Today, I want to talk all about my experience with Thumbtack. The good, the bad and how I’ve been able to make about $1600 by spending less than $100 on their leads in the past two months.
So what is Thumbtack? For most people, Thumbtack defines themselves as:
When you need to hire someone — a landscaper, a DJ, anyone — Thumbtack finds them for you for free. You just have to search what you need.
For business owners & side hustlers, Thumbtack is a source for sometimes very expensive leads. And a company that seems to have gotten a lot of flack recently for ripping off business owners.
It wasn’t always like this.
Back in 2016, I was brand new to entrepreneurship and struggling to gain clients to build my portfolio. Then, I found Thumbtack.
It was a lifesaver for me in a lot of ways. Clients were coming to me, and I didn’t have to pay anything until a client actually HIRED me. That way I knew that my investment for the leads was WORTH the expense. Thumbtack was one of the only reasons I was able to survive, and it has legitimately helped me grow over the years. So I am reluctant to show it any negativity. But recently, it rubbed me the wrong way.
After moving to Los Angeles (and becoming a small fish in a big BIG ocean), I had Thumbtack in the back of my mind when it comes to gaining clients. I logged back on the Thumbtack and got started listing all the services I can complete without really checking back on their new rules, payments etc.
I turned on every service I could potentially do as well as this NEW “targeting” feature. Next thing I know I was charged over $200 dollars for a web design lead!!!!
I was pissed. I talked to support and the BEST they could do after several years of working with them was CREDIT. Which was completely ridiculous. In my humble opinion. *scoffs*
So where did I go wrong?
These days, Thumbtack works like this:
You go in and let them know all the services you are interested in seeing “opportunities” for. This is what that looks like:
THEN, you have the option to turn on direct lead targeting. This will give you a direct lead (but I think they may send to others too sometimes), and you will be charged an amount that they’ve deemed fair. You can check out how much they will charge by going to their weekly targeting price table. If I would have known this, I would have known not to have targeting turning on for Web Design. SMH.
They heavily encourage turning on targeting. Obviously.
Anyways, after learning how Thumbtack works, I’ve been able to make roughly $1600 by spending about $100 in the past two months Which is amazing.
I’ve decided to focus on my real estate photography skills because the cost per lead is in the $20’s which I felt was reasonable. Thumbtack allows you to put in your standard prices for the services, and then when a lead that fits well comes through — they match you with them. I’ve gotten about 5 direct leads and 4 of them ended up scheduling appointments. One of them even booked me three times. There were 1–2 leads that never got back to me and ended up being a waste of money. Which if you’re down bad, sucks.
This is why I made sure to go in and make sure every service is labeled appropriately, priced appropriately and I only turned on services that I knew my work spoke for itself.
Be wise with where you spend your money. It matters!
So the bottom line? Thumbtack can be a fantastic resource for anyone experienced or amateur looking to grow their business. I recommend being particular with what services you use Thumbtack for, but as long as your cost for direct leads isn’t too expensive, it’s worth it. You can also charge more for your Thumbtack services to offset their lead fees.
As far as actually recommending it for everyone, I really think it’s on a case-by-case basis. For photography, when you’re an amateur or starting fresh, I think you should go for it. It can help you solidify your foundation, gain reviews, build your portfolio, and add to your bank account.
Be careful out there, folks.
If you have any specific questions about how to use Thumbtack, feel free to ask. Hope this helps.
For those of you who like to watch videos, you can check out the video version of this here.
P.S. Another option that seems very similar to Thumbtack is Bark.
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