Thumbtack - I am truly grateful for all the policy changes of recent which I am sure will result in mutually beneficial profits for both pros and TT and getting former service pros to come back to TT. I do have one issue however. Please don't take offense but each and every time I check for job leads (which I do all day long) you are bombarding me with "Target Jobs Like This" notices and similar option announcements which I have to scroll past to avoid. I am already aware of my options and have chosen my settings and I find this to be very annoying. Please, I beg you - make it STOP! Thank you, TR
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I am a Transfer Specialist (I convert family home movies on Videotapes, Old Film Reels and Color Slides to DVD (and if also desired, to USB flash drive.) My customers consist of leads from Thumbtack and many customers that reside in my local community and nearby townships. I attribute my most successful marketing strategy to the lawn signs I put at various road intersections all over my service radius areas. People STOP at the red traffic light and see my signs. They take a pic with their cell phone. I keep the signs simple: Transfers to DVD/Flashdrive plus 3 photos graphics: A VHS tape, a Film Reel and a Color Slide. Followed by my telephone number. My phone is ringing off the hook! Sometimes there is a line of people outside my studio during the Holidays! I make thousands a year providing this much-needed service. We're talking about people's precious and irreplaceable memories. Almost all are too afraid of having them get LOST in transit by having them outsourced 'somewhere" to some 3rd party they don't even get to speak with or meet in person. I'm the only one in my area who offers FREE pickup and delivery. Besides Thumbtack and my signs, NO other marketing has been successful. I tried magazines, local merchant flyers, leaving flyers on cars. putting flyers in mailboxes. NOTHING! Once, due to Hurricane Sandy (here in NJ) there were huge lines formed by people in cars waiting to buy gasoline. I handed out about 500 flyers. I got ONE CALL! However, I have exhibited at some vendor fairs and craft shows with some success. I can't sell anything on the spot, but I can PROMOTE my transfer services. I have a table with tapes, slides, film reels and service flyers. If you do a vendor show like this, make sure you keep a GUEST BOOK available where customer prospects can enter their NAME and PHONE NUMBER to receive a special service discount! Don't bother having them put down their e-mail address - they don't ever respond for the most part. But I follow up with a phone call every once in a while. Not too many times so as to not harass them. DON'T RELY on them to call you. They forget or put it on the back burner. The follow-up calls do result in opportunity. Wishing you ALL tremendous success. TransfersByTR (Middletown, NJ)
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If you are a transfer specialist (you convert home movies on video tapes to dvd) you may also, like myself, also convert old film reels- 8mm & 16mm as well as color slides 35mm. I also convert audio cassettes, reel to reel audio tapes and vinyl record albums to CD) There is a huge market for these needs. Many people are afraid to risk loss of their irreplaceable memories by having some warehouse send them out "somewhere" to some person they never get to meet or speak with and some wonderful people have had their media LOST IN TRANSIT. Nobody deserves to have that happen. However, Thumbtack only has the one category: Transfers to DVD for TAPES only! But many people have MORE than just TAPES! If Thumbtack were to make it known to the people in need of our services that they can also get their old film reels, color slides, still photos, audio cassettes, audio reels and LPs converted, this would increase job opportunity and profits for both us service providers and Thumbtack- nationwide!
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Thank you for responding so promptly to what I posted today. Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate the few hires I have gotten as a result of using Thumbtack. I do realize that it must be quite a challenge to satisfy all service provider's requests or demands or resolve all grievances but some of these grievances are upsets about common business sense which TT does not practice. I don't think that any of my grievances expressed are unfair to TT.
re: making a connection - If I quote a potential customer based on my clear understanding of their needs i.e. their request specifically states that they want Wedding Videography (which is a service that I DO provide) and then they respond with one question: "Do you also do PHOTOGRAPHY (which is an entirely different service which I DO NOT provide) and I never hear back from them again. THAT to me is NOT a connection. If I knew BEFORE quoting her that she also needed a PHOTOGRAPHER and would be making her hiring decision based upon a person that offered (or could provide) BOTH services...I would NOT have quoted her in the first place. Therefore her request was NOT clearly stated. It "hid " the fact that she was actually looking for TWO services from one provider. My impression was that she needed Wedding Videography ONLY! To be told by TT that "she may need your services in the future" is an extremely highly unlikely probability as my extensive experience has shown me. If I relied upon earning a living from the prospects who "may need my services in the future" When by the way? Perhaps In 2023, 2025, 2037? I would wither away to nothingness WAITING for it.
I totally agree that I may lose a hire to another service provider who offered better pricing or more for their money...well THAT is how competition works and I have no complaint there, but to allow up to 15 providers to quote on the same lead sometimes is very unfair and then to CLOSE quoting on another lead only after 6 providers have quoted and the window of time that the lead was to expire wasn't even reached yet thus disabling me from quoting on a potentially profitable job (if I was hired for it of course) is likewise unfair.
To pay $42.50 for a lead with a job value worth $575 and then be charged less than $14 for a job value worth $1200 or more does NOT make sense to me. This is why I have STOPPED quoting on Videography and especially why I did NOT turn on promote for the same service I provide.
I highly doubt that you have any executive TT staff who have 40 years of providing videography service or transfer service (converting tapes to dvd) that I do, yet my suggestion to TT to ADD transfers of: old film reels, color slides, still pictures to DVD and audio cassettes, reel to reel audio tapes and vinyl record albums to CD which TONS of people all over the USA need to have done and which some of us service providers are capable of doing was NOT implemented, nor have I ever heard any feedback as to whether my suggestion was ever even brought up at the table where suggestions are discussed by TT staff or execs. A suggestion which by the way would result in much more profit for TT and the service providers who can do it. Why wouldn't TT want that?
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My name is Tom, professional social event videographer and transfer specialist (I convert family home movies on videotapes, old film reels and color slides to DVD and if also desired to usb flash drive.
I have been with Thumbtack (henceforth "TT") for quite a while now but just today I learned about the Pro Community enabling service providers to express themselves and communicate and share with one another.
I am sure that what I'm about to say has been the topic of previous posts and discussions and please forgive me if I'm expressing redundant concerns.
So I became a non-user of TT...but then I decided that I was denying myself some potentially profitable opportunities so I, like the prodigal son, returned to TT (but am much wiser and cautious now).
I do not know what the latest developments are nor if there have been any favorable changes made to TT lead charge and refund policies but from recent conversations with Customer Service people I'm being told that "TT is looking into it" or some such wording so correct me if I'm wrong but the same unfair policies are still being enforced.
These are my top 5 grievances with TT:
If ANY have since been addressed and made better for us service providers please let me know ASAP.
1. Being charged for leads that I stand ZERO chance of being hired for simply because the prospect "responded" to my quote, regardless of what the prospects say in their response including telling me outright that they DO NOT NEED my services. Example: This lady inquired about videotaping for her son's social event. Then she tells me that her husband's best friend offered to do it for FREE instead so she does not need me now, yet I was charged anyway and denied a refund simply because (and this one really gets my goat) "She may use me in the future!" Now I don't know about you others, but since 1985 (that's nearly 40 years) of my providing videotaping services, not one person with whom I ever spoke with initially, which did not result in a hire, EVER contacted me again with "future needs". Another one: This bride to be needed a wedding videographer so I quoted her. Her one and only response was "Do you also do still photography?" Note: Wedding photography and videography are NOT the same things. I told her that I do NOT. I never heard from her again yet I was denied a refund because "the connection was made between me and the prospect" and "she may still need me in the future" and "I still offered a service she needed"
2. Prices for leads. TT tells me that charges are based upon stuff like: a) value of the job, b) number of service providers offering the same service, c) market demand (or some such wordings) That being said I'm told that the maximum I will ever be charged for a Transfers to DVD lead is $14.00 regardless of the size of the job. So I get a lead for a person needing 51-100 tapes converted to dvd. She actually had 88 tapes. At $15 per tape it comes to $1320 plus I then export the dvds to usb flash drive @5.00 per dvd = another $440 plus cost of sandisk flashdrive $22 and fee to convert .vob files to .mpeg4 to make the flashdrive compatible with all computers and smart tv's $25. Total $1807 job value. TT actually charged me LESS than $14.00. Now for a videotaping lead with a job value of $595, I was charged $42.50 for the lead, not to mention that this was the lady who told me she didn't need me anymore, but TT refused to refund me based upon the same refund policy reasons stated above. Somebody from TT PLEASE explain to me how such discrepancies in lead charges for such a big difference is job value is justifiable and how I can be denied a refund in cases where I would NOT get hired?
3. No suggestions from me ever implemented. Besides converting tapes to dvd, I also convert: old film reels 8mm and 16mm, color slides, still photos to dvd as well as : audio cassettes, reel to reel audio tapes and vinyl records to CD. I make thousands of dollars a year on transfers OTHER THAN TAPES! TT only has a category for TAPE transfers. I don't know how many other service providers there are "out there" who also convert as many media as I do, but there is an entire market of people who have precious memories on all these other media who really want them converted. How do i know this? Besides my own geographical area: NJ, NY and PA, I extended my service area to the entire USA and literally got HUNDREDS of leads (but I don't have promote turned on THANK GOD and I simply declined them all because folks in Idaho and California and Florida are NOT about to send their irreplaceable memories to me where they could get lost in transist. I suggested to TT that they expand the category to include all of these other medias and that it would increase their profits immensely as well as make money for the other service providers who do what I do. TT did nothing about it. All I get from the robotic CS is: "I'll forward your suggestion on!" Okay, not all CS people are the same. Some actually have been very understanding and compassionate, but others who simply parrot rules and policies without any care or concern is reprehensible.
4. Number of service providers who may quote on a single lead! When I first started with TT I was told it was a maximum of 5 (which is pretty much in keeping with any similar lead service) then it grew to 10 and then as many as 15. Are you kidding me? Lord only knows how much money TT made off of the 14 who did NOT get hired but "were responded to, connection was made, could get hired in the future"
5. Terminating the window of time within to quote. So I get leads which explicitly state: lead will expire in 24 (or 48 hours-whatever) but when I quote, well within the window before expiration, I get a message that "6 pros already responded to this lead" so now I cannot quote. Explain that one to me.
If TT were to actually revise their lead charges and refund policy to be FAIR, many former service providers would return. I would be more willing to respond to and quote on leads if I knew for a fact that I would NOT get automatically charged because of some unfair justification". i should be in total control of whether I want to accept or decline a lead with promote turned on.
I hope I don't get barred from using TT because I've expressed myself honestly here.
Thanks for reading this. All responses welcome whether pro or con.
I selected New Jersey below, but this topic affects service providers in many of the other states in the USA.
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