Are you a gig worker or contractor with a unique set of skills?
If so, you may find it challenging to market yourself and connect with a customer base in your area.
Fortunately, there are now websites available that allow local professionals to market their services.
One such local service provider is Thumbtack.
If you’ve ever seen or heard of the company and wondered, “Just what is Thumbtack?”, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we provide a complete guide to Thumbtack Pro so that you can determine whether to use it to connect with new customers in your area.
What Is Thumbtack?
Thumbtack is a United States-based site that connects local professionals with customers.
The company was first started in San Francisco in 2008 after its founders realized how difficult it was to hire someone like a plumber or a piano teacher.
As the company’s website states, “In the era of instant-everything, you shouldn’t have to spend an entire afternoon researching, calling, and comparing local pros whenever you need one.”
You’ll find two versions of the site: Thumbtack and Thumbtack Pro.
The primary difference between the two sites is who is using them.
The former is meant for customer use, but as a gig worker, you would use Thumbtack Pro.
Gig workers and local business owners can use Thumbtack Pro to offer practically any type of service.
Just a few listed on the company’s homepage include:
- Dog Training
- Fence and Gate Installation
- Outdoor Landscaping and Design
- House Cleaning
- Massage Therapy
- Home Service and Appliance Repair
- Cell Phone Repair
- Home Improvement and Remodels
- Personal Training
- Wedding Officiant
As you can see, a wide array of contractors use Thumbtack to market themselves to potential clients.
There are more than 400 services offered on Thumbtack.
How Does Thumbtack Work?
Thumbtack works by connecting customers in need of a service to local professionals who can provide that service.
Potential customers start by going to thumbtack.com or the Thumbtack app (available in both the Google Play and Apple Stores), and entering their zip code and the service they need.
From there, Thumbtack customers will receive a list of professionals qualified to complete the requested task.
The customer can then browse the contractor’s profiles, see prices, and set additional search criteria to narrow their results.
Once the customer finds a professional who he or she is interested in, the customer can contact the pro.
The professional and the customer can chat directly in the app to discuss details of the project, receive a free cost estimate, and discuss availability.
If the customer determines that it’s a match, he or she can book the professional’s services.
How Much Can You Make on Thumbtack?
One of the advantages of the Thumbtack business model is that you have the flexibility to set your own rates.
You can list your rates on your profile any way you’d like.
For instance, you can choose to charge customers by the hour or by the project.
You also have the freedom to negotiate rates with potential customers.
Once you have completed the project, you and the customer facilitate the payment offline.
Many Thumbtack Pros list their accepted payment methods on their profile.
Because you are responsible for collecting payment, you have the freedom to collect in any way you’d like.
However, it’s in your best interest to make payments easier for the customer.
Common methods you can use to collect payment include:
- Direct transfer to your bank account
- Credit card payments accepted through a point of sale system
Thumbtack also permits you to shape payments with customers.
Perhaps you’d like to collect an up-front deposit or be paid half of your fee when the project is half complete.
Whatever you decide, be sure to put it in writing in your contract with the customer.
You’ll also want to keep diligent accounting records and track payments, just as any good small business owner would.
Because Thumbtack does not take payments, the company does not collect commissions.
There is also no monthly subscription to use the service.
Instead, the site essentially charges you a fee when it connects you with a lead.
As a Pro, you will need to purchase credits.
These credits come in different bundles, which vary in their price points and the number of credits that you receive.
Once you purchase credits, they are added to your account.
If you’re successfully connected with a lead, Thumbtack will deduct the credits from your account.
Exact match leads are those customers who match the targeting parameters that you’ve set in your profile.
You will pay for these leads automatically.
There are also partial match leads.
These individuals match some, but not all, of your preferences.
You will only pay for these leads if the customer books your services.
The number of credits that Thumbtack will take depends on the type of service that you’re offering and how valuable the job is.
For instance, staining a deck is going to cost you more credits than replacing a lightbulb.
Credit packs are a one-time offer for first-time Pros.
After you run out of credits, Thumbtack will charge your credit card whenever you receive a new lead.
How to Get Started
To begin the signup process, visit www.thumbtack.com or download the Thumbtack Pro app.
The Thumbtack Pro app, available for Android and Apple phones, is different from the app that customers use.
There is no fee associated with signing up.
When you sign up, you’ll provide basic information like the service you provide and your zip code.
Then, you’ll create an account.
Here, you’ll need to provide information like your name, address, and date of birth.
Thumbtack runs a background check on all of its Pros.
Once you pass the background check, you can begin building your profile.
Adding things like customer reviews can help you stand out against other gig workers.
You may also want to add things like your rate so that customers know what to expect, and your phone number so that potential customers can contact you directly with questions.
Still undecided about whether Thumbtack is the right platform for you?
Consider some of the most frequently asked questions about getting started on the site.
1. Are there any tips for success?
A great tip to help you succeed on Thumbtack is to re-do your profile at least once a month.
Updating it with relevant information and customer reviews helps ensure that you are continually improving your profile.
You should also set up templates that you can use to reply quickly to potential customers.
Thumbtack only allows five contractors to bid for a project, so speed is essential when reaching out to clients.
Set up a few different templates that you can use for different situations.
2. Are there any other sites like Thumbtack?
If you don’t think that Thumbtack is right for you but would still like to market your skills to locals, consider using sites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or TaskRabbit.
3. Are there any problems that can arise when using Thumbtack Pro?
Lately, Thumbtack has been having problems with fake leads.
This problem seemed to get increasingly worse over the last year.
Many negative reviews on sites like Consumer Affairs indicate that fake leads have become a growing problem on the site and that Pro’s credit cards were being charged for these leads.
Thumbtack offers a money-back guarantee to customers, but there is nothing on its website indicating that it will protect Pros against fake leads.
Put Your Skills to Good Use and Start Earning Today
If you’re a freelancer or independent contractor looking to improve your customer outreach, then Thumbtack may be right for you.
Thumbtack connects customers to contractors with the know-how to perform a specific task.
As a contractor, you will only need to pay for the lead — there is no subscription fee, and Thumbtack will not take a percentage of your earnings.
The company gives you the ability to directly negotiate rates and payment methods with customers.
When getting started, Pros should monitor their credits diligently.
Thumbtack reviews seem to indicate a problem with fake leads recently, so make sure you’re mindful of how much you are spending on leads.
Otherwise, your costs can spiral quickly.
If you don’t feel that Thumbtack is right for you, be sure to check out our guide to TaskRabbit, a similar site that allows you to market your skills to locals in your area.