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.

Step 1:

thumbtack review

thumbtack reviewI 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.

Step 2

 

thumbtack review

thumbtack review

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.

thumbtack review

 

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.

 LET’S COMPARE

Pros

  • Clean design
  • Gets to the point quickly, allows clients to quickly generate quotes from interested providers.

Cons

  • 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.

As I decided to leave behind the sure thing and step out on my own into the wide world of freelancing, I thought “Why not up the workload a bit and post about every hurdle you encounter?” And here we are.

Leave a Reply

*

119 comments

  1. lukman

    Well written, am so done with TT

  2. Ken Griffith

    Yesterday I filed a formal complaint with the Attorney Generals office. I am taking this company down, and Its gonna get nasty. I have piles of fake leads and a mountain of evidence that proves Thumbtack generates false leads internally.

    Thumbtack is the most corrupt and poorly managed web based service PERIOD !

    • Would you care to share any of that evidence? I will update my post to reflect it if it checks out. Thanks!

        • Nathan

          Ken,

          I am an attorney who would be interested in pursuing a potential class action against this company. Do you have information you can share? Anything that can establish that they post false reviews.

          • LAWNPRO

            YES they deleted my account been with them since the very beginning I was with them when they charged monthly then they switched to credits that when my leads went from 95 percent my way to 95 percent their way when you call all they do is deny and lie they are so corupt it is not even funny i got about 1 customer per 9 fake ones made up names names that did not even make sense hardly ever a phone number they say customers dont like to give phone numbers. yea i need someone to do a service but i want to do it all by email are you kidding. my wife got so tired of me complaining she said she was glad they closed the account the only reason i stayed was i really need the customers so i figured i would just have to pay 50 to 60 a pop for them so that is what i did some people have gotton nothing i have picked up customers or i would not have stayed but they are very corrupt and someine needs to do something they are evil thieves that take small business money and could care less . I COULD TYPE A RUN ON SENTENCE FOREVER ABOUT THUMBTACK BUT THEN I WOULD NOT HAVE TIME TO WORK . ANYONE OUT THIER I HAVE A SLEW OF EMAIL EVIDENCE ON THESE CROOKS.

    • louis H.

      I agree with Ken I seen one client post request twice in a month’s time because I put in a bid and msg almost sound like I was doing it for pennies. The client never responded to my bid or msg and the four other bids was submitted.

      • Darryl Lyles

        I also placed a bid on a job and saw the same bid come in a few days later. However, I ended up getting that job. I think after speaking with me regarding my initial bid they decided to find a better deal and came back once they didn’t.

    • Marc

      Oh c’mon. They suck! Frankly I think 95% of the positive comments here are ‘paid for’ or are employees of the company. I’ve been working in design for 25 years. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I’ve ever known had dealings with them came out on the losing end of the stick in some way or another, to greater or lessor degrees. ALL. OF. THEM. Somebody sue them ALREADY –please!!

  3. Shane

    I set up an account with them ages ago and filled out a lot of the profile stuff. I never once paid for anything with them and they send me a ridiculous amount of emails about getting some little amount (like $25) for free to start bidding on projects. The thing that turns me off if the vagueness of the leads. “Bob needs Web Development, brochure, logo – Not sure on budget – On going work” – then their comment is “We need a website” and TT says BID ON THIS PROJECT! It’s just so ridiculous.

    • Yea, the vague job descriptions are what kills me, and what probably leads some people to think they’re generating false leads.

  4. Terry

    I tried Thumbtack for a month with no results. I actually reported this company a few days ago to the State Attorneys office here in Florida for fraud.

  5. Dave

    Seems I can’t get any job emails that don’t have questionable Thumbtack listings mucking up the works. It’s like an infestation or venereal disease. Also, a lot of creative agencies use recent college grads with no life or REAL work experience as “recruitment specialists” so as to fatten up their resume base and collect professional references, references they can use for themselves as a tool, but not for the job seeker.

    I am totally turned off by recruiters and sites like Thumbtack. Companies that use them are just too lazy to do their own recruiting. And now, the parasites are crawling out of the woodwork.

  6. Pingback: Using IFTTT to Automate Your Job Search & Everything Else | NoFreeWork

  7. Cambot

    I’m an event photographer who has also grown very frustrated with Thumbtack. While I do get occasional leads from them that do pan out, I have noticed that the overwhelming majority of people who submit quotes on the site are just tire-kickers checking out rates which they compare against the Craigslist advertisers. I have been in this business for almost 20 years so I know how to compel leads into responding and I’m astounded at how few people I submit quotes to ever get back to me.

    This leads you to the frustration when you realize that as a professional, your quote is being submitted to someone who is generally shopping by price, not quality, and so other people submitting bids are doing so WAY undercutting what you can offer. I did an experiment just like you where I opened a fake account and asked for bids on a wedding and a corporate trade show. I started seeing the bids from people and were astounded at how cheap they would go. My corporate ad was based on an event I had just booked for 3 days over coverage for a major trade show. The client contacted me off my website, we negotiated over a few emails and phone calls and I got the shoot booked for $3500. For the identical work I was seeing bids for around $1200. The bidders’ work looked terrible, but for a client who’s only needs are “good enough”, a $3500 bid might seem outrageous. Then, the highest bid of the 5 for $2,500, kept badgering me offering to lower their quote several times to an over $1,000 discount to get the job. This is who you are competing against as a professional.

    The worst part though is the Thumbtack screening process of questions. Having noticed that so many people who submit quotes on Thumbtack are just window shoppers, I started asking questions to weed out the serious from the flakes. Bad idea for two reasons. The first of which is that they screen all the emails until you pay for a quote. This process is very time consuming and I’ve noticed it may take hours before your email is screened and delivered. In that time, the client has received five bids and so your question is irrelevant as you can’t bid anyway. Thumbtack knows this and so while some of us are trying to screen our the flakes, five people have paid for credits and locked you out. Thumbtack gets their money and five amateurs just paid for a lead which, most likely, none of them will convert on. Sooner or later they will figure the scam out though.

    That’s also assuming your question is approved, which it frequently is not. I shoot in a market which is highly volatile with tourists and frequently many of them try to find wedding photographers to shoot their ceremony where the venue will not allow an outside photographer to shoot there as they try to sell their own wedding photography packages. Most clients are not savvy to this though so they put a bid out to get a photographer to shoot their wedding for $1000-1500, the photographer pays $15 to get the lead, and it turns out that you can’t even shoot the event because the client didn’t provide enough information or do any research into this. So now your potential $1500 wedding is now a $300 wedding engagement shoot or 2 hour reception shoot…assuming you get the gig for the $75 Thumbtack collected from wedding photographer bids. So knowing this, I started asking before I bid, “Does your wedding venue allow outside photographers?” That question used to be OK but a few months ago Thumbtack changed their rules and no longer allow it to be asked. When I pressured the customer service rep to give me a specific reason as to why, eventually I got it out of her that Thumbtack is afraid that it would scare away the lead. Yes, they actually did tell me that. So what they told me confirmed what I thought about the situation already.

    Thumbtack is a clever business model because they don’t provide any kind of a quality service or product to people who are desperate to buy a pipe dream and they know it. In a good economy Thumbtack would have been out of business by now but they are excellent at SEO and are good at locking in the low-quality Craigslist customers to squeeze money out of the industry professionals (and many amateurs out of work from their day job) who need the business.

    • Chris Daily

      Shocking. I just signed up with TT. I have already made 2 sales in 2 days. This is legit. Email me and I will be happy to verify my results.

      Your post is whiney and bitter. Who are you to tell others their quote is wrong? There are plenty of up and coming businesses who just happy to get the work. Just because they charge less than you doesn’t mean they are less reputable.

      Maybe you should evolve your business to fit the actual demand. If that means lowering YOUR prices, well, deal with it.

      • Darryl Lyles

        I agree. I got hired in my first week. I placed two bids and got the second job I bid on. And things have been rolling from there.

      • Khalifah

        I had a good turn out with TT in 2015 and truck eked into 2016.
        But after those few in 2016 it was down hill from there. No one got back to me – ever. Crickets. They raised their credit prices and I’d rather not spend more money on crickets.
        It’s not worth it. A bid is great but lowering your price to practically free isn’t happening. There are other ways to get clients.
        I did very well in the beginning with TT.
        No thank you.

    • Karen

      I have to agree with you. I have gotten three great projects from Thumbtack, including two ongoing clients, but have wasted money and time on communicating with dozens of people who seem to simply be trolling for free advice. One or two of them I was happy to point in the right direction as they were genuinely trying to get work done, but I primarily work with businesses and I am offered dozens of requests that have almost nothing to do with my abilities or experience. A few of the people I put bids in with had absolutely no idea what I was talking about when I asked a few basic questions about their needs. That makes me suspicious that Thumbtack is padding the request lists, but I’m not an investigator so don’t really know how to figure that out. The three projects I’ve gotten have been lucrative, but I have become VERY careful about what I bid on – I only go for the ones that are specific and detailed and seem to know what they’re doing.

  8. Blair

    I’ve probably submitted 10+ quotes with Thumbtack, and have only so far gotten one client. Granted, I have no reviews, but I personally think $3 (IT services) is a bit salty just to submit a quote, especially when the only condition for a refund is the quote never being viewed. A dollar per quote sent, or a monthly provider fee (~$10) would make WAY more sense.

    There’s absolutely no way it costs them that much to provide the service, and a paywall is a horrible way to “keep out” low quality providers.

    Another thing I don’t like are the 3+ reminders you get for each request for quotes. Yeah, I understand there’s a financial incentive for me to submit a quote, but 3 reminders?

    Ultimately, I need as many leads as I can get. I’ll keep an eye on how many credits I end up purchasing, and I hope that having one client and getting a review will help me be selected in the future.

    But $3 for a quote is horrible.

    • Blair

      By the way,

      I’m sure the author of this article agrees with me on this (I hope), but I personally don’t see anything wrong with paying for a referral. If somebody else is handling the legwork of finding clients and bringing them to me, I believe they deserve to be rewarded for that. However, albeit with a small sample size, I’m seeing an average of $30 for a $75 job. That means that so far, Thumbtack’s getting half of my action.

      • Pat

        Maybe it’s just me, but I have no negative opinions about Thumbtack. I have received plenty of leads and have been hired numerous times, some permanently. Money has always been refunded to my account if the client has not viewed my quote. I don’t have to put in a monetary amount either. All I have to do is write the client and request more information before I give a quote.

        • Helene O'Neill

          Tried this myself before I read the article. Got a popup window saying “the request was not sent”as it was exactly as described: same-field person wants info about competition without any intent on hiring. I’m not a bad person: just curious about competitors in my area. There is a new feature that you can see how you compare to a couple others in the field, but on checking, these folks didn’t quote on the same requestors. Haven’t gotten any hires in a month–like someone with better marketing is usurping all the requests in my area.

  9. Chris

    I run my entire business using Thumbtack leads and sure you get some duds sometimes, but just like any service business you need to find the marketing angle that works for you. I would think if you spent less time writing a blog about how bad a service is and more time trying to find the right advertising tool for your service you would be more successful.

  10. Katherine

    Just wanted to share my that my experience has been excellent. I have spent about $72 submitting quotes in about a 25 day period, and have received photography jobs totaling $1350. I would consider that a win. I have received numerous refunds when clients do not view my quote within 48 hours, and I am always notified when the job is cancelled, someone else is hired, or if they view my quote/website, etc. Sorry it didn’t work for you, but it is certainly working for me!

  11. Radovan

    Hello Chris,

    Your article and the other comments were informative. I want to let you know that I, a customer, had a very different experience with Thumbtack. The TT interface is simple and straightforward. I was looking for an affordable Architect to do a large project. I received four replies and met all four people. Three of them were certified Architects, and I ended up giving the job to one of them. I just wish it worked as well for some of the other tradespeople I’m looking for (masons, carpenters, etc.).

    Regards,

    Radovan

    • Mark Lowell

      If you’re ever in need of finishing…I know this is 2 years, too late, but thought I’d bypass Thumbtack, and post my business here. http://www.mlfinishing.com. Thumbtack is not a place for fine woodwork and furniture restoration.

  12. J.C

    So funny, I’ve had the complete opposite experience. I’ve spent $50 on bids, and so far have made a little under $2,000 from jobs I got directly from thumbtack. All in one month. A buddy of mine in 2013 who turned me onto thumbtack.com told me that he spent $1,000 on thumbtack last year on bids and made roughly $20,000 dollars! Either you’re all using it wrong or you all aren’t as good at your jobs as you think.

  13. Rob

    As a user of Thumbtack for my wedding officiant business in San Diego (Reverend Rob), I have found Thumbtack to be a better return on investment than Google Ads.

    For every $38 dollars I spend for credits, I find I get two to three jobs from Thumbtack. I feel I have more control over what I reply to, because I am not spending the credits until I view the request from the potential customer. If it is too vague, I’ll ask a question. If I don’t get an answer, I don’t put in a quote.

    There are times I have spent money on a vague quote because the job sounded interesting, and it worked out in my favor. Other times, it has not. The key here is that I have more control over my advertising dollars than just having people click on a link and I get charged for it. The reason why is because I craft my profile, and I tailor my response to each request to address their needs.

    I have heard of people putting in a quote to “check the competition”, but it is not something I have done.

    Take care,
    Reverend Rob

  14. Candace

    I have been using thumbtack for a month now and honestly we have made over $10,000! I just dont pay for any lead unless there number is available after sending the quote. Also any time I have had an issue I simply call and they have reimbursed me my credits each time.

    • Helene O'Neill

      And if you are dealing with a real potential client on the other end, by the time you get detailed information, another pro who is not so picky, muscled ahead of you and snagged the job. Now if I don’t understand exactly what is wanted from the info given, I will no longer waste quote money asking for further info. I guess it depends on your field–I’m sure you wouldn’t want an inaccurate reply to the party or feel like you’re working in the dark. I am a pet sitter.

  15. Colette Kinder

    Dear Chris, you hit the nail right on the head with your description and assessment of the Thumbtack site. My thoughts exactly and you described it eloquently, not negatively, just honest, accurate and to the point. A site such as the one you make reference to, is absolutely a wonderful concept, ideal or vehicle for exchange of goods and services and needed, however, it also needs much tweeking!!! lol I completely agree with you on the vagueness, the credits one must buy to submit a quote that you have no real knowledge of the outcome and all the other concerns you stated. My personal experience was similar. After filling out the profile in depth (as best I could with the default, auto correct, auto change ups, lol) I was overwhelmed with inquiries, however, no responses after submitting quotes to random individuals that I guessed were perhaps generated by the site… similar shenanigans I find on date sites that send out fake interest to enhance it’s popularity and encourage one to encourage other’s to join the site, literally flooding my email with interest that was never confirmed in actuality, so who is the wiser? Fortunately the likes of us, with a little more smarts than the average bear, lol! …My reservations about Thumbtack and it’s poor screening process had me concerned about perhaps a bid/quote for a contract actually coming together and whether safe for this single gal here in Vegas, when in reality, they never came together. Ironic that my concerns were lack of prequal if you will, from their prospective leads, when without followup communication after submitting quote, a meet and greet never takes place or an acceptance of the quote. I didn’t expect to get all, but none? and never having knowledge of the why, what or where? If anyone out there actually benefited from this site, then my hats off to you and my guess is you are the too few… lol! Thank you! Your review was so very well done, it saved me from further elaborating, when writing same, lol! ~ Cole Kinder

  16. derman

    This idea was very interesting but, the people from thumtack its a fake, more than 60% its no true and they accept to many contractors from same type of work. also they no have control with the costumers as well. I am a certified contractor qualifier my company honest and serious, this system is to handy man no certified no liabilities no warranty. I fear with my clients when they said that we are not exactly that they were looking for but the said i am fell confortable with my services. still i have a coins and ill check how i can get back but no more thumbtack for us.

  17. Sabrina

    I joined Thumbtack about a week ago. Within that week I have spent about $80. I was SO excited to stumble onto this website to assist with getting hired and all of the networking. I thought the concept was a great idea with not a lot of money. ( I know you have to spend money to make money) I work a regular full time job along with my business. I have not received 1 job through thumbtack yet! I probably have submitted at least 25 quotes or more. I have a independent housekeeping business and 1 lady called seeming interested but she asked if I was insured and I am not but working on it. I am so…disappointed, I really hoped this would work. Do you know of any businesses similar to thumbtack but much better?

    • Jo

      -
      -16

      I see the problem from your post on here. You are too excited and place a bid on anything that comes your way. Slow down. For any new people that read this, you need to slow down, take a breath, don’t get all excited. The house cleaning lady above probably does this same thing when she tries to give a price for house cleaning and the odds are good that she never made it and it not in business anymore.

      For all new people, if you don’t understand how to use a service such as Thumbtack, do not attempt it. I would say Thumbtack is not for all types of businesses. The lady above with house cleaning should do very well using Thumbtack if she understood HOW to use Thumbtack. Don’t blame Thumbtack if you don’t have an IQ higher than one. 🙂

  18. John Cantu

    I do think the price is a little too high to respond to a lead. And I do agree that many “potential clients” are just there to get prices. However, I’m a music instructor and in just one month I was hired 7 times. I’ve responded to over 70 leads and just ONE hire already paid for that expense. My wife is a head hunter and has to respond to dozens of leads every single day. Out of those dozens she says maybe 2 respond back and turn into clients. You can’t expect every lead to turn into a job. Like I said, I’ve responded to over 70 leads and have gotten hired 7 times. 10 % isn’t bad if you ask me, especially when the job pays off in no time. Needless to say, if you’ve only responded to 5 leads, you probably won’t get any hires.

  19. Daniel

    I am an IT professional with over 15 years experience in the field. i joined something like a week ago. i have gotten say 15 emails from them so far and ALL of the except one are names like “John D.” with a single letter last name followed by a period. the single client that Actually had a last name, i easily found on facebook and sent a message to. (given it’s likely in their “others” folder which most people dont know about) it has yet to even be seen and that users last facebook post was from like march of 2014. Thumbtack is Precisly what this article makes it out to be. scam or not: its utterly worthless to any professional with integrity.

  20. Nina

    Thank you so much for writing this about the most corrupt site ever. What you left out also is that they send false quotes out to get your money. I have monitored them. It’s a cycle of the same name. Horrible plus a lot of job sites online that charge for their service use them as job openings. It’s all a big acam

    • Becky

      Both my husband and I offer services on thumbtack. He does hockey training and I’m a dance teacher. On the same day we both got messages from the same lady looking for hockey training and belly dance lessons. I thought it was a bit strange that she would be looking for these totally different services…..is this site for real??

  21. simply brilliant pressure washing & painting co. LLC

    I totally agree with the lousy service ive gotten from thumbtack. I been with this company for about three months. I havent had contact with one customer. I get hundreds of texts about potential clients. I spend the money to buy credits to send a quote, then theres no response. Even after sending a quote so cheap and still without a response i then came to the conclusion. That maybe this isnt were i should post my buisness…

  22. Shawn

    After reading your review of thumbtack I was kind of shocked. I have been a pro on thumbtack for 3 months. I have been working off of there free credits for submitting quotes and out of 4 submitted I landed 2 of the jobs. The thing I do different is that I never send a quote. I send a message letting the customer know it is only fair for both of us if I see the job before bidding as a lot of factors can change the actual cost. It has worked for me and I am very happy with thumbtack.
    Southeast Residential Maintenance

    • Steve Brame

      “I send a message”

      And you are charged for that message the same as if you have submitted a quote.

  23. Riley

    I agree with most of your article, and am hating Thumbtack at this point. What alternatives do you suggest?

  24. Steve Brame

    In many ways, it’s had to deny that Thumbtack is a scam. Thumbtack operates on the very same principle as Las Vegas – let someone win a couple of times, and you’ve got them hooked. From then on, feed them just enough of a glimmer of hope that they’ll pull that lever again and again.

    I’ve used Thumbtack for my web design business. Out of over 40 “quotes” (“quotes” is in parenthesis for a reason), I’ve gotten only 2 jobs. Most of the others I’ve never heard from after I bid. Certainly the possibility exists that my “quotes” are either too low or too high, but I’ve done some experimentation in that aspect. I’ve bid stupidly low and stupidly high prices for basic website design, as well as more reasonable ones. If I bid $100 for a website, I would certainly expect to get a response from the requester asking if I was serious. Conversely, if I submit a “quote” of $10,000 for a personal site, I’d expect the same. But no, no one asks – because they more than likely don’t even exist.

    Why “quotes”? Because Thumbtack has an expanded definition of the word. If I get a request for a “quote” for web design, it generally is the equivalent of – “I need a website for my business – how much would you charge me for one?” This is the exact equivalent of taking your car to the mechanic saying, “My car is making a funny noise – how much would you charge to fix it”? The mechanic is going to need more information in order to give you a “quote”. Do you think it would be right if the mechanic had to pay a fee to ask you for that info? Well, that’s Thumbtack’s model. If I ask a requester for more info on the website they need, I get charged as if I actually submitted a “quote”. They consider asking for more information as if it’s a “quote”.

    You are charged that money whether you ever hear from the requester again or not. All they have to do is view your “quote”, and the money is gone. Actually, Thumbtack already has the money up front. You by ‘credits’ from them in packages.

    But, the most incriminating piece of evidence as to Thumbtack being a scam – when they are accused of posting fake job requests, they are very quick to post a copy and paste response asking what they would have to gain from posting fake requests. Well, since every single “quote” submitted and “viewed” makes them money, it’s fairly obvious what more leads can do – even fake ones.

    Mind you, you have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not the lead is real or if your “quote” has actually been viewed by the supposed requester. All you are doing is pulling the handle on the slot machine and trusting that the casino has scruples and can be trusted. My trust just ran out.

  25. arlem

    My experiences with thumbtack are similar to the other commenters on here. I’ve stopped bothering to respond to leads from there because of the remarkably low (or should I say non-existent) conversion rate. I teach music instrument lessons and maintain a mostly full schedule, so I must be doing something right when advertising through my own website. But so far, none of the 15 or so leads that I’ve responded to through thumbtack have led to new students. Luckily, most of those were from free credits I got through a promotion thumbtack did last summer.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse them of generating fake leads (although nothing is stopping them from doing so), but I do think that the type of people who tend to look for services through thumbtack are tire kickers and bottom feeders, and most often not even really serious about hiring someone. And, seeing how at this point none of the other instructors in my area are responding to leads either, my experience must not be unique.

  26. brad

    I completely agree. I’m an active user of Thumbtack and I have spent a lot of money on this website. I’ve constantly called complaining to their customer service that they need to educate the customer about the professional spending money just to have direct contact with them because a lot of the quotes I submit are only viewed and nothing further. Every time their customer service says “well we appreciate your input and we take notes to bring up in our next business meeting” come on now, nothing has changed so our voices aren’t heard. The only change is the payment options on our part. They do no care about the professional they only want the money and they are going to do as little work as needed on their part. I’ve even started to believe Thumbtack is creating false leads just to generate even more money in their pocket. Something needs to be done because a lot of professionals are being subjected to rip offs and run arounds. Some investigative procedures need to be taken to show exactly what’s going on in their database and minds. Intelligent crooks is what I think they are. Not to mention they’ve created this world where we as professionals have to cut our prices (that we know is what we deserve for the job) by a huge margin just to get business. The low baller is generally who ends up with the business. Another thing is, when I started using Thumbtack 4 months ago I was at a 25% hire rate. Now I can’t get a job one. The customer service rep told me that Thumbtack just may not be for me. How can she say that when I have many reviews and hires?

  27. Mary

    As a small biz owner we have had good returns on Thumbtack. We havent had any complaints from our customers using it to find us, nor have i as the person giving the quote to the potential client has had anything negative happen while using Thumbtack. Thumbtack only used our credits if we responded to a quote , an if my company was picked for the job . Ive had lots of jobs come out of THUMBTACK , an will continue using them. Also if i submitted a quote an the cliente did not respond to mine, thumbtack refunded my points/credits right back within a week. No complaints here.

  28. Vince

    I guess I’m one of the few who have had a good experience with Thumbtack but it has taken some tweaking. I first listed everything I CAN do but then realized the only thing I WANTED to do was illustration. Once I refined it to one topic, it narrowed down the “shoppers”. I then made a decision to only bid on things if they listed an actual budget and it was at least close to what market prices SHOULD be, unless someone had a really good description of what they needed but no budget, then I MIGHT take a chance. Either way, if they list a description and a price or at least a very good description, they are somewhat serious. Then I immediately follow up on the ones I bid on to establish contact. Each job, in my field, costs about $4.50 to bid on. I don’t bid on jobs UNDER $500 unless it says it’s a per job, ongoing job type situation. I’ve gotten several really good jobs and established a few more contacts for jobs I didn’t get but liked my work. Either way, it’s been good for me so far. Also, if a bid goes is not viewed within 48 yours you receive a full refund on that bid. I’ve been refunded, probably 1/3 of the ones I’ve bid on so far. Also EVERY time I’ve had a customer service issue they have been VERY responsive and helpful.

    All of this may be based on changes that have happened since you guys did it but it’s really been helpful and helped me grow my illustration business.

  29. Jason

    Ok fellow entrepreneurs I have to say something. To date I have spent about 400-500 on bids but… Have made way over 10.000 in jobs right off of TT. I have heard many complaints over the past two years that I have been working with TT but really have not had a bad experience in TT. Unless you are in a position of one call a day of people looking for your services I would say work TT and make your profile look the best you can and make good choice on bids and you can make money.

  30. Michael

    What are you all talking about??? LOL. Thumbtack service has made my life easier. I generate 75-80% of my income from there and my photography business is FULL TIME. 100%.

    For every 10 leads I usually get hired by one. I pay 4-13 to answer depending on their budget listed. But
    I get paid $1,000-$3,000 depending on what the job is. No return???

    It all boils down to this. You have to have GOOD WORK no matte what you do. Interior Designer, construction, landscaper, whatever. People need to like your work, show examples of your work, supply references. You’ll get hired. I’m background verified, I have a business license showing, reviews and more social networks for clients to check out my work. Over 11,000 followers on my Facebook, an official website, Twitter, Instagram, Thumbtack etc. etc.

    As for LEADS, they come in EVERY DAY.

    Sounds like you aren’t doing any work from the comments below. Thumbtack is a GREAT service.

    http://www.michael-keelphotography.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MichaelKeelPhotography

    • Steve Brame

      Every casino has to have some winners in order to lure in the marks.

      • Michael

        Seriously? This is what you have to say?

        First off I work with 15 other professionals that use Thumbtack. ALL Successful.

        Secondly, where are everyone’s official websites? It comes down to your work, your wording in your advertising and so on. There is no conspiracy. LOL. Now, I will say, there are other professionals low-balling rates to potential new clients that DO ruin it for folks like myself. But then, I dig deeper, I see that persons work, and well…. “It’s crap.” If someone wants to pay cheaper for crap. Let them. With that said I think the majority of you need to look at your portfolios and the way you advertise on Thumbtack.

        • alexandrina owens

          I totally agree with you Michael i am new to SF and started using TT 2 weeks ago i already made around $2000 in jobs i booked from it, i pretty much got hired for every quote i sent out. I also asked people why they chose me and where was my bid in terms of pricing they got and some of them said i was the most expensive out of all bids they got but they loved my work and didn’t mind paying more. My site http://www.alexandrinaowens.com . I think it’s all up to how you present yourself out there .

  31. Michael

    Once again I’m going to say the same thing I already posted. I’ll most likely sound like a jerk, but I’m honest and tell it like it is.The folks not gaining anything must have horrible work to display, bad previous reviews, or just don’t know the simplicity of how Thumbtack works. I’ve made well over 30,000 from Thumbtack for 2014. I’m already at 16,000 this year. Bookings well into Jan 2017. For weddings, corporate gigs, commercial and everything in between. Thumbtack is doing nothing wrong. Change your formats of wording, show better work, have better references, get a business license if you don’t have one yet. Thumbtack doesn’t take or charge mysterious rates. LOL. It’s the most easy accessible social advertising I’ve ever used. It’s definitely not a gimmick.

    • Steve Brame

      ” It’s definitely not a gimmick.”

      Good for you! The operative word being ‘you’. As for the rest of those who will probably take the bait after reading of your rampant success, well, perhaps they need to take a step back from the flashing lights and bells ringing, and look at the bigger picture being painted here.

      Still, my only real complaint hasn’t been that I haven’t gotten many jobs from TT. I mainly object t being charged for asking for more info.

      • Michael

        The ones with not enough info- this is because of the customers not inputting the info. They do it incomplete etc. I do not answer those, and some I do answer because there’s enough. But once you pay one time, to answer the quote, you don’t pay after that. It works like email etc.

        When folks don’t list “hours” or a “budget” I NEVER pay for those/answer them.

        • Steve Brame

          For web design, there is not nearly enough info presented on the requestor’s form, so basically a request presents similar to – ‘I need a website for my business – how much will you charge me?’ A serious web designer wouldn’t offer a quote for a request like this – they would most certainly need more info. Asking for that info is charged the same as placing a quote.

  32. Marc W.

    PAY FOR DISAPPOINTMENT!

    Unless you’re one of the 5 people that SIT on their cell phones and monitor it every second –unless you respond to any of the actually worth while posts within nano-seconds prepare to waste a LOT of money for NOTHING! — READ: NOTHING.

    EVEN IF, by some small chance, you get in under the wire to actually submit your quote you’re nt going to land a project. After the first couple of attempts when it becamse clear I had to respond instantly –I still got no reply to a quote, even at competitive pricing!

    Thus the next few times I cut my professional services to $10 an hour just to see what would happen. NOTHING!

    Which tells me:

    1) This “service” is populated by people who can work for peanuts –dollars a day.

    2) MORE LIKELY –it’s populated with fake leads generated by their money stuffing staff.

    3) That any positive reviews are submitted by their money stuffing staff (a la Amazon-esk)

  33. CodMurr

    I think Thumbtack.com heard you loud and clear, Policy changes to refunds and longer line of veting of customers has led to a larger return rate for me. I m not camera man or video guy. But I am Operations Manager of MurrElls Services Inc. We have had large success on thumbtack.com. But for some industries I am sure it is different. Some industries are saturated with clients that haven’t a clue of what they want.

    But so far thumbtack is a contractors dream. If a client is just putting out feelers or listed the job wrong or did not put the correct info, all I have to do is call customer service with my list of clients that failed. They verify each client and issue refunds. I think you will be impressed with how much better they have gotten. By no means do I think this is perfect but someone has to make money.

    I would be very interested if you could do a follow up review. I enjoy reading things like this I may not agree at times but absorbing peoples options is enlightening.

    • roman

      TRUTH!!! — Thumbtack directs their staff to write positive (fictitious) reviews on comment boards such as this to defend their scam. If they refuse they’re laid off with an implication of a lawsuit if they “go public.” My source you ask?: Ex-employee. He can’t write this but I sure CAN! It’s the scam of the century. Well besides ole Bernie’s.

      • Michael Keel

        I don’t work for Thumbtack LOL

      • Helene O'Neill

        My reviews as a pet sitter were written by the clients themselves. Only they would know the details of what went on based on my notes and the pets’ behaviors.

  34. Sabine Baker

    After spending hundreds of dollars on thumbtack they cancelled my account. I had at least six so called clients lind up. They state my background didnt meet there standards. I have 1 (charge not conviction for not paying taxes) from a decade ago that was dismissed after a little probation. They took my money and ran. I totally agree with the generated customer base. I put in so many qoutes and even second and third fallow ups with never so much as a no thank you or someone else has been chosen. My only question now is WHERE CAN I FIND CUSTOMERS? Lol anyvhelp out there?

  35. Jason J

    I set up an account for SEO purposes because it has a HIGH DA. I may use it for spam but no, I would never do business with a company that charges providers to submit an offer. Way Way Way to many other options out there. This is taking advantage of people.

  36. John Clay

    Personally I don’t have any proof that there is so kind of scam going on. However I have found out that several bid outs where competitors. I even called one once after submitting a bid for work only to find out it was one of my main competitors finding out what we were charging. I was furious and he just laughed at me. I did contact Thumb Tack and told them. After a week or so I was refund my 4 credits but they didn’t ban or punish my competitor. So like I was always told “if you smell smoke there is got to be a fire”. I have gotten several jobs off them but I only use them when we are slow and even then I am very selective. The premise of the site is good but it needs much better verification and some sort of proof that someone actually when the bid. If not then you should get your credit(money) back.

  37. Julie

    I wish people would stop using Thumbtack & Outsource period!
    Not only are these most likely a scam but when you, yourself are looking for a job do you think that it is fair or commonplace to PAY some online company every time you want to apply for a job, send out a resume or introduce yourself??? Think about it!

    Do you really want to work for someone who asks you for a fee just to introduce yourself?

    You can easily find Artists & Photographers in your area by searching the web yourself! Simply type in “Wedding Photographers In Bla Bla City” Then all you have to do is click on the Artist‘s / Photographers links to see their work…Easy Peasy! no fee involved for anyone! As it should be 🙂

  38. J Wilkinson

    Thumbtack has been good to be. I buy points in bulk and I make my money back and then some with the monthly rate I charge my clients who hire me for the long haul. I figure, if I have to spend $72 to make $100-200 in the first month that’s a win. Lately though, Thumbtack has been under attack by scammers. Im not getting many requests anymore (especially not for Social Media Management, my bread and butter). But I discontinued using the service for a while and now I am accepting new clients. So, well see how it goes.

  39. Tazz Anderson

    Just my two cents worth here. I understand the frustration with many people on here and using Thumbtack, however, I honestly can not say anything bad about them. I have legitimately been hired 6 times off the service (and have three more clients working right now as possible hires), worked with each client and been paid by each client the exact amount I quoted them on Thumbtack. I am a photographer in Virginia Beach, and have ALWAYS quoted the job at my exact rate from my website, and never ever decreased the price, just to get the job. With that said, I have not gotten EVERY job I go after, and think that would be a ridiculous business thought process and living in a fantasy world. On Thumbtack or away from Thumbtack, I never get every job I quote, in fact I land very few jobs compared to the amount I quote. I know that’s the way it is, competition is everywhere, price cutters are lurking and always undercutting prices to assure the job. But true professionals, in both the business and client sense, know very well, that you get what you pay for. Also, in my industry, photography, it’s an art form. No matter how great YOU think your work is, and no matter how great your last client thought your photos were, someone out there absolutely hates them and would never hire you. For the amount you spend on a credit pack, let’s say 35 bucks, I have always landed one or two jobs (out of the credit pack) that pay me in return on my thumbtack investment way more than my expense. Take another $35 out of the few hundred you just earned and reinvest it. Know up front, it’s business, you win some and you lose lots, but in my track record with Thumbtack, the few I have consistently won, certainly add up to way more money than that which I have spent. Again just my two cents worth but I wanted to share, and no, I’m not an affiliate of Thumbtack, just a photographer. My website is http://www.tazzandersonphotography.com
    Thanks for your time.
    Tazz

    • Tazz Anderson

      Just to add a bit more, business sense to what I wrote. I spend nothing on advertising, zero, nada, nothing. To some businesses they spend hundreds and even thousands on advertising each and every month, to MAYBE land a new client, and that’s maybe. There is no guarantee in any type of advertising that you are going to get new clients, I don’t care what type of business you do or what type of advertising you pay for, whether it be TV, Newspaper, magazine, direct mailers, etc. The bottom line is that there is usually always a cost to get new customers, and land a job or jobs. On Thumbtack, I consistently buy $35 credit packs, and have usually always gotten at least two hires out of it, and I must add, I have only done this a few times. So ultimately I spent a little over $100 in ADVERTISING if you will, and have had 6 hires (and two repeat customers out of that, so technically 8), and have had a return on my advertising dollars of over 14 times the amount. So I think if you get in the mindset of this is well spent advertising dollars, you will feel a little bit better spending your money with TT, and hopefully when you do get that hire, it brings in way more than you spent.

  40. Teresa

    I have been using Thumbtack for job leads since December last year. My first month’s income using this site was approximately $1000. Since then I have had a few months that generated over $2000. I reviewed my overall bid expense using this site and realized a serious drain of my income from bid cost. When I compared the bid cost against my earnings, I found I was working for $10 an hour! Seriously, I have been working my butt off for $10 an hour? Someone is making a lot of money, and it’s not me!

  41. Brandon Baker

    Thumbtack isn’t getting anymore of my money. I only wish I would have ready this blog sooner. After spending over $300 and sending over 60 quotes, I got 1 job for $200.

    I’ve asked Thumbtack for reports on their quote to close ratio or how my bids are stacking up against other pros and they tell me they don’t provide that. Couple that with no accountability on the part of the consumer to give you feedback and that equals bad business.

    I just can’t believe I fell for it. Other people on this blog claiming they have landed $10,000 jobs within 2 weeks of being on Thumbtack…….I call BS! You’re probably a TT employee.

    I think it’s a great concept, but TT needs to charge consumers for placing requests to weed out the ones who aren’t serious. But of course, they won’t do that if the pros keep shelling out money to respond to quotes.

    Don’t be fooled, TT will do nothing but waste your time and money. Pros…..unite, get off Thumbtack and they won’t be around long.

    • Teresa Jacobsen

      Hello Brandon!

      You are absolutely right on your analysis of the workings of Thumbtack. I agree totally about the vagueness and also about knowledge of whether anyone was hired for the alleged job request. I also feel unfair treatment of when a job request becomes “closed”, providers are not reimbursed for the bid. I believe there are several reasons a “closed” notification is used. It could be the requester didn’t choose any of the bids from service providers, or they made other arrangements outside of Thumbtack, or their plans changed and didn’t need the job done after all. Now, just by what I have stated about “closed” notations, do you think it is fair that the service provider gets charged anyway for the bid? And, in my opinion, these reasons are .legit reasons to close a job request, but it isn’t right the service provider is charged for their bid. Also, how does anyone know if the job post is really legit, or fraud, because there is no way for anyone to check any of the job posts’ authenticity and that it is a real post. Thumbtack does not offer any business statistics of the traffic it’s site has. To me, in my opinion, the whole set up is a great opportunity for it’s site owners to stuff their pockets as full as they want for as long as they can get away with it! I’m not claiming any such thing is happening on their part, but I do agree that Thumbtack does not provide enough information or reports on the site’s traffic. Isn’t there something of laws in place that regulates businesses such as this as to their business’s accountability? Not having to answer to the people who pay for their services by way of bid-to-hire ratio, IP addresses to “said” job posts, proving the post came from a source, or verification of any kind that posts are “real”. Brick and mortar businesses have to account for themselves, but Thumbtack lacks credibility by the fact that they do not have to account for themselves and take your money.

      With that said, and in response to your post, these things I have mentioned should be considered for them to be in business in the first place.

  42. Dee

    I am so glad I came across this blog. A colleague of mine encouraged me to join Thumb Tack to promote my business. While filling out the profile my email was blowing up with “leads.” I was initially elated but after a few days of thid my gut told me something was not right about this. However, I still moved forward. Once fully signed up, the more I looked at the actual request for service, the more they appeared fake to me. Then, I believe I saw the same request coming across. That’s when I started digging around.
    I do believe that there is some trickery or scamming going on with Thumb Tack. Something is definitely not on the up and up with this company.

  43. John Sanbonmatsu

    Thanks for this post. What I hate about Thumbtack most of all is the fact that it’s a “first come, first served” bid process. What this means for me as a magician is that if I do not check my email compulsively literally every 10 minutes, I am certain to miss the opportunity to bid on a gig, because Thumbtack closes off bidding after five people have submitted bids. My contrast, GigMasters has been a terrific site for me, and there’s no question I’m making good money from it. I pay $20 per gig, but only the ones I get (plus a $400/year fee to be with the service). And it’s working.

  44. Tom

    I must be the exception, I have been using TT for a year. I have been hired 65 times 4 times in the last week. I use it for handyman jobs. I have 45 reviews all but 3 are 5 Star. I treat it like a business. If the request is to vague I don’t quote. I put before and after pictures on my profile and answered all of the questions and posted more questions for the client to ask themselves. I quote as soon as the request is posted if I am interested. And follow up as soon as the client views my quote. Thumbtack has refunded my money for quotes that were not viewed in the 48 hour time limit. No complaints at all.

  45. Julie

    Wow I was just going to sign up, but as a long time pro I decided to look at it as if I was a client. All wrong questions for many landscaping projects. If they are successful and have been around a while why haven’t they added some questions that need to be asked for different types of businesses ? I will wait until they get it together.

    • Michael

      They are together fine- Been invited to their offices three times in the past 3 years, they are GREAT people, hard working and when there are problems, the I.T. team over there makes changes ASAP.

      I’ve NEVER had problems with TT. I have no idea why others do, saying they are getting charged extra, same leads pop up. Yes, sometimes, the same leads pop up. What do you do? You don’t answer them. That is usually because someone posted in the wrong category, they don’t delete their previous post and repost in another one or the same one. There’s no HIDDEN agenda with Thumbtack, no secrets going on behind the scenes to rip you off. TT brought in 60% of my income for 2015 and the other 40% was repeat or word of mouth. I do photography full time 100%. You need to have a good portfolio, you need to have good reviews and references. Thumbtack does not do all the work for you. You pay $34 for say 12-22 credits. Each bid cost about 3-6 credits. You get paid for a job that is $2,000. If you don’t have good work/reviews or anything, people are not going to respond. It’s that simple. But you also have to follow up with folks, people are busy and they don’t answer all the time. So you send follow ups. I send 2-3 to the same person after they have looked at my offer. 80% of those answer me back/hire me. I don’t work for Thumbtack, but I am a FIRM believer in them and they work for my other 5 good friends that are landscapers, designers, photographers like myself and house painters.

      • Michael

        You know also to add- You only pay ONE time to answer a bid from one person. You don’t pay as you converse back and forth each time. As someone mentioned.

  46. Bud mack

    So does anyone know a good place for freelancers to start?

  47. Michael Keel

    Thumbtack REFUNDS your money -so what are you all complaining about? The bidding does get annoying, but persistence, past good reviews, good references, a good portfolio and a good sales pitch to your potential client WILL get you a job. If you don’t have any of these. You are sh## out of luck.

    Everyone and there “I’m suing this and that, I’m filing a class action! This is MERICA”

    • Steve Brame

      “Thumbtack REFUNDS your money”

      So, what is the process for obtaining this “refund”? In the time that I was using Thumbtack, I spent over $200 simply asking a prospect for more info, not even putting in a quote, yet TT charged me as if I’d submitted a quote.

  48. Linda Kennedy

    Chris…
    I completely agree with your entire blog centering around Thumbtack and the services they provide. I have been a service provider with them for almost two years and have spent so much money on submitting quotes that should have been spent on bills that I needed to pay. I was always sure that the “next job” was going to be mine. While I did get work here and there, the opportunities have been slim…very slim. I have been scouring the internet and outside sources in hopes of finding new ways to use my freelance writing skills to help boost my financial intake rather than bleeding me dry of it. Any suggestions you could offer would be appreciated.

  49. Aaron

    I’m not going to praise or bash TT. All I can say is I’ve spent a lot of money with them but I also get a lot of jobs through them, most of my work in fact. It averages out to about 1 out of 3 I actually speak to the customer and then it’s up to me to convince them to use me. Some of them might be fraudulent but I can’t say for sure. It sucks so many contractors have had bad experiences. I do like the idea of picking which leads you want to spend money on in comparison to most other services which charge an outrageous amount per month to send you which ever leads they see fit. Just my two cents.

  50. Tim

    I have gotten answers on about 30 percent of the leads I’ve been sent by thumbtack and now can look at the lead and know almost certainly which ones are computer generated or flunky generated, it seems for every good lead you get there are two fake leads, If I feel that I have gotten a fake lead because if only five people are bidding on the job you know the customer is goint to talk to most of them if not all of them for the best price and better better reviewed contractor so I’ve asked flat out if this is a fake lead trying to get an answer and the real ones actually do answer and those are around thirty percent or less. It is a dishonest system and for every job I get its actually costing me four times what the price is, and yes if they just had to register their name I dont think this would happen so it is thumbtack that is generating the fake leads and why not if they dont have to answer to anyone, thanks just venting here in MI. ……. Now do you know any honest lead sources out there; you know I had another site contact me with a membership and lead price and this is soo bab they actually told me to get false reviews and download pictures from a designers site to put on my page if I went with them,,, isnt that some crap

  51. Maria

    I’ve gotten a few clients. It took me about $300 before I actually got a job. Now it seems that they are just taking my money because i submit the quote and they never respond. I ask if they have any questions to ask me and nothing, no response.. It does seem to be a scam. If it is i hope they stop them its not free. we are paying for the credits needed to quote.

  52. Cavakia Therlonge

    Glad I decided to read your article because someone just refer me to Thumbtacks. I thought it was to good to be true and started digging around which led me to your article. Guess I won’t be getting an account with them as a service provider. Thanks for the education and saving me some money. Here my blog fYI: http://www.infooomph.com/

  53. mike

    i spent 23 bucks on tt,and i smell a rat..i make 3,000 a month working for middlemen….i want all profits.so im on my own..now if you make 200 off work on tt,cool….but you spent 70 on quotes you got fucked..fastfood workers ball compared to you….i need 5,000 a month..garanteed money..ill pay gas i use not a dimemore…tt is satan..i knew that in 5 minutes..anyone disagrees your a fool and surely a liar.

  54. Jason

    I think it’s funny that so many people bash a company without even taking a moment to learn how the system works. Yes, when I first signed up with Thumbtack I was discourage because I wasn’t closing any of the bids I sent. After spending about $20 on lawn care leads with no success, I called Thumbtack to cancel. The customer service I experienced was awesome. They walked me through setting up my profile so it was eye catching, they refunded $20 worth of credits so I could try again and they walked me through how to send a professional looking bid.

    There is a trick to using the system to make it work to your advantage such as what I previously mentioned, as well as reading each lead and deciding of that’s for you and not just replying to everything.

    As far as the info provided being limited. It absolutely is limited at first but Thumbtack gives you an opportunity to either ask the customer questions directly related to the job without being charged, to pay for the lead and ask the customer if you can view the property for an accurate estimate or pay for lead and submit a bid if the customer provided enough info in their notes.
    In a two year period I’ve gotten over 50 full time customers from Thumbtack who are still with me today. Each bid I submitted, I asked if I could view the property and that’s when the customer provided their address and contact info. It was pretty easy. A new $900 annual customer just cost me $3.33. That’s a better return than door hangers or direct mailers. But hey, if you guys don’t want to use the service then that only works in my favor. Especially if you are in my area. I’m a member of a Facebook group with over 2500 landscape owners and at least 2000 of them use Thumbtack with ease.

    Good Luck.

  55. Ed

    There’s another big problem with TT that is bad for both service providers and customers. Any requests that come in for projects under the title ‘corporate videography’ or ‘commercial videography’ with budgets in excess of $2,000 will receive their maximum 5 responses in under 15 seconds. I’m very serious. Anyone putting in such a request will receive 5 responses in under 15 seconds. And of course there’s not a lot of individual thought or attention you can give to a quote in under 15 seconds. Instead you will receive 5 generic responses that simply have the customers name typed in. The rest of the quote was created as a template way before a customer puts in a request. This is partly because TT only allows a maximum of 5 responses. So as a customer you will get quotes that have been given no time or thought to whether or not they are suitable for your job. They are merely generic quotes and your time will have been wasted.

  56. Marche

    I too have had the same experience. I thought it was me. I never understood why I lost money/credits simply because someone read my post. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  57. Johnny

    First and foremost I agree with the majority of the complaints about TT. I have researched the company and have purchased credits to verify the complaints. According to the FTC and how this company operates has a flair of a scam and ponzie scheme entity. They don’t qualify any prospective leads, whom by the way pays nothing on their side to get work done. I am also quite concerned how they use the Apple Store to create validity and integrity for their own selfish gain. This company has an underlying agenda that doesn’t fit in the realm of quite a few industries by not producing any expectations for businesses. I would greatly advise all whom have dealt with TT and have unfairly been scammed to make an official complaint with the FTC(Federal Trade Commission).

    • Tom

      I have been hired 85 times using Thumbtack since 2014. I only buy enough credits to cover the quote I am sending at the time. I only quote jibs that have enough details to make my quote look reasonable. I do Handyman jobs and my profile is comepletely filled out to include before and after pictures. I never quote vague request like, need several projects done around the house. I check the quote count on the vague request and most Handymen don’t quote them either. Don’t buy a large chunck of credits. Just buy credits for the job you are quoting. And don’t quote vague request. I have over 65 Five Star Verified Reviews. So I am living proof Thumbtack works.
      Don’t Blame the Phone Book because you can’t write an add.

  58. Amanda

    Thank you for leaving such a detailed review. My business partner and I were about to give this website a shot and reading your review and other similar ones saved us some seed money!

  59. Derik

    You know I had wondered about the auto generation on there, seems to me that a lot of the customers that I’ve been sending get quotes to are doing the same, sadly I have spent close to 250 on tokens with a possible of 2 Clients is all. Not a lot give back for my time and effort of doing these quotes ,I get it done them for free but just not for any Joe smo on the street that says ,yea that’s cool ,how much? This is the last run of “tokens” I’ll ever buy , sure hope it’s worth it.

  60. James

    I was on TT for two years, had 100+ 5 star reviews and not one review below 4 stars. Long story short I had a homeowner give me a 1 star review as a form of extortion. All one star reviews automatically fires up the “workplace integrity team.” Within a week Noall from TT was calling me telling me that I was to refund this client their money or my account would be deleted. I called attention to the review left and was able to prove to Noall that the comments made were lies. Based on this shouldn’t it be logical to assume that what they were telling him were also lies? He agreed but said their “policy” is to always side with the homeowner in a situation like this. I told Noall where to stick his policy and his website. They don’t realize who the true consumer is on their site.

  61. LaToya Owens

    I have been an active Thumbtack User for just 6 weeks and I am already on my 4th client. I run an accounting business and the tax preparation jobs are plentiful for those that prepare taxes not to mention big contracts for multi-million dollar companies. I am very selective on what I bid on and so far I have not even invested $100 into the bids but have generated over $500 in income 🙂 So for me, it has been working just fine!

    • Anthony

      Ms. Owens,

      You mind sharing a few tips on how you are getting clients? I do logo designs and pc repair as a business and although i’ve learned to not randomly send a quote to just anyone, when I do get a real person, they destroy my quote spending because they are window shopping. What can I do to help drive real clients?

  62. Anthony P

    I just signed up for this a week ago so I’m still pretty new. I will be more than happy to keep you guys informed if this is a “scam” or real. Honestly I don’t really foresee anything being a scam as they are doing what they say. you pay for credits, you use those credits. Now I have learned from reading between tit for tat reviews and the few “paid-for” responses. I learned not to respond to the ones that dont giev no info like the detailed computer issues: “Won’t turn on”.. I one respond to those and I am about to drop responses for the ones that don’t put a budget. I think that helps with the auto-generation mess. BUT these auto generations typically never “get reviewed” so they refund you by which you end up spending more. But there’s nothing scammy about it I don’t think.

    I’ve placed quotes for $1.00 for a logo design and got nothing, then again for $65(Current price)! and still nothing. I agree with the comments about being tire-kickers. too. My personal favorite is the ones that post about security cameras and put on budget “Don’t know”.. NOPE, i’ll pass…

  63. Kristen Kay Brady

    I hate Thumbtack. I just deleted my account. Not recommended.

  64. Paul Raezer

    I have been using Thumbtack for several months now. I have responded to 15 Leads in the last week. My results are as follows;
    13 customers responded
    12 hired me
    1 declined becase they didn’t like my price
    of the 2 that didn’t respond,
    1 was refunded for not viewing my quote
    1 hired someone else
    All in all, I have had great results and am very pleased. As for customer service, everytime I have called with a question or concern, I have been greeted by a real person on the other end(very rare these days) who has gone above and beyond to help me in every way possible. Also the fees are very affordable. I highly reccomend Thumbtack. they have been an asset to my Remodeling business.

    Paul Raezer
    Reazer Home Repair & Maintenance
    707-394-0874

    • Anthony

      Yea I agree,

      Thumbtack is actually pretty good considering I have only used them a month. I believe the negativity comes from just firing up thumbtack and slapping some words in and probably not showing any confidence. I have been hired several times and for a $3.33 1 credit I needed, I ended up with $75.00 and reviews on our facebook page. People have to stop responding to every last one of them that shows up. I don’t respond unless they have a phone number available and actually be more specific about their needs.

  65. Paul Raezer

    P.S. to my first comment, you can do a google search and see that I am a legit business in Augusta Ga. I don’t work for Thumbtack. I’m sorry for those of you who have had negative experiences with this company, Such has not been the case with me.

    Paul Raezer
    Raezer Home Repair & Maintenance
    706-394-0874

  66. Tazz Anderson

    Hello,
    I have already commented once in here, but thought I would share my insight again!
    I have honestly had a GREAT response and success with Thumbtack, and how great, well let me explain. I think WAY too many of you are getting wrapped up in the percentage of actual jobs you land, and metering that to success or failure, and blaming Thumbtack for lack of hirings. In that way of thinking, you might as well get out of business all together, because it’s not for you. Why do I say that? I have friends that have spent thousands of dollars, yes thousands, others that have spent many hundreds of dollars on advertising in print materials such as Yellow Pages ads, booklets, mailers, etc. With a yellow pages ad, how many people that actually see and read your ad, call you, and out of those ones that do call, how many of them actually hire you? Flyers and mailers, directly sent to addresses, gain less then 1% acknowledgement of your flyer or ad and still does not guarentee a hire. Phone book ads are WAY less than that.

    Thumbtack costs you about thirty bucks for a pack of credits. EVERY time I have bought a pack of credits, I have received at least one or two jobs, every time! Sure it’s not every job I quote, in fact it is way less, WAY LESS. But one hire more than pays for my credit pack. Each credit costs only $1.67, I usually use two or three for a quote, so $3.34 or $5.01 in advertising dollars to send my ad/quote directly to a consumer looking for me…If I am fortunate to land a job with only one or two quotes sent out, and my average job I receive usually pays about $125.00 average, my profit I make off $7 – $10 of advertising dollars spent is fantastic. Even if I only land one job off the entire credit pack ($33.40) I still make almost $100 profit on the low end of profits off the advertising investment. It can’t be beat!
    I have consistently turned over my profits and bought a new credit pack and am still only technically out the original 30 bucks i spent when I first signed up. I have received a job or two off every credit pack i’ve bought since, and just re-purchase from my profits.

    Like others have said, you have to be craeful in who you pick and choose. I don’t go hog wild and bid on every job right down the list, but am very selective on who I send a quote too. It has been very effective.
    AND, I am NOT affiliated in any way with Thumbtack, never have been, never will be. I am a photographer, which has tons and tons of competitors in my field, and Thumbtack has been an outstanding source for me.

    It might not be for everyone. I obviously can not speak for contractors, landscapers, dog walkers, etc…But I am in a very competitive field and it’s done well for me. You have to go in knowing, you won’t get every job you quote, in fact you will land VERY few to barely any jobs you quote, that’s just a fact of business life. It would be a fairytale and unrealistic thought to think otherwise. I get a pack of credits, and my goal is to land one job from it…One will make me a reasonable profit, pay for my next credit pack, and keep the ball rolling. Keep in mind, three of the Thumbtack customers that had hired me, have since come back and done follow up shoots with me. Once you land a customer and do a good job, they are yours forever, with no Thumbtack intervention, but a thanks that Thumbtack got you together in the first place!
    It might be a big rigged fix of a system, who knows. But when I consistently get hired from my credit packs I purchase, I have a very hard time believeing the theories!

  67. Candice R

    Yes I am beginning to agree. ,I am a house cleaner with a five star review. I had to start raising my price’s because thumbtack has increased theirs ..I would normally send 5 quotes a week but all of a sudden I sent 20+ quotes in one week and got hired 1 time. Sounds a bit crazy to me I contacted them by email but none of y questions answered but to click on a link to get ideas on how to send a quote. Umm I’ve been using you for almost a year I think my quotes are not the problem. But your welcome thumbtack since I’ve helped you get Rich!!!!!

  68. Josh

    I see a lot of complaining and I understand. However, the question remains: What is the alternative? Freelancers need leads. Thumbtack and Craigslist both suck in their own ways. Like most of you guys, I am looking for an inexpensive or free alternative for connecting with new clients!

  69. Caleb Goodnight

    Though I agree with the article and most commentators that TT is an extremely frustrating system and has a built in conflict of interest that prevents them from truly creating quality leads, I have found it to be worth dealing with. I am in the video production industry (https://www.thumbtack.com/profile/services/DwpUfOYGYDdz$w/) and in the past 2 years have won over $70,000 in business through Thumbtack. I think it comes down to learning which requests have a high likelihood of response and keep in mind that if they are on Thumbtack, they probably don’t do this too often if ever (at least for video production people).

    Something that I would be interested in seeing them do would be to create a quick auction for highly curated leads instead of having a fixed price/first 5 get it approach on mostly uncurated leads. So for example, a high quality request comes in, Thumbtack could have a 3 hour “auction period” and the top 3 bidders would be given the contact info. The better lead, the more TT will make because people will know what it’s worth. That way, they have an incentive to make sure it’s a really good lead before posting it.

    I do see repeat names popping up and I’ve always just written them off as a wedding planner or producer who is repeatedly using Thumbtack to source rather than sticking with a few people that they have developed a relationship with, but really, who does that? Definitely questionable and I never respond to those.

  70. Rick Kirkham

    Of all the money I spent on Thumbtack I only recall two clients

  71. Rich

    I have been with Thumbtack for 2 years and although it used to work for me, within the last six months there have been drastic changes at the cost of THIER CUSTOMERS…. US, the PROFESSIONALS. I now believe Thumbtack is a scam.

    Please keep in mind that I was voted #1 by Thumbtack in my professional field and I was a pro-mentor for six months. Yet, I finally hit the point of extreme frustration and anger towards Thumbtack that I will now take my business and more important, my hard earned money elsewhere.

    1. Thumbtack does not educate the public on how it works…

    I have complained for over a year that Thumbtack does not educate the public on how THEIR company works. The public thinks that Thumbtack is free for them and the professionals. They are unaware that we, the pros pay a fee for each quote we send. With that, there are a lot of ‘window shoppers’. People who are not really wanting to hire but only use Thumbtack to ‘see what is out there.’ Can you imagine… paying for a quote to a ‘customer’ who has no intension of hiring? Huge waste of time and money!!!! Does Thumbtack care? NO! They care about taking your money over protecting their customers.. us, the pros and your investment with their company.

    Thumbtack has recently done a lot of advertising as well as SEO and although this brings in new customers, it is bringing in a huge amount of people who are abusing the system. I don’t blame the public because again, Thumbtack does not educate them. I 100% blame Thumbtack. I believe that if the public knew that the pros pay a fee, they would wait till they were serious about hiring. Yet, I still see commercials for Thumbtack and there is no mention of pros paying a fee. Go to the website and it states “Received FREE quotes from professionals.” Isn’t that interesting?

    2. Cost has gone up with absolutely NO rewards for it…

    The cost per credits have gone up and the credits per job has gone up however, the ability to have credits returned is now impossible. I used to have no problems getting my credits back if I felt I quoted on an unfair job. Not anymore. Thumbtack keeps changing their company policies without letting the pros know. And surprisingly, the changes hurt the professionals in their wallets. During the last six months, I have called to get credits back and each time the policy changes in a way that I am denied.

    Here is a recent situation… A client cancelled a job 26 hours after she posted it. I called Thumbtack to get my credits back as I have always done before. I was told that the client must cancel the job within 24 hours of posting the job to get my credits back. ***I asked “Well, do you educate the public that they have 24 hours to cancel the request in order for the pros to have their money/credits returned?” She said “No”. So I said, “That makes no sense!!! If the customers do not know Thumbtack’s policies then how would you expect them to cancel within 24 hours? How does that policy make any sense?” She could not answer.

    3. I was a pro-mentor

    I was a Thumbtack pro-mentor for about six months. During that time I spoke with new pros who signed up to Thumbtack in hopes to give them some guidance. 70% of the people I spoke with said they thought Thumbtack was a scam because they quoted on jobs, followed up and yet, NO PRO was ever hired. They felt that there are robots and not live people adding these jobs. I could not argue because I have the same problem. Especially recently. I have page after page after page after page after page after page of jobs that I PAID to quote and yet, it sits there. I reach out to these ‘people’ several times (up to 5 letters) and yet, I get no response and no pro is ever hired. This has SIGNIFICANTLY increased during the past six months. I have about 90% of jobs where no pro was ever hired.

    4. Thumbtack does not listen to THEIR CUSTOMERS… US… THE PROFESSIONALS!!

    Myself along with many other friends who USED to be on Thumbtack has called daily during the past year and complained about how unfair Thumbtack is to the pros. We feel that Thumbtack protects the public over their customers. Thumbtack is on a dangerous slope because they want to grow fast and make a lot of money fast at the cost of their professionals. I even suggested that if no professional is hired within a 90 day period, the pros who quoted on that particular job gets some if not all of their credits back. At least then we know our investment is protected. The answer as always… “I will forward this to our team”. I’ve been hearing that for over a year and I am sick and tired of it. Nothing has changed.

    Furthermore, I recommended that Thumbtack should charge the public as well. Even $1.00 to get quotes from pros. Why? No ‘window shopper’ would pay a dime for something they are not interested in. This would be a second revenue base for Thumbtack and with that, the cost for the pros can be reduced! How amazing would that be!!! Instead of Thumbtack’s cost going up it could go down!!! Wouldn’t that be amazing! But no.. it goes on deaf ears. They don’t care about the most important feedback money could buy… feedback from THEIR clients… us… the professionals who uses Thumbtack (or did).

    Bottom line… when Thumbtack was a young company they were doing everything right. It was a great company with great customer service. Today, greed has come into play and they care more about taking the pros money over protecting our investment. They keep changing their company policy that suites their bank account which hurts us. They refuse to educate the public on how their own company works and with that, there is a huge amount of abusers and window shoppers. I also am starting to believe that there are robots adding in quotes because no matter how much I reach out to clients… I get no response (16 this week alone).

    I predict that Thumbtack will be out of business in two years. They are not the first to offer this type of service and those companies are out of business based on horrible practice/company policies.

  72. Jason

    You may not want to publicly accuse Thumbtack of generating fake leads. I have absolutely no qualms about doing it. They most certainly do generate fake leads. Over the course of 15 years in business, you develop an intimate sense of what real leads look like in your business. Over the years we have received thousands upon thousands of genuine leads through our website, and of these, the vast majority have responded to our quotes. In most cases, we get the job. Contrast this with Thumbtack. I’ve given them a couple of years. I see a response rate of maybe 1 in 30 leads that we respond to with a quote. This is the exact polar opposite.

    But it’s not just the response rate that sets alarm bells ringing. It’s the very nature of the leads themselves. I run a pet care business. We get hundreds of requests to feed cats while the owner is on vacation. And in 15 years, you can count the number of times we’ve been asked to feed a cat twice a day on one hand. For whatever reason, nobody ever requests it. Yet I will regularly get requests to feed a cat 2 or more times a day on Thumbtack. They have algorithms to auto-generate leads and they are programmed with a range of variables for each industry. But whomever programs these algorithms does not have the intimate experience of our industries that we do. So when I get all these “feed my cat twice a day” leads from Thumbtack, they don’t seem genuine. And that’s because they’re fake. I’ve never once had anyone respond to quotes sent in response to these leads. Not once. That’s not my experience with real people who are genuinely looking for a service provider.

    I’ve even sent out ridiculously good deals to see what would happen. “We’re currently doing a promotion offering 50% off the entire price,” that sort of thing. Not a peep. Oh they have the occasional real lead. You get a job once in a blue moon and it keeps your hope up so that you keep buying those credits. I’ve been there. But tonight I finally deleted my account because I cannot and will not give one more lousy cent to these lying charlatans.

  73. Jack Price

    The people leaving good reviews of Thumbtack here are so obviously Thumbtack staff. I recognize the style of their comments down to the wording because I’ve seen them post the same BS on every page about Thumbtack being a scam. Think about it. The vast majority of comments posted here will be from people who found this blog post after searching for “Thumbtack scam” or “Thumbtack fraud” on Google. Why would anyone do a search to find a blog post of this nature if they were happy with Thumbtack? Same with all the other glowing reviews of Thumbtack on similar negative blogs and articles about Thumbtack. They hire a team of flunkies to perform “damage limitation” on negative stories about Thumbtack across the web. So you’ll always see very similar comments like “No complaints here – Thumbtack has been great for us, 30 hires in the last month alone” and other such nonsense. Whereas REAL vendors know better.

    Here’s another example of just how dishonest and scammy Thumbtack is. For the past two years my business has been awarded a “Best Of Thumbtack” award, even though we have only had THREE hires in total since joining in 2010. And here’s the rub – they awarded it for a service category that doesn’t even apply to us and is not listed in our profile! They keep sending us these spammy emails asking us to “take advantage of your award” by posting their logo on our website. These “awards” are just a scam to get them free advertising on people’s websites. I always feel embarrassed for businesses which advertise these awards on their sites – they’ve been scammed without a shadow of a doubt. It’s like getting a certificate from MENSA – totally worthless.

  74. Diane Young

    How can i cancel TT?now they have text message all the time i have No idea how they got my
    number. Please help.

  75. EvilDoer

    Following is a short conversation I had with a Thumbtack customer. I had asked him why he didn’t respond to me about a website quote I gave him.

    In reverse chronological order::

    customer xyz:

    I wish Thumbtack would make it more apparent that this costs money for the Pros, as I came on this website just expecting to see predefined example quotes. Again, I can’t apologize enough for causing this issue.
    31 minutes ago

    Thumbtack Pro xyz

    Thanks for the honest response XYZ.

    You are just ONE reason that Thumbtack is not worth the time and money for a website designer.

    Many customers are just fishing – or worse.

    Regards,

    Thumbtack Pro xyz

    an hour ago
    Customer xyz
    Sorry for the decline, I was simply testing Thumbtack to see how the system worked. I didn’t realize it cost so much for Pros to offer quotes! Your presentation was just fine, so no worries. I’m actually looking into doing freelance webdesign and was wondering what the range of prices and services was in the nearby area. (And also demoing Thumbtack a bit to see how things worked on this site.)

    Apologies again for the cost. I had no idea it would cause this much of an issue.
    3 hours ago
    Thumbtack Pro xyz
    Are you still interested in discussing your website needs ?

    If you didn’t choose me, I’d be interested to know why so I can improve my presentation in the future.

    In case you weren’t aware, it does cost the Thumbtack Pro $24 just to get a shot at giving you a quote.

    Just sayin’

    Thanks in advance.

    Thumbtack Pro xyz

  76. Michael Jay

    Thumbtack would be a better lead generation sevice if potential clients were required to provide their phone number.

  77. John Susko

    Yep – Thumbtack is a total joke. Your article image says it all.

  78. Donn

    Spot on with Thumbtack! Joined as an experiment and committed $100 for credits responding to 25 career coaching requests. No hits largely because my 6 week ($7500) and 12 week ($12500) intensive programs scared people before even looking at my profile or the attached PDF that had details of the programs.

  79. Karen

    I would to my account on hold.

Next ArticleFreelancing Stress: The Symptoms of the Self-Employed