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Astounding Statistics Results! MUST READ!!!

I've just spent hours evaluating TT's performance stats for the year so far and I am utterly astounded by what I've found! The numbers evidence the undeniable state of things and prove that pro hires on TT (at least in my area in my industry) are down by 80% this year!!! It is a result of the massive information-overload put upon potential clients with the new system. People are left in a state of analysis paralysis and are therefore walking away from their quotes, overwhelmed and confused by too many!

On the bright side (which is actually a dark side since actual hires are down by 80%) we do have to put in fewer bids to get to that hire. The old stat was that only 5% of people that requested a bid, would ever hire anyone. It has now more than doubled, to an amazing 11% of requests resulting in a hire! So all those people who are curious how much it would cost for a portrait of their pet frog, get to see actual prices, and walk away before putting in their inane request. So, we are definitely spending less time bidding on inane requests! But, at what cost? From there the numbers become devestating!

The stats below clearly reveal that despite the fact that 50% of the serious clients who are adept enough to wade through the daunting load of confusion, end up choosing me! Yet still my hires are down by 80%. MORE is NOT BETTER TT!

This data is proof of the statement that less is certainly more! Less bids (as in the old days) mean less confusion and more hires! I'm getting a much larger percent of the pie than ever - in fact, I'm getting a bit more than HALF the pie, as over 50% of the clients choose me when they do hire! Yet, it is no cause for celebration when that pie is only the size of a mini-cupcake, when it used to be a family-sized pie! A wedge of a HUGE pie is WAY bigger than half of a mini cupcake! I used to be hired 2-3x as often as my competitors. Now I and slaughtering the competion by taking more than half the available jobs, and the rest of the have to shared amongst all the other pros!

Such a stat sounds like enormous success on the surface! That stat should have me leaping for joy at such incredible record-breaking success! So why am I upset about it? Because I normally do 60 TT portrait sessions a year, yet so far this year, I have only done 5. There were only 10 portrait hires so far this year in my area. 6 of them went to me! (one ended up being a no-show, so I only completed 5 of them) The other 4 were split between the rest of the pros! This is a very serious issue pros! With all my efforts I have managed to dominate my category in unfathomable ways! Yet despite this, my business is down by 80%.

The more serious issue is that the new system is so much more beneficial to TT that there is no incentive for them to change it. So it is most definitely time to adapt or die. It will not be going back to the old system as it is a less profitable model for TT. You must find a way to make this work for you or survive another way. I am utterly speechless in the phenomenal dominance I have in my category, yet utterly devastated that such mind-blowing success still results in an 80% loss of business. I have virtually perfected how to work with TT, yet with those numbers, I should be making money hand-over-fist, and instead I am dead slow with 1 portrait job a month!!!

Jan 1st – May 31stt 2019 TT Portrait Session Bid Stats
Total bids (paid via promote & manual bids)90 
Total manual bids (not promoted)56 
Manual bids (not promoted) who completely ignored bid44 
Manual bids (not promoted) who made some sort of reach out12 
Total paid leads auto-bid on promote31 
Paid promoted leads who ghosted me20 
Projects officially cancelled by client3 
Total clients who hired a pro10 
Total # of clients who hired me6 
Of those who hired me, quantity who reached out to me as the only pro4 
Average # of pros contacted before hiring me1.5 
# of clients who hired someone else4 
No-shows for booked sessions1 
Average # of clients per month who will hire someone2 
Average # of portrait sessions per month for me1 
% of all requests who ultimately hired someone11.00% 
% of all total hires that choose me over “competition”55.50% 
% of my “hired” that were no-shows for thier appointment29.00% 
% of my hires that came from promote100.00% 
% of paid leads who ghosted me65.00% 
% of manual bids that made contact, triggering a fee21.00% 
% of manual bids (not promoted) who completely ignored bid79.00% 
% of my hires that came from job leads tab (non-promoted)0.00% 
% of clients that reached out to me on promote62.00% 
% who hired me, who only reached out to me and no other pros67.00% 
1. All my hires were from promote! No one hired me from my manual quotes. Does this mean that everyone who passed on me was firm in their decision, whether they looked at my profile or not? Kind of odd! Or does it actually mean that the clients never get to see the manual bids? I think the answer is quite obvious now!
2. Over half the hires chose me! This means that I took half the jobs, and the other half of them were split between the rest of the pros!!!
3. Based on the above, if I am starving for work, and half the jobs go to me, how are the other pros surviving?
4. Manual bidding has been a complete waste of time and money! All my hires were from promote. Yes, I can't use promote for events because only about 5% of the requests are worth bidding on due to irrational budgets!
5. 62% of the people that put in requests, chose to reach out to me. (4 clients only reached out to me as the only pro, one reached out to 2 pros, and one reached out to 3 pros)
6. Although we pros all know this, and we keep telling TT that serious client do NOT want to contact a huge amount of pros, TT insists on information overload! No one that hired me contacted more than 3 pros – which is a standard number of estimates for anyone buying anything! Most contacted me only!
7. Only 2 portrait jobs will be won by pros per month. Of those 2 jobs, I get one and the rest of the pros have to fight for the other, so how is anyone to earn a living on that? Before these changes, I averaged 5 portrait jobs a month!
It is quite evident that the system is failing the client. They are so overwhelmed with choices that they are stuck in “analysis paralysis”. It is fact that a customer in overwhelm will walk away without making a decision. NOT to decide, IS to decide. It is a decision to walk away from the project. And walking away they are, as evidenced by the fact that 65% of all people who reach out to pros, walk away without ever having engaged in, or completed a conversation. They all ghosted somewhere along the line and hired no one! Now we have the solid proof in the statistics!
11 responses

Re: Astounding Statistics Results! MUST READ!!!

@DefiningImagery thank you for taking the time to write all of this up based on your experience in using Thumbtack for the year so far and for sharing it with us. You spoke a few times about customers having analysis paralysis by being given too many choices. Is this something your customers have expressed to you specifically in discussions you've had with them or more of a theory? Overall, under the new system, we've seen better engagement from customers than before. However, if you've been hearing from multiple customers that they've been overwhelmed by too many options that is feedback that we certainly want to hear more about.

As I mentioned the marketplace and customer engagement have increased, but that does not take away from yours or any other pros personal experience. I really am sorry to hear that you have not been as busy through Thumbtack as you'd expect. There are a large number of things that our teams are working on to make the overall experience better on all fronts, but if you have any specific suggestions to share in addition to what you've shared with us previously I'll be here to pass that along. 

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Your figures do not stand up to logic! The pie is smaller now!

You're right! The percentage of hires has indeed more than doubled - from 5% to 11%!!! And that would be incredible if the size of the pie were the same. It is not! 11% of a pie that is 80% smaller than it used to be, is actually LESS hires than the old larger pie with only 5% hires. I average 60 portrait sessions per year. This year I have only done 5 so far, and the year is nearly half way over. I am on track at this point to finish the year with only 11 TT portrait session. Does this sound like favorable changes to the pro? Does it matter what the pro experiences when TT earns $170.6 million dollars per year? Frankly no, it clearly doesn't.

TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something for the pro? New pros are added at a rate of 1000 per day, as told to me by a TT rep, and confirmed by approx 30,000 downloads per month of the TT for Pros app.

With that enormous amount of money coming in, why is it that they won't address the needs of the pros? They are making money hand over fist with a system that is no longer working for most pros. Hires are down by 80% for us pros, yet TT is getting awards for being an industry leader! Making the pros profitable will not make TT UNprofitable! Why is it that we are always made to feel like TT is working against us? I am one of your greatest TT success stories! If I am down 80% this year, and I'm getting 50% of the hires, leaving the rest of the pros to scramble for the other 50%, then the others must be really really bleeding out. How does TT not understand this? I would like an actual answer on this. it's a sincere question. I'm sure it will be removed as an "unhelpful attack" because TT doesn't like the truth, but it is actually a sincere question and I would like a sincere answer, not a run-around-double-speak-denial with an I'm-sorry-you-feel-that-way. So, what is the response?

Re: TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

Thank you so very much for posting this information.  I have similar statistics in my own experience (and this is true for many other pros too), yet each time I (we) mention these anecdotal findings, they fall on deaf ears.  Your statistics support all of our claims that TT is not working for us.  Like you, my hiring rate is way down from last year, yet my cost of doing business with Thumbtack has increased by 60%. Ghost leads are at an all-time high.  I turn on promote only to be charged insane amounts for these bogus leads. I apply to jobs manually, but like you, no one ever responds. 

Thumbtack has forgotten that the end-user-- that person out in the world who is looking to hire a handy-man, a computer tech, a magician, a photographer-- is NOT their client.  Professionals-- those of us who provide the services people need-- are the Thumbtack's client.  And Thumbtack's client's aren't happy.

Level 4

Re: TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

It does not take a rocket scientist photographer to see how the money is being earned... Ive Been on the system for about 3 months and the gimmick is simple... For photographers,:
1. Break the demand verticals into sets that make no sense. Wedding and Event together, rather than wedding and engagement. No clear simple descriptions and no one consulted the photographers on this.
2. Require that the client provide some information. However make it so generic that it is basically useless. Ask them their budget have the client dictate the amount of time they feel a competent photographer should require for the non descript job the want a quote for. Have them tell you the number of people at the wedding or event, but not the photo expectationsor the venue location or space available.we know where the client is from but venue could be 100 miles from there.
3. Automatically charge pros based on some cost estimation created by a client who has no info. Worse, add a call to action on the client page that says: Go ahead... Ask for quotes to the 17 pros that youve selected. You are under no obligation from it? But charge 9% or 10% or 11% of an improperly scoped project generated by a very poorly qualified client, meaning a winning pro gets essay 90% of the payment a client puts up, or let's say $270 on a job that was set for $300, while TT gets 10% of the value from each of 17, or $510... And the promote pros have no say in the matter, they were matched on criteria few of us understand because it is not published, and even more questionable is the criteria changes in some cases weekly, and may even differ by client or pro platform.

Basically the pros at this point are little more than opportunity waiting. I get partial matches for stuff that has nothing to do with photography, and other matches for $100 jobs 500 miles away. And I get constant harassment when I dont put in a bid. I can't say minimum job is $400 for instance and last month I was out of the country on an assignment and had no meaningful way to stop the madness till I got back. I could put the dates I was away into a calender but that still generated requests because TT tends to suggest that the client give 2 weeks worth of possible dates, making the calender useless.

What has to change?
1.) Either "Request a quote" goes away or it is no longer a chargeable action. Also the act of using it by the client should limit all charges to those pros that actually request a quote, not all promote pros.
This is the big money maker for TT and the revenue drain for pros.
2. Add the ability to request additional info without risking being charged for finding out the job is not something you want or you can do. Make it anonymous where the additional info request goes out without a name and the client replies by adding the info to the open request. We should not get charged for helping poorly qualified clients with poorly defined requests add the pertinant info needed for an accurate quote.
3. The fees charged. Fees should be tied to actual revenue, not immagined ones based on I'll conceived requests. Charge a reasonable flat fee to quote and charge a % of revenue to the winner.
4. Stop forcing pros to quote the way TT believes things should be marketed. In photography there are multiple business models and each has a way to be presented. Some make all the profit on a sitti g fee, others sell prints, or have options such as compositing. I carry a full studio setup in my trunk. Well full studio for what I do, 2x 200Ws strobes, 2 x 400Ws. A 600Ws strobe, several speedlights, a white, a black, and a Green screen backdrop, 8 softboxes , 6 umbrellas.. And my camera bag. If a studio is required I have to rent one if an empty space or convenient Airbnb is not available, and this changes cost. Not to mention that the image copyrights may be given away, shared, or highly marketed at the digression of.... The pro!

TT has to stop micromanaging pros, start providing pros with tools they can use... (How bout digitally signed and archived contracts and model release forms? Or contract tneemplated...or a somewhat more functional image gallery...
And dear TT person, do NOT come here to lecture me on client engagement until you can actually tell folks what it means and why the references to it in the past show a complete lack of understanding of the concepts.
Engagement measures interactions with YOUR SITE not with the actual pros. The current model pushes engagement up using the quote request and by allowing, encouraging, and even questionably inflating the number of pros being tied to a request. If a client had 3 pros in mind, and another 17 we're shoved their way to have the RFQ made, the client engagement rose by what may be as high as 51 interactions Moore than the maybe 8 that were to happen originally
The stat to consider is closed sales as a % of job quote requests.

There is so much more to say but for the time being, let's see
If things dont change and soon, I will not be the only one leaving....


Re: TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

@RandyB thank you for putting so much thought into this and sharing your experience. All the feedback you shared will indeed be sent on to our product team. We are listening to you pros and are working hard to make needed improvements. With that being said, we're always open to hearing out any suggestions or feedback you may have. Feel free to share them here in the Community or to our Suggestion Box

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Re: TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

1. Wedding and engagement make no sense to be together. One is an event and the other is a portrait session, so that suggestion makes no sense. However, I can see that event and weddings could be a separate category.

2. They do put in the location for the event, not where they live.

3. I would never use promote for events. I rarely ever bid on an event because thier budgets are impossibly low. I'd be a fool to pay for the 99% of unqualified, out of area, out of budget jobs. Pass, pass, pass. I don't even bid one event per month, it's so bad. Promote is ok for portraits, but never ever ever ever ever for events.

4. TT has no clue regarding how a legitimate professional photography studio works and all their numbers are based on the amatuer hobbyists making off-the-books cash on the side. My bare bones overhead cost to have someone sit in front of me is $150. Yet, TT offers options of prices well below that number! I put approx 25 hours of work into each session, start to finish. If I get a $195 portrait session, I make $45, which means I'm paid less than $2 per hour!!!! Yet, TT will have earned $9 - $270 for posting the lead.

5. Please do NOT suggest the nightmare of forcing me to accept a contract written by TT!!! MY contract protects ME and MY cllients the way WE need to be protected. Contract law varies by state as well, so that would not work. They cannot get prices anywhere near sane amounts right... they would NEVER get a contract right!!! That would be the last straw...

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Level 7

Re: TT makes $170.6 million per year... why can't it do something to benefit the pro?

Can I Only Kudo This ONCE ? ? ? 

And more than that... but if I respond, I'll be banned again...