Thumbtack Review [2021]: Use Your Skills to Earn Cash

Learn how Thumbtack works and how you can use it to make more money.
Last updated Jun 3, 2021 | By Lindsay Frankel
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Are you a caterer, dog trainer, or landscaper? A DJ, carpet cleaner, or general contractor? (If you can do all six at once, we’re really impressed.) Thumbtack is a platform that serves different types of professionals with one thing in common — they need a way to connect with customers.

Whether you’re looking for the best side hustle for you or already have an established small business, you probably understand the challenge of finding out how to make money with new leads. And you’re probably aware that advertising can be expensive. But with Thumbtack, it’s free to create a profile, and you pay only when customers reach out to you. Thumbtack even provides you with guidance to understand your competitors. And, as you gather more reviews on the platform, your business will appear more legitimate in the eyes of customers.

To find out how to make it as a Thumbtack pro, keep reading our Thumbtack review. 

In this article

What is Thumbtack?

Thumbtack is an online platform that matches local professionals with customers. It's headquartered in San Francisco and was founded in 2008 with a simple mission: to make it easier for people to hire pros and for pros to find business. Since then, more than 50 million projects have been started on the platform. Thumbtack pros offer more than 400 different services, and thousands of customers use it to connect with local service providers every day.

Thumbtack is accredited by the BBB, where it's earned an A+ rating. However, Thumbtack isn’t for everyone. Some customer reviews on Trustpilot say leads are too expensive; others say you have to spend money to make money. Some pros rave about how quickly they found jobs on Thumbtack; others were frustrated by paying for referrals that didn’t turn into jobs. One downside is that Thumbtack doesn’t offer a free trial, so you may have to spend money to find out whether Thumbtack is the right fit for you.

How does Thumbtack work?

It’s free to create a profile on Thumbtack and there’s no subscription fee. You pay only when a customer reaches out to you. And to make sure that only the right kind of customers reach out, you can set preferences around what hours you’d like to work, where you’d like to work, and what kinds of jobs you’d like to take.

When a customer who exactly matches your preferences reaches out to you, you’ll automatically pay for that lead and get a 20% discount. If a customer who only partially matches your preferences reaches out to you, you’ll have the option to decline the lead or accept it at full price. You can also reach out to customers who have contacted other pros already. In this case, you’ll pay only if the customer replies to you.

The cost of lead generation depends on a number of factors, from project size to how many pros are available. If a customer reaches out to a number of different pros, you’ll get a competition discount. And if you respond to a lead quickly (within four business hours), but the customer doesn’t view your message for 48 hours, you’ll get a refund on that lead.

Who can sign up for Thumbtack?

You must be 18 years old to offer your services on Thumbtack. By registering, you certify that you are qualified and hold any licenses, certifications, bonds, and/or insurance required by law. Thumbtack allows you to list nearly any professional service, taking the guesswork out of how to make money. The categories of services offered on the platform are:

  • Home improvement
  • Wellness
  • Pets
  • Business
  • Events
  • Lessons
  • Crafts
  • Design and web
  • Legal
  • Personal
  • Photography
  • Repair and technical support
  • Writing, translation, and transcription

Thumbtack is best for professionals who are motivated to sell their services to potential customers. It works well for all different levels of experience and price points, as long as you can provide quality service that satisfies your customers’ needs.

How much can you earn with Thumbtack?

On Thumbtack, you set your own prices. It’s a good idea to give a base price, which is typically an hourly rate or flat fee, so customers can get an idea of how much you charge upfront. If you can’t price a service without seeing the job request first, you can provide a price range, such as a minimum and maximum per square foot.

When it comes time to get paid for your work, you’ll arrange the payment details directly with the customer rather than through Thumbtack. That’s why it’s a good idea to write out a contract and request an initial deposit before you start. Be sure to update the customer of any changes in price and show evidence of your expenses to avoid disagreements. If you have issues collecting a payment from a customer, you can reach out to Thumbtack for support.

Maximizing your earnings with Thumbtack

The best way to maximize your earnings on Thumbtack is to make sure your leads turn into jobs. Thumbtack offers the following tips:

  • Add a great photo and description to your profile. Make sure you have a good headshot and smile. Highlight anything that makes you unique in your profile, such as certifications, training, or awards.
  • Tailor your quotes to your customers. You should always use the customer’s name and reference details from their request. You might also make suggestions and include photos of similar jobs.
  • Communicate promptly and follow up. Download the Thumbtack mobile app so you can respond immediately when a request comes through. Once you receive notification that a customer has viewed your quote, reach out to the customer and let them know how you can help. Check back after a few weeks and follow up again if the customer still hasn’t hired a pro.
  • Learn from feedback. Thumbtack will send you weekly emails to help you understand how your quotes compare to those of your competitors. Check out the profiles of your top competitors and see if there are ways to improve yours. You can also ask customers for feedback directly.
  • Provide superior service. Make sure the work you do, along with the customer experience you provide, is top quality.
  • Get reviews. When you finish a job and have a satisfied customer, let them know how much you’d appreciate a review. They’ll receive a reminder from Thumbtack, but a personal request from you could make all the difference. The more great reviews you collect, the higher you’ll rank in Thumbtack’s search results, which will help you attract new customers.

How to get good Thumbtack reviews

  • Provide an excellent customer experience. From the initial quote to the final goodbye, Thumbtack customers should feel comfortable with you and confident in their decision to hire you. To achieve this, make sure you are friendly, responsive, and knowledgeable when answering their questions and addressing their concerns. Doing so might help you get more positive reviews.
  • Exceed expectations. Always provide top-quality work, no matter how big or small the job. At the very least, make sure you deliver what the customer asked for and always look for ways to go above and beyond. Exceeding expectations might help you avoid negative reviews. 
  • Request a review. Upon completing a job, ask your customers how they feel about your service. Use this as an opportunity to request a review. If the customer still hasn’t left a review after a few weeks, consider sending them a personalized note. For example, if you were a DJ at a wedding, send a note congratulating the newlywed couple. With your note, include instructions on how to leave a review.

How to stay safe on Thumbtack

To protect yourself and your business, make sure you:

  • Get it in writing. Get the customer to sign a written agreement outlining their expectations and the cost of the project.
  • Report suspicious or discriminatory requests. If you face discrimination or get a request that seems spammy, don’t respond. Report the request to Thumbtack instead.
  • Tell someone before you start a project. Let a friend, family member, or employee know where you’ll be for the job and keep your phone handy in case of an emergency.
  • Leave if you feel unsafe. Let Thumbtack know if you left a job because you sensed that the situation might be dangerous. If there is an immediate threat to your safety, call 911.

FAQs about Thumbtack

Does Thumbtack really work?

Yes, Thumbtack generates more than 30,000 leads a day. Not all leads turn into jobs, and you may need to tweak your profile or adjust your prices to compete on the platform, but plenty of pros have been successful on Thumbtack.

How much does it cost to use Thumbtack?

Pricing is simple: It’s free to create a profile, and there’s no subscription fee. You pay only when a customer reaches out to you. The cost of leads varies based on a number of factors, such as the scope of the project and your location.

Does Thumbtack send fake leads?

No, Thumbtack does not generate phony requests. If a request seems like a scam, you should report it to Thumbtack rather than respond to it.

How do pros get paid on Thumbtack?

Payments are arranged between the pro and the customer rather than through the Thumbtack platform. You can choose which payment methods you’ll accept from a customer.

How do you become a top Thumbtack pro?

Top pros on Thumbtack get a badge on their profile that sets them apart from the competition. To earn top pro status, you must:

  • Respond to new customers within four local business hours 75% of the time
  • Maintain a 4.8 rating from verified reviews
  • Receive a minimum of five verified reviews within the past year
  • Complete a background check

How to get started with Thumbtack

Signing up for a Thumbtack account is simple; start by entering your line of work and location at www.Thumbtack.com and click “Get leads.” From there, you’ll build a profile showcasing your service. Include basic information like your phone number, customer reviews, prices, photos, and anything else that sets you apart from competitors. You’ll need to provide your credit card information to get leads.  

Other side hustles to consider

Although Thumbtack is an excellent service for many professionals, it’s not the best side hustle for everyone. There are plenty of options when considering how to make extra cash doing what you love, whether you want to land a weekend side job or rake in $1,000 per day.

If you're skilled at home improvements, landscaping, or other home services, HomeAdvisor Pro is worth considering if Thumbtack isn't the right fit. HomeAdvisor makes it easy for its Pros to connect with homeowners, and it could end up being a lucrative side hustle or help you expand your existing business. You also have the option to be your own boss and earn money on your own hours with DoorDash, an on-demand delivery app, or Lyft, a rideshare app.

Home Advisor Benefits

  • New projects posted every two seconds
  • Decide when, where and how you want to work
  • Free to join
  • Over 100 million projects started

Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.