History of Thumbtack and Changes For 2021

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If you’ve had a small business for even a day much less a year or more, you know how important online leads are. Getting new clients is tough and the easiest way to do that today is online. If you’ve read our Guide on how to Generate Leads for your Service Business in 2022, you know that we recommended trying out Thumbtack.

We also discussed some Pro Tips on how to make the most of being on the platform.

Today, we’ll dive deeper and talk about the history of the platform and recent changes to it.

We’ll also share some recent issues the company has been facing.

Lastly, we’ll give you more Pro Tips you can use to grow your business effectively on Thumbtack.

Thumbtack Changes in 2020

Thumbtack was founded in 2009 by Marco Zappacosta, whose father was the co-founder of Logitech.

The company has raised over $200M in funding, with another $120M H series round closed in 2020.

Some of their “big name” investors include Google Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Today, Thumbtack provides services in hundreds of categories, from Plumbing to Wedding Photography to Belly Dancing.

The company has been called the ‘biggest startup you’ve never heard of’ because of its elusive nature as the middle-man between local businesses and consumers.

“Sure,” you smirk, “I’ve heard of Thumbtack. But what makes it different from any other player in this market? There are tons of other companies that do the exact same thing…”

Thumbtack vs other Directories


Directories like Yelp or Angie’s List are a great way to find a local service provider.

Typically, these directories attract brick and mortar service businesses.

Thumbtack, on the other hand, focuses on mobile solo businesses and small business owners.

Finding a restaurant or beauty salon is easier with the directory model because these types of businesses have walk in availability and require you to show up to their location.

Plumbers and handymen, on the other hand, must be scheduled to arrive at your residence at a specific time.

Thumbtack promises to make it easier to find a pro that is available in your area at your chosen date and time.

Thumbtack is competing against Amazon Local Services and Taskrabbit to name a few in order to generate leads for mobile service businesses.

This makes sense, considering the size of the local services market.

Research firm BIA/Kelsey estimates $64.6 billion is spent on local advertising to generate business leads every year.

Thumbtack is an active member of this market and has since passed the $1B valuation mark.

This means it has achieved Unicorn status in the startup community.

Top Issues of Thumbtack


The online giant’s most recent round of funding was a flat round for $120M, which may mean the company’s investors are unsure of the company’s future.

The down round could also be an indication that they’ve experienced growth challenges.

One possible factor could be the lower quality of their leads.

All you have to do is check out Thumbtack’s 1-star rating on Trustpilot (out of 195 reviews) and its 446 complaints on the BBB website (and counting).

Small business owners are even writing extensive articles warning others not to advertise with Thumbtack.

Common criticisms include:

  • Fake leads
  • No returns/refunds on fake leads
  • Leads outside of service area
  • Bad customer support
  • Consumers who are cheap
  • A 10x markup on lead price

It seems consumers are very price-conscious when deciding which service professionals to book on Thumbtack.

Other reviews mention that the leads are going to folks outside of the service professional’s service area.

Still others are adamant that more Pros are receiving the same leads, creating more competition for the Pro and devaluing the lead.

Consumers have a worse experience when 12 different Pros are constantly following up with them vs. 4 to 5 Pros.

The outlook seems negative, but don’t worry! You can still make Thumbtack a reliable and profitable source of leads for your small business – here’s how:

Competition on Thumbtack


We covered some of these points in our article on How to Generate Online Leads for your Service Business in 2020.

Recently, Thumbtack introduced a new pricing structure that doesn’t let Pros see how much the cost per quote is until after they’ve contacted the client.

This has raised an uproar among Pros who are paying 4-10x what they used to for the same quote.

Paying much more for quotes causes your Average Cost per Lead to go up, which makes it easier to find cheaper leads elsewhere online.

You should still give the platform a shot, seeing as how it controls a large portion of the online leads market for service businesses.

Here’s how to make the most of it:


If you decide to create a Thumbtack profile for your business, make sure to get at least 10 reviews for your profile from past clients.

Thumbtack will provide a way for you to input your past client’s email addresses and will automatically send them an email asking them to review your profile.

You should also set your profile picture to be something captivating and professional.

Many Pros report that smiling human faces work great as profile pictures.
Use Real Faces on your profile


It’s also incredibly important to follow up quickly with all online leads, including Thumbtack ones.

We’re talking almost immediate – less than 5 minutes to have the best chance at turning those leads into clients.

For this reason, you should install some sort of notification system to alert you of new quote requests as they come in.

Being the first to respond to a quote request can put you miles ahead of the competition, especially if you combine that with including your PocketSuite online booking link in the quote.

This way, clients can click the link in your response and book your services directly from their phone or computer.

No more playing phone tag or getting voicemail every time when you follow up with your leads!

You can even take it a step further by setting up a Smart Campaign to automatically respond to quote requests with your booking link – this saves you a ton of manual work!

Simply set the timer to 0 and your Smart Campaign will respond to each quote request on your behalf.


You should also make your business description appealing – talk about the selling points of your business:

You could create a short explainer video for how your business works and post it on your Thumbtack profile in the pictures section.

Overall, think about what you would want to see as a consumer that would build trust between you and a possible hire and do that.

We hope these tips will guide you on your journey to profitability and success with your small business.

We know firsthand how hard it is to build a small business from the ground up and make it successful.

For this reason, we recommend you check out PocketSuite’s free plan to make your life that much easier.

From Business Messaging to Payments, Invoices, Accepting Cards, and much more… you need PocketSuite on your side to lighten the load.

See how PocketSuite works for your industry, or check out some of our other articles below.

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