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Professional Courtesy

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The theme of this post is “professional courtesy.” I worked in marketing and advertising for 30 years or so prior to starting my video business full-time. In all those years, I can count on one hand the number of times I solicited a bid, interviewed candidates for jobs, sought a vendor or anything else where I requested inquiries, that I didn’t get back to people who had applied to be considered. ALL of them! An old friend once told me that “no” was an acceptable answer, and far better than just leaving folks hanging, assuming that if they didn’t hear from me, I had gone in a different direction. So, it incenses me some 30 years later when I reach out to someone regarding a project, only to be “ghosted,” rather than told that someone else had been selected. Sadly, this has become the norm, not the exception.

It only takes a few minutes to let people know where they stand, and your reputation will be far better served if you do. Otherwise, people will tag you in a less-than-complimentary manner – and that word WILL get around.

Be guided accordingly...here endeth the lesson.

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Re: Professional Courtesy

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Uh, I think the reason for this behavior is simple, and the reason is changes in Thumbtack policy. I mean, about one and a half year ago thumbtack changed the policy from when Customers have to pay for sending each request to the situation when Pro's have to pay for Customer's answer.  This way customer can send fifty requests, and choose whoever he likes. Pro's must pay for all those empty words without any garantee that the customer will choose his Pro service. If I sent my offer ten times, and ten times customers have choosen the other Pro then I've lost 100-150 bucks just hoping that someone will like my answer. Sorry, for me a business is not a lottery, so I would rather won't answer at all.  This is not because I'm rude or something. This is because I don't want to be paying to feed someone's curiosity. For example, customers ask me how much is to fix the fridge? Right now I have no idea, as there can be dosen of causes, and the cost can be quite different. I have to do diagnostics first.  So, do I have to pay for the customer' answer that he already hired another Pro? Ok, thank you Thumbtack, you guys not the only source of leads for me, and actually I'm trying to use Thumbtack as less as it's possible. Especially, when I read "answer, be courteous"...excuse me? Do you mean pay us for the leads, pay us more, even if it doesn't work for you?  Oh, ok. Bye for now, may be I will see you next time.   

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Re: Professional Courtesy

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Think about this, @blaxand, in similar context to your "10 times" comment: Once upon a time, Thumbtack limited the number of bids on any given job to 5. Now, they'll accept a lot more than that! There have been instances where I've seen as many as FIFTEEN bids for a video job, and if each of those pros are serving up their hard earned bucks to only have one bid accepted, Thumbtack did very well! 

As I've said many times, I don't have a beef with a "pay to play" system. But if it isn't fair for players on all sides of the equation, people won't play. I know I won't!

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Re: Professional Courtesy

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@VideoTerry I completely agree with you.  Just in the few months I have been on TT, I have noticed that much ghosting occurs by job posters.  There are a couple tutorials in the Community on ways Pros can try to minimize it and I have followed those with minimal results.  There are unfortunately a large number of tire-kickers on TT and Pros can't do much about that.  From what I can tell, much of the TT system and approach doesn't acknowledge the magnitude or reality of this problem.  Price assurance and refunds are an attempt to address this, but are incomplete.  Many Pros have noted that since job posters have nothing to lose and no consequences, they are essentially incentivized to tire-kick, be non-responsive and select no one.  I have experienced little common courtesy from job posters who do not select me.  In my experience, Pros are generally not the problem.  Job posters need to have some skin in the game such as a "customer review/rating" like Uber has for its riders and ebay has for both buyers and sellers, or putting up a small fee to post a request (refundable if they select a Pro to do the job, forfeited if they ghost).  Both would really be best.  There is little question this would weed out job posters who are not serious or not operating in good faith.  However, I think TT management has some performance metrics that are inconsistent with doing this, so ironically they may not be incentivized to do something that reduces the number of job posters/postings.

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Re: Professional Courtesy

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@lmheim, you stated a premise that I have been screaming about for a long time. We pros will NEVER get a fair shake as long as job posters have no skin in the game -- financial or otherwise. And I don't see any evidence that Thumbtack has the slightest concern about changing their status quo, so none of us should hold our breath. But I don't much care any more because I have solidified my website SEO and take other more postitve measures to get business otherwise. For example, for January of this (new) year, I have secured over $10K in new business. Guess how much I got via Thumbtack? NONE!! It wasn't that long ago that 10 to 15% might have come from them, but I won't compete to be the lowest bidder...never have; never will. And as for ghosting, "ghost me once...shame on you; ghost me twice...shame on me!

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Re: Professional Courtesy

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Well said!
Echoes the thoughts of most if not all of us professionals here I'm sure.