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Don’t Rely On THUMBTACK To Drive Your Photography Business

T Tack
This is not my first blog post about Thumbtack and it's likely not going to be the last one. As you read this, keep in mind that I have been on Thumbtack for 2 years.

Frustration... is just one resource that you can tap into to help you grow your photography business, but it is also the most frustrating overall resource that I have tried. Yes, I have had some success, but there is a lot of time, money and frustration involved. If it weren't for the occasional larger projects that I get, I would have quite using Thumbtack a long time ago.

Rate Increases...
On Thursday, February 24th, 2016, Thumbtack raised the number of credits required to provide a quote. There are some areas that double, tripled or quadrupled in the number of credits that were needed just a few months ago. That wouldn't be so bad is their system was not flawed with countless issues that you can easily see others complaining about online.

Example Of A Core Issue...
A single credit at the current retail price is $1.67. A headshot that has a budget of $300 to $500 currently takes 5 credits which is $8.35 on the high end without buying a credit package. Up to 5 photographers can quote on the project which means Thumbtack gets 5 quotes x $8.35 for a total of $41.75 whether any photographer gets hired or not.

If you are not on Thumbtack, you may be saying to yourself, "I'll pay $8.35 to quote a $300 to $500 project." But there are core problems with Thumbtack across the board in numerous photography categories.

1) You send your quote.
2) If the prospect views your quote, you get notified they have viewed it and get charged.
3) The prospect will likely do one of the following the majority of the time:
A) They never reply to your follow up messages. It's RARE to get a response on a follow up.
B) They never view your profile or website. Important step when hiring a photographer.
C) You may get a message that says the request is canceled, but you are still out $8.35.

It will quickly leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you wondering if the request was legit. Yes, they are legit ones because I have been hired over 100 times. However, the system is still frustrating.

I know from my own personal experience, some others that I know personally and numerous comments that I see online that the closing percentages are low. For example, you may do 5 of these quotes to close one deal which is $41.75 or even 10 to close one deal which is $83.50 plus it takes a lot of your time sending the quotes and jumping through the hoops. Keep in mind that MINIMAL information is required from the person submitting the quote.

With a 1 in 5 closing ratio, that's 20% and with 1 in 10 that's 10% and the cost to get the business is over 10% on 1 in 5 at $300 and over 20% on 1 in 10 at $300. Yes, I used $300 not $500 because more than likely, it's going to be on the lower end if it's coming through Thumbtack.

So let's split the difference and say that it cost you $60 (multiple quotes) to close a $300 deal which is 20% of the gross. If working of $240 rather than $300 works for you, you will likely find Thumbtack to be a great fit for your needs. Just don't go into it getting your hopes up that you will close a really high percentage of what you quote on.

My Business Decision...
For me, until Thumbtack corrects a lot of issues, I plan to do a lot less quoting than I have been doing. There system has numerous other flaws that I will not cover here.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.