Thumbtack.com is the New Craigslist for Services But It’s Not PerfectTECH
Thumbtack.com is the New Craigslist for Services But It’s not Perfect
Uber may be the largest member of the gigging industry, but multiple websites around the world are now catering to providing contract or gig services, ranging from one time cleaning to roof repair, and everything in between. Thumbtack is one of those websites, and they have a large following and user base.
How It Works
Users sign up to Thumbtack and fill in their profile, qualifications, work specialty, rates, and other options. Others sign up and fill in their profile, confirm their location, and get started. When a user types in a request for a quote, it is forwarded to local contractors, who can choose to respond to the quote request or not. Thumbtack contractors have to pay to respond, which cuts down on replies for the user, and helps to ensure that any replies are legitimate (no spam here).
The user can choose to accept the quote or not, and can vet and verify the contractor based on their profile. If hired, the contractor goes to their residence or location, performs the task, gets paid in a manner agreed on by both, and goes home. The buyer leaves a review on the contractor’s page. Credits cost $1.50-$142 each depending on how many you purchase at once, which means that businesses pay about $1.50 to contact each lead, even if they don’t make a sale.
Thumbtack vs. Competitors
Thumbtack has a number of competitors including TaskRabbit, eBay Local, and even Amazon Local services that allow you to hire maids, repairmen, plumbers, and other local services. Task Rabbit is Thumbtack’s main competitor, and as a service, they do offer considerably more in terms of verification, tracking, and have a larger user base. Handyman is also a competitor, and a new one, that focuses on household services and repairs, as the name suggests, but is not available nationwide. All three have something to offer for users.
Problems with Thumbtack
Thumbtack has a large reputation for having issues, especially with creating fake job requests to fill out thin categories. This is problematic because they do charge sellers to respond with their credit system. Other issues include:
- No Contractor Verification – You’re expected to vet the contractor on your own to ensure that they are qualified to do the job. This leaves you much more open to fraud, although you can leave a very negative review for businesses that don’t’ perform adequately.
- No Client verification. – If you’re intending to sell something, Thumbtack doesn’t really verify the client’s ability to pay you, or even their location.
- Pay to Answer – The Pay to Answer system requires that you put out money every time you respond to an email or a request for a quote, even if you don’t end up with the job. That can be tough if you aren’t getting gigs as a result. At $1.50 each, this can add up fairly quickly.
- Bidding – Thumbtack integrates a comparison service which forces professionals to lower prices and participate in a bidding war. This can lower the quality of the services received.
- No Customer Support – Thumbtack’s customer support is virtually nonexistent.
As peer to peer economies go, Thumbtack is a decent one with a strong business module, a large network of users, and job offerings in nearly every category. While the company isn’t perfect, it is still a solution if you’re looking for small tasks and jobs, or want to source a professional without walking into an office. However, it is your responsibility to vet the person hiring or the person you are hiring to ensure that they can and will pay, and that they are capable of performing tasks to the level promised.