Thumbtack Review for Freelancers

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy

Review of Thumbtack for Freelancers

Need Easy Extra $350+/Month For Free?

  • SwagBucks: Watch videos, take surveys, shop and more to earn real money. Earn up to $35 per survey! No hidden fees and completely free. Join Swagbucks Now to Get $5 Free
  • InboxDollars: Has so far paid its members over $40 Million. Watch videos, take surveys, shop and more. Join InboxDollars Now and Get Free $5
  • SurveyJunkie: Make $5-$25 in your spare time from home to take online surveys, participating in a Focus Groups and trying new products. Join SurveyJunkie Now
  • Branded Surveys: Complete online surveys. Collect points. Redeem your points for cash & gift cards. No hidden fees and completely free! Has so far paid its members over $18 Million. Join Branded Surveys Now

For over a year, I have had a Thumbtack account for my resume writing service (not my virtual assisting) and never received any leads until March 2012. Then almost daily I began receiving up to five leads a day. So naturally, I became curious about this site and wanted to investigate it further.

Thumbtack is a cross between Angie’s List and Odesk, where freelancers (writers, virtual assistants, web designers, and photographers) place bids on potential jobs or contracts as they become available. Thumbtack is unique for several reasons, which is what will be discussed in this article.

While Thumbtack has approved contractors (painters, plumbers, and electricians), it also has “Thumbtack verified” freelancers. Without getting too confusing, Thumbtack also offers other categories similar to Angie’s List such as Business & Legal, Cars & Truck, Classes & Lessons, Events, Family Services, Health & Beauty, Home Services, Tech & Web Services, and Writing & Translation.

How do you get started with Thumbtack?

While Odesk users (as well as Elance,, and others) don’t require the freelancer to have a web site, Thumbtack does. In fact, it is part of the approval and verification process. If you do have a web site or blog advertising your freelance services, you may have received an email from Heather Madison inviting you to join Thumbtack for free. Later on you may want to add other freelance businesses—if you have any—to the web site.

How do you set up your profile at Thumbtack and how is it different from other bidding sites?

Upon putting together your profile, you will become “Thumbtack verified”. The profile is different from other bidding sites in that you do not post samples of your work or take tests. Your profile is set up with your picture or company logo, any video you have talking about your service, and an online “interview”. The interview is in written form and you merely type your answers for the potential client(s) to read.

Just as you collect feedback and improve your rating on other sites, you will do the same at Thumbtack. Based on the number of points you receive, you will either be ranked a Bronze, Silver or Gold membership.

You can earn points by linking to Twitter, taking surveys, referring your friends, and adding a Thumbtack button to your own web site. It is possible to move up in membership without receiving any client feedback as long as you have completed those tasks. On other bidding sites such as Odesk, you would need the client feedback to improve your rating or score.

How do freelancers bid for jobs and how is it different from other bidding sites?

With Thumbtack, you can only bid on the leads that were sent to your email address. Thumbtack will select them for you. The findings are based on zip code, but for freelancers there is flexibility.

I did like that all potential clients are Thumbtack verified even though sites like Odesk will let you know if clients have not been verified. One thing about Thumbtack that is different than other bidding sites is that you don’t know who you are bidding against and what they are charging.

Once the email is received by you the freelancer, you may click on Submit Bid or Decline Job. If you click on Submit Bid and the client hasn’t reached 10 quotes, you will select a fixed fate, hourly rate or incremental rate for a large job.

Only the first 10 service providers who responded can place a bid for this job. I was on Thumbtack for over a year before I even started to receive potential leads. I have found that you have to be quick to bid on these potential jobs, because the maximum number of bids are received quickly.

Then you will need to write a brief proposal in the correct field of your account explaining to the client why you are the right person for the job. There will be a description of the job and what the clients expectations both inside the email and again to the left of the proposal field.

One of the biggest differences with Thumbtack and other bidding sites is that you must pay to bid on jobs whether or not you get the job. Fees range from $3 to $20 per bid (based on the size of the job). Now, Thumbtack will refund your money if you wait one week after submitting an unsuccessful proposal and send an email to [email protected]. I unsuccessfully bid on two jobs and was refunded my money both times.

As you can imagine this could get expensive, especially if you plan on bidding on multiple jobs. Thumbtack does offer a monthly membership fee for unlimited leads for only $29.95. It is done month-to-month and you may cancel at any time.

When I contacted customer support about why this was, I was told that it is one of the many pay structures that they are experimenting with.

Need Easy Extra Cash?

Pinecone Research, a leading name in online survey panel honesty, absolutely guarantees $3 cash for every survey you complete!
Take advantage of their time limited New Membership drive and register NOW. Join today: 100% free!

Join Pinecone Research Now

How can you improve your rating on Thumbtack?

As stated earlier, you can earn points and move from Bronze membership to Gold membership. You can also have former clients or colleagues write a review for you on your review page. They will need to open a Thumbtack account in order to do this.

How is the pay handled at Thumbtack?

Usually a week after the job is successfully completed, payment is received either by PayPal or loaded on a credit or debit card of your choice.

What is my overall impression of Thumbtack?

It seems to get very mixed reviews. (

I can understand this especially if you are comfortable with bidding sites such as Odesk, Elance, and Freelancer among others. I also found the dashboard difficult to navigate unlike the one at Odesk.

Thumbtack has been written up in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal as well as they do have a presence on Twitter ( and Facebook (

I think it does have potential to eventually grow. And just going out on their Facebook page and seeing that there are freelancers slowly making headway on Thumbtack is encouraging. I have also chatted with some of them and read their posts.

I have found their customer service to be quick to answer as well as they did refund my two unsuccessful bids. After speaking with others and doing my own research, I am not sure how much longer, I will keep my own account open or if I’ll get bold enough to try a monthly membership fee.

Is it really worth the monthly fee when I can join other sites for free?

I know there will be those that say why pay a monthly membership when you can go to Odesk and only pay if you get work and take months off to do other things. I have always been a believer in that if it’s worth it to you to pay for it and you can justify the money with good quality leads, then go for it!

What strategies can freelancers employ to write compelling proposals on Thumbtack?

Writing compelling proposals is crucial for freelancers on Thumbtack to stand out from the competition and secure projects. 

Here are some effective strategies to craft engaging proposals that capture clients’ attention:

Understand the Client’s Needs and Goals

Research the Project Requirements

Before writing a proposal, thoroughly analyze the project details provided by the client. Understand their specific needs, goals, and preferences. 

Take note of any special instructions or requirements mentioned in the job description.

Tailor the Proposal to the Client’s Vision

Customize your proposal to align with the client’s vision. 

Show them that you understand their objectives and demonstrate how your skills and expertise can help achieve those goals. 

Use their language and tone to establish a connection and build rapport.

Highlight Relevant Experience and Expertise

Showcase Relevant Portfolio Samples

Include links or attachments to your portfolio samples that are directly related to the project. 

Choose examples that best showcase your skills and experience in similar projects. 

Demonstrate your ability to deliver high-quality work that meets the client’s expectations.

Emphasize Relevant Skills and Expertise

Highlight your specific skills and expertise that are relevant to the project. 

Clearly articulate how your capabilities make you the ideal candidate for the job. 

Use concise and impactful language to convey your competence and convince the client of your suitability.

Demonstrate Value and Differentiation

Clearly Define Your Unique Selling Proposition

Differentiate yourself from other freelancers by identifying your unique selling proposition. 

What sets you apart? Whether it’s your specialized knowledge, innovative approach, or exceptional track record, clearly communicate the value you bring to the table.

Offer Solutions and Benefits

Instead of merely describing your services, focus on presenting solutions to the client’s challenges. 

Explain how your proposed approach will benefit their business or project. 

Articulate the outcomes and results they can expect by working with you.

Provide Clear and Professional Communication

Write Concise and Engaging Proposals

Craft your proposals with clarity and conciseness. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and headings to make the proposal easy to read and understand. 

Keep the client’s attention by providing relevant information without overwhelming them with excessive details.

Use Persuasive Language and Strong Calls-to-Action

Employ persuasive language to evoke a positive response from the client. 

Earn Everything… nearly!

Join Opinion Outpost, one of the few faithful and honest survey panels and earn cash and gift cards for your opinion. Stack your points and redeem them: Simple! No hidden fees and completely free!

Join Opinion Outpost Now

Highlight the value they will gain by choosing you as their freelancer. 

Incorporate strong calls-to-action to prompt them to take the next step, such as requesting a meeting or accepting your proposal.

Follow-Up and Maintain Professionalism

Promptly Respond to Client Inquiries

Be proactive in responding to client inquiries and messages. 

Timely communication demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to the project. 

Address any questions or concerns they may have, and provide additional information if necessary.

Follow-Up After Submitting a Proposal

After submitting your proposal, send a polite follow-up message to express your continued interest in the project. 

Use this opportunity to reiterate your suitability for the job and offer any further clarification or information they may require.

How can I apply to Thumbtack?

Visit Thumbtack and fill out the “List Your Services” form. Listing your service is completely free.

Related Posts:

Earn Everything… nearly!

Join Ipsos iSay, one of the few Faithful and Honest survey panels and earn prizes, gift cards and donations. Stack your points and redeem them: Simple! No hidden fees and completely free!

Join Ipsos Now


Click here to post a comment...
Post comment


September 10, 2012 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the thorough review, Leisa. I had heard of Thumbtack before but never fully understood how it works. Sounds like there are some good things about it but also some negatives.

S. Robison

February 5, 2014 at 11:12 am

I’m currently trying Thumbtack. So far, I am finding one very objectionable thing about the service. When a potential client responds to a bid within 48 hours – whether they use that bidder’s services or not, that bid is spent. Even if the client does not use the bidder’s services, the bidder does not get their money back. Period. Unless the client took over 48 hours to respond.
As of today, 2-5-14, I have proposed to Thumbtack that they instruct the potential clients NOT to respond to any bidder they plan NOT to use. That way, the bid money will not be wasted, and it will be restored to the bidder’s account. Let’s see if Thumbtack incorporates this sensible policy!


March 12, 2014 at 1:52 am

My Problem with Thumbtack, in my experience. Is that as a “Bidder” i am not allowed to ask a client questions about the specifics of their event. Example The client posts a date, but not a time or time length. So I cannot tell if im am bidding on a 1 hour birthday party or 4 hour birthday party.

The second problem is that the way the site is set up clients can make multiple leads, and often do because for DJ’s they are limited to 5 bids, so often I there are multiple bids.

Leisa Good

September 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

Anna, I agree. I almost think some of the problem could be trying to accommodate BOTH online freelancers and offline contractors in the home repair category. Maybe from a marketing perspective, trying to be too many things to too many types of professionals.

Thank you for your comment.


September 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I have used Freelancer in the past but this is the first time I have heard of thumbtack. I will have to look into it more as I like the concept.


August 18, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Here is a link to the Thumbtack RipOff Report for sending out fake leads, which is why you never get the job while Thumbtack happily takes your hard earned money for the bid……………………….


September 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm

It is nice to see an alternative to the traditional bid type sites like oDesk and Freelancer. I really think Thumbtack has a great spin on the whole freelance work model.

Leisa Good

September 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

I guess it’s a model that can work for some but maybe not all? Good points, Edmund.


September 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Thumbtack is a corrupt and sleazy company, they run a horribly dishonest business practice. Numerous complaints have been filed at the BBB against them, if anyone wants some good reading Google “thumbtack complaints” Or better yet go to their Facebook page and read some of the comments (courtesy of their service providers)

Potential clients cannot browse service providers profiles, don’t believe me? Go to their website and try and find the search tab. Instead potential customers have to fill out an online form which is then sent to dozens of service providers. Many of these so called providers are not qualified to say the least. Service providers then submit quotes based on the request. Once you pay your “referral” fee you do not get an email address or phone number. Latest update is that Thumbtack is generating fake requests internally, I predict a class action lawsuit within the next 6 months….and I cannot wait !!!

Maid Service

September 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

AGREED! Stay away from this website. Their leads are full out BOGUS. DO NOT PAY FOR LEADS FROM THIS WEBSITE, you are better off burning the money for heat.

Byron Cuthrell

October 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Well I guess that the 28 jobs I have completed and been paid for through Thumbtack as well as the 20+ on the books that I have received a paid deposit and signed contract are all fake too.

Rob D

October 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I completely disagree with the negativity for Thumbtack and I can tell you that my business would not be here today if it wasn’t for there service. People have the OPTION to bid on jobs and when they don’t get them they blame it on Thumbtack when in actuality maybe they should be looking into their sales tactics and marketing. My ROI has been extremely excellent and I have had much success here. Thumbtack limits the number of bids to 5 so DOZENS of service providers can not submit bids and I rarely cannot get a bid in due to these limitations. Once the potential client has your information they can view your profile and website and contact you directly IF they are interested so your marketing materials better be up to date and presented in a way that will attract customers. As far as FAKE request…not a very educated comment! You see Thumbtack refunds all of your credits if your bid has not been viewed in three days…and yes they do this regularly! Are they perfect….No!….Are they continuously improving …Yes.


August 26, 2014 at 11:47 pm

This is hilarious. Do you realize what you are saying? If you have to depend on thumbtack to stay in business you probably should not be in business.


January 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I am in total agreement with LTS. this company is a very legitimate RIP OFF! I have numerous documented cases of fraudulent (fake) leads. followed by vague, cookie cutter responses to my inquiries. even their attempts at fake legitimacy are absurd. I asked a very specific question of a potential client (thumbtack “lead”) that related directly to my ability to perform the service they were requesting. my question was “deleted” by thumbtack, because it did not follow their question “guidelines”. I rephrased the questions multiple times to the point of complete vagueness, and still, my questions were “deleted” by thumbtack. their response to my inquiry as to why all my questions were being deleted, including the ones that were so vague there is no way they could have offended their “guidelines” – the response from thumbtack was canned and so vague it did not even address my question!

all their professional website business reviews and employee information tell us that they have between 20 – 30 employees in the California bay area. but if you keep googling, you will find information that tells us they also have over 200 “contracted” employees in the Philippines! and why do they need so many cheap labor employees in the Philippines? because this is where all there FAKE leads are created – and when actually responded to, also from here. I spend 2 years in the Philippines. unlike other cheap labor countries, like India or Mexico, almost all Filipinos learn English in school and speak it fluently. this sure does help when trying to create a “legitimate” response to a question.

thumbtack YOU are a complete Rip Off! and you slimes that come on here to defend them, are actually part of them. we’re not all quite as stupid as you would like to believe.

Leisa Good

September 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Thank you, Maid Service. Did you have a bad experience with them?


June 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

my son is using the service has had a98% rate on his estimates so we will see at the end of a week if they are a made up company, or a made company?


September 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Thumback is a scam they send you fake leads so you can buy credits and respond back with a quote you only get refund if the cliet do not open or read your quote but you dont get refund if the clien do not like your quote or accept your quote you have to pay all the time to reply a client with your quote that’s suck they scaming people with fake leads i’m not going to waste my money on this site I work hard for my money so other people grab my money using easy way to make money from other people I hope the site goes down one day

Byron Cuthrell

October 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm

How are they fake leads? So if someone does not like your quote then you should get your money back? They provided a service that put you in touch with the client and it is not Thumbtack’s fault if the client did not like what you had to offer. There is no commitment to book as it should be. I have booked over 50 gigs though them and have had great success with them and continue to do so. I booked 3 jobs yesterday through them and spoke to 2 real people who provided their number today. Perhaps it was your approach or your online reviews that made it so that you did not have success with them. I am a real person and employed by Thumbtack.

Leisa Good

September 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Thanks for sharing, Alex. As mentioned, I had mixed reviews and feelings as well but did try to be objective.


September 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

wow! I just signed up, and received a possible job to bid on today, but ran this search before turning over my credit card details to buy credit… now I am unsure what to do. Try at the risk of losing a few dollars, or steer clear? I have never used one of these referral services, but just relocated and need a push…

Rob D

October 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

@ Michelle Don’t be afraid….Thumbtack has been great for us however you need to really have your profile and website professionally done and attractive if you want customers. Once you get customers then make sure you get the reviews. Once you get reviews it really starts picking up. I don’t blame Thumbtack for failing people I blame people for not using Thumbtack the way it was intended to be used and having all of their supporting marketing material up to snuff!


January 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I agree with Rob D. I think Thumbtack is a good service for bigger jobs, but may not be worth it for smaller jobs (ie, resume’s, which there seem to be a ton of requests for). Also, I am very selective on how I spend my credits. That being said, it does work well for my online tutoring business to find new clients.

Wendy Stubbs

October 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I have been using Thumbtack for about 18 months and have had an overall very good experience with them. I have booked over 40 jobs with them, not counting the referrals from those happy clients. It has helped my photography ALOT.


September 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

I don’t know if they generate fake leads or not. However the caliber of the leads are terrible. People who want entire weddings photographed for $400 with prints and a CD. Senior portrait sessions and family photo sessions with an entire budget of just $200. Commercial shoots with a budget of just $200 AND they need it right away. For me it’s been a waste.

Rob D

October 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm

@ Larry…True but not 100% true…You do get the impossible low bidders for $400.00 weddings but you have the choice not to bid on them. We wait for the ones that come in at over 1000.00 and bid on those and our ROI has been excellent!…Be diligent….I promise it will work out. You can go into your profile and set your price limits for photography and you won’t even see the ridiculously low bids anymore. We have actually made a killing with Thumbtack this year.

Leisa Good

September 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm

@ Michele – you can actually try a few leads like I did and pay by PayPal. Then if the lead doesn’t accept your bid, send and email for your money back. I did it three times and always received my money back. I think it was like $7.99 a lead or something if you weren’t on an unlimited monthly plan.

Michele – you can always sign up at Odesk, Guru or Elance for free. Set up a portfolio and start bidding for work.

You can also take tests to prove yourself. I have used Odesk to find work and Elance to find workers. Both are very reputable. Sometimes you do find low bidders, but once you establish yourself you can raise your prices and roll with it! I’d rather see you go some place like Odesk, Guru, and Elance.

@ Larry – thanks for sharing. Sometimes a waste of time is ALMOST as bad as something “scammy”.

John Kolbrich

October 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

Biggest scam on earth, you must be getting paid from them to post positive reviews, I have been in business for 10 years and when some one is interested in our services, they buy almost immediately… 20 straight leads from Thumbtack and not one person buys, when you call them up, they don’t know what you are talking about… this tells me these are people who set up fake leads to collect the referral fee… Spare me, I have talked to hundreds of others across the country with the same experience….. I am thinking of launching a class action suite as they need to get a wake up call to not do dishonest business..

Leisa Good

October 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

@ John – This is not a positive review, but an attempt to be objective and present both the positive and the negative. I even stated that I had received mixed reviews when researching.

I had even applied for three gigs–never got them, but did get my refund all three times. In all fairness, I have to report that. I also know of people who have landed photography gigs–some low-paying but some not. They did receive payment.

Rob D

October 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm

@john….look inward….if your profile and website marketing is not up to current standards and appealing to the eye this will hurt you. When people using Thumbtack look at your profile they will pass on your business based on your presence. I spend about 700.00 a month on Thumbtack and my ROI is fantastic….I don’t work for Thumbtack and nobody has to pay me to say anything. Here is my profile. ( and for the hundreds you say you have that had bad experiences with Thumbtack I have 208 Elite members who will argue with you.

Byron Cuthrell

October 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

i’m with Robert. I too am an elite Thumbtack member. I have had great success using them. I am not paid by them either. I am here to set the record straight as anyone who thinks Thumbtack is a scam just either has no idea how to market themselves or have a horrible online reputation. My proof that I am a real person who is not employed by Thumbtack is right here:

Ron Albanese

October 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm

As I am a family entertainer (music, comedy, and DJ), I have been researching Thumbtack. After reading literally hundreds of reviews, for what it’s worth it seems that maybe 15% are favorable to the service.

I’m still interested, though, and will probably give it a good shot.

I have to ask, though: Robert/Byron, did I see similar comments from one/both of you on another blog? If so, you must really like the service to tout it in more than one place.


February 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I am definitely in for a class action law suit against thumbtack…I am a gold member,yet it seems like you’re in no higher standing then a bronze member..Some one who doesn’t even fill out one question&you take the time to compose detail answers…They’re A HUGE SCAM!Yes,i have gotten a few jobs but lately you can’t even ASK SIMPLE QUESTIONS..I used to have a template that would weed out the fakes&low ballers,NOW EVERY QUESTION SEEMS TO BE BEING DELETED OR EDITED.

Also,the incorrect English these people use to respond and how vague the descriptions for the jobs are”SCREAM FISHY”…You email customer service&get the COOKIE CUTTER GENERIC REPLY…You can tell they haven’t read it because they address nothing individual or concerns that you said in your email lol

I brought up an age requirement as i am a fitness trainer…A 14 year old kid is likely going to have to get the ok&funds to train with an adult…So why do they even let them send requests…Also,i know its a scam because lately questions that you submitted before are now coming in a week later…Then when u go to bid it says”THIS PERSON ALREADY HIRED SOME1″..BULLSHIT!..I spoke to one of the clients and they instructed me they answered my questions about an hour after i asked them originally,yet i never received those answers till almost A WEEK LATER…And the bid requests are suppose to expunge after i think 3 to 5 days.

Also,the quality of leads are JUST PURE INFERIOR&INSULT TO MY SCHOOLING;CERTS,EXPERTISE;LIABILITY INSURANCE THAT MUST BE MAINTAIN&MY 12 YEARS TRAINERS EXPERIENCE…Clients offering 225 for 12 sessions for you to travel excess of 50 miles one way to them with equipment…And i drive A RANGE ROVER,Won’t even cover my gas for the week!…COMPLETE LUDICROUS!!!..Also,with potential predators on the web,wouldn’t you think thumbtack would be concerned about”CHILD SAFETY”and not let them send bids&meet in person…Tells you a lot about the morals of the company right there…I had a fourteen year old pose as being older just to meet me and told me she was turned on by my picts..Said,she wanted to get to know me on a physical level…Said,SHE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN TRAINING!…That could have really turned out bad…Good thing i just left.



Jennifer Best

October 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I’ve actually had a very positive experience on Thumbtack. You can review my profile ( ) to see that I have several completed jobs and excellent reviews. Some of my clients have referred me to their friends/colleagues and I have generated a lot of referral business.

Yes it’s true, many of the people there want me to help them into six-figure incomes without paying an appropriate price. That’s the nature of business… cheap people are everywhere. I blame our egocentric, get it as cheap as possible “Wal-Mart culture”, but that’s a lengthy post for another day. 😉

Back to Thumbtack. Are they perfect? No. They are definitely experiencing some growing pains. However, they have reached out to me and other providers in a private Facebook group so that we can share our opinions and requests. Many changes have been implemented based on the requests from service providers.

Is it worth the money? My ROI has been pretty good and my response rate & hire rate are both increasing steadily. This cannot be said for everyone though so my advice is to try it out. You can always stop spending money there after your first batch of credits runs out.

Leisa Good

October 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing that. I have seen their Facebook page before. I so appreciate your positive feedback. Maybe I will give their monthly rate a try. I am sure it is like everything else. Positive for some, but negative for others. I will also look at your profile.

Oh, yes! I know what you mean. There really are cheap people everywhere.


October 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I have to side on the positive side. I’ve been using Thumbtack for my DJ service for the past year and my business has doubled. I was skeptical at first as well but there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. As you said, you don’t know who you’re bidding against or get to see their bid so if you are high end – you probably wont get many people to contact you back. My service isn’t the cheapest by far, but it’s at or just below the average.

2. It’s sales – the 8 out of 10 “no” factor is at play. Typically, for every 10 sales attempts, you get a no. The 2 yes’s greatly pay for the total of 10 quotes purchased (if you price your bids accordingly)

3. The biggest benefit I see is the fact that you get a lot of information up front BEFORE purchasing the credit to send a bid. You get to see the area the client is from, what they are looking for, what their budget it, etc. So if you use credits you paid for on a client whose budget is $200 and your minimum is $500 – guess what? ALTHOUGH, there have been times when I’ve sent the bid anyway and been able to make the sale. You also get the opportunity to ask questions (within reason) if you need more info to send a quote.

4. It’s all about the sales PROCESS – most sales take 5 to 7 contacts to get a yes – this system works the same way. Once you’ve purchased the bid a line of communication is opened with them. Granted, you may or may not get a phone number or email address (depending on what the client makes available) but you can use the Thumbtack relay. I cannot tell you how many wedding’s I’ve booked months after sending a quote.

There will always be complaints because you just don’t get every job. I was suspicious at one point and began to send to people “please send me contact information so I can verify this is an actual bid and not fraudulent website” and sometimes did get a “it’s for real, I’ve just decided to go with someone else”

One of the biggest downfalls to the site in my opinion is the fact that it’s free to clients and due to aggressive SEO strategies they draw a lot in – but this means they also draw in a lot of “price checkers” – people just getting an idea of what they’re getting into without any real intention to hire. You can take it to the site and request a refund and sometimes they will depending on what the job was.

I allocate $200 of my monthly advertising budget to purchasing leads through Thumbtack and haven’t had a month below $4000 in booking from Thumbtack leads. I have 30 events booked in 2014 already and all but one are due to Thumbtack. By booking I mean I met with the client and received a deposit.

It boils down to 2 things:
You Get What You Pay For
You Can’t Buy Success
Meaning – you can run free ads on craigslist all day and hope for something to hit or you can pay for leads that are specifically looking for you HOWEVER, you have to work the lead, stopping at simply buying the lead and sending the quote probably wont net great results.

I will say though, no matter what success you realize or loss you incur, it is legitimate – it may not be the best venue for you though.

Ronnie Edwards

October 14, 2013 at 2:57 pm

A lot of the information here is not true. I have been a contractor with Thumbtack for over two years and they have helped by business grow tremendously. You do not need a website ( I am just now working on getting one). They only allow 4 providers to bid not 10, your rating does depend not only on your qualifications but mainly on your clients reviews. They are always willing to work on any issues or complaints and are extremely fair. Like any other company they are not perfect but they are not a scam out to get your money. After more than two years I have no complaints, my emails are quickly responded and their team members are absolutely awesome. Google my company Irie Vibes in Houston, TX and check out my profile. When you want to succeed in business you have to realize that it takes money to make money. Thumbtack is an EXCELLENT company to help grow your business however, you have to put in some work as well. They provide you with tips and tools on how to get those jobs you bid on. I am shocked to read the negative comments above, I would recommend those that have issues to contact thumbtack directly and I am absolutely positive they will work with you to get those issues resolved. Thumbtack is by far one of the BEST online companies to get clients from. My most repetitive clients have come from thumbtack and I am thankful for their help in growing my business.

Rob D

October 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

@ronnie…I think you misunderstood a little bit. We have a 40% win average and I’m not saying that you NEED a website but in today’s industry…you NEED a website….LOL..You may be getting work now through your Facebook page and Thumbtack and that’s great but if you have a professional looking website to back all of this up it only helps increase your win percentage. Let thumbtack send you people…let your marketing tools help you land the job. When I search for a service company the first thing I look for is their website. The second thing I do is look for reviews. If you didn’t have a website I wouldn’t even take the time to talk with you….and that unfortunately is this internet driven world is what is happening. Also they allow 5 bids not 4…

@ the rest of you…There is no monthly fee anymore…it is strictly credit driven.

Wendy Stubbs

October 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I have been using Thumbtack for about 18 months and have had a very positive experience. Thumbtack has helped my business grow. Thumbtack allows you to only bid on the leads that you are interested in. You only pay for the leads that you submit a quote.

Byron Cuthrell

October 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I have been a member of Thumbtack for about 15 months now. When I first started on it I was not booking any jobs for the first 2 months. All of a sudden I got a booking. Then another and another. I started getting reviews on Thumbtack and was getting more bookings. As I got more bookings and reviews on there (Thumbtack posts how many jobs you have completed through their service) my bookings increased even more. I am now ranked #1 in my area on their site for DJs and continue to book many weekly. Yesterday for example I got 3 bookings. I pay $85 for 12 leads that I contact (I get many more leads than that but some may fall on days i am booked or other factors that I do not contact) but average around 66% on my bookings that I contact. 1 booking for me pays for the $85 investment many times over. In my opinion it is foolish not to use them. I have really seen my business grow and fairly quickly at that, due to

James Chan

April 3, 2014 at 6:46 am

My first first business was at 23 straight out of FSU. I am now 58 and still amazed at those who understand their profession but 100% totally ignorant about their basic understanding of Business 1901,102, and 103. All my nbusinesses involved %3 million to $500 million dollars with several industries.
These individuals are great at their specific business but ley,or specialities but will make a lot more money working for the guys who really understand BUSINESS!

Byron Cuthrell

October 14, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I do not believe I saw this addressed or not but Thumbtack refunds your credits after 48 hours not a week if the client has not viewed your quote. This past weekend I had 5 refunds which is about $45. In no way is thumbtack a scam.

Leisa Good

October 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

Thanks to all who responded both positive and negative. Yes, they refunded my 3 refunds too, Byron. I had no problems with them.

Leisa Good

October 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

Also, one last thing. It is good to know Thumbtack is growing and helping many of you grow your businesses. I am sure things may have changed a bit since I first joined. The only change I see is they used to require a web site or really, really preferred it as part of the verification process–at least for freelance writing, web design, etc. I don’t think plumbers, electricians, etc. necessarily needed one at that time.

Great insights! Thanks to everyone who responded.

Betsy Fornier

November 25, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Thumbtack is a scam and a lie. They code their webpages to come up in search engines with the title “The Top 32 general contractors in Cincinnati” or whatever the industry, city, and number of companies they list. But anyone can fill out a profile with them, including bogus companies or ones operating illegally without a license. So how are they the “top” companies? Answer: They aren’t, and it’s a lie. Thumbtack scams the consumer with their fraudulent website titles. Google should blacklist them.


December 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Wow! I didn’t realize Thumbtack had such a polarizing effect on business owners. I joined because a friend of mine won a bid for a $3,000 corporate video. I’d never heard of the site and I had crowded sites like Elance so I thought I’d try it out. So far, I’ve worked with the National Parkinson Foundation and have two pending jobs with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. I found it ironic that bigger companies use Thumbtack, but they were from out of town and needed the services done well though they had no local contacts.

However, if you’re bidding on 20+ jobs and not getting any return I say get off the site. A lot of these sites work extremely well for one industry, but very poorly for others. I also ask a lot of indirect questions that help me gauge whether the client is interested in buying now and what their budget is. This is easy for me to do because I offer a B2B service. I would imagine B2C being more fickle since corporations have set budgets and timelines they are working within.

Leisa Good

December 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Interesting, DLJ.


December 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I started using them and agree with others I did nothing but lose money on bad leads.

Barry Evans

January 8, 2014 at 6:04 am

My Thumbtack experience has not been a profitable one. I got a very small, low paying gig for design work and after about 2 months of using the service I must have spent about triple the amount as compared to the business I have secured on paying Thumbtack for leads. While some leads appear worthwhile, most are just useless with people with little or no budget or low-ballers. Either Thumbtack needs to reduce their pricing or interview the people who get to post leads on the service. Right now I refuse to use the service.

Paul G

January 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

There is no verification of job posters 80% aren’t real. Its a system gamed against those actually paying to use it. They are service oriented to those not paying.


January 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I just made to qoutes to a client who in there date and schedule is flexible meaning if I can get this client we can schedule an appointment. But when I check review qoute
one client set up an appointment at 4 pm and the other is at 1 pm the following day, that was not on their request the first time they are requesting for a therapist. I only do this part time on the side I’m not getting so happy with the result of this website. I’m not really sure if they are sending real lead or a fake one.


February 1, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I really dislike thumbtack. The only job I ever got through them came from a client contacting me directly through my profile not me bidding on it. You pay for the bid and get a message that says “your bid has been sent to the client” and that’s it. No follow up info. The details they provide you are too small to write a quality bid for because they don’t include the client’s budget so you have no idea if it’s even a job you’d be interseted in. I really think they are skimming money away from small business.

Joshua Patterson

February 10, 2014 at 11:04 am

This website is a total scam, i would say at least 70% of the leads are fake. the rest Tumbtack does not force the proper questions of the clients (regarding website design) which means we have no idea if they are real or not, “I need a website” is not a lead..
As a web developer it cots $15.00 for us to contact a lead, And 95% of them never write back, of those only 3% become a job. Thumbtack is a total waste of my money. My time would be better spent standing on a offramp with a cardboard sign.
– Joshua

Ken McNamee

February 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I’ve been using Thumbtack now for a few months and I have been delighted with it. I’m Personal Chef and also do cooking classes and small events. I often get leads for weddings but I pass on them.
When I see someone looking for a personal chef or a in-home cooking class I almost always send a quote. Sometimes I’ll see a small dinner party and I will send a quote to them too.
I have advertised in local magazines and that was an arm and leg and the ROI was not good what so ever.
I have picked up a lot of new business from Thumbtack and trying to add more positive feedback.
I also might mention I just noticed Joshua’s reply and would recommend him to check out… he could get someone else to stand on an offramp holding a cardboard sign and it would only cost him $5.



Chris n.

February 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

How are suppose to submit a bid on something you can’t see. I never give quotes without physically seeing the job site yet thru Thumb tack your bid won’t go thru without giving a monetary figure.

Chip Tredo

February 18, 2014 at 1:06 am

Agreed. I do mobile audio recording (effectively, a recording studio on wheels), and can’t make a bid/submit a quote without having some detailed information. The “leads” posted on Thumbtack all seem like they’re written by a drunk person on an iPhone with auto-complete enabled, that is, if there’s any meaningful information supplied by the client at all.

Thumbtack is a scam. Plain and simple.

Chip Tredo

February 18, 2014 at 1:03 am

Thumbtack is a scam web-site. Bogus leads, fake/made-up “clients”. I’ve paid to send out about 2 dozen quotes, and gotten zero responses. After the first few, I stopped including any mention of pricing, simply requesting more info about the person’s needs. NO responses. Save your money.

David Friedman

March 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I had a lot of the same frustrations and problems as posters above did in terms of buying access to respond to builds for my work as a tutor for the SAT and ACT. After spending over $150 and getting not a single real job, I decided to create my own startup that will work much better for service providers. Its called zurved, at, and it works MUCH more transparently. It should really help many of the people who have smaller-value jobs that are not being served by TK.

You simply post specifically what you provide and how much youI charge for it, just like people selling products do on eBay. It so happens that we’re starting out in South Florida, but will expand natioanlly eventually.

Oh, even better, on Zurved, you request payment first. So the time I spent talking with people is primarily with those who have ‘clicked buy’ based on my asking price! Should save a LOT of time.

Linda H

April 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I’ve worked with Thumbtack for a few years and have seen pros and cons with it. Not all leads are fake. I’ve merited several great clients giving me repeat business through leads generated through Thumbtack. I tell each potential client to review my website then connect with me. Sometimes they call, sometimes they don’t. It’s part of marketing.

Regarding complaints, frankly, I’ve got complaints for clients generated through Thumbtack. Some are great clients and our business contact and follow-through was rewarding for both. However, I’ve also gotten clients who were scammers, demanded services beyond what they contracted or paid for, or were unprofessional, had an entitlement attitude and were bogus.

Overall, Thumbtack is a lead-generating bid mill that businesses use for marketing purposes. Yes, you pay for the leads, it’s part of the marketing model. Clients submit their need and you can or cannot reply. I’ve learned that leads outside my general area may not reply, depends on their need. I can set my preferences to receive those leads or skip them, but it’s possible I might miss a viable lead that would contract for long-term. Regardless, I’m in control of who and what I bid on.

And yes, Thumbtack will delete information you insert into your replies “based on their policy”. But you can write your bid to connect with the client by private email or phone and then ask your questions. I do this often and it works.

There are tons of scams out there, but Thumbtack is simply a bid-mill marketing tool that can or cannot pay off for the contractor. It totally depends on the expectations set within the initial bid and whether you want to do your own marketing or pay another company to get leads for you. You find phoney clients and unprofessional contractors just about anywhere.

Leisa Good

April 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

@LindaH – You make very good points. Sounds like its more what you make of it and how you choose to use it. Thanks for commenting.

Jim Hancock

April 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Please contact me Jim Hancock, [email protected] I’m for any kind of class action suit against thumbtack, I’m appalled that they have taken it upon themselves to place themselves between the service provider and the client….. and then want to charge the service provider….. it’s sleazy in the worst way…..

Sebastian A.

May 31, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Thumbtack is a horrible. As a struggling independent music teacher with over 27 years of experience, I was looking for better ways to get students. This site is horrible. I had a lead THE MOMENT I SIGNED UP! As if someone were WAITING for me! I paid for their bidding credits and called someone who did not speak English very well and did not know what I was talking about for a minute then said they would call me back. Excuse me, how can you not know you desire a service you have put a request out for??? To all my fellow independent music teachers out there, please, for the love of what we do, AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS! I will be calling the better business bureau in a few days to report them.


June 3, 2014 at 11:48 pm


I will NOT buy any more credits, i offered free computer repairs to test out there leads, no calls.
Thumbtack is a waste of money and time – just burn your money with lighter – .

Susanna S.

June 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

I’ve just listed my business with Thumbtack and want to ask those of you who are seasoned users, do you get better results if your prices for your products and services are listed on your website. I have different packages and different levels of services. I am a career coach, executive and business coach and offer resume and cover letters, social media profiles, blogging services, etc. Do you know if consumers looking for professionals visit the website or are they just looking for the lowest bidder? Some of your commenters seem to indicate the latter. Also when you respond to a bid request, do you provide the prices for different services., e.g. an entry level resume is priced differently than someone with 10+ years of experience in the same industry? Your comments would be appreciated.

Thomas D

July 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

The positive Thumbtack reviews on here are laughable. I love how the “It works for me, it cant be a scam” positions are taken. Do you people have any clue of how many bad reviews exist against this joke of a company? Its such typical American behavior to just shrug your shoulders and assume they are legit, (and only because you haven’t been burned yet) I have a pile of evidence that strongly confirms what most people complain about (ripped off, bait and switch, scammed, etc) It will catch up with them, its only a matter of time. Now for the fun part, do yourselves a favor and google search them. Try searching for “thumbtack scam” “thumbtack rip off” That will keep you busy for hours. Don’t forget about the BBB website that averages around 4 complaints a week. Or for more quality reading go look over their Facebook pages. Keep in mind they have two employees that erase all the negative comments leave.


November 1, 2014 at 4:46 am

It’s a pain in the neck and after paying substantial fees and such, and supposedly being able to offer my services on line, I never once landed an offer.

Shannon, Founder SideJobr

November 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm is a brand new startup and we designed it to overcome the issues people have with Thumbtack, Craigslist and other lead generating websites. We offer $5.00 per month for your Business Listing and you get a Google indexed Public Profile. We even include a Free Webpage for you to promote your business more.
Customers contact you directly, no more paying for leads that are useless.
All of this is accessible and indexed with the search engines. We got ourselves out of the middle and decided to let people get leads directly from customers without being charged for them. We are brand spanking new now but hopefully we will be able to offer a better way to help businesses connect with customers.
Take a look at our site and you will see other listings and how accessible these people and businesses are for the consumer. There are so many people upset with Thumbtack and hopefully they will not give up hope on finding good leads online. We hope we can help with that and build stronger communities and trust.


November 13, 2014 at 2:33 am

Hi guys,

My web site does not charge you any monthly fee. In fact it does not charge you any fee at all.

Local customers can easily find you in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Consumers come to the website, search for local business based on business category.
Step 2: Consumers compare and select the businesses displayed on map.
Step 3: They only need to fill out a form once to send a price quote requests to all selected businesses.

Give it a shot :

EJ Doherty

November 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm

It’s been a semi-useful avenue for our contractor business. Like others here, I am also sure that there are fake leads, but after a year or so, I’ve learned how to tell the ones that are suspicious. We have gotten legitimate business and good customers from the site though, and that’s the only reason I’ve stayed.

Leisa Good

November 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

@EJ Doherty – Good to know! What type of business do you have? Freelance or something else?

Leisa Good

December 30, 2014 at 7:07 am — check out a newer review on Thumbtack.


March 25, 2015 at 11:58 am

I’m convinced most of the leads I’ve gotten are generated via my email contacts. The variations in names are too close for comfort– especially with nontraditional names. I mentioned this to a Thumbtack sales rep who quickly gave me credits toward future bidding. After nearly two years, I think I’ll just stick with Odesk and Elance. I am closing my Thumbtack account.

Leisa Good

March 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm

@Cynthi – It seems that the saga just keeps continuing on and on with more of these types of stories.


May 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm

I am extremely disappointed in Thumbtack and its ability to provide quality leads. have been using Thumbtack for the last several months and will most likely discontinue using them. I have submitted countless “quotes” and have only heard from a handful back. I know my prices are extremely competitive and have followed all the tips Thumbtack has suggested to no avail.

Marc W.

July 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm


Unless you’re one of the 5 people that SIT on their cell phones and monitor it every second –unless you respond to any of the actually worth while posts within nano-seconds prepare to waste a LOT of money for NOTHING! — READ: NOTHING.

EVEN IF, by some small chance, you get in under the wire to actually submit your quote you’re nt going to land a project. After the first couple of attempts when it becamse clear I had to respond instantly –I still got no reply to a quote, even at competitive pricing!

Thus the next few times I cut my professional services to $10 an hour just to see what would happen. NOTHING!

Which tells me:

1) This “service” is populated by people who can work for peanuts –dollars a day.

2) MORE LIKELY –it’s populated with fake leads generated by their money stuffing staff.

3) That any positive reviews are submitted by their money stuffing staff (a la Amazon-esk)

bella batali

July 21, 2015 at 9:13 am

I have used Thumbtack and really like it. A friend of mine also has picked up about 80% of his new business this year using thumbtack. I think many of the people complaining about thumbtack are trying to use it for industries it’s not really geared towards ie wedding photographer, photo booth rental, makeup artist, etc.

Thumbtack in my experience works best for painters, handymen, landscapers, etc, more household service type jobs.

Lastly, for anyone wondering how to land more jobs, rank better, land a higher percentage of your quotes I’d suggest getting some reviews on your profile. Either ask your customers to leave you reviews or you can even buy them on fiverr

Leisa Good

July 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

Interesting. What types of businesses do you and your friend have?

extreme boobs

January 15, 2017 at 3:50 am

That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!