When you’re looking to hire someone to perform services for you, where do you turn? Do you ask friends, search the Internet or check an online directory? Do you spend hours calling professionals trying to find someone who’s interested in the job? All of those methods may be helpful but may waste a lot of your time in finding someone who is ready, willing and able to do the job.
Thumbtack is a company whose mission is to connect you with service providers who bid on jobs they’re interested in completing. I recently spoke with Marco Zappacosta, co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack, about his company and the new app they launched in May. “Thumbtack is about giving people the convenience and confidence they need to hire someone to do a job, finding the right pro at the right price.”
Thumbtack was started in December 2009 and now matches 3 million projects annually, a four-fold growth over the previous year, according to Zappacosta.
What Is Thumbtack?
Thumbtack is a website where you can hire local service providers for everything from carpet cleaning to wedding planning to dog sitting to guitar lessons. Zappacosta said, “Thumbtack is a technology platform that helps people accomplish their personal projects, everything from needing a plumber to doing work at your house, to a caterer for an event that you’re throwing. We really want to empower people to hire with confidence. We can give you a much better sense of what to pay.”
The service is free for you to use, all you have to do is fill out an online form, answer a few questions about the services you want performed as well as when you need them done, then submit your request.
Within 24 hours you’ll receive bids from up to five local service providers who want to do the job when you want it done. Half of the bids come in within three hours, according to Zappacosta.
Each bid includes:
- a quote
- customer reviews
- contact information
- personal message
- business profile
You can review their bids and other information to determine which pro is the best fit for you. If you need further information you can either contact them directly or through Thumbtack.
Zappacosta pointed out that many services such as Google and Yelp list services available to you, but you have to do a lot of work to find reviews, see who has availability and who will service your location. Thumbtack can save you a lot of time and phone calls.
“There’s no need to read the reviews of every plumber in the Philadelphia area. It’s much better to read the reviews of the ones who are interested in the job. With Thumbtack, you tell us what you need once and we are able to get up to five pros directly to you. Because we give you reviews, we give you the confidence to know which pro is the right one for your job,” Zappacosta explained.
Your email address and phone number are not provided by Thumbtack to the service professionals. If you decide to hire them or want to contact them directly, you can provide that information to them. “We want you to connect however you see fit, because once we’ve made the introduction we just want you to figure out which one is right for you,” said Zappacosta.
Thumbtack services are available throughout the US. Check the website or app to see if Thumbtack covers your area. The company hopes to expand outside the US but does not have firm plans in place to do so yet.
Zappacosta explained that people have been hiring professionals for ages but that the process hasn’t changed all that much since the days of the Yellow Pages. “There’s been no innovation in how buyers and sellers find each other. That’s where Thumbtack has innovated. There are people who have needs and people who have talents. We bring them together.”
Types of Services
Thumbtack covers a wide range of services, including services for events such as weddings and parties, educational services, home services, health care, pet care, entertainment and more. The site covers services you’d expect such as catering, photography, painting, decorating as well as unusual and unique services.
Some of Thumbtack’s most popular services, according to Zappacosta, are personal training, interior painting, photography. Other services such as home repair and home improvement are big as well as services for events. Zappacosta pointed out that people who are planning events such as weddings, birthday parties or corporate events need lots of services such as photographers, caterers and DJ’s. “We help you find all the services. We can even help you find a wedding planner. It’s about helping busy people get options quickly.”
If you’ve already set a date for your event, Thumbtack can help you easily find professionals who are available the day of the event, saving you a lot of time trying to sift through people who aren’t available then.
Thumbtack can also give you ideas for entertainment for your event. Perusing the site you’ll find some unusual services such as:
- dove releasing
- mechanical bull rental
- laser show entertainment
Thumbtack may have just inspired your next party!
If you want to get help in school or find a tutor, Thumbtack could be a helpful resource by helping you find a local professional. You can find everything from tutors on academic subjects, such as math, science and English, to SAT prep and poetry lessons. “This can be anything from academic lessons for students to music and singing lessons to sports related lessons,” said Zappacosta.
You can also learn a new skill such as filmmaking, welding, quilting, glass blowing, gardening or photography. Learn to play a new instrument, perform a new type of dance or develop artistic skills. Take up a new sport such as martial arts, gymnastics, kayaking, racquetball, or surfing.
Get trained in CPR, safety and first aid, self-defense and other useful skills.
Considering a new career? Use Thumbtack to help you train in new fields including bartending, flight training, real estate, cosmetology and more.
Thumbtack can also help you achieve personal wellness by finding service providers for physical therapy, counseling, life coaching, personal training, etc.
If you’re running a business and need service providers you can check out Thumbtack. You can find everything from social media marketing to web design to computer repair to blacksmithing services.
Advice to Get Successful Bids
To get the most successful bids you should include as much information as possible in your request, suggests Zappacosta. “The more detail the better. Put yourself in the shoes of the professional. They’re only going to be able to give you a quote as specific as the needs you detail to them. Spend the extra two minutes to add in details. That couple of minutes will really come back around in a richer, more detailed quote back.”
Zappacosta discussed how Thumbtack helps professionals as well as consumers. His site can deliver new customers and help professionals grow their businesses. Instead of purchasing online ads which may not reach the right market, professionals can reach customers directly on Thumbtack. “Thumbtack is a lot better for them because we bring them the customers,” he explained.
Professionals pay Thumbtack for the introduction to customers. “They don’t have to pay just to be online with us, it’s only once they decide that they’re interested in bidding on a job that they have to pay. It’s something that they really like and they’ve taken to,” said Zappacosta.
While Thumbtack may seem to have more service providers than the Yellow Pages, and you can request bids for free, keep in mind that the service providers pay Thumbtack to submit their bids to you. Try not to use Thumbtack as merely a price gauge for work you want to have done.
In the future, Thumbtack will reveal more pricing information up front to customers so that those who are price shopping don’t have to request a bid to find out that information. Zappacosta explained, “We have a lot of pricing insight because we see these quotes come in. That lets us know with a high degree of certainty what these services cost.” Thumbtack plans to use this information to educate customers before they request bids.
Thumbtack is also available as a free iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app so you can hire a service provider from your phone. You can download the Thumbtack app from the iTunes App Store.
Have you ever had difficulty in finding a local service provider? Do you like the idea of getting bids from people who are ready, willing and able to do the job? What jobs would you use Thumbtack for? Let us know in the Comments section below!