I truly want to know what the client wants but the majority of people don't give details. If I was a doctor I would not know if they wanted a splinter removed or brain surgery. Many different types of doctors that specialize or are looking for one type of medical procedure. Seems there is no understanding of the services we many artists have.
As an artist, I do many things but many I do not. Illustration has hundreds of styles, mediums, and applications. Cartoon, realism, characterization, portrait and the list goes on and on. So, when I get a request with no detail I have to pass. Anything else would be a gamble. Even with the new policy, it's a shot into a cold probability. The chance the client writes back to say they found another artist or with additional questions and you paid for it. Better questions and required description would solve most of the issues. I'm not a gambler or so desperate to throw money without a target.
Currently, without pricing displayed on the requests, my budget can't guess expenditures even with limits we set in the profile, and I have to pass on what could be the most interesting projects.
Require clients to say something about the project details, budget or other salient details or I can't even consider.
I really like Thumbtack even though i have posted some frustring posts (like many of us).
But i know they are trying to make things better and work for all of us the best they can, yes slowly, but im sure they're working on it.
If they would get people that owned their business and had experience in each of the fields listed in the 'services' category, and let THEM give the neccessary feedback that they know would work for both parties, i believe Thumbtack would be the best thing ever.
Example: I have 2 businesses here on Thumbtack, one is my construction company, the other is my media company which i do on the side, (Duclos Media) video editing, videography, graphic design, logos, etc.
For my construction part, it pretty clear on what needs to be done because the categories are listed clearly since there aren't too many things to get confused of. It will say the client needs painting, or teturing, or wallpaper removal, or tile, or anything specific thats obvious, you get the idea. I can pretty much guess if i can or should send a quote based on what i see in the description.
However, in my other multimedia business, is very vague a lot of the times. More than you would think unless you are also in that trade and know what i am talking baout.
I will get a request for : Animation
- I know what i want
-budget: under $250 (which usaully means $50)
I used to send bids before when it was the 'pay as you send' method. Then i would get a reply from the client that wanted something that i don't even do or they input the wrong thing they wanted because they didn't know what to call it. They would want an 'Illustraion drawn' but that is by hand and not animation. So i would have to reply that i don't do that and the request said they wanted Animation. They would say "Oh, sorry" and there goes my money for nothing. This has happened on numerous occasions. Now its scary to respond because i don't know what the client wants. Just a vague Animation, or video editing (and then come to find out they want the wind noise removed from their wedding vows so they can hear themselves which is almost 100% impossible). I have told a TT rep many times that they should have a box that they need to describe what the clients needs in a brief decrption before they are allowed to send anything forward. Im sure im not the only one on here that has had this problem. I have lost so many jobs because i didn't want to waste my money on a 'chance' i can do what the client wants. This is a big issue for me and im sure others.
So my point is, if people like me and others who know what will work for them and people like them in the industry, the feedback will be solid as can be. But instead i think Thumbtack has I.T. people that are smart in web design, marketing,etc, but they never have run their own business and don't know wome of the most simple things that we as pros need and want for out business. It's not just about numbers, it's about doing it right.
I only reply to requests now that leave a description message in the box and gives a little detail of what they need done. How many jobs am i missing out on? It's too expensive to fond out.
@DuclosMedia thank you for sharing this and taking the time to express these things. All I really wanted to say is that your right. As of right now, many categories aren't specific for the customers putting in the details of their job. As you pointed out this means that sometimes the deeper details of a project can come as a surprise to the pro that took interest and sent their quote. You're also right in the fact that all of us here at Thumbtack are working very hard to collect as much information and feedback as we can, analyze it all, and then use it in a way that benefits all parties. It does take some time but I appreciate your vote of confidence in us and what you feel like Thumbtack could be, as we have those same high aspirations for ourselves and this product. In the meantime what I can suggest is to just keep looking into jobs and the details that were given on them at first, and if they don't seem to have enough for you then feel free to pass.
Yet another request that makes no sense. Stan requests headshot photography, but then marks that it for a passport photo,... then marks its use for Linked in! Which is it???? They are not the same price. Can't bid when the request provides conflicting information.
A passport is not a standard headshot. You have to meet detailed specifications provided by the government, on how to shoot, pose, light, processing and crop. So, it's not unlikely for a headshot to get rejected by the government because it doesn't meet the guidelines. The photog must know what they're doing.
Therefore, passport photos should be their own category, because they are NOT portraits and they are NOT headshots. They also aren't used for linkedin, facebook, their website, and social media, so these options should not be available.
My headshot sessions are $295 because they're about 45-60 minutes of shooting and overall about 15-20 hours of work. Passport sessions are $125-$150 because there is much less time involved. Once all my gear is set up, I've got it captured in one shot, because I know what I'm doing, and there's no warm up to relax the client... no needing to capture beautiful emotions and their inner beauty. It's a record shot - like a driver's license or a mug shot. It's only function is to clearly identify the individual. So, as long as the technical setup is correct, you get it in one shot, unless they blink. There's no post processing, as that is not allowed. So, my total time invested for messaging, contract, setup, session, breakdown, uploading to computer, cropping & sizing, then emailing to client, is about only 2.5-3 hours.
Since a passport shot is the complete opposite of a headshot - which is all about capturing personality and making someone look like a professional expert in their field, telling a story about the person, full of life and vitality, as a marketing piece - one cannot and would not use a passport photo as a headshot, nor a headshot as a passport photo.
Since the information is conflicting, I have no idea if Stan wants a passport photo or a headshot. This means that I can't bid on Stan. I can't price it because one is double the price of the other. I can't talk about the details of how I'll capture his images, because they are completely opposite images.
When we pass on requests due to their inaccurate information, TT loses money. TT only makes money when we bid. So, once again, I would strongly advise that TT get these request forms in proper order so that a person does not have the options to choose conflicting information.
How many times do I pass because they want a portrait session in their home, but they'll only travel to my studio? Or they want a studio session but want me to travel to them. These are impossible requests - unless I hire a company to pick up my building and trasport it to their home - although, on second thought, that would no work because the building would not then fit inside their home - and this procedure would add about $150,000.00 to the price of the job - which may or may not be in their budget since we no longer know their budget.
GLAMOUR is NOT a form of HEADSHOT! Glamour is a form of PORTRAIT!!! Please move it to the portrait category!
TT needs to make the forms be non-contradictory. If they check the location choice of "home", the travel options should automatically grey out the option for "I will travel to the pro". If they check "studio", then the option for "the pro will travel to me" should no longer be available. I am constantly passing on requests with conflicting information because pricing is different. The session that I might bid $150 on, out of desperation, due to being forced to be one of 15 bids, I absolutely must raise to $295 if I have to travel to them. If I have to travel more than 25 miles, that same session becomes a minimum of $395. So, how do I bid if I don't know where it might take place???
Also, in checking out the new interface to see what visitors are experiencing, I find that they can no longer choose multiple locations. They are forced to select, home, studio, outdooors, etc. What if they don't know what's best? What if they end up not hiring someone because they chose "home" and the bids were all out of their budget, but had they chosen studio, the price could have been brought to something they could afford.
The whole system is screwy! They aren't allowed to choose multiple options where they should be allowed, and they are allowed to choose multiple and conflicting options at other times!!!
I would be more than happy to review the entire photography category with TT, to get this straight so that all who desire to bid on these requests which are currently unbidable, can finally bid on them - and TT, perhas you will listen now that you realize that you are LOSING money when we pros pass on things because they are impossibly conflicted in the provided information. This occurs on a daily basis!
No sooner do I hit submit on my last post, when the following request comes in!
Ana wants portrait photography - acting headshots.
Why are acting headshots listed under portraits, when a whole other category exists for headshots??? The big hint would be the word HEADSHOTS in the phrase "acting headshots". That tells you right away that this should be under "headshots" nor "portraits". So, TT, please get this fixed!
But then there's the further thing that has left me utterly baffled!!!!!!! Remember the part where TT removed the budget selection options??? There is no longer a segment for "budget" in the requests.. NOPE!!!! Guess what appeared in Ana's request! "Budget"!!! Oh, but the best part is, guess how much her budget is? C'mon, guess!!!! It's going to be some sort of $ amount, right? Even if it's ony $10, that would still be a $ value.... but NOPE.... her "budget" is "1 hour"??????????????????????????????? Really? Why is budget showing again when it's not supposed to be, and how on Earth is a time period the answer to a money question?????
THE INTERFACE NEEDS TO BE FIXED!!!! TT's solution to this seems to have been Instant Match, so that pros bid no matter how badly the request makes no sense, instead of making the effort to fix the interface so we could more often choose to bid because the requests make sense. More bids would be sent and TT would make more money if the interface would not allow users to select conflicting information.
Does anyone get irked when a customer doesn't post enough / no details on their request? It makes it really hard for me to bid too high for a project where I'd be the perfect fit as a Pro.
If certain fields like Basic description or Details can be marked as Mandatory, people would put in extra effort to include those details which'll give us a better idea. Also, it'll avoid us to weed out bots. I see a certain Sarah O. constantly posting requests for Event Photography in San Francisco, CA 😉