@ChefOfAllSeason This is a great question to clarify. When you hide your business by using the pause feature, your profile won’t show in customers’ search results. But you can continue to interact with any customers who have already reached out to you. Additionally, you won’t have to respond to new leads or take on new jobs. That way, you don’t have to worry about things that affect your ranking in search results — like declining leads, your response time, or updating your calendar. This makes it so if you need to take a break because you're booked up, an emergency comes up, or just going on vacation you can simply push pause.
On the other hand, when you mark off you're calendar you won't appear in searches where someone is looking for that specific day or time, but you will still appear to other customers who are searching for times that you have available. This means leads will continue to come in.
@taylor - I must admit to some perplexity on this newly implemented feature. Please bear with me:
1) When my calendar is marked for certain times of unavailability it in no way affects my ranking; but my profile is still visible.
2) If my profile is on pause, no one sees my profile and my ranking is unaffected.
3) If 'Promote" (or "Target" as it is now called) is activated, I am not liable to for leads when either of the above is opted.
Is that the whole thing; or is there more?
@ChefOfAllSeason You're right, but keep in mind when you're targeting your preferences you'll still be liable to respond to leads that come in while using your calendar. That means if someone reaches out to you for a date that you have blocked on your calendar, but says they're open to other dates, you will need to respond or it could affect your response time. The easiest way to think of it is that if you're using your calendar you'll still appear in search results, but if you've paused your profile, you won't appear at all making it easier for you to take a nice vacation and not have to worry about checking in on any new leads.
Status: Not Planned"
That is fine, and I absolutely understand this from a business-model perspective. HOWEVER, do you ever let customers know that their inquiry WILL cost the pro/provider money? You could even let them know how much it is going to cost the pro. I don't know, maybe you do that now ... I honestly have not used Thumbtack in over a year (ever since the new and "improved" overhaul, and I watched quality of leads go down and my expenses go way up). I can't tell you how many customers of mine had no idea we had out of pocket just to talk with them.
Have you considered putting a little note/notice for each customer when they are searching for a job that pros repsonses, or would that take away too much from your bottom line? Have you thought about doing a true change, and allowing things to run more like Elance (i.e. commision-based revenue), with control and oversight to see when jobs go through, payment, etc.?
@Timoteo I agree with you on all points. Sometimes I ask myself "What is the least awkward way to inform customers that answering their leads costs the responding professional a fee?"
I also look at it from a consumer's perspective: When do I ever go shopping and actually contemplate the proprietors operating expenses?
My answer is never. This is especially true when I shop at Amazon. Click click and it's done; just like here. Consumers these days prefer that.
@ChefOfAllSeason I understand your point, and that is true about shopping ... but I feel this is a case of apples and oranges. The paradigms are different, as are the expectations. People would not be surprised that online vendors/shops have overhead, but most of my customers -- when it has come up -- were quite surprised the pros had to pay a fee up front. But regardless, in both cases I don't think they are thinking about it too much.
@Timoteo Very true. All consumers know that vendors have an overhead; but who actually considers that in their decision making process? Again I say the online shopping experience is the same here as anywhere else. All online markets employ the same easy click options for purchase, whether it be goods or services.
Here are a few examples:
1) I have been a Pro on Thumbtack for 5 years and have had a long history of sucess on this site. The feedback I get from most of clients from here are that my prices are competitive. These shoppers did not go too far into the details of my profile, if at all.
2) About 5%-10% chose me because of my profile and price was not a primary consideration. These are the ones, btw, who have been recurring business over the years.
3) Online shopping in general: Convenience is the key. Delivery wise, user experience wise, and price wise. It is the most popular way of presenting goods and services online. Most people these days do it on their mobile phone or iPad at a red light or in bed anyway.
In summary, it is my studied belief that we, the vendors must conform to the market. If TT, like so many other sites, is setup to catch customers with an attractive set up, then we must know how to lure the fishies our way. My methods are simple. I set my preferences my way. I promote for one service only, and manually accept leads for the other two. I never allow myself a blind choice and the risk is managable. One more thought on conforming to the market: As my clients have made it clear that my superstrong profile is not the primary factor in choosing me, I ask they post their review of me on Google. That is where I get the most mileage all around. To put another review here would change anything. I already have 30. At least on Google, people stop and look at everything I offer, i ncluding reviews. And never, ever, would they allow a fasified review or photo that damages my good name.
@Timoteo @ChefOfAllSeason , you both have made good points. My take on this, however, is that Thumbtack is attempting to commoditize every category. That way, price becomes the "governor" behind the consumer's decision process. My proof to that is the 4 requests I've received for fairly comprehensive video jobs, and ALL of them were budget at <$400. I simply will not engage in a race to the lowest price and if this means that I'm not "conforming to the market," so be it. Thankfully, I'm getting jobs in the right budget range from other sources, including my own website.
I won't delete my Thumbtack profile because one day, perhaps clearer heads will prevail. But until it does, I'm keeping Promote paused and will bid the one-off jobs that fit my parameters.