Two exciting updates to the Top Pro program

Community Veteran
22 94 8,928

Hi all, 

As the manager of the Top Pro program here at Thumbtack, I wanted to share an update with our Pro Community about two changes you might have heard about already.

First, we’re so excited to announce the launch of our brand new Top Pro tracker

This new tool lives right in your Insights and will allow you to track your progress towards qualifying for the next Top Pro class.  We qualify Top Pros twice a year -- once in January and once in July. From now on, the Top Pro tracker will always have your latest, most up-to-date stats, so you can see exactly what you need to make the cut.

Tracker.png

Second, as you’ll see in the tracker, we’ve made some changes to the Top Pro qualification criteria.  

Starting with the January 2020 Top Pro class, we will require Top Pros to:

  1. Maintain an average star rating of at least 4.8 based on verified reviews (this hasn’t changed)
  2. Receive at least 5 verified reviews in the last year (this hasn’t changed)
  3. Respond to new leads within 4 business hours at least 75% of the time (this is new)
  4. Complete a free background check (this is new) 

We’re now asking Top Pros to respond within 4 business hours simply because our data tells us that customers are more likely to hire a pro when that pro responds quickly.  In other words, getting a fast response makes customers happier. The longer a customer has to wait, the more likely he or she is to leave without hiring anyone at all.  

We see that 4 hours is a meaningful cut off. Of course, responding faster than 4 hours will often lead to better results (responding within an hour, for example, makes you 50% more likely to turn a lead into a conversation). But we feel confident that the 4-hour mark sets an appropriately high bar for our Top Pros without being unrealistic or unattainable. 

If that still feels like too short of a window, keep in mind that it’s 4 business hours, which we define as 8am to 8pm local time.  There’s definitely no expectation that you stay glued to your app all day and all night!  Also keep in mind that the 75% response rate means you can take longer than 4 hours every now and then and still qualify. 

Starting with the January 2020 class, Top Pros will also be required to complete a free background check through Checkr, our free and accredited third-party provider.  Background checks take only a matter of minutes to complete and help to build credibility and customer trust.  Because Top Pros are meant to represent some of the best pros on Thumbtack, it’s important that customers know they can trust our Top Pros.  

The Top Pro criteria requiring a 4.8 average star rating and 5 verified reviews have stayed the same (for more information, click here).

At the end of the day, our Top Pros are an elite group -- currently only 4% of all pros on Thumbtack qualify.  As Thumbtack continues to evolve, so, too, will the Top Pro program. Top Pro will continue to set the standard for what it means to be a fantastic pro on Thumbtack.  

Keep checking back here for more updates and don’t hesitate to reply below with any questions or feedback about this change.

Special shout-out to our July 2019 Top Pros for all of their incredible work! 

For everyone else, we hope to welcome you into the Top Pro community soon.

Jason

94 responses
Active Community Member

@JasonB "We’re now asking Top Pros to respond within 4 business hours "

I guess no one really thought this one through. Depending on what their specific business is, many Pros are working 4, 6, 8, etc. hours at a time and it would be VERY UNPROFESSIONAL if they stopped to answer a lead.

Not everyone sits at a computer all day and has access to do this.

Cranichik 8-16-2019

Community Expert

@JasonB 

If a "customer" selects only me, is Thumbtack going to give me up to 4 hours to reply before sending that "customer" other Pros to choose from?

And as @cranichik said, many of us aren't able to sit by a laptop or phone waiting for leads to come in to reply within that 4 hour period, as it would be very unprofessional because many of us have a full time job, others are on hired jobs, family time, etc.  I know if I'm DJing a 6 hour wedding, or just even spending time with my family, it's impossible for me to reply to any lead.  And if we are Targeting, and keep pausing it on and off, that affects our ranking, true?

Do you have any suggestions to help us?

DJ Stevie 8-16-2019

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@cranichik @DJStevie thanks for your feedback on 4 hour response time! Keep in mind that pros can have a saved reply that says something a long the lines of "I'm at a job right now, but will get back to you as soon as I can." That counts as a first response, the customer knows they're interested, and only takes a few seconds to send and pros can send that whenever they have a break or can get away from the job for a few seconds. 

Community Expert

@Meckell 

Thank you for your reply..

But my question is how do I reply to a lead when I'm DJing a 6 hour wedding? It's very unprofessional and rude of me to be on my phone or laptop replying to a lead at a job, even if it's for a saved reply.  If I was DJ for your wedding, wouldn't you want me to concentrate on the job that you paid me to do, and not be on the internet with my phone or laptop? 

And the other part of my question/concern, if a "customer" chooses only me,  is Thumbtack going to wait for me to reply in that 4 hour time frame before sending that "customer" other Pros to choose from?

DJ Stevie 8-16-2019

Community Manager
Community Manager

@DJStevie Keep in mind that you have to respond to customers within 4 hours 75% of the time, so if it takes longer once in a while, you'll be fine. You currently have a response rate of 1 hour and 12 minutes (which is awesome by the way.) So, I'll turn this question to you. If customers are reaching out to you while you're DJing an event, how long does it take to respond? How have you been handling these in the past while maintaining such a quick response time? 

Currently, customers are shown other pros when they reach out to others about their project. As you know, this is something we hear feedback on often in the Community and we'll continue to pass it along. 

Community Expert

@Meckell 

Thank you for clarification, whether I agree or not right now..I do hope that Thumbtack changes the "customer reached out to only me" to allow those Pros a given time to reply.

As for your question, I do not check any texts/emails until I am finished with an event. But the leads are far and few between for several months now and counting, which hasn't been hurting me.

DJ Stevie 8-16-2019

Active Community Member

Right on.  I've had customers put in requests at 1 AM in the morning, and I usually don't check my email/phone until about 6 AM.  This is kind of an unreasoable requirement. 

So is the whole background check thing. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Just to clarify @JoeB131 the 4-hour response time is within business hours (8am-8pm local time.) So if a customer reaches out at 1am, the 4-hour response window doesn't start until 8am. 

Community Regular

I think  a background check should be mandatory to open any Thumbtack profile, but it is good news that at least will be a criteria to become a top pro.

I saw many times someone with no hires, no reviews and no background check at the top of the list while top pros with a lot of 5 star reviews, hires and background check are at the bottom of the list. I think this sends a bad message to the customers, implying that Thumbtack list is totally random and meaningless.

 

Community Veteran

@vasy Just as a point of clarity, and not agreeing or disagreeing with your comments, my understanding is that the fact that someone is a Top Pro has no bearing on where they rank in the pro search list. Thus, it seems that the background check will not be a factor in this search ranking algorithm as well.

That said, I do see benefit in that ranking Top Pros and background checked pros higher may give some intregrety to the ranking - perhaps moreso than the current criteria as how fast someone responds.

Community Regular

yes, I agree with you, I also think that if you dont have a background check you should not be allowed to be on Thumbtack at all.

Active Community Member

Response Time is listed in two places on the Insights Tab. Under Top Pro Status, and under How You Compare.

 

For Top Pro Status, the criteria states -

"Reply to new leads in your Inbox within 4 business hours at least 75% of the time."

 

For How You Compare, the criteria states - 

How often you respond to direct leads within 4 business hours, 8am-8pm local time. (Last 30 days)

 

The only difference (it would seem) is that Top Pro measures a 6-month period, while How You Compare measures a 30-day period. The criteria is worded exactly the same. Fine. All good so far. 

 

BUT I am being told by customer service right now, that for Top Pro - only your intial response to a customer lead is measured within the 4 hour window. BUT for How You Compare, you must respond to every message in the conversation within 4 hours.

First of all, is this true?

Second of all, if it is - why not just say that? Why have the criteria worded exactly the same way for two completely different calculations??

 

Please clarify - thank you

 

Active Community Member

@MR 

Does anyone really know what the ranking criteria is? I mean specifically... we know the factors. But there are all kinds of anomalies in the rankings that don't make sense. I would really love to see the ranking explained specifically - including factors like new profiles getting a boost (which I've been told does, and does not exist)

Active Community Member
Haven’t been hired all year.
😞
Community Manager
Community Manager

Just to clarify @MR, completing a background check improves your overall profile score. Your profile is one of the factors of where you rank, so having a background check essentially does affect where you rank in a positive way. If you have any other insight or questions to add regarding ranking, please do so on current threads that are about ranking. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@ScottArcangel If you look at the announcement regarding Top Pro here you'll see that Jason mentioned, "Respond to new leads within 4 business hours at least 75% of the time (this is new)" So, to be a Top Pro, you need to respond to new leads within 4 hours 75% of the time. 

In How you Compare when it says How often you respond to direct leads within 4 business hours, 8am-8pm local time. (Last 30 days) That means that you need to respond to the initial lead within 4 hours. However, it is best practice to respond to every message within 4 hours. 

Community Veteran
Pros need to respond 75% of the time to increase their chances of being a top pro? Pros are to respond 75% of the time? What if only 5% of the leads are worth responding to? Your numbers show that customers more likely to hire if we respond quickly? I respond quickly to every single lead - last 22 leads and 2 hires? About 80% no response back. How about fixing that costly problem. Why am I paying to be promoted and shown to a customer based on the date of their event and then have to pay for them to ask if I am available? That seems like a violation right there.

I never respond to a lead that has been posted for more than 15 minutes - especially if they contacted others pros. That’s how I learned to increase my odds of being hired. However, I’ve had to be on Promote - the only way to stay at the top of the listing. Which has also cost me greatly. Spent $300 on forced leads in July and had a profit of $30. Worst ever in five years! I have chosen to step off the site until changes are made. My stats are awful! So many ghosted leads. Still waiting for those changes that were promised back in May by Marco himself.

So I don’t really find these updates “exciting”.
Community Expert

@jcp if a direct lead is not one you're interested in I want to remind you that declining it does count as a response. If you see an opportunity in the Jobs tab that doesn't interest you then no action is necessary. Again, this only applies to leads that have reached out to you directly through search or responded to a quote you sent manually from the Jobs tab. 

Active Community Member

@Meckell 

Can you please further clarify?

I understand the Top Pro calculation - but for the "how you compare" calculation, I was told not only do you need to respond within 4 hours to the intial lead - but to every message in the thread as well (this is for response rate - not response time)

 

Is that true?

Community Manager
Community Manager

@ScottArcangel If you look at my post above, I mentioned that you need to respond to the initial lead within 4 hours. However, it is best practice to respond to every message within 4 hours. I apologize for any confusion.

Active Community Member

@MR , You're correct. It doesn't matter. I've ranked in the top 5 -10 for the past 5 YEARS prior to my most recent Top Pro award, since recieving this one my ranking has dropped down in the 20 something ranking..there's no consistency that I can see.

I've also had ZERO leads for almost 2 months. This month alone my views for the month of August have declined by more than 50%.

Active Community Member

@Meckell 

No need to apologize - that was my understanding as well. The confusion is perhaps from the chat support person that told me I must respond to every message in the thread within 4 hours, or my response rate is lowered in the "how you compare" tab.

I always respond quickly - the only time I don't is when a conversation is over and the customer wants to have the last word (a final thank you or whatever) where it would be silly to continue the conversation with an additional "thank you" by myself. But the customer service rep has me worried now, that if I don't ALWAYS have the last word, that it will count against my response rate...

Were they incorrect?

Community Veteran

@Kameron   -  when on Promote you dont have that option.  I am talking about Promote.  We dont have a choice.   We are forced to pay for the lead if they reach out to us.  If we respond or not or decline or not.  Promote is set up so that no matter what, if the customer clicks on your profile to "check availablity", "set up a call", "wants a quote" . . .    we are forced to pay for those.  The purpose of that was to filter the Pros to the customers based on their criteria - which is great.  Increases the odds of getting booked.  However, whats not right is that through Promote we are filtered to them already telling them "yes" we are available because we were filtered to them.  Our price rate is listed already.  All this information they are given about us but their options to click are "check availability" then  we don't hear from them.   That is wrong.  It's all very sketchy and ensures that Thumbtack gets paid on every single lead and every single click the customer makes.  You can not deny that.  It's a fact.  It's set up as a unfair and unbalanced business practice when a overwhelming amount of leads reach out to me on promote then I follow up immediatly and then never hear back.  Most asking "checking your availability".   Do you not get that?   That question is a direct voilation of the whole "promote" concept.  Then we don't even know if they follow up to any of the pros they reach out to who responded.  I would like to know the percentage of Pros that are getting hired compared to the amount of leads that come in.  In my video production catagory I can't even list a starting price.  So the customer is forced to contact me just to get a price.  How is that fair on promote.  Our price range or starting price or something should be on every single catagory profile.  And the pro can decide if they want to show it or not.  

Lots of issues with this site over the last year.  And trust me, I have actually reached out to many, many pros on this site and have had personal conversations with.  They all agree how the site is not longer as good as it was and has become too costly and not of great value.  Truly sad.  However, we have the right to choose to stay or leave.  And I choose not to participate on this site right now until fair practices and procedures are addressed.  There are so many, many complaints across the communtiy board that have not been addressed.  Some of them are repeatedly the same complaint - and nothing has been done.  You know what they are.  You see it everyday.  

Community Newcomer

I have completed all the steps to be a TOP PRO but the badge is not showing in my profile. How can I get that fixed?  Thanks.  Mac

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi there @Mac16. The Top Pro program refreshes every six months - once in January and once in July. You didn't make it to Top Pro for the July refresh, but looking at your insights, you're on track for January. Keep doing what you're doing! 

Community Newcomer

Thanks for your response, however, is there someone I can talk to about getting the Pro Status added to my account before January?  I joined Thumbtack the end of July and earned the Pro status in one month. It seems strange that I would have to wait five months now to get that noted on my account. Who could I speak to about this?  Thanks so much!  Mac

Community Expert

@Mac16 if you'd like to speak with someone directly you can reach us at 800-948-2034 Monday-Friday 7am-8pm MST. 

Community Newcomer

Thank you!

Active Community Member

@JasonB I want to try and add my opinion here. The last time I attempted to post the moderator deleted it because I shared my honest opinion of Thumbtack. I was verbose, even complimentary at times and made no personal attacks but was very critical of how I thought TT was working for me. This apparently is not appreciated here so we will see how this goes.

The criteria is unrealistic. Five verified reviews was almost impossible as the leads generated by TT had slowed to a trickle. I documented this in previous posts as proof. I am referring to my service category. I was a Top Pro for 2 consecutive periods until July but due to the LACK of leads I was receiving and gigs I was able to book I didn't make the cut. Now you have added another requirement - Background check. I DO NOT AGREE! This has nothing to do with the services I offer. There is NOTHING in my background that is negative so I have no fear there. I simply DO NOT want to share my Social Security number with TT or any other site that I don't have to. 

As far as I'm concerned the background check needs to remain an option. TT figures out how to do one without asking for my Social Security number and I won't have a problem. 

Community Veteran
@DCFGCatering. I literally got choked up when I saw you sad face and comment. It truly is sad how this site has changed. Cost increase, less leads, ghosting, unrealistic filtering, etc. and zero flexibility on refunds. I feel ya!
Active Community Member

Our leads cost 75$ as well.

It just doesn't make sense the changes at least for our business category.

We used to provide such a good service.

Met so many people.

 

The foundation we built on thumbtack as sustained us and we are a growing business still.

But these changes have hamstrung me.

Our last review was in december and we have over 120 reviews in 4 years

Active Community Member

@vasy  said - "

I think a background check should be mandatory to open any Thumbtack profile, but it is good news that at least will be a criteria to become a top pro.

I saw many times someone with no hires, no reviews and no background check at the top of the list while top pros with a lot of 5 star reviews, hires and background check are at the bottom of the list. I think this sends a bad message to the customers, implying that Thumbtack list is totally random and meaningless."

Probably the person with no reviews, hires, or background check turned on "Targetting" Or whatever they are calling it this week, while the Top Pro realized it's just throwing money at the tire-kickers.  

I just did my background check because it's a requirement to maintain my Top Pro status.  Not that I was worried, I've never been arrested, have a fantastic credit score because I've paid my bills for the last 40 years, and so on.  

I have more problems with this "Answer in four hours", especially when the leads are ones I never should have gotten to start with. I got one yesterday from Madison Wisconsin.  I don't live anywhere near Madison.  Or even in Wisconsin. 

 

 

 

Community Regular

 

           My response rate has  dropped since June to 65 %. I couldn't figure out why, so  I called customer support about it and here was their answer:
 

The  4 hour rule Thumbtack  implemented in June/July , but the response rate Thumbtack  calculates within the past 12 month (when there was a different rule, 24 hour window). 

So, if you were playing by the 24 hour rule before June, it will be recalculated to 4 hours within the last 12 month period. Yes, that's right I That's why it dropped.  It makes no sense whatsoever to create a new rule in June and not to start a 4 hour clock in June. 

Community Regular
 I was trying to explain the same thing over the phone and of course it went nowhere. 

 My lead comes at 5PM (a Prime Time for my business ) I reply to it at 9:30 PM, when I finish my classes. Boom, 4 hours have past and my response rate drops. My biz hours are different than office hours. Instead of working, I have to think and look at the phone if any leads came through Thumbtack. That is just insane!

The most ridiculous thing is not calculating a response rate  (4 hour) from the day it was implemented , but applying it the past 12 month, when it was ok to answer in 24 hours. My response rate was 85% before 4 hour rule  and now it dipped to 65 % because of this.

 I also travel overseas a lot, I can't even reply to my leads from there, because Thumbtack blocks Ukraine, Russia (for example) from accessing it. 

 
Community Newcomer
Hello my name is Jonathan Dubow with LV Grout & Tile Surgeon please add me to your (Top Pro Tracker) I may be contacted at (702) 504 4712 Thank You!!😀
Community Regular
I have already completed the background check... do I need to do it again?

Thank you

Ray
Community Newcomer

Will I required to complete another background check?

Community Regular

I believe the top pro criteria should be measured on a yearly basis, it is difficult for a company like mine with 1200 reviews to move the needle. So according to Thumbtack, we are not top pro material! I disagree!!!!

Community Newcomer
Background checks are an absolute necessity. Every company wants to know who they are referring their customers to are honest and verifiable.
Community Newcomer
The 4 hour window and 8-8 time frame seems unreasonable. An 8 hour window with 9-5 working hours would be more reasonable.
Community Regular
I understand the 4 hour window to contact a lead in my line of work.Iam a plumber so obviously some calls area of the essence or people use other sites.The one size fits all policy is narrow sighted and not well thought out.After reading only a few of the counter arguments posted does the flawed policy become evident.Thumbtack was and is a useful tool for my construction business but I wish we could go back about 2 years...it was simple!!
Community Regular
I can relate to many concerns you have.
I tried Bark.com, with more concerns in their charges.
Are you listed on any other Service site to promote your business?
Thumbtack has helped me promote myself, as this is my only form of paid advertising....

Community Newcomer
Perhaps you guys should re visit the data on lead notifications, I am noticing delays in when I see a notification or occasionally no notification at all.
Community Newcomer
Already now!
Community Regular

I just checked your top pro performer in the insights tab, you track number of reviews for the year, but include reviews for 5 years in your data to determine who is a top performer, I think everything should be judged on the current year, not 2013-2019.

Community Regular

Jason, 

That's all fine and good but really, just speaking for myself... more leads.

An average of just one good solid qualified lead in my field per week in this coming of season would do very nicely. Two would be the bee's knees. Respectfully, Please, and Thank You.

Community Regular

Hi all,

I want to support the Top Pros who have already stated that the 4 hour rating should be implemented for the class of July 2020, not the class of January 2020.

Throughout July, August, and September this year we've been aiming at acheiving a 24 hour response rate. Today it was announced that we actually needed a 4-hour response rate this whole time. It is unreasonable to expect Top Pros to have been something over the past 3 months, that we were notified of today 🙂

Please 'grandfather' in the July-Dec 2019 Top Pro evaluation period to stay 24 hours. This will give us time to adjust and practice,  then we're all happy to be evaluated under the new 4-hour response time during the Jan-June 2020 evaluation period 🙂

Thanks!

-Tyler Varnell

Community Regular
I don't think it matters if you are a top pro I follow all the rules and have been a top pro for years . And I don't see the result.
I get more out of the local paper than this company . O my bad if I wanted to spend all the money in the world than maybe I wo you old get better results. And even more why don't they put the top pros at the top if the search page o ya back to I dont pay them enough money so is it a bought your customers as you say or just business
Thanks thumbtack
Community Newcomer
Having a background check ie being verified as a trustworthy individual is unreasonable? Yikes.
Community Regular
Has nothing to do with background check read the message