I feel, like many others who have commented on here, that you should get paid for doing your job which is to get us, as contractors, jobs. I  don't want to pay you for someone to say "when are you available" and I say "Not until next week" and they say "oh well, that doesn't work for me" and then I get charged $16 bucks? Crazy! I'm leaving Thumbtack because no one can afford to pay that kind of money for little questions.

Level 6

TT said Customer found me on TT's site and asked me where I live. When I responded to their question, I immediately was charged for my response - even though I have never heard from them or spoken with the client since that charge.

Very shady, sneaky and unethical. I quess TT still hasn't learned a previous lesson of attempting to be an ethical company !?

Moderator Kameron

@kneel if a customer reached out to you directly and you accepted in order to respond that would then be a valid charge for a lead. Have you tried messaging the customer again about their project? If you have additional info or questions about this please send me a direct message and I'd be happy to help.

Level 2

I joined thumbtack not very long ago and apparently did not know what setting a budget meant. I work full time so I don’t log onto thumbtack much, last Friday they sent me to leads costing me $30, which I was unaware of til Monday when I opened up the app and saw I had already paid for 2 leads I knew nothing about.. pretty sweet, at first I thought thunbtack was a great idea, not so mich anymore.

Moderator Kameron

@Gx460 I'm sorry to hear that those leads and setting your budget came as a surprise. I'd make sure to look at your notification settings so that you can quickly know when leads come in. Be sure to take a look through the Community pages and our Help Center as well so that you can have a full overview of how Thumbtack works and let us know of any questions you may have.