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 http://facebook.com/lovelightlens 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?