Why I Cancelled My Thumbtack Account (A Thumbtack Review)
Thumbtack and sites like it are a scourge on our industry. Besides being vague with details and the inner workings of their system, they also commit the cardinal sin of charging service providers for anonymous third-party contact. Many providers don’t even realize how easy it is for someone to generate a quote just to feel out some prices in the area, even when they’re not really interested. This is almost like getting used to consult for free. All you have to do to get a quote is to provide a date and an incredibly vague description from a drop-down list. Then the quote gets sent out to service providers, who are charged to send their rates for a vague job to an anonymous client. Seriously, this is actually a thing.
Disclaimer: This Thumbtack review is not meant to be a smear post or anything of the like, just an honest representation of my experience in working with this company.
I spent around 13 dollars responding to two clients from the service. I was never notified if someone had been chosen or whether the job was still open. The client never responded to any questions about their job posting. There’s a bit of a rumor going around that Thumbtack auto generates clients to choose from the drop down service in random areas, drawing out curious providers and their wallets, and filling Thumbtack’s coffers in the process. This is a harsh accusation and while I don’t think they’re doing this, the system is way to open to manipulation, especially considering they don’t provide any spam protection like CAPTCHA.
What it’s like when you go through the set-up. It’s almost too easy. You never have to set up an account and there’s no responsibility from the client once they’ve gotten quotes and sometimes even a consult that you paid to give them.
Here’s what the client side looks like.
I chose event videography, which while not something I do, already leads to some confusion. I typed “Cameraman” which it autofilled for me as I went to type “Camera Operator”. Then it autocorrected itself to one of these categories. If I was a client looking to make a short commercial for my business (I received a number of these emails) I am then forced into one of these vague categories. Already a mess, let’s move on.
Yep, already here. No login, no authorization, nothing. If you’re the client, wouldn’t you be tempted to give a general vague description at this point just to see what happens next? Most do. A few boxes checked, and we move on.
Step 3 (The final step)
First name, Last name, Email. That’s it. That’s all you need to get the quote. Pretty simple, not too bad for the client side experience.
Now what I see in my inbox as the provider.
And that’s all the information that’s given. I can ask a question if I want, but I will be urged to submit a quote for 7 dollars or so that goes entirely to Thumbtack for providing such a great service. Yeah.
- Clean design
- Gets to the point quickly, allows clients to quickly generate quotes from interested providers.
- Charging service providers.
- Lousy customer service.
- Poor selection for the client to describe service.
- Poor refund policy (seriously, this thing is terrible)
- Not alerting the people posting quotes of the payments (the client never knows that providers are charged money to even be put in contact with them).
- No guarantee of anything.
- No info from client or otherwise on any aspects of the project.