The cost of leads is getting too high. I am started to tell people how much the lead is costing me so they understand why my estimate is high. I do mostly landscaping and there are various job titles customers can choose. Grass cutting and weeding is under $10, but then Smaller Changes (trim trees or mulch) is in the $20s, but then heaven forbid they chose Complete Renovation and it jumps to $75 ! I have noticed that very rarely do any landscapers bid on these jobs. $75 is alot to lose if you dont get the job. And if you do get the job it might only demand $300 worth of work, which means TT is getting 25%. So either I am not going to earn as much profit, or I will have to turn around and charge the customer more which might scare them away. On the other hand all the TT customers who are checking off that box are probably upset because no one is showing interest in the jobs they are posting. There are many of these jobs that I would dersire to obtain, but not at the risk and cost of $75. So if Thumbtack kept their fees down more people would be getting their projects completed and more Pros would be responding and earning money. Why does Thumbtack need so much money for a lead? I am the one working in 90 degree weather getting sweaty and dirty and exhausted, not them. But when Thumbtack does work out I thoroughly enjoy the customers. Most are very nice people who offer me cold drinks, snacks, their bathroom, and most give me tips as well. So I don't mind paying Thumbtack for connecting me to them, but let's keep the rate reasonable and practical so both customer and Pro are happy. Do the customers know ahead of time how much the Pro will pay for their Lead? They should. If it is an expensive one I request that the customer not reply back to me unless they are seriously interested because I dont want to pay for someone who is just browsing. Which brings me to another point.... Why dont the customers have to pay a fee? To ensure they are serious. Even a small fee of $4 per posting would deter most people from wasting our Pro time. Maybe they get half that back once they hire someone, idk what system would work best. I really wish customers would include photos, because it is hard to give estimates without seeing the site. People post they need weeding... well are there 10 weeds or 2000? Are they 4 inches tall or 2 feet tall? Does it cover one flower bed that is 4'x 20' or cover 3 acres? How are we supposed to give estimates? That is why I have switched to an hourly rate but this scares people I think. $30 per hour does sound like a lot I admit for weeding. But if I drive 30 minutes to your home and in 3 hours clear out all the weeds in your flower beds and driveway and curb, filling 5 of my own contractor trash bags, isnt that worth $90 ? But people dont see it that way, they get scared of the high price per hour I think. One time I went to get rid of weeds for a gentleman in a vacant city lot. I took my gas Echo string trimmer/weed wacker and it could handle the thick growth he had. So I had to rent a Brush Cutter and go back with that. So estimating is hard if you have never been to the site. But at the same time, it is not economically practical or efficient for me to drive all over doing live estimates because most of my jobs are under $200. Thanks for reading this.
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