Whether just starting out or growing your home service business, the key to maintaining a profitable operation is ensuring that you have the right clients and enough of them! While there is a lot of debate about lead generation services and whether or not they offer a worthwhile benefit to business, if you are interested in lead generation, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. In our overview of Thumbtack vs Homeadvisor, we provide a comprehensive list of the benefits and drawbacks of each and how they measure up relative to one another.
How it works:
HomeAdvisor has a simple setup process where you will be prompted to fill out a profile, authorize a screening process including background checks, and enter credit card information. Once you are listed, homeadvisor uses its ProFinder technology to match homeowners with service providers in their area that meet the job and time specifications. One thing that may attract more potential clients to the platform is the ability to see the price of some home services upfront and be matched with a professional in that price range. If you find that you are receiving too many leads to keep up with at a certain point in time, you can switch your lead finder off and turn it back on again when you are ready.
The process for setting up a profile with Thumbtack requires you to fill out a profile, receive a review from at least one past customer, and set target preferences to help match you with leads (preferences include things like hours and location of jobs you would like and the type of jobs you are searching for). When homeowners search for home service pros on Thumbtack, they receive a list of all available pros and then can choose to contact the ones they think might be a good fit for their job. Another option for obtaining leads is to head to the “leads” tab and select “opportunities”. You can browse open jobs and then message homewonders about them. You will only be charged for the lead if they respond to your message (you can see the price you may be charged upfront).
Homeadvisor charges an annual fee of around $300 and you are charged an additional fee each time you receive a lead on Homeadvisor - even if the lead doesn't convert to a sale. Leads generally cost between $15 - $60 depending on the size of the job and potential payoff. Leads are also sent to other similar home service pros at the same time, so unless you are constantly monitoring your account, you may end up paying the lead price for someone else’s new client.
With Thumbtack, you do not have to pay any sort of annual fee. In fact it is completely free to list your services with Thumbtack. What you do pay however, is a fee for each lead. You must buy a certain number of “credits” which you can then use towards communication with your leads. You can adjust the price of the leads you receive by adjusting your target preferences. Another benefit of this form of fee is that unlike Homeadvisor, you don't pay for the lead until the potential client communicates with you which reduces the number of fake leads significantly. So while Thumbtack is cheaper overall, be aware that the cost of leads can still quickly add up and it is wise to set a firm budget upfront to make the most of your advertising dollars.
Unfortunately, this loss of brand autonomy may just be one of the trade offs of going with online home improvement marketplaces, as Thumbtack has the same policy regarding use of user content.
When customers review our business on Homeadvisor, you need to be aware that Homeadvisor owns those reviews. That means that you are technically not allowed to use that the reviews anywhere else including on your business website or other business profiles.
Thumbtack holds the same policy regarding reviews as HomeAdvisor (not transfer of reviews to other sites). This means that as as a small business owner, you may want to consider asking for reviews on google my business listing or directly on your website so that you are in control of them. a backlog of good reviews could prove to be a great resource to you when updating your own website or social media.
Contractors have voiced concern over Homeadvisor’s use of their profile information to direct traffic back to the HomeAdvisor site. This is just one of the poor customer service complaints from pros. Other complaints include a lack of transparency about the costs of lead genration on top of the annual fee.
The most frequent major complaint from home service pros regarding Thumbtack is that there has been a recent increase in their prices compared to what they once were. However, their prices are still significantly more affordable than Homeadvisor, and there are relatively few other complaints against the platform.
What Pros Have to Say
Your experience with either platform may vary based on your service area, the strength of online marketplaces in your region, and wether or not you have a strong online presence. However, here are what a few service professionals online have to say:
Making the Most of Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor:
Whichever lead generation platform you decide to go with, here are a few key tips you can use to ensure that you are getting the most out of it!
Respond Promptly: One of the best ways to ensure that you catch potential customers is to respond to their messages as soon as possible. Remember that you are often not the only home service pro they are talking with, so you want to get on top of the lead as fast as you can.
Set you messages apart: In any online marketplace, there is bound to be a lot of competition in your same field of expertise. However, you don't need to offer quotes below your fair value to be competitive. You can simply set yourself apart form the crowd with a professional and caring message.
Stand Out: Make sure your profile stands out from the crowd of local professionals in search results by taking the time to write a thoughtfully crafted bio and descriptions of your work. It may help to narrow in on a niche service market that you are particularly familiar with as opposed to just a general description of handyman services, for example.