Thumbtack.com is one of the top sites for contractors looking to find leads in their local area. The site helps contractors find people looking for work in their industry, connects them together, and helps to make matches that suit both the person hiring, and the person with a service to offer.
However, some contractors have found drawbacks to the service, claiming that it isn’t worth what they pay, or that the website itself is a scam. Should you use Thumbtack, or would you be better off with one of the other sites like Angie’s List? We’re here to set the record straight, covering everything you’ll need to know as a contractor using Thumbtack.
What is covered in this article
- Thumbtack for Professionals: what is it and how does it work?
- Pros and cons of Thumbtack for contractors
- How much does Thumbtack cost and how do credits work?
- Thumbtack user reviews and complaints
- Common Thumbtack scams to watch out for
- Thumbtack customer service: how to get in touch
- 5 tips for getting new business and Thumbtack jobs
- The bottom line: is Thumbtack worth it for contractors?
Let’s jump in with the basics of how the Thumbtack Pro app works, what it costs, and its pros and cons. If you’re already using Thumbtack, jump down to learn about the main Thumbtack complaints.
Thumbtack for Professionals: what is it and how does it work?
Thumbtack Pro is the name of the app used for the professionals/contractors that want to advertise their services on Thumbtack. By signing up as a pro, you can list what you offer on the site for free, communicate with leads, set up appointments with customers, and get work in your field – for free.
Listing yourself on Thumbtack is free, though there are things you will likely have to pay for if you want to receive a high volume of leads, and leads that are of good quality. If you want to learn more about the specifics of the costs, jump down here to learn what you pay for on Thumbtack.
To get Thumbtack jobs, you must sign up as a Pro. Once you start getting work, your clients will review you. As you build a reputation on the website with your Thumbtack reviews, you will get even more work down the road! To sign up, you’ll want to download the Thumbtack pro app.
These are the main types of things you can list about yourself by using Thumbtack for Professionals:
- Your name/company name
- Your contact information
- An “about” profile
- The services you offer
- Any reviews completed from your clients
- Photos/videos of work you’ve done
- FAQs about the type of work you do
- How long you’ve been in business
- How many people have hired you on Thumbtack
- How many employees you have/work with you
- Any specialties you have
- The price for specific services you offer
Pros and cons of Thumbtack for contractors
Thumbtack has its fair share of good and bad. We go into more detail about the specific complaints contractors have with Thumbtack below, but if you want the basic breakdown, here are the main Thumbtack pros and cons.
- Brings you clients you never would have gotten otherwise – People you don’t even know choose you based on your profile on the website.
- You can get big money jobs – Many big businesses use Thumbtack because they want a reputable contractor; you could get a $20,000+ corporate account like Executive Wellness Services did on Thumbtack.
- It gives you a platform to be reviewed on – Depending on the type of work you do, there may not be a ton of websites that can facilitate this for you.
- It’s free! – Many contractors complain about the cost for leads, but it is possible to get jobs from Thumbtack for free – so there’s no drawback to signing up!
- Sometimes you have to pay for nothing – You must pay for the lead, even if they don’t hire you.
- Not every potential lead is serious – Some users are just in the beginning stages, so you may pay for leads that aren’t willing to spend money and commit to the project just yet.
- Thumbtack usually isn’t accountable for issues – You are primarily responsible for setting prices and mediating issues with your customers; Thumbtack will step in only when necessary.
- You could be competing with many contractors – If your type of work is popular on the site, it’s much harder to get jobs out of your leads.
How much does Thumbtack cost and how do credits work?
As a contractor, it is free to list your services on Thumbtack. What you pay for are “credits” that you spend to obtain new leads through the website. If the customer sees your profile and chooses to communicate with you, you must spend the credits. Credits cost $1.50 each, or less if you buy in bulk.
How much do leads cost on Thumbtack?
There are some other specific rules about how much leads cost on Thumbtack:
- The prices vary depending on region, industry, job type, job size, number of pros available, and how serious the customer is
- Thumbtack sets the prices, and can update them at any time
- “Bigger leads” cost more than “smaller leads” – which is based on Thumbtack’s anticipated amount of money you will make from being hired for the project
- The expense is triggered when a customer either: messages you, calls you, or books an appointment with you
- You can set a budget on Thumbtack to limit how much you spend
- You are paying for your initial communication with the lead – continued messages or future work does not cost additional money
PRO TIP – Remember that Thumbtack sets the prices weekly
Thumbtack updates the cost of each lead continuously, depending on where you live and what industry you are in. If a change happens, it occurs on Mondays. You can always click How Much Do I Pay? in your industry FAQs on Thumbtack to see what the average going rate for those leads are.
How to get free credits on Thumbtack
There is no way to actually obtain Thumbtack free credits, but there are ways you can get out of spending them. If no other contractor is available to fill the needs of a lead but you are, you receive the lead for free. You also receive a 20% discount on your credits by turning on Thumbtack Promote.
What is Thumbtack Promote?
Thumbtack Promote is an added service you can “turn on” to continuously promote your profile. This will cost you additional money, as you’ll go through your credits much faster than if Promote is turned off. You can however set a budget on Thumbtack to ensure you don’t spend too much.
Thumbtack Promote pushes your profile up higher in the list of results a user sees after answering the minimum number of questions about their project. Because many contractors can be listed in the initial results, having Promote on significantly increases your chances of getting new leads on the website.
Here is what turning Promote on means for your profile:
- Appear higher up in the search results for free
- Get contacted by more leads
- Get 20% off the credits spent to obtain leads
- Pay for the lead automatically – even if you don’t reply to the customer
To turn on Thumbtack Promote, log into Thumbtack and go to your Services. Select Promote. Choose your preferences based on which jobs you can complete, and what you are and aren’t willing to pay for. Click Finish.
Thumbtack user reviews and complaints
There are a number of things Thumbtack users have noted about using the service. We’ve broken down the good and the bad for you below.
Here are the main positive things contractors have to say about Thumbtack:
|Rating||Main Feedback||Learn More|
|Provides a platform for a quick response, helping you get jobs going as soon as possible||Read Full Review|
|Leads are cheaper than on HomeAdvisor or other competitor sites||Read Full Review|
|“Like Craigslist but classy” and with better customer service||Read Full Review|
|It can be expensive, but if it’s paying for business you wouldn’t otherwise have, it’s well worth it||Read Full Review|
|Can’t keep up with the amount of work they throw at this contractor||Read Full Review|
Negative feedback & complaints
These are the main Thumbtack.com complaints made by contractors:
|Rating||Main Concern||Learn More|
|Terrible customer service for resolving issues between contractors and users||Read Full Review|
|Changing the cost of leads so frequently is too confusing to keep track of||Read Full Review|
|Thumbtack lost its integrity when it changed its lead pricing system||Read Full Review|
|Policies have changed too much in the past year for it to make sense to use||Read Full Review|
|Seems like fake leads come in since they changed their pricing structure||Read Full Review|
Where to find more
The best places to find specific reviews of Thumbtack are on popular review websites. Here are some that have hundreds of reviews on Thumbtack – from both users and contractors.
|Website||Average Rating||Number of Thumbtack Reviews|
|Better Business Bureau||300|
Common Thumbtack scams to watch out for
There are a number of specific scams that contractors have noted about Thumbtack. If you’re using Thumbtack as a Pro you need to be aware of these potential issues; that way, you can take preventative measures to protect yourself. Here is a rundown of what the scams on Thumbtack are:
1. Thumbtack fake leads
The biggest complaint that comes from contractors is that Thumbtack puts out fake leads, making them appear as though they are coming from real people. By doing this, contractors would spend more on credits because they believe they are receiving leads, all the while not actually getting any value out of them.
Though “fake leads” is the most common complaint that comes from contractors about Thumbtack, there is no definitive proof that it actually happens. And even if it did at some point, it is extremely unlikely that Thumbtack would continue with such a bad practice if so many people mention it in negative reviews.
2. Users misrepresenting their jobs
One of the useful parts of Thumbtack is that it makes users answer a bunch of questions before sending out the search for a contractor. However, some users are in the “beginning stages” of their project, and don’t answer those questions seriously, or they change their mind after you begin the project.
Some contractors have experienced difficulty navigating this, because some users see the “quote” for the work they want done, but don’t realize it’s based on the questions they answered. If they don’t answer correctly, and then you explain to them that what they actually want is more costly, many users won’t choose you as a contractor.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this kind of situation. Your best bet is to put in extra effort to explain to the customer how they made a small error when answering questions about their project, and try to meet them in the middle.
3. Risk of personal safety & privacy
You’re probably aware that websites that function as classifieds-type sites where you’re advertising personal information about yourself often have personal safety and security issues, like the Craigslist scams that happen all the time.
On Thumbtack, because contractors are the ones paying to use the service, they have little incentive to abuse it, and post information that isn’t correct. The users however have more incentive to misrepresent themselves in an attempt to maliciously trick contractors and try to gain their personal information, or put them into a situation where they can do something like rob them.
Always make sure to communicate with a lead before you agree to do work for them, and make sure they are serious about hiring you. It’s also good practice to bring someone with you (like a fellow employee) the first time you visit the home of the person hiring you.
4. Refusal to pay with appropriate method
Some contractors on Thumbtack complain about customers trying to pay with credit cards or cashier’s checks when it’s clearly stated that you only accept cash payments. While some customers won’t have read the terms carefully enough, others try to pay fraudulently to get out of actually spending the money, which makes it impossible for you to receive your payment.
Make sure the payment terms are clearly defined in the quote you give your future client. You may also want to consider requiring a small deposit before you start the work.
Thumbtack customer service: how to get in touch
If you have an issue with any of the scams or complaints mentioned above, you should contact Thumbtack customer service as soon as possible. Here are the main methods you can use:
Contact Thumbtack by Phone
Contact Thumbtack by Email
Contact Thumbtack with the Live Chat
Contact Thumbtack with Facebook Messenger
Use the Thumbtack Help Desk
If you’re looking for a quick answer, your best bet is the Live Chat or Facebook Messenger. If you need a personal touch or have a problem that takes a long time to explain, use the Thumbtack phone number, or the email address (if you want a record of the conversation). Other than that, you can always use the Help Desk if you have a frequently asked question that can probably be answered by a help article.
5 tips for getting new business and Thumbtack jobs
Having trouble getting jobs out of the leads you’re paying for with Thumbtack? These 5 easy tips require little work, and can make the difference between getting the job, and losing out to other contractors.
1. Don’t abandon the service within a week.
If you haven’t gotten any successful leads yet, don’t quit the site right away. Remember that it takes some contractors a decent amount of money to find a job from their leads, and that you are 4x more likely to get profile views by spending some money on Thumbtack credits.
2. If you’re concerned about what you’re spending, set a budget.
Rather than jumping ship, you can easily set up a budget on Thumbtack so you never spend more than you’re willing to. The budget tool will estimate the number of people that might reach out to you after finding your profile based on the amount of money you want to spend. You can change your budget at any time and set it as low as you want.
3. Respond immediately – getting the job is a race.
Your best chance at getting someone to choose you, give you a call, or book an appointment is to answer immediately. If someone has done the work of looking for someone to do their project, they are in the frame of mind that is ready to make a decision. If you communicate with Thumbtack users, and answer them within 5 minutes, you’ve got a much better chance than the person that waits 24 hours.
4. Treat each lead in a personal way and take an interest in the unique aspects of their suggested job.
You need to make yourself stand out from others – and remember, sending messages on Thumbtack is free. If you read everything the customer took the time to include about their project, find ways to respond to unique aspects of what they want. Add information about other jobs you’ve done that are similar to theirs and you’re much more likely to be chosen over a pro who sends generic responses to every lead they get.
5. Use resources outside of the website.
Once you land a client – follow up with them. Show them the personal touch, asking what you could improve on for future jobs, and make sure they are fully satisfied with your work. Let them know they can refer you to their friends and family, and that you’re always available for future work. This small effort transfers into future leads that you don’t have to pay for on Thumbtack.
The bottom line: is Thumbtack worth it for contractors?
Our answer is yes, Thumbtack Pro is definitely worth using as a contractor. The biggest reason people are complaining about Thumbtack is because they pay $25, $50, etc. for leads, and don’t get any work out of it. Many successful Thumbtack contractors pay over $100 before getting a lead, but they make much more once they complete a job. Remember that you’re paying for a service. Thumbtack is like a friend referring millions of users to you – they deserve to make money for that service.
Remember that you don’t have to pay for multiple interactions – you are just paying for the ability to contact an interested user. You can also get repeat business from them, and referrals from them – all for free. Thumbtack is an easy way to gain access to people in your area you otherwise couldn’t have, for a fair and reasonable price.
Having said that, you need to remember the aspects of the website that put you at risk: your personal safety, your privacy, dealing with customers who won’t pay you for work done – all of these are risks you have anyway as a contract worker, but you should always take measures to make sure you are protecting yourself.