Thumbtack – Part II
Well, tax season (January 2nd to April 15th) is over, and the dust is settling from the perpetual fire drill we were in here at Sareen and Associates over the last few months. And now that things are calmer, I want to revisit the subject of Thumbtack, the services aggregator I wrote about last month. Thumbtack is being used by many small businesses (including this one) as a platform to acquire customers/clients, and it just might work for many of our small business clients. That’s why we’re going to talk about it some more – because we now know more about it, and because we think it might be valuable to our many clients.
On a very related note, before going any further, I want to state this:
We are not being compensated in any way whatsoever by Thumbtack regarding this post. We have never been compensated by Thumbtack for anything in the past. We have no relationship whatsoever with Thumbtack, except for the fact that we offer our professional services on their site, just as thousands of other businesses do.
Just a heads-up, if you didn’t read the first piece, you may want to read that one first before going further down this page.
So, here we go – more observations from our four months of using Thumbtack:
- Most people using Thumbtack in order to find service providers are individuals or people that just started their own business not too long ago. Many of them have no idea how much good work costs, or, even what constitutes good work. You end up with a lot of people telling you, “That’s too much” in terms of your pricing. Whatever it is, it’s too much. It’s frustrating, particularly when you know that your pricing is definitely right in the middle on the market pricing for the services you provide, and the quality of your services is generally higher than your competitors. On the bright side, we’ve already gotten some clients that went with “low bid” on Thumbtack first, discovered that low bid was commensurate with extremely low quality, and ended up as our clients. Good for us, because we now have them as loyal clients for life (because they’re so happy), but, they did have to pay twice to get that education – once to the first, low-quality provider, and then to us to fix the first provider’s mistakes and do it correctly.
- There are some flaky, somewhat irrational people on Thumbtack. It’s not as bad as Craigslist, but you will get them.
- There are a fair amount of “bottom-feeders” on Thumbtack. These are not people like the first group of people I described, who simply don’t know how much good work costs. No, these are people who know exactly how much good work costs, and they’re looking for a desperate provider to give it to them at a bargain rate. You obviously don’t have to take the job on their terms, but it does cost you money to respond to their request, and you have to respond to their request in order to discover that they only want to pay 50% of what everyone else pays for the same work.
- As mentioned previously, if you’re in a densely populated region like the DC Metro Area or the South FL region, you have to be able to respond to a request for services from Thumbtack immediately. If you can’t stop whatever you’re doing when the email alert or the text alert comes in, it’s not even worth setting up an account on Thumbtack. Thumbtack allows the customer to see “quotes” from only the first five providers to respond, and there could be a dozen or there could be a hundred providers in your service/product segment in your region. Whatever the number, it’s greater than five. I’ve seen a request get five quotes in less than three minutes if it’s the middle of the day. Speaking of which, the requests come in whenever people are on the internet, so that could be from 9 AM to 5 PM, and it could be at 11 PM, 2:30 AM, or 6:17 AM. Conversely, we have one office in Stephens City, VA, which is near Winchester, VA, which is near the West Virginia state line, and I’ve never seen a request even get to the maximum five quotes out in that area.
There you go – I hope this information is of value to you if you’re considering using Thumbtack for your small business.