Review: A Social Service Marketplace, Wins and Woes

I have been a member of a website called Thumbtack since the summer of 2011. I am using their service to find leads as a family and wedding photographer. Today I felt like it was time to put my opinion into the hat of Thumbtack reviews. At first I wondered if the site was legitimate and carefully began to explore my options. The site seemed to be pretty quiet and had a few bugs but it started to grow very fast. Over time the site has improved in so many ways and they really have things streamlined now. For example, you no longer have to email them to receive a refund for a quote that was never viewed. It all happens automatically and the site as a whole is really a breeze to use. Their support has always been fast, no matter what. And as far as traffic (getting in a lot of leads), now they really have that down as well. For one, their Google rank is very high because Thumbtack users are encouraged to place special links to Thumbtack’s website on their own websites, which equals major SEO flow. And step two: there are ads for Thumbtack all over Google (and I am assuming elsewhere too) and because of that you will receive many quotes per day, at least in my experience. The amount of quotes coming in is just overflowing compared to a couple of years ago. So you’d think you would have a lot of luck because of that? Sadly, not really.

My opinion comes from a photographer’s point of view. While many requests are simply for head shots (which I don’t do any longer), and while others are brides and grooms who want six+ hour weddings at multiple locations for under $500 (insert sad face here, because I am definitely looking for wedding clients who want good work) you will meet some truly awesome and special clients from time to time. I think since I am in photography that it’s harder to create a match. I suspect in other fields it may be easier to book jobs more often. I have only had eight jobs from the site since 2011 but they have all been great experiences. You can view my Thumbtack profile by clicking here.

Despite the low number of jobs, I’ve always tried my best to connect with more clients. In the past few months I even became a little lead happy. I dished out a lot of my money for people to view my quotes (mostly for weddings) and they never replied to me. I did about seven in one day once, and nothing happened. They all viewed my message but that was it. They didn’t even say thank you. Out of nearly one hundred transactions in my entire Thumbtack history, only about three have ever sent me a short note if they were completely set on not choosing me. It starts to get you down because you at least want an acknowledgement that they appreciate that you wrote to them. It’s almost as if they are just comparing prices, testing the water, and jumping ship without saying a word. I take so much time out of my day to go through these and send out messages. I am not sure if some of them understand we are paying to be able to talk to them and receive their information. I am not just complaining over the fact no one is sending me love notes with hearts, I am just a little sensitive about effort without results. Dollars in the wind.

Thumbtack has a page about what makes a winning quote. But winning quotes don’t always equal a match. I feel like my messages are upbeat and informative. I customize each message according to what the person wants. I truly think in the end they do not reply to me because my price is not low enough. I will be using Thumbtack a lot less seriously from now on. It is probably better suited for other types of services, but in the end everyone wants a good deal with just about anything I guess. But when business owners are paying for equipment, insurance, licenses, and with their own time, some just don’t get it. Especially with photography because our job continues when we get back to our home or office. But enough of my venting. I am very happy with Thumbtack’s service still and I really have enjoyed collecting some great reviews there. I just have to wait for those diamonds in the rough to come by.

My business page on Facebook is located at Stop by to like the page and I will return the favor. Good luck out there as you find leads for your business.

UPDATE: February 28, 2014 – Today I am officially done with buying Thumbtack credits. My review of the entire Thumbtack experience is now completed below.

Over the past month, I decided to give Thumbtack another serious chance. This was decided after talking with so many awesome people through this blog post and using the great methods mentioned. Still, I have spent money again to only have bidders view my quote and never get back to me. I thought I landed a good job a week ago, but the person keeps stalling now to complete the service. Once again, everything has been overly time consuming. Waiting for the diamonds in the rough, as I wrote in my post back in August, is just taking too much time and effort. I want to have time for it, but I have to just admit to myself that I don’t have that time anymore. I’ll now stick with local advertising in my city and start some Google Ads (an avenue I haven’t attempted since 2011). At least then I won’t have to deal with the Thumbtack control panel and the way the entire Thumbtack process allows potential customers to forget about us way too easily. My absolute and final conclusion?

1. When customers fill out a request on Thumbtack, there should be a lot more *required* fields asking for information about what they need. No more vague and half-empty descriptions! Then the ‘Ask a Question’ feature would hardly even be needed. Service pros will see exactly what time something is needed, for how long, where the service is needed, etc. This would allow service pros to feel less like we are being so limited with our questions. We need all info, up front, so our time is not wasted.

1. Thumbtack should require service-seekers to pay for submitting a job request. It should no longer be free. It’s not fair that our side is so serious, while the other side is so indifferent to our efforts. I suggest that if the customer does not find the right service pro that their money be returned to them. That could make the incentive to pay more tempting and get serious customers in our lead alerts. If Thumbtack became so popular by being free to use, isn’t it time to give something back to the service professionals?

Please continue to share your thoughts in the comments below if you have any ideas on how to generate leads for your business. We all need to hear them and work on this together. Your posts, time and effort are very appreciated!



  1. Hi Kayla –

    We saw your post here at Thumbtack and I wanted to take a moment to thank you for being a Thumbtack service pro and for sharing such a thoughtful post. We’ve all read it here in the office and we appreciate it. We hear you that unresponsive clients are a problem – nobody likes to feel like they’re putting in and not getting anything out. Though we don’t have the perfect solution yet, we’re working on it. We’re committed to improving the experience of Thumbtack for our pros and for the clients using us to find services. We’ll keep working and hopefully we’ll give you fewer sad faces and more happy ones soon.


    Luke McGowan
    Small Business Advocate

    • Luke, Thumbtack is still my favorite service out of all the online resources I’ve used for my business. I have only completed 8 jobs and although I wish there were more, I am taking a little break from TT for now. This is mostly because of the lack of response from users and the fact that they they are truly looking for some very low prices most of the time. I can’t blame them but my business can’t survive if I give too many freebies. I could do that years ago when I first started but now it’s not an option because my investment is just too big. For me, I will have to discover different avenues to find clients that are better matches for me.

      I do think you will streamline the site even more and make things better, regardless of which industries do best with leads. When you added the ability to ask questions before submitting quotes, it was a great move. I look forward to any new changes. After all, your site holds some pretty great reviews for me and I’d like to add more! Thanks for writing to me.

      • Hi Kayla! Thanks for your review here. You original review mirrors my experiences to the “T”!….including how long I’ve been using this service. I have gotten only a few (6) clients, but those were spectacular. I, too, have become far more discerning as to the one’s that will receive information from me. Over the past couple of years with Thumbtack, I’ve been able to detect the “pattern” of those that are requesting information. You eventually get a feel for those that got engaged an hour ago, then jumped on Thumbtack to get an idea on how much money their “pictures” will be. There are so many “tire-kickers” out there….and “weekend warriors”….! It does get a bit discouraging at times….I am a big believer in educating my prospective clients as to what goes in to creating a fine image. Unfortunately, we don’t have that opportunity through Thumbtack. I can say, however, that since 1986, I have about a 98% success rate in securing a wedding when I have the bride in front of me…so I know it’s not the quality of the work thats the issue. As phenomenal as the internet-age is….it cannot take the place of the personal, one-on-one, customer service experience I, or my small staff, offers. Marketing takes up the largest portion of each day…..not photography…not post-production. As you know, every “Uncle Joe” is a photographer now….back in the day of film, I was shooting with all Hasselblad gear. When I arrived at each wedding, everyone KNEW I was the official, commissioned, photographer. With today’s cameras, I’ve heard many times: “Oh look, honey, his camera is just like yours….YOU could do this TOO!”…UGH! I will also continue to utilize Thumbtack, but at a far less volume than in times gone by. Back in the early days, Thumbtack was used by paying a modest monthly subscription rate, and the unlimited leads were free. I believe more than half of the weddings I secured was during this very short time. I’d like to see a different system in place than the one being used now…for example; once again paying a very modest monthly fee (I believe it was $7), having free unlimited leads, and then paying, let’s say $50, when there is a successful contract with a couple. Just my thoughts…..As an aside; I just visited your Facebook page and “Liked” it….great work! Rob

      • Pat

        This site is so frustrating because people simply come there to get ballpark pricing ideas. The majority are not even ready for the work to be done. They don’t know it costs service pros to put in bids. The way it is setup it is meant to make them think they are performing a search of service pro profiles. That’s how it SHOULD be set up. You type in what you are looking for, much like a dating site or something, and then you see profiles of service pros in your area. Once you read through profiles, then you can request a quote from the service pro you like best. Also that service pro should be allowed to give them an estimate for free and if the client likes what they hear then the service THEN pays for the client’s contact info. The HOME page of Thumbtack says “FREE” quotes. It misleads clients to think this whole process is free. I myself though it was when i first joined, and requested quotes as a feeler in my own field of service and location. If i would have known they had to pay, I would never have requested a quote. There are probably many new service pros that submit for quotes in their area when first finding the site, to see what the competition charges.

      • Rebecca Miller

        Great Blog. I agree. Spent $100 no results, no responses, no business.
        I am done.

        Thanks for writing this. It confirmed my thoughts.

        • I too used Thumbtack. Bought some leads for web design and SEO and got very little response from any of them. Until they require a phone #, I will no longer buy any bids from them.

          I do online lead generation as part of my business on a cost per lead basis like Thumbtack does, but all of my leads are phone calls directly to the business so you get a live customer on the phone instead of waiting to hear back on an email, and I set up exclusive relationships with my clients so they aren’t competing against 3 or 4 of their competitors. If anyone is interested in paying for actual calls to their business, feel free to contact me.

          Mike Ross
          President, 91 Media

      • Mike

        Check out Vendors only pay a flat fee of $10/month per zip code for unlimited leads and bids.

        On Thumbtack vendors have no way of verifying that the leads are legit. Just like on Google AdWords advertisers have no way of verifying that their clicks are legit.

        Google is an investor in Thumbtack and it appears to me that both business models are not beneficial to small business owners at all. It’s time for a new business model that creates a level playing field for all and doesn’t hurt the small business owners with shady and unethical tactics.

    • Pat

      Its extremely obvious what your site needs to do. Thumbtack is a waste of time until it stops deceiving customers with the “FREE quotes” line on the home screen. Yes, technically the quotes are free TO THE CUSTOMER, however they are not free for the service pro.. therefore creating a confusing dynamic where the client simply wants to window shop and find out if they actually want work done.

      • Mad

        @Pat I totally agree with you on Thumbtack. I opened an account for our business and got 3 leads in one week. I would pay to send an email to the clients because they weren’t providing enough information and despite being the ONLY one to submit a quote (bc the information is shown how many people you are competing against) I did not get one call! I’ve read all over the internet about how this service is a scam and I truly believe it is. I know they are now going to read this and reply “we are not in the business of scamming people” lol that’s their response in every single site. The minute I stopped responding to leads I started getting 3-4 PER DAY!!! if that is not a red flag I don’t know what is. I will not recommend this service to anyone.

        • Cheryl

          I agree with you 100%. Every lead that has come my way are people obviously looking for prices, not particularly wanting the work done. Very vague with what they are actually wanting done, and if you submit a question asking for more details, it NEVER gets responded to. I really do not think they realize we have to pay for their curiosity. As a matter of fact, just this morning I received a lead where she said point blank “I am just trying to get bids to see how much something like this costs.” Thumbtack is a waste of time and money.

        • Great point!!! I’ve discovered that many people just want to look, I don’t believe there serious about hiring anyone. Thumbtack should require service-seekers to pay for submitting a job request. It should no longer be free. It’s not fair that our side is so serious, while the other side is so indifferent to our efforts. I suggest that if the customer does not find the right service pro that their money be returned to them.

      • Caroline

        Yes. I just came upon the site. How does it work exactly. Do I have to pay to submit a bid??? That’s crazy.

        • william snyder

          caroline, Yes you do pay for leads, The problem customer support sucks for pros, No PHONE NUMBER, They dont want to talk to you, And if you ask a question they monitor it and most of the time take out important information, They were doing fine ,And just when I started getting happy with them the stupid crap starts again, William Snyder

          • GUYS N LADIES…..Thumbtack is a group of people that got together to put a SCAM togethet…..I realized it when it kept asking me to buy more credits to contact the users and when you Google them or see if they have a legit address phone or even live in the general area there is NO INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET !!!!!
            Thats when I realized it was a scam as one person could not identify her area correctly….


      • Pat,

        It took me a while to realize how absolutely right you were with this comment. To look back and see that one of the first comments my article ever had was yours, knowing that finally now your belief is exactly my own, is really something.

    • Mary

      Hello: I have been looking for more info on Thumbtack. The site is new to me where I was looking for a handyman. I submitted a question and got 5 or 6 people responses. I sent one of them a question as to how Thumbtack actually works. So this is from a potential client who knows nothing about this site. First question: Why did I get so many responses? 2) I am a female, how do I know who I am getting into my home is legit and not a set-up to a crime? You guys may scoff, but I honestly don’t know. How can I screen someone? Is there anyway to communicate with just one person rather than the 6 who responded? I got a ‘Steve’, a ‘Greg’ and others. It didn’t make sense to me, so I dropped the whole idea. This may be why there are few follow-ups to actual jobs. If I go with one person, are the other ones fighting over quotes and jobs? Thumbtack needs to do some advertising on the legitimacy of their guys/ or women, as well as safety to the client. I need a handyman and I’m just going to open my door to a total stranger without referrals? Hmmmmm. I would appreciate more info provided on the website. Thanks for listening.

      • Dana Wilson

        Thumbtack claims to do background checks however, we found one of the “handymen” on their site in our local area has a felony indictment for ripping off several homeowners in our area. I contacted Thumbtack, provided them the case number and some other information and they basically ignored it. I’m not sure if they are actually doing background checks or if they just don’t care. I wouldn’t trust their background check though.

        • background checks are optional as of right now. They say they are in the process of determining if making them mandatory is an option. I think they should be. I am a service provider in AZ and volunteered to pay the $7 for them to do a background check. I have nothing to hide. Well back in 1997 i got a misdemeanor charge for a bad check that is on my record as “Theft by check”. Well now I cant be on their site because of this “Theft”. They wont make background checks mandatory because they will loose too much money. But yet they won’t find a way to put a sticker or something on a profile for me, saying “see what was found”.

        • Barbara

          WOW. I PAID for my background check on the site. Now, after reading your post, I wonder if they just pocket the money and do nothing!

    • Steve

      the clients should be the ones getting charge to get quotes, and the ones providing their services should pay a max of 50 cents, I receive quote request, but I decided not to buy credits since I dont really believe this are real costumers, but thumbtack making money out of bogus clients.

      • Steve, I agree.
        I have the feeling that these “Clients” are bogus as well. lately they all have funny names.
        I am so glad I found this post and I will blog about my experience with Thumbtack as well.
        All I got out of the “service” is lost money and my phone sending me reminders every ten minutes.
        I am out!!!!!!!!!!

    • Steve W

      Why don’t you refund us professional providers with the fee if a consumer doesn’t accept our quote (not talking about consumer not reading the quote within the 48 hour allotted time frame)??

    • Hello,

      We have clients posting reviews and experience with us on thumbtack and guess what? NOT A SINGLE LEAD!

      I think your system is heavily rigged.

      1. You don’t even require anyone who is serious about business to use your service. What we found has to be a bunch of fake users or people who are testing to see who their competition is. For example, our logo designs offer the best rates and the fastest turn-around with 100% money back and satisfaction guarantee. Even with this offer, not a single lead. We have thousands of logos we’ve done by the way, so we’re not amateurs here…see our portfolio.

      2. You don’t even require a deposit to use the service, so anyone can sign up, request a service and the rest of us thinking we’re dealing with serious people end up dealing with the opposite.

      Overall, an F for your service.


    • Doug

      We have come across numerous fake requests. It is about a 25-1 ratio of fake requests/real requests. The same IP address can submit as many requests as they like, the only thing checked by Thumbtack is the email address of the individual submitting the request, thats it. We all know how easy it is to create free email addresses. Let me be clear THUMBTACK IS A SCAM.

      On top of this, other businesses in our area have confirmed they use Thumbtack in the reverse. They post numerous fake requests to get their competitors to spend advertising dollars sending a “quote” to a fake request. I of course addressed their lack of ethics and asked they stop hurting other local businesses and that if they cannot compete it is time to do something else.

      I also asked Thumbtack to look at all requests submitted to our account and to track the IP address of each. They claim there were NO MATCHES…yet as a test, other businesses used they same IP address with different made up email accounts and submitted fake requests all within a 48 hour period. These other businesses informed me of their “test” so I sat back and watched the fake requests come through. This proves they did not investigate the fake requests as I requested and on top of that they lied to me directly in writing stating thy reviewed the IP addresses and found no duplicates. CAUGHT. Now onto our State Attorney Generals office with this information…we will see what happens.

      I recommend contacting your state Attorney General, file a complaint and start legal action if necessary. Do not hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected] for any additional details.

    • Craig

      Thumbtack felt like a massive scam. They took $53.30 from me over a couple of months and couldn’t provide a single legitimate lead. I would get emails from them with names such as “Klean Elia” looking for a portrait photographer. The last straw; I received an email from them requesting more money to be elevated to “gold” member status. They said it would only take 12 more credits to reach this level.

      I would like a full refund and may pursue the matter in small claims court if no resolution is found.

    • What has been done since this post + response to fix this same issues we are still facing as professionals?
      This is unfortunately beginning to seem like a scam.

    • Thumbtack now gives the service providers stats on who you “compete” against with regard to “bid” or “lead” “opportunities”. After receiving the last stats I worked out the numbers and here is what they show.

      The people that I compete against have a 6% success rate. This equates to bidding on 16.6666 requests to obtain ONE job. Let’s round that off and now we know from Thumbtack’s own data that your competitor had to bid/quote on 17 jobs to actually get one. Now we multiply the number of quotes provided by the 3, the number of credits you need need to quote a job in this category. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less, but 3 is an average number. We now know that the “successful” bidders used 51 credits to obtain the one job. Now we multiply the 51 credits needed by the cost per credit which is $1.67. Grand total average paid per actual job is $85.17 for people that are looking to pay anywhere from $200 to $400 for your services.

      At the $200 price point your cost to obtain a job through Thumbtack is 42.5% of your gross. At $400 your percentage of gross is 21.25%. My experience tells me that the vast majority of requests tend toward the $200 figure and less at the higher value.

      I’m not sure that a true professional can make the numbers work and create an income stream to live on using Thumbtack. If you utilize Thumbtack as one of several ways to generate revenue, you still have to add on the cost of your other marketing to the total cost of finding customers.

      So, scam or not it’s becoming increasingly expensive with marginal return with regard to using Thumbtack.

  2. MJ

    I’ve been receiving quotes from Thumbtack for over a year now and haven’t offered to give any because of the details are so vague about clients. First name, last initial and a 3 word job detail. It all looks very suspicious. I’m a graphic designer and there are limited ways to gain clients seeking your work, considering how many sites focus on jobs for graphic designers. My being flooded with offers on Thumbtack to submit quotes to “no name” interested parties for so much $$ per quote turned me away from the beginning.

    If you’re not getting responses it may be because the clients aren’t real.

    Just a thought.


    • MJ, those same thoughts have crossed my mind. At times I think others in my field are filling out requests just to see what their local competition offers when the “doors” are closed. It stinks to have to weigh these things in your mind when you’re already picking apart each request in other ways to figure out if you should spend your money on a quote.

      However, I do like that Thumbtack added the “Questions” feature because it does let you see if the person is actually replying and is active. Many people just don’t want to apply much effort in their search for the “best” of anything and that’s pretty sad.

      • Hello Kayla,

        I feel the same way as what you noted in your first post in every way. I have been using them for months now, since November and no one has ever responded to me. I am a photographer, and videographer, and just as what was said in MJ’s comment, I have started feeling like the customers aren’t real. I have sent out so many bids, spent so much money – that I truly don’t have – in hopes that someone would just call me. But, nothing – I have gone so far as to significantly drop my rates just to see… Still silence. I am not giving up just yet, but I can’t afford to keep sending out these bids if it falls on deaf ears.

        I will say on thing as a suggestion to Thumbtack. Maybe you should indicate somewhere (of course in a very kind, and PC fashion) that it’s not free for us… If I knew that, I wouldn’t just price shop and waste peoples time & money. ALSO, maybe dropping the credit pricing to $1. I completely get you have to make profit, but we little independent contractors have to make it to, wouldn’t it help to allow us the chance to make more of it by giving more bang for our buck? After all, we are your clients, not those people asking for bids and getting them for free.

        • Like my page too guys! And I will like yours back
          (Kayla – I liked & commented:))

        • Mad

          I opened an account for our business and got 3 leads in one week. I would pay to send an email to the clients because they weren’t providing enough information and despite being the ONLY one to submit a quote (bc the information is shown how many people you are competing against) I did not get one call! I’ve read all over the internet about how this service is a scam and I truly believe it is. I know they are now going to read this and reply “we are not in the business of scamming people” lol that’s their response in every single site. The minute I stopped responding to leads I started getting 3-4 PER DAY!!! if that is not a red flag I don’t know what is. I will not recommend this service to anyone.

      • Alain

        Kayla – the problem is that I ask questions requesting more details, Thumbtack blocks them and returns them to me. A lot of good that does me if I cannot ask questions about specific health conditions before I quote a customer. I have been with them for one week only but I seem to see a pattern. Before you give a quote, ask the “customer” a question. If the question is denied, it’s not a real customer. Do NOT quote and waste your money. Alain

      • Jeramie

        There are just too many posts for me to continue reading without posting my opinion/experience.

        Kayla, I think your mistake was putting too much time into each quote. If you had 1 template’d response it would take 15 seconds to read a request and 3 seconds to send a quote if you deemed it worthy of your money.

        All of you complaining about wasting $100 on thumbtack is funny. bet every one of you spent $100-1000 on a website that doesn’t generate you any business either.

        Maybe things were different 4 months ago, or maybe the benefit is more related to the specific industry of service it is being used for. Kayla you mentioned this before and I BELIEVE THIS is what is being most overlooked. In business you need to know your customer and their habits. If you customer is the type to just be price shopping, then yes, this type of lead is not worth paying for.

        I just started using in Oct 2014. Some nice sounding college girl from a marketing company cold called me. Since I am in sales, I don’t despise cold calls like many, so I listened to her. After the call was over, it cost me nothing to set up an account, they gave me 15 free credits for creating my profile, I submitted 7 quotes for my cleaning service company over the next 2 months. The quotes cost me 3 credits per (I was refunded back 6 credits because 2 quotes were not viewed within 48 hours by the requester). Out of the 5 quotes I successfully submitted (which took 15 seconds to look at my phone and submit my pre-made response), I got 2 responses. Out of those 2, I got 2 sales! If you know anything about sales, that’s a good ratio for that little of initial investment.

        Note: you do have to respond quickly, for each request only gets 5 quotes allowed. I assume this is to avoid requesters getting flooded, but for whatever reason, it means you have to be ready to respond professionally. I have unfortunately missed out on several due to just not being available. I get all requests for “commercial cleaning services” in a 40 miles radius of Austin TX sent right to my phone. The requests are very detailed, though my services require a visit, so I respond with a professional “more information is needed” letter, but most requesters understand you have to see what needs to be cleaned before you can actually get a price. But it is detailed enough for me to be able to decide if it is worth spending credits on.

        Even if I didn’t get the sales, the $1.67 per credit or $5.01 per quote is well worth it, since I am not in a one time service business, just getting to meet a decision maker and getting their contact information is well worth the money, because it is a foot in the door and a chance to build report for the next time.

        As far as costs: my two sales combined are worth $23,580 per year. We keep our customers on average for 5 years = $117,900 x 30% profit = $35,370. My commission for that was a measly $1,965 but after the time I put into creating the profile (which is mostly information already created for our website) and the 5 mins total spent sending quotes, I have nothing but good things to say about the service they provide.

  3. Jen

    I feel like thumbtack seemed to be a really great idea, especially if you’re just starting out and have no clue on SEO for your own website and don’t really have hundreds of dollars to spend on someone to do it for you. It took awhile for things to get rolling on thumbtack, but once they did, I feel like I get 4-6 quote requests per day — all to eat up your money and go nowhere! I rarely respond to them anymore because it seems like a sad, disappointing waste of money. It’s like watching potential business come into your inbox only to say ‘just kidding, I don’t really want you.” You know you could be of great service to all of these people, and even if you don’t put a price on your services but say, hey let’s meet and discuss, I’ll work with your budget, you still don’t get a response. I like seeing that there are people in my area that actually do need my type of service, I just wish they’d come to me directly, not just poke around on thumbtack to see what it’s all about. You’re right, I don’t think potential clients understand that we are paying for those quote requests.

    • Jen, I completely agree with your comments. So much so, they almost make me cringe! As I said to Mary Ann on another reply, I changed my leads so I only get requests which seem more serious (those which have a bigger budget). I did try to work with people in the past and give them lower prices, but most of those didn’t even reply after I suggested that I could go lower. So many disappearing acts. In the end I’d rather spend time on making the clients I do have very happy and thinking of ways to improve my business in other ways. Spending too much of my time on Thumbtack leads was not a good practice. Now that I am taking it less seriously I am a lot happier. I continue to look out for great clients in the few leads I do receive on a daily basis, which still I am thankful for. Working with less fluff seems to be good for me.

  4. From my experience I get a lot of requests but have not submitted a quote to anyone as yet. Thanks for helping me figure out where to spend money for lead generation.

    • Bruce, it’s mostly about good judgment calls. Definitely use the questions feature and see if the user replies. It’s a great way to see how responsive the person is and if they will be worth your time and effort in the end! Thanks for commenting here.

  5. Hi Kayla,
    Thanks for your review of your of I am a photographer as well. A photographer friend recommended it to me. I dove into it just last week and have been bidding away. I am happy to get leads as these days work has been slim. The sad part (as you touched on) is that the leads are so cheap. I’ve been photographing for 25 years with lot’s of track record and experience and it makes my gut ache to see people ask for a portrait session between $100-200 including all the digital files! It’s really insulting. It would be great to have some sort of way to promote value for quality photographers. And not getting many responses is very disheartening. Are you still on thumbtack? I will give it another week and then move on. Thanks for your post!

    • Mary Ann, thanks so much for your insight as a fellow photographer. I am still using it but I went ahead and changed my leads so that I only receive them if the budget is over a certain amount. In the past I received just about everything and it was stressful to try to weed through those to find the diamonds. We definitely share the same disheartening feelings about this!

      • Alain

        Kayla – how do you change your leads. That would interest me, and I’m sure other people, to learn how to adjust them. Thank you. Alain

      • Hi Kayla. Thanks for all the information concerning your experience with Thumbtack. I just recently joined as an IT professional and am starting to have the same experience, as reflected by many commenting here.

        My question to you is, how do you change your leads to only receive them if the budget is over a certain amount? After reading your response to Mary Ann where you mentioned this, I went to my Thumbtack preferences and could not find where to change or even configure that option. I think it might help me also, to get more legitimate leads, so knowing how to do that would be quite helpful. Thanks.

        • Oops, I just noticed your replay to someone asking the same question.

          Except when I click on your link, it doesn’t have anywhere to adjust your leads. It just says:

          ” Customer requests

          Not the right type of requests? Change your category preferences. “

  6. Jhonny

    Service Profesional handyman 20 years experience , The charge my card 10 Times for a lead s i e mail them to refound my money back And they are b.s about o we dont won you anything like this is legal bla bla , ,advocate bs bs just to dont pay you back , run a way from this website ți îs a trick …. I have 45 leds …. My prices are market prices affordable I work whit the client ,to help pp and there problems : Not even answer back from a client ,,,, the charge my card like crazy I stop, I delete the page on the website ,and the still charge me , I have to go to the bank to close the card , the are crazy ,,,, runaway from this website suck …) thumback

  7. Jo Smith

    Jhonny, maybe you’re not getting any customers because they’re horrified by your lack of grammar and correct spelling. Never used Thumbtack, but I know I wouldn’t respond to your offer if it looked anything like your comment.

    • I was thinking the same thing…I dislike Thumbtack, but if you cant draft a cohesive paragraph, have someone else do it for you…

  8. Well, this does it for me. I work with a law firm and after $200 and getting not even a response back from over a dozen “so called” leads I’m beginning to wonder if this is not a scam. Has anyone ever reported them to the BBB? How can the leads be authenticated? If the cost came in after the first exchange, maybe but not to simply send in a quote. Asking for your money back is always futile in cases like these but for my $200 I figure I owe them a few hours of reviewing them all over the internet telling people NOT to waste their time, energy and definitely NOT their money.

    • Carmen, Thumbtack is definitely a legitimate website and I have had success with it but my quotes often go unanswered even when viewed. When submitting a quote you have to really use your best judgment and see if the person has written a lot of details. If the lead is very bare without much extra information, that person is likely not going to write back to you because they didn’t put much effort into their request in the first place.

  9. Jo, harsh words there for Johnny! (I am assuming it’s not Jhonny.) 🙂 I am glad he is making the effort to use the web for his business. Sounds like there was some confusion on the pricing options. Thumbtack should have just refunded him if there was that much confusion. It’s a shame if they didn’t.

    Johnny, on another note, if you see this: I would definitely recommend to get Google Chrome. It has a built-in spell checker which is really useful.

    Install on your computer here:

  10. Aura

    Well, I have been using thumbtack for about a week now. So far, I have paid about $18.00 to send quotes. I have received about 15 leads and have landed no jobs. Also, even though I am a licensed professional, thumbtack is yet to post my license. I have e-mail them about this problem numerous times. All they do is apologize, but no action is taken. If it is this hard to land a job, and you still have to pay, what’s the use of this site? Also, I see no reason why people in here see the need to be rude to others who are having a hard time making thumbtack work for them. Please make your comments in a constructive and informative way. Thanks!

    • Aura, thanks for sharing your experience. Do you mind sharing what your profession is? I do think it is harder for some of us to get jobs consistently using this type of service – maybe we can help you out!

    • Hello Aura,

      Where did you get a phone number for thumbtack ? Will you please share this number, I would love to call them.

      I recieved a job request and was informed I won the bid, and I responded to the client, and I never got the clients information like address, a telephone number or anything. I am a little leary.

      Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.


  11. I am a home-based travel agent offering full service travel planning, assistance, advice – you name it, and my service is FREE to the client, and I too have yet to land a commitment from any lead on Thumbtack. It’s very frustrating and I feel like my responses are being edited. There’s this sense of a wall between you and the client even after you pay. I sent a lengthy intro/question where I explained my service and asked for details. They did respond today, but they responded to a single question “Where are you going?”, which I didn’t write. This happened once before. I have been able identify and locate some of my leads and intend to follow up by mail.

    • Keith

      I have a similar problem with Thumbtack happening currently. The quote requests that come in don’t seem to have ANY details to them and are very vague. I’m a graphic designer and someone says “I need a brochure” and that’s it. Every time I have to write back and use the “Need more info” instead of giving them a number because, obviously, if they told me the size, number of pages, number of photos, etc, I could give them a quote. But having zero info (especially number of pages) I can’t possibly do anything but ask for more info. I’m not going to give a blind quote.

      As well, their system of “credits” is so wacky it could easily be defined as bogus. After I looked at that list, I about died. Seriously, they want to assign 3 credits to “graphic design” (which encompasses everything that can be seen by the human eye practically) but then 5 for web design which is… wait for it…. GRAPHIC DESIGN!! Very odd.

      I’m also not getting quotes for jobs that are well within my radius of work area and have the title graphic design, so I’m now very suspicious of their system. I’ve written tech support about the issue and set a screen shot of the map they showed. If I’m not getting a request for a quote from this blind lead, then are they simply phishing for more graphic designers in my area to sign up?

      Answer, Thumbtack????

      • JC

        Keith you summed up the key issue succinctly. I’m in marketing and I’ve seen the exact same issue….requests are way to broad to provide a quote. I’ve requested more information, but I’m pretty sure most of the “leads” are unable to articulate a true scope…because they need more information. Hence, I’m not sure if I’m actually the best resource based on the vagueness of the requests….this is where the whole Thumbtack model falls apart. Conceptually, there’s something to the Thumbtack approach…but the rules of engagement and the monetary model doesn’t work as currently defined. There’s something very wrong about charging companies money with only a promise that your “bid”/response will be viewed…with absolutely no guarantee that the inquiring party is legitimately prepared to make a purchase.

  12. t am a Wedding and Lifestyle Portrait photographer.I signed up with Thumbtack back in 2011 when the service was pay per client and payment was refunded if not selected as a service provider. I feel like the method of payment now for credit does not benefit the service providers should be refunded instead of receiving the credit 48 hours if the client does not view the quote.I think service providers providing quotes should be refunded via credits if not considered for the job In 24 hours. Like many others I am starting to feel as if the service is a scam especially considering the number of request for quotes this December. I also think that the credits should be across the board no matter what the event are service. I noticed that credits are higher for weddings then any other service. although I’ve had several clients from the service, but I too feel the same way as Kyla regarding that people want service for nothing and as a business or a small business how can one sustain themselves on the fees offered to service providers.I too have had to show restraint and be more conscientious regarding my purchasing of credits in order to obtain quotes.I think as a service provider you want added value to your investment in the service.I also think they need to limit the service providers to 3 instead of 5.I also don’t believe that all our contact information is provided to to the client is available on the site..they also wanted me to be a featured service provider but I didn’t see how that would benefit would just be providing them with more advertisement on my site and additional credits for me to provide quotes how was this a benefit to me unless my quotes will be free.

  13. Betty L'Ursula

    Don’t waste your money with What they do is charge you to send a quote then you get cancelled and your money is gone. They claim they verify all potential clients – BS – it is probably them. All the valid sites I’ve used do not charge you if you don’t get picked for the job. All valid sites give you info on how your bid stands and why you lost/who you lost to. This site is a scam and I reported them to BBB for their selfish win-lose biz model.

    • Aleta Williams

      what other sites do you use because I can’t see inventing this time and money for no results. I’m a professional caterer and I’m looking to fill in the gaps between busy seasons.

    • Denise

      Hi Betty, I have a custodial company I have obtained 21 leads through Thumb and provided service for 1 customer. Can you provide me the name of a site that provides referrals without extra add expense?

      • Barbara

        Hi Denise, I also have a cleaning service. On my 2nd day I was hired for a weekly cleaning of a 1 br apt on the ground floor of a private home for $75. It took a month to get it decent, bringing someone to work with me a few times (client generously paid an extra $25, which was nice but not enough to pay my staff). This family were hoarders and I scrubbed and scrubbed and cleaned tirelessly and after it was all pretty, it ended. All my investment in staff, travel, supplies – I suffered a loss JUST as I was about to break even and move ahead.
        I other client hired me and lied about the type of unit and the work involved – Lost wages again. Hourly from now on! AND 2 of us on the initial cleaning visit. ONLY while I place over 100 quotes I have not gotten any more jobs in spite of 5-star reviews and following up, offering to meet their budget, etc. FINISHED.

    • Betty can you let us know the sites you are referring to that don’t charge you if you dont get the job please? I have used thumbtack with some success but only in the winter months when it is slow. My successful bids have mostly been on the low side and I am so sick of not getting a response when I reply with the “more info needed” selction. I am a building maintenance service owner and many people in my area need roof cleaning. This service can be so different in pricing defending on the size of home and condition of the roof but most people wont even tell you what size their house is. I will be using the review the customer option on all clients who do not reply from now on. Does anyone know how to review a potential clients profile before paying to contact them? This could hold the leads more accountable. Hear that thumbtack? That is a must and we will post many reviews like this until you get this fixed.

  14. Adam

    Thumbtack leads are virtually worthless. Here’s the issue, you get billed when the client reads your quote and they limit the quotes to only 5 bidders. This sounds great on the surface, but let’s say the client gets bids from five people they don’t like or have no intention of booking then they go find someone somewhere else, so all five quotes never get answers and thumbtack laughs all the way to the bank.

    My biggest frustration with TT is that they constantly change the rules of the game and then continue to charge you the same amount. Here is a perfect example. I’m a photographer in Las Vegas. Many couples looking to get married in Las Vegas don’t want to use a “house photographer” where they have the ceremony either because of price or quality so they look to hire an outside photographer not knowing that the overwhelming majority of hotel properties and wedding chapels in Las Vegas will not allow an outside wedding photographer to shoot the wedding as it then is direct competition to the product they are trying to sell. What winds up happening is people go to thumbtack looking for a wedding photographer. This means that for me to submit a quote, it’s going to cost me about $15, but I only learn later on that a $1500 wedding package is now only worth about $400 because I can’t shoot the wedding ceremony or reception, only some pre-wedding photos or an engagement shoot. Why? Because the couple had no clue that they weren’t allowed to hire me to shoot their wedding in the first place.

    So, how do we vet someone on this? Well, you can ask a question before you bid such as, “Do you have permission from your venue to allow an outside photographer to shoot your wedding?”, which will very much help in your bidding process. This worked great, until Thumbtack decided that now they don’t want you asking any questions at all about the venue. NONE. So any time you ask such a question they either edit it or delete it completely, so now you are paying for a lead which may turn out to be worthless. I’ve tried to explain to Thumbtack about how this actually hurts their business because now less wedding photographers are going to bid because chances may be high they can’t actually be booked for the shoot to begin with but they don’t care.

    All thumbtack does is create a venue for poorly educated clients and looky-loos who are low-quality leads to connect with vendors who are hungry to get new clients in this economy and pay TT hundreds of dollars in lousy quality leads before they realize it’s one big scam. It’s sad.

  15. Totally agree with Adam. I asked a potential client if her wedding reception was at a private residence or out at a venue. Didn’t care where/what venue just wanted to confirm reception was not in their back yard (which we don’t do). TT deleted my question: Venue questions not allowed! Excuse me? Also agree the 5 response limit is ridiculous. TT pockets $40 and the businesses get the business. My opinion is users are either shopping dirt cheap services or are trolling competitors.

  16. Just not seeing how the odds of thumbtack compete with craigslist where weeding out the ” window shoppers ” doesn’t cost. For instance , out of 10-15 responses on CL my experience is I’m going to land 1-2 clients almost guaranteed. I tried Thumbtack for possible higher end clients but they’re looking for CL prices on ThumTack at my expense. Plus the limited questions you can ask to better glean the authenticity of the potential client is what makes Thumbtack appear shady.

  17. Samson is a massive rip-off ! They want you to pay for a lead that you know nothing about ! and when you try to ask a question about this lead, they knock you down and say “only ask the questions we say you can ask this person” where isthis event ? your back yard ? do you want to pay for a pro or some part time amateur for $75 ? why will you pay money if you do not know this information ? this is a complete waste of money ! and time ! If you are smart you will stay away from Thumbtack ! your money is better spent somewhere else !

  18. will

    This site is set up to only take your money some real B.S. don’t waste your time or money!

  19. I have also been very frustrated with thumbtack.i think they need to let people know we have to pay for quotes. i have only gotten one job from them. And you are right, hardly ever even a response. I have also had several other starting out photographers just “price” me i found out after i quoted and found out they were just starting out. I won’t be using this service much any longer. I feel like i am throwing money away.

  20. Mack

    How can anyone submit contracting quotes on a job that is described so vaguely? Do not see how I can be fair to client or myself if I am to give on a quote on something that just says major remodeling in bedroom or bathroom. When I ask questions they are not allowed for whatever reason. The person (me) submitting quotes seems to be the only one taking a risk. TT gets their money for the quotes and the client (if real) does not and should not lose anything. Don’t seem right to pay for the possibility of getting work. If I pay what others have said they have paid and lost then after several unsuccessful attempts to obtain work I will certainly be on the losing end in these negotiations. Not only would I have not gained anything I am likely to put my own enterprise in jeopardy.

  21. Jeff Houston

    I signed up for thumbtack on Sunday. Didn’t receive any leads yesterday but received 5 today. I started to fill out my quote & then realized I had to pay to submit it. I thought I had better do some research before hand. The BBB has multiple complaints listed. If thumbtack is a legit business, they’ll need yo change a few policies before I ever use them. I suggest that they make it all free and create a contract app with a deposit. Once the client pays the deposit to thumbtack, they can keep a percentage of it & then pay the contracted individual the rest. The balance due can be payed on the day of the event. I currently charge a $150 deposit on a $500 contract. If thumbtack set everything up & collected & distributed the deposit, I would be happy with them keeping $25-50 for their service. Sounds like their system now is a bunch of BS.

    • Jeff, I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’d rather pay them a percentage of the work I actually get than needing to pay for leads.

  22. Jimmy

    From my experience, all I do is waste my time and money with this money laundering sham of a site.
    It’s completely setup to rake in $$$ for them and waste our time.
    The “Free” quotes only equals POOR quality leads. Doesn’t matter if you have the best service and give it away in attempt to book the gig, the serious lack of information coming to us in order to give a quote and them with nothing to lose just equals a total waste of time and money.
    I can stomach a $6.67 lead, but to spend a ton of time trying to get answers and connect with the potential client just adds up to hundreds of dollars in wasted time.

    I see no solution but that TT refund the money back to those who do not get the job and get a percentage of the “paid” job. But, that’s not going to happen because it’s fair with integrity in mind. TT is a $ grabbing site, no different than a dating site.

  23. I use Thumbtack for my photo booth business located in Louisville, KY. First the leads cost about the same has Google Adwords. I have questioned for sometime rather these are real leads. I always question the person, simply asking where their wedding is going to be and I found that most do not answer. By most, the number may be eighty percent. So if they cannot answer a simple question, it is not worth my time and cost to give them a bid. In support of Thumbtack, I have done several deals from this sight.

    • jeff

      Hi Marty,

      The main difference in the cost between Thumbtack and Google AdWords is that when you get a lead from AdWords, it only comes to you. With Thumbtack, you automatically have to compete with up to 5 other people that paid the same for the lead as you did. You are paying Thumbtack to compete with your AdWords advertising campaign, diluting your marketing effort.

  24. Kayla, thanks for starting such an interesting and varied discussion here! After looking for many different ways to expand my skill set(licensed massage therapist and former auto tint installer) into a viable small business I looked at places like thumbtack.
    The paying for credits seemed a little too much like a dating site; I am sorry to hear about the poor rate of actual jobs from thumbtack. I would really like to know if a typical auction site where we put the required information that we as service providers need customers to know (like venue rules for photography) and our fixed cost for a specific service would be more convenient. That way we would just put our listing and not have to manually deal with lookie loos. Seems to me it would save a lot of time and trouble. Thoughts?

    • You are so right on this – the lookie looks are one of the biggest problems on Thumbtack. Using Thumbtack is a huge risk to our pockets. Most of us who use Thumbtack don’t have cash flowing out of those pockets to waste.

      The more I have read all of the comments here and thought about my own experience, it has been too much work, and too much wasted money. The way Thumbtack operates is not ideal for the service pro.

  25. Don Garrett

    thumbtack is an ABSOLUTE RIP OFF!!! I have undeniable, factual evidence of the dishonest games they play and the ways they rip you off. all of you that use thumbtack would admit and confess to this immediately upon reviewing their shady business practices and procedures. but since there is that 1 in 100, real client lead, you all continue to use and support this dishonest group of scammers. if you have a very high end or expensive service, then maybe it is worth paying to respond to 99 false, dishonest, lying leads, just to get that 1 real lead. I am in fact one of those. for 2 years now I have known that thumbtack was ripping me off. but my wedding videography packages are fairly expensive and so I ignored the 99 false leads in order to get that one real lead. to be honest, it is still actually a pretty good deal financially, I just can’t stand the time I spend responding, not knowing if it is real or fake. AND I just can’t stand the idea of doing business and paying my money to dishonest losers, like the folks of thumbtack.

    here is one example how how I know for a fact, that this company is dishonest and ripping people off. I have sent at least 2 dozen quotes, offering to film an entire wedding event – all day! for free! out of those 20 requests, I got 1 response! and you expect me to believe these are real people looking for services they have specifically requested? and then I don’t even hear back from them!? not even a question asking if I am for real, offering to do it for free? thumbtack, and you people pretending to support them and claiming to not somehow be connected to them – we’re not all ignorant, naive idiots. you all are effin losers.

    • Don I also do wedding work, for photo booths. Before I give a thumbtack bid, I ask them where they are getting married at, I may have some old pictures I could show them with my bid. I almost never get a reply, so that lead was false, but some real leads do come through. Marty

  26. Paul G

    Interesting. My problem with Thumbtack is there is absolutely not confirmation of leads. It cost nothing for a quote request so my belief 80% are not real. There is no means to verify leads. There is not even a common verify techniques to stop spam bots. However those paying to use must verify. Its backwards, I pay for something that may exist, those who request proposal pay nothing and verify nothing. Its a system designed for fraud. Unfortunately it preys on those desperate and in need of work.

    If you go through the process to post a proposal request it takes about 1 minute. I posted a job and kept it vague by design. I put contradictory things. Photography in your studio outside etc. No one should have bid on this job, there just wasn’t enough information. I got 5 bids in 6 minutes. I won’t wast my time with it.

    I did book one job a small event two hours coverage. The description was clear it was an actual event aka their were details.

    • Paul G

      One more thing. I just asked a question for a photography job posted. “What is the product?” Since what the product is will greatly influence the cost of photography. As it wasn’t addressing the clients needs it was deleted. Run away!

  27. manny

    i think the same my name is manny i paid for a lead and never got their phone number to call them i try to contact TT they had me on hold for 55 min and then they hang up on me then i emailed them never got a responce ithink their a scam

  28. I have tried using Thumbtack also and must agree with the majority of posters here. The concept of Thumbtack is a good one, but the company does absolutely nothing to qualify the prospects. Someone can post a request with little to no information. True, service providers do not need to pay unless they want to respond, but Thumbtack should do more to get better information from potential clients. The company wants to grow by having providers recommend the service to others, but how can we do this if we don’t have a good experience.
    Thumbtack needs to reach out to its service providers to find out what information they need in order to submit a quote. They also need to screen clients better, require a telephone number from clients, and make every field in the request mandatory.
    Each industry is different and has myriad types of professionals. However, no professional service provider worth his/her salt is going to offer a service if it means losing money. Thumbtack advertises to the general public saying “cheap service”, which attracts the bottom of the client barrel. For each industry, Thumbtack needs to have a good understanding of what the range of services and costs are. They should speak with the providers on their site to find out what information needs to be obtained from clients and how to qualify leads. They have a resource right in front of them that they do not use. They want to be the cheapest, not the best. Unless they drastically change how they approach the service industry, they are destined to fail and those of us that have paid them money will lose out.
    I would not recommend this service to other professionals in my industry or any other. My relationship with my colleagues is worth much more than the $17.95 in credits they will give me for the referral.
    I sincerely hope that the company reads the comments about them online and makes positive changes to their system. If they work with the service providers to make changes, they may have a chance.

    • Lauren,

      You have one of the most amazing comments about Thumbtack here. I think everything you said is right on the dot. From the need for clients to be screened better (they did phone calls in the past but it seems they stopped) to how being a free site is attracting cheap clients (and the ones who do not care about responding or keeping up with things).

      Thank you for these words of wisdom!

  29. I have put 15 quotes in for my catering business . Each one was viewed within 5 minutes after submitting it. I have never received any communication with any customer. I stopped for a few months until I noticed the other day that someone wanted a quote for a venue that does not allow an outside caterer. The same day a request came in for a winery that does not allow any catering on the property. I feel if the employees of Thumbtack want to entice you to bid on jobs with their made up leads than they should do their research better. I finally realized that maybe one out of fifty leads may be legitimate . Do not waste your money. I am reporting them to the BBB tomorrow.

  30. Yes, Thumbtack can be a waste. I always ask a question (that Thumbtack allows) to see if they reply. If they do, then I think they are legitimate. If they don’t there’s a certain probability that they are “tire kickers”. Also, I think it is best off to only quote on the ones that are a couple months away from needing the services provided (or less). The sooner the service date, the less time they have to just think about it (before signing a contract).

    • Brian, thank you for posting here. I think your advice to give quotes to those who need services very soon is the best advice! If they need something urgently, they will more than likely respond to you rather than becoming a disappearing act.

      I completely agree that the people who actively answer any of the questions are serious too.

      Awesome advice!

  31. Aza

    I just wish that Thumbtack wasn’t trying to make money off of the jobless, or at least so much! I wish there were ways to earn credits, such as watching a sponsors advertisement, or some such thing… with the success rate that people seem to be having (only a few clients out of a hundred, or something) then all the money we make on those clients goes right back to Thumbtack! It’s frustrating!

    • Aza,

      I feel the same way – I think earning credits is a great idea. I remember when I first started on Thumbtack, I did everything possible to earn “points” but what did that get me exactly? I know I’m a gold member but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of algorithm that displays me higher in searches just because of my points. I really don’t get it. I would rather points go to credits.

  32. Jim Griffin

    Any service provider, using this company is dealing with a severely flawed business model. Refusal to force definitive answers to a specific set of questions which would clarify (& qualify) the prospect as I suggested (& got a negative response). Inability to ask qualifying questions based on a limited definition as approved by a computer. High lead prices for potentially fabricated, illegitimate leads. Any 1 of these is reason enough to abandon this “lead generator.”

    Transportation requires minimum hours, quote requests “just need for 15 minutes”. Any qualifying question will be rejected.

    Kayla, you either need to get a life or quit shilling for “T”. I would recommend anyone who posted using the full name of the service, go back & remove that reference to eliminate SEO.

    • Thumbtack is flawed, but I don’t believe that they are fabricating leads. We are all gathering here to figure out what’s best to find customers for our specific businesses.

      Thank you for taking valuable time from your life to post here, Jim.

      • I believe they are faking leads too even though there are genuine ones out there.

        They have an algorithm which they use in filtering generated leads (this info was from them when someone complained on BBB), this is enough to tell that not every lead is manually inputted.

        In my own experience, I have seen people with the same name, same event date, same message but different locations requesting quotes again, this might be the client or obviously an automated system.

        I have add little success with thumbtack, only hired twice, I have spoken to a few but it seems you have to under-under-charge to get the job, they are also many desperate photographers out there- some who would also offer good quality for almost nothing; how do you compete with that?

        Thumbtack’s approach to service pros needs to be reviewed and I know they know this!

        It is no different than gambling in a cassino, the probability of a getting a job in 10 leads is 0.02 or 1/50… I just can’t imagine…

        These days, we still keep bidding hoping one day it would be one’s turn just as you said earlier, but what if none of the bidders get a response?

        Probably we should setup a website where service pros can gather and indicate when they bid on a particular lead? and see who (if any) got the job? “…just thinking…..”


  33. My first quote was successful, and I thought this is a good way to get work. About 10 quotes later I gave up. Most leads will never get back to you. I would be willing to give a % of total invoiced instead of paying between $3-$12 for leads that never respond. This would save a lot of my time and separate the good leads from the “other” leads. On a $1,500 wedding I would gladly pay $150 to thumbtack than $150 in leads that go nowhere but suck up time. The company that can figure this problem out will make millions and become the next facebook or google in this field.

    • Peter, not getting any responses is the worst. I agree that I would pay Thumbtack more for a solid lead that will actually book a wedding.

      I have a monthly ad in a local wedding magazine. I’ve had a few people contact me since August, but so far it has not worked out. My prices were not low enough for them. But if I can get at least two weddings booked before my contract is up with the magazine, it would be great. Hoping for good luck since it’s booking season right now.

  34. Nytwuolfe

    I was referred to this site by a fellow photographer who swore he get’s a lot of clients and started turning them down. Thumbtack is a big lie! I just signed up for it and submitted wedding and head shot quotes. So far I’m hanging with 2 clients whom never really booked me but in the talks. I think what they are trying to do is illegal since they are making us pay for something that is not guaranteed. I won’t be wasting more time and money on this sham. I have lost enough. This site should be either revamped or shutdown!

  35. Nytwuolfe

    Oh I forgot. Nice article Kayla. I bet now you know who benefited on your money that you made from your clients. Make a guess people?

    • Hi Nytwuolfe, thank you for posting – I actually did a quote today for the first time in months and hope to be in talks soon. It hasn’t been viewed yet but out of all of the leads lately, it was the only one that looked promising in a good while. In the past I spent too much and do regret that. At least now I am less trigger happy and understand to only submit quotes when the leads meet a few criteria of my own!

  36. Nytwuolfe

    Hi Kayla, would you mind sharing us how many years and much you really spent on Thumbtack sending all those quotes?

    • Okay, I will have to get back to you with that since the history shows credits used, I haven’t tallied everything up in a while since I stopped using TT as much. Need to do it soon anyway!

  37. Mark

    Hi Kayla
    After reading all of the posts on this site about Thumbtack I decided to add my 2 cents worth. First have let me start out by saying I’ve been a commercial photographer for over 35 years and have shot better than 400 weddings in my career to fill in the down times when I didn’t have a commercial shoot. Having retired 3 years ago and selling my studio and equipment, I thought it was time to get back to work before boredom sapped the smarts out of my brain. Having said that, I came across thumbtack looking for work to fill in my time. After reviewing their site I decided to investigate their site by submitting a false inquiry for my area. Low and behold I received my own quote and within minutes I paid them four tokens to see what would happen. I noticed immediately that the site stated that I had already received 1 quote. Not true…
    I think the site would and all members of thumbtack would benefit if instead of paying for blind leads that after you book and get a non-refundable deposit that thumbtack gets a percentage of the job immediately.
    If one wanted to bid on these jobs and waste money, they could go to there local race track and place a $2.00 bet on the long shot and would have better odds of winning than on thumbtack.

    • Mark,

      I hear you about betting at the race track – that’s how I feel now. I like the idea of Thumbtack getting a percentage of a real, paid and verified job.

      I hope you have found a good solution for getting back into the swing of things. Please let us know how it’s going!

  38. Thumbtack is great! I’ve booked gigs every weekend since I signed up! I always get refunded on quotes I don’t hear back from if they haven’t looked at it in the 72 hour time frame! You gotta figure out what your competitors are doing on there that you are not, and then you will get the business you are looking for. I also take all my clients very seriously as they are the building blocks to my business. I try very hard to make them happy and I always go above and beyond what they are expecting of me because I too take my reviews very seriously for potential future clients to pick me instead of the other guy based off my leads. I know that the prices of quotes vary depending on the services you provide. For me a quote is only two credits, but for my friend who is a photographer it cost him 12 credits to send a quote, so he too is losing interest saying it cost to much. All I can say is that for me I see no scam and have talked to most every lead that was intersted in my quote! Remember… People are all about getting the best deal and the most for there money so, remember that when your not getting responses to your quotes. They will take their business elsewhere! Hope this has been helpful.

  39. Luke

    I agree totally with Mark. I am a landscape architect and have been on Thumbtack for almost 2 years. I used to own a landscape maintenance company as well so I used TT for lead generation here as well. Every prospect I receive is extremely vague with very little detail. I used to try to respond with general numbers or hourly costs with a very nice write up of my services, but either my responses were not looked at, or I never heard a peep. I recently tried to ask a question of a prospective client and TT did not allow the question to go through because it “asked for information that was already included in the request and asked the client if she needs additional services.” The request was so ridiculously vague to begin with that I can’t see how I asked for the same information or added services.

    Thumbtack needs to start taking some responsibility here and putting skin in the game. If the client knows that the contractor pays to put in a quote that would help. However, prospective clients should be as specific as possible when requesting a quote and if they appear to just be fishing around with a bare bones request TT should kick it back. Finally, I agree totally with Mark that TT should base their fees on a job awarded, not a quote provided. This is the only true way they can measure a successful outcome for their contractor network. If they don’t change their model soon, TT will die a slow death…

  40. Rob


    I was glad to stumble across your review here of Thumbtack because I am having very similar problems lately.

    I joined TT only this past fall and things started out great. I had my first paid job to shoot a wedding reception just 2 weeks after joining. I was ecstatic to say the least. I thought I was on to something big and looked forward to the extra income to help support my photography. More jobs followed and by the end of 2013 I had completed almost a dozen photo shoots of various kinds. My profile was looking great with 10 reviews with all but one being 5 stars. I had only one 4 star review.. All my clients had nothing but nice things to say about working with me and they were very happy with the results. I thought my photography was finally taking off after years of hard work.

    Then, 2014 came and I couldn’t book a gig if I offered to do it for free… I realize that this is a slow time of the year but I’m bidding on multiple jobs on an almost daily basis but no one will hire me. I think I spent close to $150 last month and only booked one small headshot session. I figured now that I have a pretty good profile with multiple reviews the work would just roll in. It’s been quite the opposite. I can’t figure out why i got so much business a few months ago without a single review compared to now. It just doesn’t add up… I’ve become suspicious of Thumbtack recently and are considering pulling the plug. I know if I email them with my concerns it will do no good and they will just tell me “better luck next time”. I’m wondering if these are actually legitimate jobs people are wanting quotes for or is someone out in the San Fran area typing them up. There seems to be no way to know..

    Anyways, glad to see that others out there have the same concerns as me and I’m not alone.


    • Dee ZINE

      you’ve captured my sentiment exactly…I’ve had my suspicions…and inquired…generally takes more than a few days to get a CS response..without satisfaction…and if you track your leads…you can definitely identify the discrepancies…nuf said! Kayla had made the “we” reference too many times for her not to benefit along the way..

  41. Nytwuolfe

    So Lindsey, What is your link to your Thumbtack page? I would love to see it. Kayla must have spent 5K on Thumbtack lol!

  42. jay

    Angelo Smith of Thumbtack, censors client’s comments. So take the comments with a grain of salt. I will never hire a company referred by Thumbtack.

  43. I have been on Thumbtack for about a month now, have purchased about $40 in credits, submitted a couple dozen quotes, and have gotten ZERO responses. After the first few, I stopped talking about “price”, more focused on the service I provide (mobile 24-channel ProTool audio recording system), but still got no responses. I pay money to purchase Thumbtack’s credits, I get no responses.

    I believe Thumbtack is a scam. A VERY elaborate scam, but a scam none-the-less.

  44. Jennifer

    I have been with thumbtack for over a 3 years and initially they had a system where you were deducted for a percentage of the total job cost which was fair if you won . Since they have brought in the new system of paying for leads it has gone sketchy with loads of shady bogus and repeat leads coming in all the time , But as a previous poster rightly said it seems like there is a wall between you and the clients I tested this by replying in a message to one lead where I give my phone number Within the message and asked them to contact me directly . The lead was a friend of mine who is testing the system he received the message but it had been edited and my number had been taken out . Nuff said its a scam 🙂

  45. Dee ZINE

    When I don’t hear back, I send an email to every lead, I thank them for reading my quote, asking why they decided not to use my services…I’ve never gotten an answer back….I’m done with TT..I’ve spent a lot of $$$…not my target client…

    • This is how I have felt for a long time. It does get very old to watch the quote emails day in and day out, and spending the time trying to figure out who to send bids to gets so tiring. But sometimes you will get some great clients from Thumbtack. It is too bad that it’s not more often. It’s a game of risk and luck with these mystery shoppers!

      Most of the time no one replies to my messages asking why they didn’t choose my bid. Though I have found the best way for me to get a reply for those is the following message:

      “Thank you for updating the quote. If you can, please let me know why I was not chosen, it would greatly help me for the future. Thank you!”

      The above message worked for me recently on a quote which was simply cancelled, they didn’t even look at my Thumbtack profile. But after I sent that message, they did reply to me and told me the reason was price and asked if there was anything else I could do. So far I haven’t booked that job but was so glad to get some response back at least.

  46. I wanted to make an update. I actually got a job today on Thumbtack, but I think it had a lot to do with luck and timing. The quote came in late last night and I sent my bid right away. The job got the maximum amount of quotes throughout today but somehow when the person I and talked back and forth, we clicked and she ended up choosing me. One reason why I did place a bid on her job was because she did spend time writing a bit more info that others do. So it led me to believe she would be better at communication and easier to talk with about the job.

    Still, overall I was surprised but like I said before, sometimes the gems do come by, even if you have to wait a couple of months for them.

  47. Kevin

    It seems that every comment here is from a photographer….is that all TT offers leads to…? And Kayla, I don’t care what your profile says, you seem to represent TT.

  48. Kevin

    I just noticed your post about getting a job with TT…..right.t, you JUST got the job…right.

    • Kevin,

      I think a lot of photographers are commenting because I am a photographer and it makes them want to share their thoughts more than others.

      I am not sure why you think I am representing TT. Here is a screenshot showing my recent jobs if this helps. (I archive the quotes which do not work out so they are not visible in this screenshot.)

      thumbtack jobs

  49. THANK YOU KAYLA….This was a helpful string and it validated much of my experience with Thumbtack. I hope the time I am taking (and my boss is paying for) to share our experience helps other people considering Thumbtack or even better, motivates Thumbtack to get their act together. I am a production coordinator working for a established commercial photography studio in Phoenix. I was assigned to try out and assess TT as a on going marketing vehicle for low priced headshot lead generation. While my company only invested about $140 and about 50-70 bids over 60 days, the bulk of their investment was in my time and energy learning the TT ‘ropes’ and trying to make it work by exploring different approaches, fine tuning the job request responses & followup and to give TT a fair and patient test. I can say with all sincerity, my company really wanted and hoped Thumbtack would work for us. From the outside looking in…it appeared to be a awesome opportunity to generate new business. Here is what we have concluded to date (2/23/14)…
    • THE LEADS ARE NOT QUALIFIED OR VERIFIED in the least. I concluded the # of actual, credible leads is shockingly low. I don’t believe for a second that TT verifies their traffic, at least when it comes to people seriously looking to hire a photographer.
    • THE MAJORITY OF TT LEADS ARE WINDOW SHOPPERS, CASUAL BROWSERS, LOOKY LOOS AND CHILDREN. From job requests from Ronald McDonald (full names are only divulged AFTER a bid is submitted) to requests from 12-15 year olds (no filters for kids either)….Im guessing about 10-15% of the leads are seriously interested in contracting business at the time of their job request. There is nothing wrong with window shoppers or looky loos, or kids… we appreciate and support them within certain limits every day but when such traffic is misrepresented to you as being something else…its a problem.
    • THE PHOTOGRAPHER REQUEST FORM IS TOO VAGUE to be of real value towards qualifying the lead or delivering a clear picture of what the lead really wants or needs. TT would rather promote and forward ANY job request no matter how weak under their comforting rubber stamp of “we have verified this” rather than forward leads that are solid, complete, clear and reliable. Makes sense, more requests no matter how worthless = more traffic = more bidding = more cash flow. To make matters worse…
    • COMMUNICATION WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS IS TOO HEAVILY FIRE-WALLED…. even the most basic, legitimate questions a photographer might have to assist Thumbtack to fulfill its own promise by helping to qualify the lead, much less assess the job with any specificity and deliver a accurate estimate is simply not allowed under current TT guidelines. The vast majority of my company’s questions that were submitted carefully worded with compliance to those guidelines in mind were rejected for reasons that consistently departed from common sense…my guess is that TT rejects vendor questions based on a poorly thought out keyword algorithm rather than actual content reviewed by a human being. I think this computer generated rejection prioritizes protecting against (to quote from the TT guidelines) “circumvention of the Thumbtack process” far above facilitating a mutually beneficial transaction between a buyer and seller.
    CUSTOMER SERVICE: Their phone support is very very good. I felt like they were invested in helping, being patient and sincere with regards to problem solving and acknowledging parts of their website and business practices that were not ready for prime time. TT’s customer service is their best asset.
    THUMBTACK INTEGRITY/HONESTY/CREDIBILITY: This is a tough one. I was impressed with the auto refunds TT provides for unviewed bids…this went a long way to comfort my boss while he worried that the poor results was a reflection of TT being a scam. On the other hand, the low response rate (views, actual click throughs to the website, emails, calls) was so disappointing that the fear of being scammed was never far from our thoughts. That being said, while I believe there is no hard evidence of premeditated fraud, TT cash flow and profits are clearly amplified by a business model that allows and promotes costly, unjustified bidding on unqualified/unreliable leads. Leads that would normally never be generated if a competent verification process existed or meaningful Q&A between potential customers and vendors was facilitated rather than blocked. This maybe less about deceit and more about TT simply being unable to figure out how to monetize the process while delivering qualified leads.

    Based on my experience… at this time, Thumbtack presents itself as something it is not…I would not recommend Thumbtack as a efficient, cost effective way to market or deliver photography services. The Thumbtack business model is inconsistent, unreliable and less than transparent. The diamonds are too few and the manure pile you have to wade through to get to them is too large.

  50. I work in the architectural drafting and illustration industry and have had similar frustration with Thumbtack. I’m not able to limit what leads come to me (some customers need an engineer or an inspector, which comes to anyone in the architecture umbrella, but which I am decidedly not)- the questions and checkboxes that give me information are paltry at best, and 99% of clients are looky-loos. I’ve landed two real jobs in two years, one of which was a $40 consultation, the other of which was in the $200 range but was sort of a debacle in execution due to circumstances beyond my control. Like everyone else… instant “viewing of bid”, no response almost ever. The 2% of the time I do get some response, they’re evaluating prices all over and are not ready to buy, and tell me so.

    I’d like to know why the bids cost more or less per category… shouldn’t they cost more or less based on the client’s anticipated budget? And then… shouldn’t the client have to choose a budget range so we know whether we should bother (ie, I paid $15 to get that $40 job… if I knew that’s all they wanted, I would not have wasted the energy). I do work on Elance and Guru, and have for years, and their monthly fee to answer bid requests and a percentage of a job done have allowed me to expand my business and make a good profit… but they’re not local, which was the allure of Thumbtack.

    I don’t think Thumbtack is actively scamming us (ie I doubt they’re seeding with ‘fake’ bid requests, which seems awfully elaborate)… but they’ve certainly set themselves up to make good money off of our hopes without providing much benefit to service providers. I will probably keep my profile, and continue to be exceptionally picky about what I bid on… but the fewer bids bid-seekers get, the less they’ll trust Thumbtack, and it seems like a downward spiral from there!

  51. ken Griffiths

    What I suggest to all of you is go to both of the Thumbtack Facebook pages (thumbtack and thumbtack professionals) if you want (and can handle) the onslaught of negative feedback be my guest. If you want something slightly more civilized Google search Thumbtack BBB (they average 3 complaints a week) or just search for Thumbtack complaints.

    This company is the most corrupt and dishonest rip-offs on planet earth. Myself and dozens of others have caught them in lie after lie. Did you know that Thumbtacks so called review process is handled out of an office in the Philippines? I didn’t until just yesterday. It is time to shut this illegal joke of a company down.

  52. Jay Levin

    I have just read this about a company that I was hoping to help in achieving new work for me. I’m an interior designer owned a business for 35 years and just moved from VA to CA and thought this concept was a good way to get my name out ,hopefully a job etc. So far nothing since I began 6 month ago but what upsets me the most is there is no response from of any kind from would be clients even when you tell them “need more information”.

    How can I bid on a job only knowing that it”s so many sq.ft and want to spend this amount of money . There is never a idea of how much furniture is needed ,what construction is needed , window treatments ,flooring etc etc etc . How does one bid on a guess . I have even written that I would give a free consultation and still no response from TT or client ,

    I’m pretty much done till I get some answers ,it’s not the 10.00 or what ever if you spend to get jobs ,it always cost something , but the fact you have no idea what went wrong . Then the fact that you see Indeed , Beyond or many other job sites and see ads for “NEED AN INTERIOR DESIGNER” with 5-10 clients listed but I don’t get a prospect from TT, it is only a way for TT to get you to go to their site with a sign here to belong.

    There are many aspects of TT that could be a win- win for business owner and clients alike if handled in better way.

    TT get it together or more sites like this will pop up or your days will be short .


  53. Shara Jones

    I love the internet (for the most part) I was in the process of opening a thumbtack account for private voice lessons. I had some Issues with uploading a photo, so I went to their Facebook page to see if there was any FAQ links etc. WOW, just wow. countless negative/borderline angry reviews from people. I of course gave it a diplomatic approach but after reading some of the horror stories I decided not to finish the profile. Im surprised a company can survive with all the negative reviews. Sorry Thumbtack but I wont be doing any business with you.

  54. Melissa

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your website.

  55. Kayla this may not be as applicable to you as a photographer that specializes in very important one time events like weddings, but I thought I’d share.I had a lot of the same frustrations and problems as you did in terms of buying access to propose leaves for my job as a tutor for the SAT and ACT. After spending well over $150 and getting not a single real job, I did some research and found a startup in my area that has worked much better for me. Its called zurved, and it works much more transparently. I just went in and posted what I provided And how much I charge for it, just like I would if I was selling a toy on eBay. it so happens that they’re starting out in South Florida, but I don’t think they cover Orlando yet. I’m in Miami.

  56. Oh, even better, on Zurved, you usually get paid first, before any contact is made. So the time I spent talking with people is typically with those who have already paid my asking price! 🙂

    • David,

      I just saw your comment and think that Zurved looks great – it looks pretty amazing and has all of the features most of us want Thumbtack to have. Especially the fact that users need to pay first – that is the best idea.. ever.

      Thank you for letting us know about it!

  57. Tami

    Thanks everyone. I have been figuring all this out for myself the past few weeks. I joined TT in November, got tons of leads, and not much work. I work a full time job, and list on TT as a licensed Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist, and a Face Painter/Henna Artist, and to start out I kept my rates much lower than I work for, just to get some extra cash for the holidays. Like others who posted here, my license was not verified for weeks, so leads I paid to quote think I am a kitchen-tician or beauty school student, and not the Real Thing. My email to support asking for help was replied to TWO WEEKS after I sent it.
    My gigs only last a couple of hours usually, and I work all over Austin, so it is important that I know when the event is so I know I can do it. Up until a month ago, I could ask, but now I can’t. Kept getting deleted and a snarky email saying it wasn’t in the guidelines. Checked the guidelines, and there was nothing there about “don’t ask the time” …I kept sending emails to support, and getting no reply, and finally accidentally found a “history” tag in help, and low and behold, there was a formal denial of my request, as “The request form is primarily to see if you are QUALIFIED to bid on the job, not ask the time, number of people, type of services, etc, “if the client skipped it in the request form, too bad.

    I am qualified to bid on a hair or makeup up job because I am licensed. I am qualified to paint faces because I am a face painter. Duh.
    “I realize, Tami, that as a event service provider the date and time is important to you, however we do not allow it at this time.” Jeez.

    So I stopped buying credits, and only bid on the few jobs that are completely filled out and work with my schedule. Now, I am trying to bid on a job, and it won’t let me buy the credits, the link is frozen. Also, the few quotes I have sent often ask to see pics of my work, and while I am on the phone with them telling them the links etc, they say they cannot see my photos on Thumbtack, or my reviews. So, what’s the frigging point? TT doesn’t care about us, just selling credits. I agree that the requests are either window shoppers, or not real.

    Kayla, I am sure you are real, but looking at the screen shot you posted, it looks like you have been hired for every job you bid on, which is odd. Just saying.

    I fully expect that now that I have posted this review/response, I will have even more problems with TT as some kind of payback. Already feeling persecuted by TT anyhow.

    • Tami,

      There are definitely too many rules and I feel they would have less “room to rule” if the users had to pay to request services instead of it being free.

      My screenshot looks like that because in that span of months, I archived the quotes that didn’t work out. Not sure why a handful of people think I am working for Thumbtack. Had to ban someone recently for leaving obscene comments here about me.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on TT! Hopefully we can find other avenues to find customers with a similar site as TT. Many of the sites I find are for homes and not the industries you and I are in.

  58. Kayla, Thank you so much for your reviews on this company. This was very helpful as we just started our photography business this year. I too joined Thumbtack and was wondering what the additional details where involved. I was leery about the desire to send money for a lead. That was an immediate red flag and I did not send it in. I liked your facebook page and would appreciate if you too would go like my page also, Niada Cradle Photography Again, thank you for your assistance.

    • Niada,

      Thank you for posting here – I did like your page and you have beautiful work. I hope you have had good results with TT if you have used them, just be careful with the leads you choose!

  59. grx

    I decided to give Thumbtack a shot, even though from the very beginning it seemed like a bogus website to me. To think that people who needed a service would somehow Skip every other easy way to find a service professional and end up on Thumbtack just didn’t make sense. In any case, I shot a few potential clients questions, at least to verify they were real. Thumbtack deleted my legitimate questions which didn’t violate any of their written policies.

    So there it was right there. At least I didn’t spend anything on Thumbtack. I figured them out right away. I guess I’m luckier than many,

    I think the original blogger would agree that when you put out wedding services materials either in the hands of a real middleman or in a location that caterers to such, you will end up with qualified leads- even if they do not happen to hire you.

    In the least offensive scenario, Thumbtack delivers grossly unqualified leads. In the most offensive case, they fraudulently make up the clients. Either way, a business doesn’t want to engage with this company. I figured that out after being on there a month. But, again, they didn’t make a penny off me.

  60. I just tried Thumbtack. The third quote I submitted was to Michael R….As soon as I submitted the quote, his last name was displayed….Rectumitch….$3.33 paid for some wiseass playing a joke….When people have to pay to request a quote, maybe I’ll try it again….for now it is what it is….a big waste of time and money.

  61. Allan Sprecher

    I should have known I was heading for trouble when Lauren @ Thumbtack customer service suggested that I use a PC instead of a Mac to upload my images. I had to e mail my images to Thumbtack to be posted on their site.
    Second flag, multiple requests for different projects from the same “Janielle’. Each request for a bid
    is money out of my pocket and into Thumbtacks.
    Play the lottery if you want to make some money. Or go to work for Thumbtack.
    Now, if somebody wants to verify what I am saying …..Go to Thumbtack and request a photographic service. You will have 5 bids immediately ….. 5 photographers will have just paid to bid on your project.

  62. Pat

    It’s almost like Thumbtack is trying to fatten up their resume base using the carrot in front of the mule trick. Email blasts from different on-line job boards now have Thumbtack listings in them.

    For example, one company in Massachusetts uses this –
    …”postings are either actual positions we had available at the time of posting and/or are representative of positions we typically fill or expect to fill”.

    So…you go for an interview for a job that may or may not be real and interview with someone who may or may not have a clue.

    Now this is where Thumbtack really shines and distances itself from the pack! Here you pay to bid on a job that has little or no information and if lucky, get to have an email party with a perspective client who asks questions, gets answers and then magically disappears!

    Oops, another $10.00 down the drain. But it was fun, wasn’t it?

  63. Thumbtack sent an email today, quote:

    “Beginning Monday, March 10th, the window to quote on a customer’s request will shorten to 24 hours. Some of you may have to send quotes more quickly once this change is made, but we are confident it will help you win more business.

    We always email customers each time you send a quote or message. In addition to those emails, we’ll now email the customer to remind them to call or message you once we’ve closed the quoting window.”

    Well looks like they are helping speed up the process and I like the extra reminder. I think it’s a smart move to shorten the timeframe before customers lose interest in going to check their quotes. Nice to see a change being made this week, hopefully it helps some people out.

    • Ron Sistare

      Hi Kayla
      I’ve scrolled thru the entire comment board and never read my concern…why would anyone post a link to TT on their own site? First, it indicates implicit support for the company and second, your own site can then open the door to other photographers who you (and I) are in competition with. Let the bidding war begin, at my expense.

      • Hi Ron,

        Thanks so much for posting a question here. Sorry for my late response.. this thread is getting pretty large!

        For me, I had the TT link on the bottom of my website. Most people who visit a site stay at the top of the website, click through the menu, view a few things and then are on their way if they are not serious about your service. So for them to actually get to the point where they read the fine print at the bottom is really rare. In my case, I was never worried about that chance of them leaving my site through the TT link.

        Ever since I put the link on my site and received my points for doing so, eventually I just removed it from my site. You can definitely do the same.

    • JRM

      I wrote to them about that and got no reply. That’s usually the case. They care nothing about the people who pay them. I told them that their idea isn’t going to help if they don’t provide ways for people paying for the leads can’t contact the customers. This is my experience with them for over a year…..

      Thumbtack sucks. People put in a request for a job. They get 3 or more contractors who contact the customer vie email within Thumbtack. 99% of the customers do not provide a phone number nor any other way of contacting them except via Thumbtack.

      I was with Thumbtack for a long time. I gave them a fair shot. Out of all the customers I responded to, many times being the first contractor to respond, and despite having a 5 star rating, I would say that less than 10% responded to my contact. Even after 3 or 4 times of contacting people, they still didn’t respond. Out of the ones who did respond, I’d say maybe – MAYBE I got 1 or 2 jobs, small jobs. Not worth the money. Avoid them.

      A lot of contractors complain. Customers don’t respond. People leave fraudulent feedback from outside of Thumbtack and from within Thumbtack – people who were never hired by a contractor that is. There’s a lot of problems with them. You’d be a lot better off advertising locally or finding some other way. There’s dozens of lead chaser companies that are better and more dependable with legitimate leads. With Thumbtack, you have no way of knowing if the leads are legitimate. Thumbtack could be posting jobs to get your money, which might explain why most prospects you reply to – even if you’re the first contractor to reply and even if you have a 5 star rating, they don’t ever reply. Another BIG PROBLEM is that you’re at the mercy of the customer. There is NO WAY to contact the customer by phone 99% of the time because they don’t provide their phone numbers. That’s another reason to believe Thumbtack is providing leads that they post themselves. The bottom line: I think Thumbtack is shady, and I suspect them of being full of crap. They’re not worthy of your money. That’s my opinion from my own experiences with them for over a year.

  64. Hi,

    Just want to add my 2 cents about TT… I’ve been using it for about a year now with mixed results. If you are able to offer your services at a low price, it can work out well. If you are selling a luxury product or something more expensive, it may not be worth it.

    For every ten leads I send out, about one responds. For every three people who respond, I book a gig, so essentially I need to send out 30 quotes to get one gig, which in my category costs about $100 for the 30 quotes.

    Yes, there are false leads, bad leads, unqualified leads, ok leads, and tire kickers, but there are also good leads.

    • That’s the word many of us seem to have in mind about TT: mixed. Wish there was a really solid way to get leads but without having to put our pricing much lower than it should be. Too much effort goes into all of the quoting as well to get hardly any response back.

      Hopefully the changes they have rolled out in the past month (and the past week) will help those of us who are still giving Thumbtack our best shot.

  65. drew

    Im pretty sure you are a plant.
    How do you have the time to reply to basic complaints on a marginal website for MONTHS?!
    I highly doubt you are anything but a PR move by thumbtack to ease the stress of hard working professionals who are wasting their money with this fraudulent site.

    • drew

      I just realized this is your site so never mind. It makes sense for you to monitor this thread.
      Either way, Im very dissatisfied in the TT process.

  66. Tim

    I have just started using Thumbtack and I’ve had mixed results. I will continue to utilize this service, but I do feel that some of the leads are contrived, or “phantom” leads produced by TT. This is a good place to build a portfolio.

    • It does feel like a good place to start a portfolio. But now that I use it less, I feel a little upset that my reviews there aren’t on my Facebook page instead.. seems I am getting better results and exposure from FB lately.

      So just keep that in mind if you ask people to review you. It’s hard to get folks to review you sometimes and remember to do it, so choose the “garden” for your reviews wisely.

  67. When I emailed Thumbtack customer service they said, “Whenever a consumer sends a message to you directly from your profile page, you can respond to that request free of charge.” So, I went to the site, looked for lessons, then piano lessons, and couldn’t find a way to see individual profile pages. I’m not computer illiterate in the least, so they are certainly forcing the consumer to “submit a quote” rather than see everyone’s profile so they are able to get a sense of the vendors and pick and choose their quotes accordingly. If they really let people search on their own and THEN send a lead request, along with better questions and a phone number, the lead would be worth the money. Otherwise, I am done and out because, conspiracy theorist that I am, I do believe most are phantom leads send by Thumbtack itself.

  68. Chuck

    Wow, thank you for this analysis. I almost signed up for this company today then decided let me do a little ‘due dilgence’, first. Based on what I read here, I am not even going to try to use this company, it sounds like a huge, expensive, disorganized mess.

    Any pointers to services that actually make sense to look at would be welcomed.

  69. Thanks to Kayla all the posters, both vendor and end user, for the informative insight and general comments.
    I do use thumbtack, religiously, for my competition strategy and I`m not losing any sleep over it.
    I also use “TT” for filling in empty appt slots, getting general pricing for my personal and business requests as well as actually hiring people to work along side me as a sub when required.
    I use these sites like a tool, not just an an actual source for income.
    Sites like CL, TT, SR and others are basically tools and do not depend on them or the end user for guarantees of service and income generation, basically insulating these websites from any intergration into personal, commercial or business models.
    Although I personally think these referral models can generate client base, have potential and interesting platforms, it does`nt meen squat on my bottom line.
    Thumbtack needs to revamp many aspects of the interaction and vendor pricing is excessive in some catergories.
    It`s basically…buyer beware.
    Right Luke?
    Johnny the Handyman

    • John the Handyman,

      Thanks for posting! I used it pretty religiously too for a long time – I completely understand where you’re coming from. I am so glad TT is working out better for you and hope it only improves in time! Which site is SR?

  70. Pat

    I was a thumbtack member a while back and never really got into using the site because I thought they created phoney leads . I sent an email about this and received a response that they assured me they don’t. So I gave it a shot, about 15 leads later, nothing. What a waste of money, I thought maybe people were just going on and not serious about having the work done then I noticed that 2 “leads” came through back to back at 515 am ,which I find very odd that the 2 people were both up looking at it at the same time. Either way, the website is a rip off , I would never recommend it to an enemy of mine and I hope it gets shut down in the near future. Am I the first to complain about the same thing from thumbtack? Lol . Eat a dick thumbtack you will never scam me for another penny.

  71. Josh

    I have been using TT for 2 weeks. I must say it is disappointing to come across posts that describe exactly how I feel aswell. There needs to be more incentive for hiring and less opportunity for Joe to sit on his couch and think, “I wonder how much someone would charge me for X”, while not being serious about needing work done. Definitely more details from customers. And customers need to know Pros are paying. Also, TT needs to vet the “Pros”….they say they do but they don’t. I am on their list, however I only provided them with one license…not my contractors license or my insurance. I’mddefinitely getting frustrated.

  72. Nicole

    I am a hair stylist and came across thumbtack about 3 years ago when I first started my business. I actually received an email from them! It’s said “we at thumbtack think your business would be a great match”. Then had a link to the site. I was super excited and honored that they found me. Don’t know quite how… But wanted to check it out. I ended up making a profile and took a lot of time adding information about my services. Then I noticed the more you fill out the more “points they award you”. Claiming the more points you have will rank your busniess in a different category. I’m now a gold member for filling out all these question and answer forms about myself and my busniess. Again took this very seriously and spent a lot of time, days actually, making it as professional and informative as I could. Answering almost any question that a potential client may have on my profile. Added over 40 pictures of my work even. After completing my page a couple hours later I got my first lead!! That’s when I learned that I had to pay to even write them back. At that time they had a flat fee for a single lead or a month I believe. It was so long ago I can barely remember. I just know I was lead on to believe it was free. Well they really need to state just a free profile basically. It is good advertising if someone searches on google and comes across your page. I’ve learned the more reviews you have the higher it ranks you on google. Also I listed my page as “Hair Extensions” the for the tilte. Then my business name, my name, and then hair extension specialist. That way when people on google searched for hair extensions, my business name, or hair extension specialist in my area it will pull up my page everytime! I learned many loop holes. Also I added my phone number randomly in some of my information on my profile. Since they scan for phone number and will edit it out before posting your profile. I just added spaces between the numbers and it worked! Example: (x x x) x x x – x x x x instead of (xxx)xxx-xxxx. When a client finds you through a google search or other search provider they can the click on your page and there is then an option for them to send you a message. This is called a free lead because they spacifically requested you and didn’t use thumbtacks system to gather quotes. A free lead!! Over the years I have paid probably $20 max with thumbtack. I recently was awarded 30 free credits?? Don’t know how or why but I did with no explanation. So I started using the site more since I refused to pay to send a message when I was getting plenty of traffic from google sending people to my page and then would just called me since I had a phone number posted. I also realized that clients that didn’t even find me through thumbtack could leave me great reviews. Which I tell current clients they can leave me a review on my thumbtack page. The more reviews, the higher I was listed when I searched for my services on google. Now 14 reviews later I’m 2nd to pull up on google search when typing in hair extensions. I’m extremely pleased with this since thumbtack ranks very high on searches and pulls up before many other websites. So this is a plus! Now to the negatives… Since I had these free credits I was writing back to requests. At this point I was getting 3-8 a day. The more I wrote back to people the more thumbtack would send my way. Prior to these 30 free credits I was getting 1 a day or 2-3 days with none. Which was fine with me since I would get calls daily from women saying they found me on thumbtack for searching on google and loved my “reviews”! The reviews are the key and hacking their system by adding my number 🙂 So I would send out very long professional messages back to these requests and out of 15 of them only got 1 person to reply back and hired me. Out of 3 years I’ve only been hired 6 times through thumbtacks system. I’ve been hired over 100 times from people seeing my page and not going through thumbtacks quote request. I agree with everyone that thumbtack is a scam. So I only continue to use them as free adervitisng. I always thought many people that work for thumbtack would sit and write fake leads to people but never had any proof. But I could usually pick out which were real and which where fake. Real leads would have messages attached usually and more info about the service requested. Compared to fake ones that hair very little info. Well today I have proof that my theory is true! I received a lead from a Brittany R. and a very short message about having short and thin hair, and that she was worried about damage, and that another stylist had caused color damage resulting in breakage. Then not even 30 seconds later another request from Ashley J. and guess what, word for word message EXACTLY the same but from a completely different name and location. Seriously?! What are the odds of that. At that time I knew this was all a scam. You never really know if your paying to send a lead just to their company for them to make money. It’s such a risk. I wanted to pass along what I’ve learned and how I’m able to play thumbtack like they play these busniess. Remember in your title make sure to have key words of your services in as many places as possible so search engines can find you. Have your clients leave you reviews! Even if they didnt find you from thumbtacks system. Last, space out your phone number!! Serious clients will call and others that are not serouis won’t.Even if they don’t hire you, at least your not loosing any money! Hope this helps everyone. Good luck!

  73. V

    My problem with TT is the credit pricing structure doesn’t match value with potential cost for the job. For instance, I’m supposed to spend 5 credits to submit a quote for event photography, and those job’s can be estimated anywhere from $100 to $2000. There’s no point in bidding smaller jobs when the cost of the credit remains event regardless of the cost of the job. Same goes with Portraits, etc.
    This alone makes the actual cost of credits way overpriced. Won’t be using again.

  74. Lou M

    I am graphic designer who tried to use Thumbtack to get some work. It did not work. I bid on 5 jobs for a total of $25 and got no responses. So I wasted $25.

    There are gigantic problems with thumbtack. The first is having to pay to bid on a job that may or may not exist. I recently bid on a job for a printer who said he need a graphic designer. He responded by asking me if I needed any help with printing. Turns out he was just trying to drum up business for himself. Cost him nothing, but I had to pay $5.

    Another problem for graphic designers is that the jobs are tiny and if they actually exist, the people requesting them expect you to work for nothing. It’s not worth it to me to waste money on such little work which leads nowhere.

    If you are a professional graphic designer don’t waste your time and money on thumbtack. Use my $25 as a lesson and save yours.

  75. Wow, such a great weath of info here from many viewpoints, thank you! I signed up for Thumbtack a few weeks ago but have yet to bid. Before I even realized that I had to pay to bid, I would look at these requests and think 1. I don’t have enough info here. So then I thought I would be just sending them my standard rates/packages which I’ve put a lot of work into that are already listed on my website and 2. If these folks are requesting bids rather than just googling services in their area then chances are its an attempt at the cheapest possible cost. That is the scenario that initially turned me off. Plus, would I want to pay that much per lead just to send a person to my website, if, a big if, that even happened. It’s discouraging tha tso many cheapie poor photographers exist that they are dragging more talented ones down to that level. So I felt desperate bidding to be the cheapest would be the wrong road to go down. Then, a job closer to home appeared so I thought Id reply and that’s when I found out you had to buy these credits which got me wondering even more how this might play out. So I googled TT reviews and found this. I still don’t understand why TT would be such a big draw for the customer when it is not complicated to google a vendor, whose website you can visit (and usually find out pricing) plus see their work. I suspect TT may also give the customer a false sense of security about the vendors because it doesn’t sound like they screen them very well either. If it’s for reviews, you can find those elsewhere, not to mention those can be gamed on amy site. That pretty much leaves it down to what most people have said which is that most leads arent serious and if they are, they are looking for the cheapest prices they can get.

  76. guest

    thumbtack is an obvious SCAM! i got tons of supposed “leads” on design work. when i saw one that was specifically what i specialize in, i went to submit a quote, only to be shocked to see the website wanted to CHARGE me simply to send an offer to give an estimate! not even a real estimate! just letting them know i exist and can give them an estimate over the phone if they call me to answer more questions (there’s absolutely no way i can give an estimate without any information as to the length of the project, what’s involved, etc.) i did NOT pay them because i felt that was wildly unfair! they do not need my money to let me tell a client i exist. so i did not go through with that page. guess what happened? within hours i was FLOODED with “other” supposed clients that wanted the EXACT same specialized design work. i had NEVER seen anyone request that design work type specifically before, and the one time i actually click on “submit a quote” to that specific request, then close the page when they want me to pay, they suddenly get flooded with tons of requests for THAT specific design work?????? NO WAY! SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM!!! i had been getting 1-2 leads a day for generic “design” work. then as soon as i turned down actually paying for this specific design work, i was getting over 5 fake leads a day ONLY for that specific design work. yeah right!!!!!!!!!! they caught on that type of work interested me, then tried to bait and scam me by only showing me that type of work again in mass fake leads hoping i’d jump on one of them and pay them money! SCAM! it’s such an OBVIOUS scam it’s ridiculous!!! PLEASE DO NOT GIVE THIS SCAM SITE A SINGLE CENT OF YOUR MONEY!!!! THEY NEED TO GET SHUT DOWN ASAP! i do not doubt there are a few “real” clients out there who stumble upon the site and submit requests, but the majority of “leads” are FAKE leads thumbtack sends you themselves to scam you and STEAL from you! DO NOT USE THUMBTACK!!

  77. Sam

    Kayla, how can you (and some others) NOT see the absolute FRAUD potential – it is SO EASY for TT or anybody to “create quote-bots” that post “vague bid requests” and the “bots” really may be automated ‘bots’ or may be a bunch of TT employees – THINK ABOUT IT! All I (as TT) would have to do is make a bunch (thousands) of “dummy accounts” to post bid requests, for stuff I don’t even want done. It’s the PERFECT SCAM – and I’ve asked my FBI family member to look into Thumbtack.
    And TT collects $$$ from every service pro, since we pay for each lead, which is NOT MADE CLEAR, UP-FRONT on their site!
    It is WRONG! FRAUD is when you SCAM by telling us it’s FREE – it is NOT free – that is fraudulent and misleading!!! I had ZERO IDEA that I would have to ‘pay’ for leads, because THEY DON’T TELL YOU THAT! Those of you wanting REAL leads, at list in the IT industry, try “” – I always had outstanding results with them, and they NEVER CHARGE, UNTIL YOU *DO* THE WORK! They send you the jobs via smartphone & PC and the quickets to click accept is the one who gets the job – they simply take a “percentage” of the pay, AFTER the work is done – ONFORCE is the most ideal one I’ve seen so far. They even require you to call them, in person, on the phone, BEFORE you are accepted as a “real service pro.”

    • Sam

      And the KEYS to the fact it is a SCAM are as follows:
      0) NO ESCROW! A *true*, NON-scam system would hae a way to force people who want to ask for bids to place a deposit in escrow – this way, the requester is serious, else Thumbtack can have “fake request” accounts created by its own employees, friends, shareholders, etc.; and those “fake” accounts generate “vague descriptions,” that are NEVER INTENDED TO BE REAL! This equals INSTANT MONEY for Thumbtack.
      1) They only require ONE SIDE to pay (that’s “us,” the service pros)
      2) Most descriptions are “vague” – with ZERO vetting – by that, I mean they should FORCE people who want bids to enter MINIMUM NECESSARY INFO – not like: “need help getting laptop to work.” Instead, should be: “I have HP 2450 laptop, with cracked sceen; need to get screen replaced.” For IT work, you MUST list Model #, Operating System, detailed problem description, etc. And many people have caught Thumbtack on this very SIMPLE CHANGE they need to make.

  78. Jarred Phillips

    I have just informed the Attorney Generals office of California about Thumbtack. They have already had 30 formal complaints filed. Its gonna get fun !!!!!!!

  79. Mike Smith

    To all music teachers out there PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS SITE AS IT IS A SCAM! PERIOD! The “leads” are fake and make no sense . When I finally did call a “lead” they had no idea about what I was talking about then quickly changed their mind and told me they would call me back and never did. It is a scam. Please use Any other source than this. I will be reporting them to the BBB tomorrow and am considering legal action. It is such a blatant scam once you get inside. They are scum for screwing over people who sincere desire to work. The life of a working musician is hard enough without these people stealing from us !

  80. Ken

    Well, I’ve had my suspicions for a while. I actually joined TT several months ago, and out of a ton of quotes…I actually got 2 phone calls… of which booked a session. However, the ‘booking’ seemed strange, and even after a firm date/time, he never responded back to me, and, of course, never showed. The other call was for a wedding shoot. I had purposely low-balled that quote since it was close in both location and time. When I spoke to the person who identified herself as the bride’s mother, again, the entire conversation seemed very ‘off’….kind of like when you get that phone call at home from the Police Benevolent Society asking for a $200 donation. So, one with limited response and one no show. It’s also interesting to note that my email is hosted through GoDaddy….and for no reason at all, suddenly the quotes from TT stopped coming in. However, when I changed my contact email to a mail server (Yahoo) less concerned with blocking, they started again. Since my day job is a network admin/engineer, I immediately see something wrong here. Apparently there are some who are doing well with TT, unfortunately, I am not one of them.

  81. I’m currently trying Thumbtack out, although I do have reservations about it. The whole model is a bit convoluted – pay to send a quote? Really? There is also the fact that I’m put in a position of having to place a lot of trust in a company I absolutely do not know. I get a request for a quote, and I pay to send it, but how can I be absolutely sure that the person I sent the quote to even exists? It would be all too easy to create a system that randomly sends out fake quote requests to professionals in a particular area/industry. We have no way of knowing – except Thumbtack’s word, which means nothing to me, and should mean nothing to anyone.

    • I agree with Steve. I am a Housekeeper and looking for jobs and believe Thumbtack is a scam! I never get a response and have even called CS and got free credits used them all and no job!!! Im even cheap!!!! Its worthless!

  82. George Johnson

    I have submitted about 20 quotes and received 1 response that ended up getting me one job. No response at all to every other quote. I am a PC Tech Support Tech and have been in the field for 32 years. I was trying this service to increase my business, or at least attempting to increase my business! I am not certain if the site is a scam or if it is just a poor design where the clients get free quotes and the contractors pay just to bid. Whatever the case my opinion FWIW is this site is a waste of time and money for a contractor!!

    I am on another site that I get Work Orders from that I can bid on. If I get the job they collect 10% of what I get paid. If I do not get the job I pay nothing!! This works for me!! If Thumbtack took that approach I would be interested, but for now I think I will be deleting my account!!

    Best of luck to you all!!
    George E Johnson
    DOC’s Computer Service

  83. LDR

    This site is a BIG scam and a waste of money.
    I submitted and quotes and any returns…

    What confirmed for me that this site is a scam is when I received a request for a quote for a Wedding Photographer and a Wedding Videographer by the same person on the same day.
    The only problem the two events were on different days in different cities.
    That was a big RED Flag for me that they are stacking false requests just to make money.

    I requested my credits back from Thumbtack, I’ll wait to see what happens.

    • Shara

      You should capture screen shots of the fake leads you were sent, then post them on their Facebook pages. Also he best thing to do is report them to the BBB like I did. I was refunded $78.00

  84. Kayla, I agree with you 100% on this! I’m a freelance stylist/closet organizer and interior decorator in Houston. I recently found out about Thumbtack and created a profile. I answered all the questions in detail, got clientele to leave great reviews, EVERYTHING. The minute I began sending in quotes, I immediately became suspicious. First, stylist quotes were only $3.33 but interior design quotes were $11.67. Doesn’t make sense. Also, I often found that there wasn’t enough information for me to truly determine the price of the service needed. Instead of leaving a bogus quote that might change and cost me a client/project, I would always offer a FREE consultation to the potential client; allowing them to meet me in a public place to discuss the project in further detail before I even entered their home. I was hoping that would build trust because I was truly invested, but I received nothing in return. I would even send follow-up messages after the client viewed the quotes; reminding them I was still open to meeting in person. No one replied.

    I want to believe this is a legit site with fair business practices, but I’m beginning to think otherwise. Like you said, I don’t believe the customers understand that we pay to send them quotes while they’re free to pick and choose (or not) who they decide to work with. If they did have to pay, they would be a lot more serious.

    I’m done using Thumbtack. I’ll get my clients the hard way; word of mouth references and online advertising… Thank you for writing this!

  85. I’m mainly a video content provider / consultant.

    I guess I was one of the lucky ones at first. I booked two real jobs from TT. One even called right after my bid. That was a month ago. Since then, a waste of time and effort. 3-10 leads a day. I ignore them now. I need to realign my offerings.

    Interesting that everyone is so competitive here that they’re not sharing the sites they DO like! 😉

    I’ll need to check out

    Thanks for posting this Kayla.
    I’ll check out you FB page.

  86. Sidney Johnson

    I Would Like To Thank Mark A. Hill , From Mark’s Moving & Storage In South Fla. For The Wonderful Experience Of The Moving Service That Was Provided At Reasonably Competitive Rates .

  87. I have been using Thumbtack for over a year and go back and I believe that in some instances there are honest people out there looking for services and the others are just looking for responses and not willing to commit. When I signed up I had four actual clients in the first month and I am still working with those clients today on repeat and new business. From those clients I have been referred and helped many other clients outside of Thumbtack. The quote requests have to be looked at carefully, felt out, asked questions when possible before submitting a quote. I add in my phone number on all quotes and ask if I can call them, they just have to message me back with their phone number. I give them a call to action in my quote. if they haven’t responded to me in a few days I message the person. Some respond, some don’t. I have submitted a lot of quotes and spent a lot of money to send those quotes. I do think the system is hard to navigate and some quotes have been refunded after 48 hours just because people don’t know to retrieve the messages. There’s a lot of technically challenged people out there. I do get frustrated when people don’t respond and when they cancel a quote without telling me why. I have communicated with Thumbtack help service to better their services and they are always courteous and respond and have refunded where necessary. It’s all a number game and as one person here advised, hide your phone number and website throughout your profile to be found. I’m going to that now. I still believe the way to get contacts and jobs is through referrals and face to face contacts. I don’t believe that Thumbtack affords that and the competition on each quote is stiff. Because my business is international, I can take quotes from everywhere, however if your business requires you to be local than Thumbtack might not be the best result for you. It’s a lousy way to advertise. There are other more efficient ways to advertise and find clients. Good luck to all you who come across this message. and I’m going to advertise right now. I am the go to person for all your writing, editing and book promotion needs.

  88. Shara Jones

    My two cents…..Thumbtack does not have any sort of age check system in place. How do I (or anyone else) know the age of the person contacting us. Yeah yeah yeah I know Thumbtack made a slight change to their service requests (now the customer has to check off a box listing ages18-25, 25-40 and so on) This is about as “secure” as an underage kid clicking “agree” on a porn site. At the end of the day Thumbtack still has no reliable age gate system in place. Next problem, people shopping for service do not realize that service pros have to pay to communicate with them. Next problem, lack of personal info (first and last name, phone # and an email address) Next problem people looking for service who are just window shopping (see above gripe) Next problem atrocious customer service, the worst ever. Next problem low quality, so called service “pros” who undercut educated and qualified service pros. Next problem thumbtack does not check to see if the above mentioned service “pros” are licensed. All in all this company sucks, they just dont get period. My advice DO NOT do business with them at all. Let them die a slow death.

  89. brenda

    I have had a very good experience with Thumbtack. obtain my share of work through good solid quotes to my leads.


  90. Thumbtack is a great idea not executed properly. First, clients should be paying for the service to find “quality” creatives. Also, the clients need to vetted with mandatory fields similar to a creative brief. There are many factors that go into an accurate quote and the information that clients currently provide is not even close to being sufficient. Whenever creatives are put into a bidding war without information regarding what they are bidding on you’re going to have unhappy clients and creatives. Lose, lose.

  91. As a consumer who has used Thumbtack to find a roofer I feel it would be important to know that all the contactors that contacted me had to pay. I agree that the website can easily be used for estimates and not for actual hiring. As a consumer I should have to pay a small fee. This will encourage people to use who contacts them and only those that are serious about their need.

  92. Jeff P

    I am a pro that uses thumbtack successfully. Different lead services work in different areas for different industries. I did notice a deluge of complaints from people in the photography/ dj industries. The author Kayla hits it on the head. I used to be a dj. Then every drug addict kid with a laptop and a napster aided pirated music library started booking gigs for VERY lowball prices. I quit, and my old partner is struggling still.
    My good friend actually went back to being a camera op. for a local news outfit as his freelance photography work dried up. 1. Bad economy. (feed kids, or get pro photos taken) 2. MANY kids get a decent point and shoot and a copy of adobe and think they are a “pro photographer”. Client gets 2 quotes, 1 for $300, one for $1200. What do you think they go to? Not really a thumbtack issue. Says more about the effects of the current economy and the state of your industry and technology. It is horrible, but it’s not like you need real credentials to be a photog. You cannot blame a lead service for uneducated clients and unprofessional competition. I am lucky, as my current industry is very exclusive with extensive licensing needed to operate.

    • Jeff P

      Oh, and my industry is Pest Control. 7 quotes given, 2 refunded, 2 booked. $29.00 spent, including the $7 background check. 2 booked jobs came in at just over $1000. I have previously spent up to $20 on every $100 to get leads. You do have to watch out for “tire kickers”, but if they mis or underrepresent their info in the original request, email T.T. cust service. I got refunds for viewed quotes twice because the client didn’t know what they were looking for. If it doesn’t work for you, great. However, that does not make it even close to a “scam” There are real scams out there, this isn’t one of them. Business wise, it is just a jungle out there right now, especially in a luxury industry like DJ or photographer. Lets face it, most financially sound brides are shopping on “the knot” etc… Not a T.T. issue..

  93. Don’t waste your time filling out their website form requesting their services for assistance with finding a qualified cleaning service. I did just that and received an email that basically stated either no business was interestered, available, or qualified to do a simple wipe down job in my apartment home that I, myself, am unable to do due to disabilities. Really ticked off about the time I wasted doing this and waiting a couple of days for a response.

  94. Luckily I only had to spend $4 before realizing Thumbtack is a waste.

    It’s been almost a year since Kayla Selans published this article and I see that a thumbtack representative was one of the first leave a comment……yet here we are. Still nothing has changed. While I see no evidence pointing to thumbtack being a scam, I do see that it benefits only a small percentage of all the pros looking for legit work.

  95. It’s hard to find your page in google. I found it on 16 spot,
    you should build quality backlinks , it will help you
    to get more visitors. I know how to help you, just type in google – k2 seo tricks

  96. Jack H

    I have been using Thumbtack for less than a year and have received quite a bit of work from them. But, after they increased the price for bids (I run my own DJ service), I am seriously scaled down what I bid on.

    Just like a few others have noted, I have also documented actual evidence of fake leads. Despite Thumbtack claiming they verify their leads, they do not. They also do NOT actually screen all of the so-called “service pros.”

    Thumbtacks “leads” are questionable — AT BEST! Reporting Thumbtack to the BBB does nothing. The BBB has no relevance whatsoever as they have no power. Thumbtack just copies and pastes the same response they do to everyone else. Thumbtack now has become nothing but a source for bottom-feeders looking for bottom-feeder vendors. Thumbtack also refuses to weed out any of the price-shopper/tire-kickers who have NO intention of hiring anyone — at least any time soon.

    I’m in the process of filing an official complaint against Thumbtack with my state’s Attorney General’s office, along with California’s AG office.

  97. Hi Kayla,

    I’m glad i stumbled across your article today, and thank you for your thoughts…I’m a photographer and started using Thumbtack last year, probably around November. I was way too excited at first about potential work and answered quotes like crazy, and got few replies. As of today, ~8 months later, I’ve had 14 jobs from Thumbtack and I’ve spent $945 to get those jobs. Which is an INSANE amount of money for so many quotes I’ve sent never to be returned. Doing the math, i’ve sent about 565 quotes and landed 14 of those as jobs. That’s a 2.4% success rate!! LOL. I think that Thumbtack could be a potentially fantastic service – it certainly is a great thing for the client. But I agree that there is a lot of ignorance and the logic of the site / money paid per quote needs a lot of work. As a client, I wouldn’t know that the provider had to pay a fee simply to message me. And I think that needs to be stated up front. It may not make a lot of difference, but I think it needs to be made clear. I also think that the price is too high per quote. Reading through the comments I saw it used to be subscription based ($7/month for unlimited quotes) and I think that is very reasonable. I’d certainly keep using it for that. I’m probably going to keep using it, but sparingly. I can’t use it much, it’s taking a huge portion of my profit…and isn’t worth it.
    On a side note, I love your work.
    My thumbtack is here:

  98. Mike

    I give up. Thumbtack is for customers with shallow pockets. I cut my “Day Rate” in half and the customer picks a kid with his mothers Rebel camera.
    My take on Thumbtack – a good place for Cheap-Os to find cheap labor. I’m a 30+ year professional and I’ve bid maybe 2 dozen jobs – and got “0” return for my money.
    I’m finished with this mess.

  99. Hi Kayla and all,

    We’ve come across your blog here at Thumbtack again and I wanted to let you all know that we’re paying attention to your feedback and making sure that our product development team is aware of all things that could be better with our site. I’d like the take a little time to explain some of the big issues that have surfaced in your comments.

    Firstly,I understand that some of the requests you receive may be fishy, and don’t have enough information to give a really great bid. As Kayla commented earlier, we’ve started rolling out more robust questions in our request forms. Many of our customers find Thumbtack when they do a Google search, and may not understand the type of information you need to submit a realistic quote. I realize this is a huge pain point, but it is something we’re aware of and working on. You can learn a bit more about what we’re doing to combat this problem here:

    We don’t generate fake leads or scam our professionals – the requests you receive are from real, interested customers who are actively seeking a service online. With that said, we recently surveyed our customers to find out what they truly look for when finding a professional – low price or quality work? among other things. The majority of customers stated that price is a factor, but not in the absence of quality. If you can provide a better service than your competitors, let the customer know that! Think of your quote as your way to introduce yourself to the customer and explain why you’re the best pro for the job. Simply put, here is my price, and this is what you get for your money when you choose me. Quality is reflected largely in your profile, as well. It looks like most of you would stand out compared to other professionals through your reviews, photo examples of work, credentials and experience. Your profile should reflect your personality and your business values. We’re actually starting a new team in our customer service center that will focus on helping new and existing pros create winning profiles and send great quotes every time.

    I wanted to also call out that a few of you suggested the customers make more of a commitment when they submit a request – by either a fee to send/cancel a request, or requiring certain information to be filled out on the request form. We don’t plan on ever charging customers, but this is excellent feedback and I can assure you we have some ideas in the works for customer pre-education or otherwise.

    Lastly I wanted to touch on our pricing model. The pay-per-quote model is based around two main ideas: the professional making an investment in their business with the freedom and control to choose when and where they spend their money, and matching the RIGHT professional to the RIGHT customer. We’ve tried other business models in the past including subscription models and commission based models. We decided that we want Thumbtack to be about the two ideas I mentioned above. You only pay to quote on the projects that match your availability and expertise, and the customer only hears from pros who are available and interested. In the long run, this creates a great experience for both parties!

    I want to drive home that we value being transparent as a company. We want you to be able to understand how Thumbtack works and how it can really become a useful investment tool for your business. This is why we tell professionals that you’ll most likely win about one in five quotes you send, and on average it takes up to ten quotes to land your first job. Putting in the time and effort definitely pays off, and we’ve seen it happen for thousands of people.

    Any time you have a concern or want to let us know what we can do better, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are what we are because of our professionals and customers – and who better to learn from than the people who are out there using our site everyday? Thank you for listening!

    Thumbtack Social Media Support

    • Leo

      Sorry Deegee but the damage control attempts aren’t going to cut it. Thumbtacks reputation is going down the toilet. If it weren’t you wouldn’t be on here (and the other rant riddled websites) trying to plead the companies case. Thumbtacks so called business model is a joke at best. Your check and balance system (the one you guys so proudly cheer about) SUCKS. Just look up and down this particular website, seems like a lot of unsatisfied customers to me. You and Ryan etc can say what you want. You can continue to use your pre-fabbed copy and paste responses. Bottom line is the shady business practices are going to catch up with you.

    • jeff


      The problem with Thumbtack is that you have up to 5 service providers provide quotes for one lead generation. If I run my own SEO and Adwords campaign, I am paying you for a lead that has 1/5 the value of a lead I generate myself, less actually, because I am competing on price with companies and individuals that many times don’t have liability insurance, don’t carry workman’s compensation insurance, and don’t pay FICA and sales taxes. They can’t based on the rates I have seen come back on quotes that two friends of mine submitted for work.

      Using Thumbtack undercuts my business viability not only by undercutting my own leads by paying you for poor leads to compete with mine, but undercuts by rewarding other businesses and individuals that aren’t playing by the rules. I hope the IRS can get the lists of jobs awarded to do an audit later on these people.

  100. First I want to say I don’t think Thumbtack is a scam but if you are trying to promote your business I would say it is not worth going through thumbtack to do it. I moved back to my hometown so I wanted to find an easy way to get my name back out there. I am a mobile DJ and have been so for over 20 years. I went through all of things thumbtack wanted me to do to promote my business (videos, pictures, past clients posted reviews for me) . So once I got my page in order I purchased close to $110.00 worth of credit over the past two months.
    Not saying all the leads were false but I think the majority of them were. I did some testing. I lowered my price from 400.00 to as low as 175 for a whole party and only got two responses. My opinion is thumbtack is legit but the people who use thumbtack are either spamers or people looking to get quality work for nothing. I basically wasted $110. Over a two month period is not that bad but it is still money wasted.
    Here is what I would do guys (which I plan on sticking to). When I started back DJing, I got my own website through Vistaprint. It only cost me 16 or 17 dollars a month. Make sure you put things on your website that promotes your business to the fullest. If you want (which is what I did for three months), you can pay extra money to get your website put closer to the front page of any search engine. The more people check out your site the higher ranking it will get of course:). I began to average two parties a month when I did that which easily paid for my website. I could have done more but this is a hobby more for me with a fulltime job and family.
    With having your own website you will get more customers that are legit and you don’t have to pay to put a bid in. They already know what you charge so if it is too much for them they can go to the next DJ.
    I am sure with thumbtack, you also have DJs who just want to do a party and may not have top of the line equipment that will underbid you like crazy.
    I have turned my website back on and I plan on going that route. Hope this was not too long but I wanted to give you my honest opinion.

  101. Yes Thumbtack is a scam. I have spent weeks monitoring their leads and their correspondences, blogs, and other online presences. Maybe they didn’t start out scamming but clearly this is what has happened. This is a start up company and obviously they have to raise funds quickly. They’ve already made millions. Here are some reasons why I believe it is:
    1. Never receive any correspondences from clients.
    2. Leads appear to be computer generated with a first name and last initial which could explain the shirt form closed ended question forms.
    3. I get 10 times the traffic of leads from Thumbtack that I have from any other online platform. At least 10 leads a day.
    4. Here’s the kicker! I also have an account with Gigmasters. I have received leads from Gigmaster and also bumped into the same clients there who had also submitted a quote on my business web page. This has not ever happened on Thumbtack.
    5. This is the end of August, special events slow down significantly around this time because of back to school and the weather transitions (I’m in Michiana area) so I find it incredible that Thumbtack can still find over 10 leads a day when all other networks have gone silent! lol

    The founder of Thumbtack may have started out with a genuine idea but any business person can see that if a start up company has been around and making millions of dollars but still does not care about improving leads is probably trying to raises as much revenue as they can before…? Whatever happens, happens.

    I’ve never spent a dime and wouldn’t. I called customer service to raise suspicion and they gave me 20 free credits. I only used a couple and seem right away that as soon as I submitted the first credit for a quote my leads from Thumbtack tripled go figure. People have to be careful. There are smart people out there that only want to raises few hundred million and move on.

    P.S. Even when you research Thumbtack they seem to have a lot of additional sites they use to promote themselves anonymously. Couple blogs are set up and they all sound scripted. Good luck America please start doing your research!

  102. I wish I had done more homework and found your site *Before* I had invested more than $100 and many hours building out my business Thumbtack presence. Like many others I was initially taken by the number of requests that came in, but soon found most of them were either people just “playing around” with the service with no intention to actually hire someone, or fraudulent listings created with fake profiles to generate profit for Thumbtack. Until Thumbtack institutes some kind of client verification and screening process, I’m done with them and paying for fake leads.

    Thanks for the valuable info.

  103. Tim

    SCAM alert!!! Fake leads. They just want your money. I tried for three months. 1 client out of 30+ bids. They have over 175 BBB complaints in 3 years. That’s more than one a week. Stay away!!!

  104. Tim

    Besides complaining here, contact local law enforcement and the FBI fraud site. We’ll get them off the internet soon. We all need to band together to do so.

  105. is a brand new startup. We designed the site to overcome the issues people have with Thumbtack, Craigslist and other lead generating websites. We offer $5.00 per month for your Business Listing and you get a Google indexed Public Profile we even include a Free Webpage for you to promote your business more. Unlimited customers contact you directly, no more paying for leads that are useless.

    All of this is accessible and indexed with the search engines. We got ourselves out of the middle and decided to let people get leads directly from customers without being charged for them. We are brand spanking new now but hopefully we will be able to offer a better way to help communities.

    Take a look at our site and you will see other listings and how accessible these people and businesses are for the consumer. Granted we are a startup but based on the feedback of people wanting a way to directly connect with customers, this is the least expensive way to get leads without a middleman.

  106. just launched and was built to overcome the issues people have with Thumbtack, Craigslist and other lead generating websites. We offer your public Business Listing and you get a Free Webpage. Everything you post is accessible direct to customers without paying for leads and we get you direct search results from the search engines.

    We are free until 2015 and since we connect you directly with customers, no paying for fake leads or tire kickers. You get direct contact with your potential customer. I would love to get everyone here on this post go and listed on our site. Let me know how we help and as I stated, you get listed for free. – Michael [email protected]

  107. Dan G


    TT works great for me. I signed up about 16 months ago and have done 81 jobs so far. It’s generating about 60-70% of my income. I think the key for me is diversity. I do videography, editing and photo retouch.

    So far customer service is excellent. On questionable leads I have gotten my credits refunded almost every time. When I’ve called them I speak with U.S. reps. My emails are answered within 24 hrs and usually within the hr.

    I spend about $200 a month and land about 1 in 10 of the leads. Most of the losses go to other vendors for whatever reason. But someone is getting the business. I don’t expect to win them all.

    I find about half my customers are not “cheap” but young and on a budget so I work with them to find a solution they can afford and be worth my time. The other half care more about quality than price or are corporate clients who can afford the best.

    1/3 are now repeat clients or have referred me.

    I think some of these complaints are coming from people who are in the wrong industry for TT (contractors for instance). Other simply don’t give it a chance. “I spent $30 and nothing!”. Well, I went in with both feet and spent about $200 before it relally took off.

    Reviews matter most! I like the fact that I could put outside reviews from past clients to jumpstart my profile.

    The last comment I have is paying for leads is nothing new. Remeber “Glen Garry, Glen Ross”?

    Thanks for a great blog and I hope my comments can help.

  108. Thumbtack isn’t worth trying as a professional.It’s not balanced.

    The consumer has all the power and most often they don’t take it seriously because it’s free as a consumer. As a professional you’re paying thumbtack for constant disappointment. I used the site for over a month and I put in hundreds of dollars to buy their credits and I only landed one job. When I had a problem with a consumer thumbtack %100 backed them and couldn’t help me one bit.

    DONT USE THIS SITE! You will be disappointed.

  109. Doug

    I became suspicious of the leads I was receiving from potential clients. I found one today that was a good match for what I do in Catering & Events, only to find I had to buy 40 credits, something like $66 just to quote to 1 lead, for 2 credits. Too much of an investment. I contacted support via email, and got nowhere with Ethan Miller, 1st to discuss buying less than 40 credits, then he kept insisting this customer was looking for a full-service caterer, and it would cost 4 credits. It was not a full-service catering request, no servers, no clean-up, no bartenders, just food setup. I argued this will Ethan at least 4 times, and he insisted this request was for full-service catering, that she wanted servers and all the extras. The request is still in my inbox, and clearly states set up only. After his final attempt at insisting it was full-service, I decided it wasn’t worth my time, so I cancelled my account and started researching reviews on Thumbtack. Not good. bogus leads, misrepresenting the cost of buying credits, misrepresenting the service requested to charge more credits… So alas, I’ve decided pay-per-click advertising is more affordable, more efficient and more targeted.

  110. I get 90% of my business from Thumbtack – mostly weddings. My marketing person tells me that what I’m paying for Thumbtack is well below the average for advertising/marketing. BUT I’m probably making about 1/4 to 1/2 of what other photographers – with my level of professional experience – make. I’ve shot for 20 years, but mostly on the side with only 4-5 weddings per year. Doing it full time now, so I’m taking everything that comes to me (except requests with very low budgets and very high needs). For long-term, financial stability, I’ll need to start bidding only on requests with much higher budgets. Otherwise, I need to increase efforts to find other avenues for attracting clients.

    • Trixie

      So aren’t you undercutting other professional photographers (and eventually yourself) by taking jobs at a 1/4 of what they’re worth. You’ll definitely need to take the bigger jobs, because eventually all clients will just assume that they can get a pro for the 1/4 or 1/2 rate people are accepting through online sites like TT. I’m thinking that your marketing person isn’t very good if they think that this is a good business model.

  111. Additonal comment: I should also figure in repeat business and referrals from Thumbtack clients, therefore providing me jobs with zero marketing or advertising.

  112. Don’t ever use Thumbtack. Sites like that just demonetize the industry. How in the hell am I supposed to complete with all the John Doe’s out there that are drastically slashing my throat and my prices just to win the job. Never again will I be a provider on a site like that….. EVER!!

  113. David Welch

    I hired maid service off the Thumbtack site.Two of them took five hours to ” clean” a 1500 sf home, it should not take more then three.

    When we saw the job we were horrified, they used windex to wipe off everything,yes, even the bathtub. I called the 800 # of these Angies List wannabees, it was a service center in Salt Lake. They refused to give me the corp. # in San Fran and said they could only reccommend someone else.
    They would not send ” qualified ” cleaners on there dime to compensate me for time and aggravation, ” not how we work”.
    There does not appear to be any adults at this company just clueless millennials stealing money from innocent victims like me and taking zero responsibility.They will learn just like air b and b and uber did, not to be cheap and run background checks on people they are recommending into
    peoples homes.
    I, of course, would never use this place again to clean my cats litter box.

  114. Marc W.

    Unless you’re one of the 5 that sit on their cell phones and monitor it every second — unless you respond to and of the ACTUALLY worth while posts within NANO-SECONDS –prepare to waste a LOT of money for constant disappointment.

    Even IF you get in and are able to land a quote unless you literally low ball yourself and services you’re not going to land a project. After the first couple attempts when it became clear I had to respond instantly and I got no reply to a quote I cut my professional services to about $10 an hour just to see if I would land something –NOTHING! Which also tells me this service is probably catering to kids / people that can work for peanuts. OR — MORE LIKELY–they’re fake posts generated BY THUMBTACK

    Oh yeah — and the positive reviews? Chances are very good that’s their happy money-stuffing staff stacking the reviews ala Amazon-esk.

  115. I’m coming late to the party on this blog. I wish I would have done my research before getting involved with Thumbtack. I spent over $300 in 2 weeks and sent over 60 quotes. I got 1 paying job for only $200. When I send a complaint in to Thumbtack support, I’m only told that I need to improve my profile. Thumbtack should require a fee from consumers looking for quote. That would weed out alot of the frivolous requests from people who I either suspect are getting paid to write these requests are are not seriously looking for a pro in the first place.

    I follow up on all my quote requests at least 3 times. Out of the 60 quotes I sent, I only got 2 people to respond with feedback.

    There is no accountability here and the pros are getting duped. It’s tempting, but don’t fall for it, Thumback will do nothing but take your money.

  116. Trixie

    So happy to see others questioning Thumbtack’s business practicies. I’m a interior designer who had considered using thumbtack, as I know some bands who have a few successes with it. After signing up, I started to get these requests. At first TT refused to let me bid unless I had references, after some time passed, they no longer required me to do that. Fine. But when I went to bid my first request, I found out that I had to buy a minimum of 50 credits at first. What? When I clicked on it, with no intention to buy, the cart said that I was buying 100 credits (and that was the minimum on that screen.) Of course, I didn’t buy them. I’m not going to try them out by investing that money when most of the leads were so vague. I contacted them and they said that “in our experience the most successful vendors buy a lot of credits at first so they can bid a lot.” Haha, in other words, for every $50.00 you spend, you might get one job?

    Here’s the thing that makes me think the leads are often bogus. For my specialty, I have had one male client contact me in so many years of doing this. One. If it’s a married couple, the wife contact me. That’s just how it is. Then tell me why suddenly 1/2 of my requests come from men on TT? Also, if you look at the style question for the potential clients, they list wildly diverse styles: Urban and country cottage, etc. Also they ask for odd things, like “color consultation and artwork.” Or 20,000 budget to add accessories to a bedroom.

    There is also the problem with clients not being vetted. I understand the clients being concerned about who is going into their home, as there have been many stories of felons being sent out on these gigs. But also for vendors like me, who have to go into someone’s home, with NO idea of their real identity. I’ve not put my photo on my profile, as many interior designers do, because the people bidding have NO accountability. They don’t have to be verified at all. TT should charge them a small membership fee, which requires a credit card verification, etc. I’ve cancelled my TT account, as I just do not feel comfortable at all with these faceless clients, and obviously fake requests.

  117. 1. Don’t charge a pro for work they bid for but don’t get.

    2. Refund the credits that they do bid back to them if they aren’t chosen.

    3. Charge people looking for help vs. Charging someone looking for work. We’re looking for work for a reason. …to make money.

    Thumbtack is a thorn in my side and I feel my money has been spent in vain and just blown on this site.

  118. Thumbtack Vendor

    Thumbtack, while a great idea, has problems that plague both consumer and vendor.

    The vendor is told that Thumbtack is an “introduction” service. Thumbtack sells the “introduction” to 5 vendors per request. The price of the “introduction to each vendor can be as low as $3 to over $20 per “introduction”. It’s possible that Thumbtack is collecting from multiple vendors 25, 30 or even 50 percent of what the consumer is looking to pay for whatever services they want. Thumbtack doesn’t want to reimburse or credit back to the vendors for people that say that they hired someone outside of Thumbtack. Better than 90% of the people that use Thumbtack do not provide contact information. Vendors can use the Thumbtack interface, but no phone numbers, business name or anything else other than a personal name is generally provided. The requests are usually very very generic and do not provide adequate information to provide pricing for the service they say they want. As such, you cannot provide a quote or need additional information from someone that you do not have contact information for. Thumbtack is also appearing to appeal to the bottom feeders of both vendor and consumer as of late. Who, as a professional, can or would provide services at a rate that would require subsidy from some other source of income? The expectation of most of the consumers that utilize Thumbtack is to find bottom of the pricing scale vendors.

    Consumers wouldn’t want to utilize a part time doctor or attorney, but Thumbtack allows non-professionals to buy “introductions”. While the free market is a great thing, the whole premise of Thumbtack as an introduction service for vendors and consumers is fraught with issues for both sides. Vendors spend money for “introductions” that are likely never going to amount to work and consumers have no way of knowing that the vendor is really a professional. It’s very easy to have a great web presence and do crap work. What’s to say that what you see online is actually work or testimonials that relate to the vendor?

    Bottom line: Vendor and consumer beware!

  119. Deborah Young

    I Have submitted many quotes on TT and have not gotten one person to follow up with me for more information. I think it is a big scam. Most of the possible clients are looking for dirt cheap. That isn’t fair to anyone trying to earn a living. I am a local caterer in the Little Rock, AR area and some people think you can do a full meal for a wedding with service and bartenders for under $10.00 pp. They should just call McDonald’s and forget it. I am done with them. They are making money and we are wasting our time.

  120. John Do

    I have been with Thumbtack for 2 years and although it used to work for me, within the last six months there have been drastic changes at the cost of THIER CUSTOMERS…. US, the PROFESSIONALS. I now believe Thumbtack is a scam.

    Please keep in mind that I was voted #1 by Thumbtack in my professional field and I was a pro-mentor for six months. Yet, I finally hit the point of extreme frustration and anger towards Thumbtack that I will now take my business and more important, my hard earned money elsewhere.

    1. Thumbtack does not educate the public on how it works…

    I have complained for over a year that Thumbtack does not educate the public on how THEIR company works. The public thinks that Thumbtack is free for them and the professionals. They are unaware that we, the pros pay a fee for each quote we send. With that, there are a lot of ‘window shoppers’. People who are not really wanting to hire but only use Thumbtack to ‘see what is out there.’ Can you imagine… paying for a quote to a ‘customer’ who has no intension of hiring? How about if this becomes the norm? Huge waste of time and money!!!! Does Thumbtack care? NO! They care about taking your money these days over protecting your investment with them.

    Thumbtack has recently done a lot of advertising as well as SEO and although this brings in new customers, it is bringing in a huge amount of people who are abusing the system (not ready to hire, double job submissions, window shopping, etc). I don’t blame the public because again, Thumbtack does not educate them on how their company works. I 100% blame Thumbtack. I believe that if the public knew that the pros pay a fee, they would wait till they were serious about hiring. Yet, I still see commercials for Thumbtack and there is no mention of pros paying a fee.

    2. Cost has gone up with absolutely NO rewards for it…

    The cost per credits have gone up and the credits per job has gone up however, the ability to have credits returned is now impossible. I used to have no problems getting my credits back if I felt I quoted on an unfair job. Not anymore. Thumbtack keeps changing their company policies without letting the pros know. And surprisingly, the changes hurt the professionals in their wallets. During the last six months (and unlike before that), I have called to get credits back and each time the policy changes in a way that I am denied the return of my credits/money.

    Here is a recent situation… A client cancelled a job 48 hours after she posted it. I called Thumbtack to get my credits back as I have always done before. I was told that the client must cancel the job within 24 hours of posting the job to get my credits back. ***I asked “Well, do you educate the public that they have 24 hours to cancel the request in order for the pros to have their money/credits returned?” She said “No”. So I said, “That makes no sense!!! If the customer does not know Thumbtack’s policies then how would you expect them to cancel within 24 hours if they aren’t truly ready to hire? So basically I am being punished for the client cancelling after a 24 hour period in which the client did not know about because Thumbtack did not educate them on how Thumbtack works? How does that policy make any sense?” She could not answer.

    3. I was a pro-mentor

    I was a Thumbtack pro-mentor for about six months. During that time I spoke with new pros who signed up to Thumbtack in hopes to give them some guidance. 70% of the people I spoke with said they thought Thumbtack was a scam because they quoted on jobs, followed up and yet, NO PRO was ever hired. They felt that there are robots and not live people adding these jobs. I could not argue because I have the same problem. Especially recently. I have page after page after page after page after page after page of jobs that I PAID to quote and yet, it sits there. I reach out to these ‘people’ several times (up to 5 letters) and yet, I get no response and no pro is ever hired. This has SIGNIFICANTLY increased during the past six months. I have about 90% of jobs where no pro was ever hired.

    4. Thumbtack does not listen to THEIR CUSTOMERS… US… THE PROFESSIONALS!!

    Myself along with many other friends who USED to be on Thumbtack has called daily during the past year and complained about how unfair Thumbtack is to the pros. We feel that Thumbtack protects the public over their customers. Thumbtack is on a dangerous slope because they want to grow fast and make a lot of money fast at the cost of their professionals rather than growing slow and keep their customers investments safe. I even suggested that if no professional is hired within a 60 day period, the pros who quoted on that particular job gets some if not all of their credits back. At least then we know our investment is protected. The answer as always… “I will forward this to our team”. I’ve been hearing that for over a year and I am sick and tired of it. Nothing has changed.

    Bottom line… when Thumbtack was a young company they were doing everything right. It was a great company with great customer service. Today, greed has come into play and they care more about taking your money over protecting your investment. They keep changing their company policy that does not protect the pros but actually hurts us. They refuse to educate the public on how their company works and with that, there is a huge amount of abusers and window shoppers. I also am starting to believe that there are robots adding in quotes because no matter how much I reach out to clients… I get no response (16 this week alone).

    I predict that Thumbtack will be out of business in two years. They are not the first to offer this type of service and those companies are out of business based on horrible practice/company policies.

  121. Happy to have found this blog on the TT topic for service pros. So many here have contributed some excellent suggestions. I too, like so many others, have come away looking at TT from an entirely new set of eyes in a relatively short span from the time I registered with TT. So sorry for those here who placed too much faith in TT, worked hard to win a bid, time spent with tailoring your quotes (lots of time). I feel that frustration as well. Hopefully TT is paying attention since there are now 217 comments from all of your wonderful pros! Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and excellent suggestions here.

  122. G L

    This is a great thread. Thank you for posting all your thoughts. I too am a Thumbtack Pro and one of the most disheartening facts about the bid process is that you don’t know who you are bidding to. I have over 20 positive reviews from hires and I am very proud of that, but I have also been the target of scammers on this platform. I have had multiple requests from people that have asked for my bank account number to transfer our fees to our bank account directly. This tells me that Thumbtack does not do the proper vetting of the clients. Also a disappointment is the fact that we never know the outcome of the proposition, did they hire someone else and who. Too much is left unanswered. We are are evaluating our continued use of Thumbtack.

  123. You got out at a great time! It is getting way worse now… they are charging now close to $50 per wedding ‘lead’ for a ‘client’.

  124. Moved On

    We are a small family owned and operated business just my husband and I found Thumbtack in mid 2016 it was great when it we first started the credits were not as expensive. Cost was $1.33 a credit and they cost for the lead was between 3 to 7 credits. It was perfect, that meant no more than $9 for the lead. Mind you we were charged even if the potential customer viewed the quote which was fine because not everybody viewed it and If they hadn’t viewed it within the first 48 hours it was an automatic refund. We were able to purchase 25 to 50 credits at a time which we could afford to invest. And get this we were only competing against five other professionals. The first increase that we saw was from $1.33 to $1.67 then they increase the number of credits per job to 5, 7 and 11 we still hung on and were able to land jobs. Still only competing against 5 other pros. The new idea forced us to never be able to send quotes to potential customers again. The pro is only charged of the potential customer contacts the pro. Which Thumbtack presented this idea to the pro as a benefit to the pro. Their justification was that because the pro would avoid paying for every lead that merely viewed the quote and didn’t follow through with hiring the professional. What they didn’t consider was that it didn’t matter if they did because we were able to only buy the amount of credits we could afford. The fee Thumbtack initially charged for the lead was low enough that we didn’t have to increase the amount we charge for our service to account for the insane cost for the lead as it stands now. Their so called “it will benefit the pro in the long run” doesn’t work for us not because we are paying for leads uselessly but because once we are contacted by the potential the pro is charged anywhere between $35, $46 or $60 for the same kind of leads we had been getting all along. Now the pro must include the outrageous cost for the lead into the price for their service at a much higher rate than when we initially began to utilize Thumbtack to generate business. The potential customer will not pay the amount we are now forced to charge for the type of service our business provides. Heres the kicker, not only did Thumbtack’s insane increase in cost per lead have negative effects on generating business through their platform,the pro is now for to compete against 10 or more other professionals.Thumbtack insinuated that the motive for the change was to benefit the pro. That’s an insult. You do the math at $10 being the most expensive rate per bid when we first started, multiplied by 5 professionals bidding and all five are viewed by the potential customer which about 98% of the time occurred, Thumbtack generated $50 for that request. Fast forward time and now at $25 times 10 professionals on the low-end Thumbtack created a scenario for themselves that they have the potential to profit $250 for the same lead. That’s a huge pecent increase in revenue for them. Now at $60 Thumbtack now has the potential to make $600 for that one request submitted through Thumbtack. I call that highway robbery. Whose to say they don’t hire people to sit and create false requests at the highest rate it would cost the pro should they be contacted and they have them contact all 10 pros everytime the possibly for Thumbtack’s revenue would be endless. It’s sad because we were truly proud of all the hard work we had put into building our profile were were hired over 125 times had 117 five star reviews and top pro for three years in a row. All for what, merely to be deceived in the end that Thumbtack was a genuin corporation looking out for their customers the professionals who used their site to make a living to feed their families and provide a roof over their heads. We were making money and so were they but it doesn’t matter our business will survive because just like we found Thumbtack back in the day there will always be competing programs developed such as Thumbtack. Prime example, Angie’s List and Home Advisor were popular sites used to hire a professional in all sorts of industries. Thumbtack came along and Angie’s List and Home Advisor became a thing of the past and now from reading this thread Thumbtack will soon be a thing of the past as well. At least for us they already are. Shame on Thumbtack for making such a good thing for small business owners go bad because of greed! Not once did they do a darn thing about the feedback we gave related to this change all customer service ever say is that we will submit your feesback for review and it never went anywhere not even a phone call to inquire about our concerns or even a measly email. What happened to the President of the company did he disappear because he got so rich he forgot about those that got him there because I remember receiving an email congratulating us on becoming a
    Top Pro, we also received promotional items like pens, a water jug, stickers with the yr we had made Top Pro. Those were the small gestures that mattered and influenced us to promote Thumbtack to other professionals so they too could use the site to generate business. I spoke highly of Thumbtack at once and now all I can say is stay clear of this site. It’s disgusting, the mere thought that they presented the change as a benefit for the pro, seriously do they think people are that nieve and that we as a pro would not do the math!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I'm a photographer and business owner in Portland, Oregon. Yes, we moved here because we watched Portlandia, and because, mountains. My background includes web hosting and marketing. Feel free to ask me any questions about the articles on this website by using the contact page. Also please visit our sponsor: Unlimited VPN Service to increase your online privacy for as low as $5 a month!

17,335 views220 comments