One of the most important aspects of starting (and growing) a home service business is generating leads. Regardless of whether you’re a house cleaner, a dog walker, or an HVAC pro, you need to get jobs to keep your business going.
There are a number of companies out there designed to help home service businesses reach the clients who need them.
Thumbtack is just one of those, and we’ve conducted a full review of what they do, how their pricing works, and who benefits most from using them.
Take a look at this resource to find out everything contractors should know about Thumbtack to see if it’s a good fit for you.
What is Thumbtack and how does it work?
Thumbtack is an online lead generation platform for home service and small business owners and consumers. It shows consumers business listings that match their search needs, and it matches a specific client job to contract workers who can do it within a certain town or city.
Typically, this is how Thumbtack works:
1. A client enters information about a job they need done. This can be anything from make-up or dog walking to interior painting or plumbing.
2. The client is shown a list of contractors in their area who can do the job. This list can be filtered by job details (for example, for a house cleaning they could filter the number of rooms, whether there are pets, extra services like laundry, etc.).
3. The client can review contractor and business profiles of interest and then choose whether to contact them for a quote.
4. If the client and contractor agree on a quote and choose to move forward, they are responsible for handling the contract from there.
Contractors on Thumbtack create a Thumbtack Pro profile that includes information such as:
- Their job ratings on Thumbtack and number of Thumbtack hires
- Number of years in business
- Whether they have a background check
- Links to social media profiles
- Accepted payment methods
- Business hours
- Areas of service
- Special offers
- Response rates to messages from leads
This information helps Thumbtack and consumers determine which contractor is the best fit for a job.
Profiles with a lot of information, good ratings, and frequent hires tend to attract clients over profiles that aren’t completely filled out and have no reviews or hires on Thumbtack.
Who should use Thumbtack?
The short answer is any small business owner could use it.
Thumbtack allows contractors from virtually any profession to create a profile. Consumers can find just about any kind of service provider on Thumbtack––massage therapists, DJs, landscapers, and electricians included. So the decision to join is yours.
However, while Thumbtack can work for commercial jobs, it’s mostly used for residential contracts.
But, is Thumbtack right for you?
Before deciding whether or not you should use Thumbtack, consider where it fits into your marketing plan, and how you want to generate leads.
If you’re unsure, ask yourself where you have seen success in the past, and how you can scale your success.
Will you find success on Thumbtack?
Success or failure isn’t only up to Thumbtack. A lot is on you, too.
You must have a complete profile, price your services competitively, respond to leads quickly, and provide high-quality services.
Thumbtack will send you weekly updates on competitor jobs and pricing so you can see what’s working for others, and where you can make strategic decisions. Overall, that can help you improve your results, get more reviews, and win more jobs.
How much does Thumbtack cost?
Unfortunately, Thumbtack’s pricing isn’t exactly “one size fits all,” nor is it public. How much you end up putting into it will vary based on a variety of factors, such as your membership level, the number of leads who contact you, and your location.
Pricing is where Thumbtack gets a little complicated. We couldn’t find any pricing rates online. But, at a basic level, contractors pay Thumbtack for each lead that chooses to contact them, whether or not that actually turns into a contract.
So, contractors are charged as soon as a lead requests a quote or messages them. This can mean that contractors end up paying for leads that never actually turn into jobs as some leads may be flakey or contact several contractors at once.
On top of that, the fee per lead varies depending on the amount of the quote and the location you are providing services in.
You can set a limit for how much you want to spend on leads each week, however, when you hit your limit your profile will no longer show up to clients.
Both of these factors make it hard to determine just how much you will have to spend before getting a contract.
Thumbtack has changed its pricing model a couple of times over the years to try to improve the contractor experience.
Keep in mind that Thumbtack does not facilitate invoicing, payments, or offer any other client management resources.
What are contractors saying about thumbtack?
Contractor reviews of Thumbtack are mixed. Some contractors have nothing but wonderful things to say about the lead generation service, while others aren’t as happy.
Most of the positive reviews mention things like generating lots of leads and contracts. But, most of the negative reviews mention pricing issues and having to pay for leads that never actually turn into jobs.
Several positive reviews come from contractors who have been designated as a “Top Pro” by Thumbtack. This means that they have been highlighted for having the highest ratings from clients, and are the most popular choice in their industry.
It’s possible to become a Top Pro, which will likely bring in more leads, but you’ll need to put in the work to build your profile to that level.
Thumbtack isn’t the only lead generation service out there. Others include:
- Angie’s List
- Home Advisor
- Task Rabbit
The lead gen service you choose to go with depends on your industry, budget, and marketing plan. We recommend looking into the different options for yourself to figure out which one is the best fit for your business needs.
Trying to choose between Thumbtack vs Angie’s List?
Choosing between Thumbtack and Angie’s List are a tough call because both services are targeted towards home service providers who offer one-off jobs for residential clients.
Your best bet is to try both options and see what works for your business model.
The biggest differentiators between the two are the following:
Angie’s list is a lead generation tool exclusively for home services, whereas Thumbtack is a lead generation tool for home services and beyond.
As a result, the two websites appeal to different audiences and are created for different types of consumers. This could result in more contact with leads or more diverse clientele if you use Thumbtack.
However, it might result is lower quality leads. In contrast, Angie’s list clientele might be more serious about home improvement projects, which could result in higher quality leads.
All in all, Angie’s List was developed with home service professionals in mind, while Thumbtack took a more general small business approach to create their website.
The advantage you get with Thumbtack pricing is that is customized to your usage.
You pay for a membership, the amount of contact you get with consumers, how much you quote for a project, and your city. Naturally, higher volume businesses inevitably pay more, and lower volume businesses will pay less.
Angie’s List in contrast offers membership plans that range from $0-$99 a month. You have to pay extra to advertise your listing, and you are charged for clicks to your website.
So, in addition, you can expect to pay anywhere from roughly $25-$100 a month.
One advantage you get with Angie’s List is that your business won’t be delisted if you receive a higher volume of contacts, like you would experience with Thumbtack.
Once you reach the lead contact volume you pay for, Thumbtack delists your business.
Rank and visibility depend largely on the number of positive reviews you get from customers on Angie’s List. Plus, you can pay extra to advertise for your industry and city.
Stuck between choosing Angie’s List or Home Advisor? Take a look at our comparison between the two to see which will work best for you.
Concluding thoughts on Thumbtack
Overall, Thumbtack seems to be able to work for the right contractors and it’s worth exploring. If you have the time to put in to make a profile, respond to leads, and review competitor information, you may be able to succeed on Thumbtack.
However, if you’re hoping to simply put up a profile and let it do the work for you, it’s probably best to look into other options.
If you’re still on the fence, try looking into some alternatives and find the best fit for you.
Different lead generation services offer different levels of administrative assistance, pricing models, and support. Find the one that makes the most sense for your business and go from there.
Getting leads is only half the battle of growing a business
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