Well... it's happened.
Customers have been offered the option of under $300 for an event. Sure it's labeled with the caviat of "typically only for brief events or small groups" - however that hasn't stopped them from asking for a 3-5 piece band for a 3 hour event (or let's say a wedding) for under $300.
Couple that with the option of asking 6-8 pros. What do you get?
An environment where customers with an already unrealistic expectation of what professional live music costs, can now pit 6-8 pros against eachother to get them to drive down the prices even further.
Over time, this becomes unprofitable for everyone. The quality pros leave for whatever site pops up next - leaving the weekend warrios to do an amazingly adequate job for little to no money.
Yes, pros have the option of opting out of these types of gigs in our preferences. My greater concern is for the overall market, which will certainly be driven down. That's bad for everyone.
Thumbtack - please consider the risk of running your quality pros off the site. We should all be able win - Thumbtack, Pros & Customers. Please consider removing this option.
Is it possible to put filters on what options customers are allowed to select?
For example - if they want a 5 hour wedding, with a 3-5 piece band - can we not allow them to select "Under $300" or "$300-500" as an option - the options where TT already recommends "typically only for brief events?"
On events over 2 hours, perhaps don't even give them the option of low-balling Pros, when our prices are one of the first things the client sees when searching - especially if we are paying for the lead.
I'm beginning to think that this is the beginning of the end for DJ category as well. I don't know if you saw a thread from last week pertaining to this
When asked why this change, we got told several things, a couple are: "A common complaint we heard from pros in the past is that customers expect great service and very low prices. So this was put in place to simply educate customers that they probably shouldn't expect to pay $300 unless their event is brief. This is designed to help improve the experience for pros and educate customers."
AND"this change is meant to help improve the experience of both the customer and the pro, and not just the customer."
Some of our latest questions and concerns to the above and other explanations didn't get answered. Prior to those latest questions, we got told that feedback would be passed on, as usual for any concerns of any recent changes.
If "customers" have a budget constraint for whatever reason, I don't mind negotiating with them, but that's up to me, not Thumbtack to decide. They are allowing newbies or DJ wannabes to win jobs instead of a seasoned Pro. But that's ok, it's Thumbtack reputation at stake, not mine.
I'm also hoping that they do take away this option.
DJ Stevie 6-30-2019
I'm very data driven, so I did a little research in the "Jobs" Tab (customers looking for Music Entertainment who reached out to other Pros on the promote system).
In the NYC Metro area, over the last 1-2 days (as far back as I can look) - there were 17 requests. 12 of those 17 selected "under $300" for their budget. 70% for those of you keeping track at home.
Customers will always select the lowest price you offer them. This minimum price then becomes the new normal.
My options? In my preferences I can opt in to those low paying gigs and make less $. Or I can opt out and now not be seen by 70% of customers.
It only took a few days - profitability for Music Entertainment Pros has officially been lowered.
For the weekend, mine is 5 out of 9, or 55% for the under $300. Just like you, if I opt in, I make less, or if I opt out, I only get seen by 45% of "customers".
Out of those 5, 4 are outside of my travel preferences which is 80% of where I don't travel to. The other 1, I would bid on it if the event was right fit, but to travel 1 1/2 hours for under $300, and taking into account travel time, set up, test lighting/sound, break down, etc, it's not worth it.
But now, Thumbtack has allowed "customers" to select lowest pricing available. I would rather Thumbtack remove the first two options for "customers", as they kept the "not sure" option. Let us negotiate with "customers" if we wanted to. After all, we are supposed to communicate with "customers" and as it stands now, communication is becoming less.
DJ Stevie 7-1-2019
But Scott, even if you do 'opt out' and list your starting rates at higher than $300, that does not prevent customers from contacting you through promote and Thumbtack forcing you to pay for those completely useless leads. This is a fight I think many of us have been fighting (and losing) for a while, and people like me have simply just given up. I now predominantly spend my advertising dollars in other places, because the quality of leads on thumbtack and unreasonable refund standards, coupled with our inability to control who can respond to us (ie, I list my starting rates for wedding photography at $2,000, but still get contacted via promote by people who want their wedding shot for $500 and I'm forced to pay for that with no recourse) has made the site nearly useless to me.
I completely agree on customers seeing our average prices (one of the first things they see about us) and still reaching out even though their budget is below our prices. Thumbtack did not do anything to change this... I have even had people asking me to work for free, or next to it.
However - I *think* that with the new system, at least in Music Entertainment category, that we can de-select "under $300" budget category in our Services Tab/preferences - and we won't be shown to customers who *only* select that budget range. Even under the Promote system - I don't believe we will be on the hook for those leads.
That said - by de-selecting, as mentioned, you are now essentially invisible to 70% of the market who will just go for the cheapest option.
It really is a lose-lose situation for actually legit quality professionals - unless Thumbtack wants to come up with a solution that is congruent with providing quality pros, as well as "cheaper/adequate" options for customers who value price over quality.
@ScottArcangel lots of great feedback here. Thanks for taking the time to write up and share your experience around this. The link from @DJStevie will I think help to add more context to why this change was made, but your point that many customers are choosing the lowest option shown most often is one that stands out to me. I'll make sure to share your thoughts on all of this to our teams for review.
Thanks for taking the time to read through the thread Kameron.
I'm very data-driven, and have been on a number of gig sites - so things like this seem predictable to me.
I know TT is data-driven as well, so you will likely see the trend of selecting the "cheapest option" continue. If Pros services continue to become devalued, it will eventually end up being no different than other bargain bin sites like Fiverr, or a Craigs List scenario, where quality vendors don't bother investing time or $.
Here's a typical request now -
"Need one to two performers 300 and under for the three hours on the 4th the 5th and the 6th to perform at a sports bar slash restaurant"
You'd be better off waiting tables than playing that gig...
Still seeing the trend continuing, where the majority of customers are selecting $300 & under, effectively lowering prices for all Pros. Wondering what kind of data Thumbtack is seeing since this roll-out - and if you feel it's still providing a better situation for customers and Pros. Thanks.