Freelancers and small business owners get excited about good sources for finding new business.

On this site, we’ve talked about drumming up jobs from Upwork, LinkedIn, and other online platforms. One website we haven’t talked about at all has been Thumbtack.

So, why not? And, what is Thumbtack in the first place?

Thumbtack Is Locale-Focused

Being that we focus a lot on working remotely, Thumbtack hasn’t always been an obvious topic for discussion.

The name is probably derived from the concept of the local bulletin boards that can be found at your favorite supermarket or community center. You know, the ones where you can go tear phone numbers off the bottoms of homemade flyers for piano lessons, find out if someone is renting a room, or needs a babysitter.

How are those flyers and local ads posted to the bulletin boards? Using thumbtacks, of course! In this case, the name has been applied to the site that serves as a virtual bulletin board, making it easier to find local help for whatever you need.

Some professional profiles on the site belong to handymen, people that will assist you with a small move, or others willing to take care of small tasks that may not need a large company to be carried out. It’s like finding a helping hand.

Then, there are profiles on the site that belong to actual companies, some of which are young and small, and others which are more established.

The first thing you’ll see when you log onto the site is that you’re prompted to describe the kind of work you need and enter your zip code.

Depending on what your desired service is, your results may be local, or you may see results from all 50 states. The site has options customers can check off if they’re looking for work that can be performed virtually or at the service provider’s place of business.

Common examples of services that are handled remotely are web design, translation, copywriting, and more.

That we’re aware of, Thumbtack does not currently have an option for service providers outside of the US to sign up. All of the customers using the site are also based in the United States.

Getting Leads From Thumbtack

Once you sign up on the site, potential customers will be able to see your profile when the keyword for the services they need match keywords on your description.

If they request a quote, you’ll receive a notification according to the settings chosen on your account. It’s best to allow Thumbtack to use the contact method that will get your attention fastest because prospects are often requesting quotes from more than one service provider at a time. Responding immediately can make you the prospect’s first pick.

Thumbtack will show you how many people your prospect has contacted with the same inquiry, which helps you to guess how much of a chance you’ll have at converting them into a customer. Armed with that information and considering what’s being requested, you can decide if you want to engage with them.

When you engage with a prospect on Thumbtack, your account is charged a specific amount for the lead. The price for answering each one can range in the ballpark of $3 – $7. The price will vary on different factors, including whether you’re running a promotion on the app which will make your profile more visible than others. Running a promotion costs about $15-$25 per month.

This is how Thumbtack makes money. They allow you to decide which leads you’re interested in, and you only pay for a lead if you respond to them.

After responding to a prospect, you can correspond with them directly on the app or exchange contact information and continue your conversation via phone, email, or other means.

From here, you can manage the sale as you would any other lead. You add the customer into your own database, provide an estimate, collect payments, and complete the contract according to your established procedure.

After you’ve delivered the customer’s order, don’t forget to ask them to leave you a review on Thumbtack. Positive reviews increase your credibility and prompt more of the app’s users to contact you for their needs.

Is It Worth It?

Whether Thumbtack will be useful to you will depend on your business.

I once used the app to find a monthly lawn service. If you consider that my lead cost the company I contacted around $5 and that if I went with their service, they would have collected approximately $100 for it, the lead would most likely have paid for itself immediately. If I used the serviced on an ongoing basis, (lawn services cost on average $100 per month in my area) the lead would have paid for itself many times over.

If you collect a lower amount on average per sale, e.g., $35, and you will not receive repeat business from each customer, each lead will notably cut into your profit margins and may not seem as appealing.

However, the volume of leads that Thumbtack presents to you may help justify their cost. I have witnessed the app’s ability to produce viable leads on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, bringing in business that would not have received otherwise.

Local business owners I’m acquainted with also sing praises about the app. A home designer who is a personal friend has said that his Thumbtack leads have converted into sales almost on a weekly basis. For him, this means 50 new customers per year which substantially boosts his income.

Another professional acquaintance has said she’s been able to grow her freelance business into a full-blown company over the course of 5 years with the help of Thumbtack. At one point, she was receiving so many leads that they became overwhelming and she had to pause her account.

It’s free to sign up for Thumbtack, so there’s no risk in creating a profile to see what comes of it. Until now, they have also willingly provided refunds on leads where the prospect doesn’t respond 24 hours after your reply to their request for information. For me, this eliminates the worry of paying for fake leads.

So, without any endorsement from the company or their knowledge that I’m writing about them, I do recommend trying them out. If you’re US-based, it’s a legitimate site or app you can join to add to your income.

Have you used Thumbtack? What’s your experience been like? If you know of any alternatives in our outside of the United States, please share so others may grow their business as well. Cheers!