How Does Thumbtack Work? (**2024 Guide**)

Do you want to learn how exactly Thumbtack works?

Thumbtack is an online service that matches pros with customers such as home services but also includes events, wellness, and lessons.

In this guide, I will go over...

  • How Thumbtack works for homeowners looking for contractors
  • How Thumbtack works for pros seeking leads
  • And how the pricing works (only pros get charged)
how does thumbtack work

In this article, I decided to take Thumbtack apart, look under the hood, and figure out exactly how it works.

How Does Thumbtack Work For Customers?

The Initial Search

Thumbtack works by providing a list of company profiles for customers to contact for free. Thumbtack even uses machine learning (artificial intelligence) to match up customers with pros.

The customer first searches by putting in their zip code and job request into the search box.

The search box will auto-fill a list of services offered in Thumbtack. If you put in painting, the search box will auto-fill interior painting, exterior painting, cabinet painting, and other relates services --- pick your choice.

Read Also: Thumbtack Vs. Yelp (Which Is Better?)

how thumbtack works (painting)

Choose Some Filters

The customer can then narrow down their search by using the filters tab.

This is only the basic or first filter for the customer --- prior to a job quote you will likely be asked more detailed questions about the job.

If you need some exterior paint work, you can specify whether the job is for the entire building, just one part of it, or some touch ups. The customer can also specify the square footage of the paint area.

how thumbtack works (filters)

How Customers Reach Out To Pros?

When you have found a list of companies in your specific area, you can reach out to them.

With Thumbtack, you will have three options...

#1. Call

You can request a call from the contractor to talk to them about the job. Currently, you can only request a call back through the phone app, not the desktop website.

#2. Message

You can message the service provider using the message feature.

#3. Book Directly

You can make a booking immediately with the company. Specify the job and book the date and time.

Read Also: TaskRabbit Vs. Thumbtack (Which Is Better?)

Customer Refines The Job Details

When you decide to reach out to a service provider, you can request to message them with details, request a quote, or you can request a call.

Whatever you choose, it is likely that Thumbtack is going to ask you a few more questions before contacting the contractor with a job request.

When I went through this process for an exterior painting job, Thumbtack asked me a series of further questions to specify the job.

Thumbtack asked me...

What Is It Made Of?

  • wood 
  • aluminum
  • vinyl
  • stucco
  • fiber cement
  • brick
  • stone

Who's Buying The Paint?

  • I am buying th epaint
  • The pro is buying
  • Not sure

Is There Wall Damage?

  • Peeling or flaking
  • Trim pulling away from home
  • Water damage
  • Cracks
  • Bare wood
  • Chipped Stucco
  • No visible damage

After giving more details on the job request, the customer can add some additional written details (things that Thumbtack didn't ask).

And that's pretty much it. Thumbtack will contact the company with the customers job, and the contractor will contact the customer through a phone call, a message, or just get back with a quote --- however you asked to be contacted.

how thumbtack works (further details)

How Does Thumbtack Work For Pros?

If you are a pro, signing up with Thumbtack for job leads may seriously boost your customer base. Since they were founded in 2009, millions of projects have been completed through Thumbtack --- and that number is only going to grow.

Like most online marketplaces for contractors, Thumbtack does not charge for the initial sign up for the pro --- but they charge them on a per lead basis.

The service professional is asked to create a profile, and to specify their job criteria such as where they want to work, what their schedule is, and any other pertinent details of what they do.

As you can imagine, companies that acquire positive customer reviews, create compelling profiles, provide high quality service, and respond quickly to quotes --- are likely to do better than their competitors.

Read Also: My Thumbtack Review (Ultimate Guide)

Background Checks

Thumbtack doesn't require pros to do background checks. However, enrolling in the background check is recommended because you get a special profile badge telling customers that you have been vetted.

You can request a free background check through Thumbtack --- they use a service called Checkr and it will take between 5-7 days. 

How Much Do Companies Pay Per Lead?

A service provider such as a plumber can sign up with Thumbtack for free, but will pay for each lead.

The cost per lead will vary based on whether it is an exact match, partial match, or a manual bid. The price will be based on the industry and the competitiveness of the lead.

A lead for a cleaning job may be in the $5-$15 range, but a for a total kitchen remodel it may be in the $25-$75 range.

The customer never pays for any aspect of seeking out a company. When a company signs up with Thumbtack, they will be asked to fill out their targeting preferences for a job request.

What Are Thumbtacks Exact Matches?

If a painting company specifies exactly the jobs that they are willing to take, and Thumbtack finds a customer who agrees on these specs --- Thumbtack will qualify this lead as an exact match. (Pros will set a monthly budget for their total lead spend.)

With exact matches, the contractor gets charged automatically for each lead. Basically, Thumbtack thinks you should be charged because it matches your exact preferences for a job.

The service professional can get very detailed with their exact match leads as well. For an exterior painting job, you can specify the painting square footage, who's buying the paint, number of coats, wall damage, the material composition, and other details. Also, if the customer doesn't view your response within 48-hours, then you will be refunded the lead.

Read Also: Thumbtack Vs. Yelp (Which Is Better?)

Set Your Targeting Preferences (VIDEO)


Lead Discounts

The cool thing about Thumbtack is that they will discount the lead the more contractors they give the lead to.

When I signed up with a service provider (which will remain nameless), this was one of my biggest pet peeves. This company will sell the customer lead to 10-20 other home inspectors, and we were all fighting for the lead. I mean, that's fine --- but it's logical that the more people who get a lead, the less valuable it becomes --- and it should be discounted.

What Are Partial Matches?

A partial match is a lead that doesn't exactly match the pros exact criteria.

It may be because it is outside of your service area, or some other factor.

With partial matches, it will be up to you whether you want to respond to the customer and try to get the job. If you accept the lead, then you pay for it --- but you aren't automatically charged like with exact matches.

Read Also: TaskRabbit Vs. Thumbtack (Which Is Better?)

What Are Opportunity Leads?

These are leads that also don't match a pros exact match but these a quote requests to other service providers.

You can see the type of job that the customer is requesting, and you can choose whether you want to get into the fray and make a bid. This is just another way you can expand your pool of leads and get more jobs.

What Must A Pro First Do With Thumbtack?

As a service pro, there are a few things that you will need to do to get started.

You will have to create a profile, and put up a profile photo. After those basics, the two most important things to do before you can show up on search results is to...

#1. Get One Past Customer Review

Thumbtack wants their pros to get at least one past testimonial prior to sending them customer leads.

#2. Targeting Preferences

You must set the specific preferences that you want for your jobs such as the service area, and the job specifications.

What's The Bottom Line?

For Pros

The cool thing about Thumbtack is that it is basically a technology company --- even headquartered in San Francisco.

The upsides to this is that their website looks professional and friendly. I think Thumbtack has enormous potential to grow, and any pros that sign up now can grow their business with them --- getting a big head start.

Thumbtack has been raising huge amounts of capital over the years, and is currently valued at a over a billion dollars. And I just don't think Thumbtack's competitors have their tech and design chops.

Read Also: My Thumbtack Review (Ultimate Guide)

For Customers

I think the biggest benefit of Thumbtack to customers is the user experience. If you check out Thumbtack's phone app, it works seamlessly.

And Thumbtack makes the process of finding a pro super simple. The basics are that it asks a few simple questions to find a list of companies, and then further refines the job before a quote is requested. 

Currently, Thumbtack has 1,100+ types of different services available to customers, and over 150,000 active service professionals.

That's basically it. You answer a few questions, and a pro will get back to you with a quote.

Thumbtack's website and app also have good aesthetics --- it just looks nice. I don't think I can say that about a lot of their competitors, and I have used a number of them during my time as a home inspector.

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