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Thumbtack: Is It Really Better than Angie’s List, Home Advisor & Yelp Combined?

Referral and directory companies like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Yelp have all tried over the past decade to break into the fragmented market made up of small local businesses. A market that is made up of mostly plumbers, movers, professional trainers, caterers, and photographers…but so far success has been limited, that is until now!

Compare Thumbtack to HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, and Yelp

The San Francisco start-up company “Thumbtack” has been accumulating a database of nearly 300,000 service professionals who can choose to pay small fees for leads who are already interested in their services. So far, the company has been operating for seven years and has been working hard on providing consumers with reliable, trustworthy businesses.

Thumbtack allows users to request a local service within the radius of their zip code. Furthermore, the site lets the customer customize their search criteria by filling in a few simple questions. Thumbtack then matches the request with the most qualified local service providers.

The selected businesses can then choose to pay Thumbtack and reply to the lead showing interest. That’s where Thumbtack makes its money, by posting the message to the lead, after that the customer decides which company he wants to do business with. So for all three parties, it’s a win-win situation.

Buffalo Web Design Services on Thumbtack

Every professional on Thumbtack can setup their own profile, however, consumers cannot contact pro’s directly without requesting a quote first.

What’s so great about Thumbtack? Unlike other Internet companies, is that they ask very specific questions that benefit both the customer and the service provider. They do it by giving the consumer a useful tool to find what they need, and at the same time offering the service professional a very qualified lead. This type of the referral system can be an economic game changer.

While companies like Angie’s List only offer more of a business directory. And Yelp only focusing on a small scale of storefront type of businesses. Thumbtack matches the exact criteria of the customer and the company to a very particular degree. This level of matchmaking creates the perfect connection of the two. No other company does that quite like Thumbtack.

The Cons

The cons are for the businesses advertising on Thumbtack and not for the consumer. As a service provider, users will be unable to contact you if they were to find your Thumbtack profile. This is where the competition such as Yelp and Home Adviser come on top. In fact, Thumbtack benefits from ranking in Google using the profiles that local businesses set up for themselves.
The real con occurs when these profiles rank in the search results; the searcher will be unable to contact the company directly. They will have to go through Thumbtack and in the end, they normally get quotes from other competitors even though they found your business page first.

Here’s an example of our SEO & Web Design profile and last time I checked, it ranks for a minor keyword in Google in our local city. We were debating whether or not we should take down our profile since they are not giving us any leads from it especially after we optimized it to help it rank. They reap the rewards while we have to pay for it, but I guess everyone has to make a little money.

Other than that, Thumbtack can be a useful tool for consumers looking for the best service and quote.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below and let us know if there is something specific you wanted us to write about?

13 comments… add one
  • Stefan February 10, 2015, 1:39 pm

    You can find Local Pros on Angieslist, Jobquotes or Thumbtack. But there are slight differences and users should be aware of that. On some of these site the Pros have to pay which means at the end you as the consumer have to pay more as well just to look at a nice website. Go figure!

  • Jeanne April 12, 2015, 12:07 am

    I prefer a service that allows the consumer to recommend a vendor or provider and review those that she had used rather than the services — whether it’s Angie’s List, Yelp, etc., Home Advisor, Thumbtack or another — select a pool from which I can choose. I like the interaction of the consumer above all.

    Further, I used Service Magic several years ago; I innocently filled out the on-line form for my project and almost instantly my phone was ringing off the hook with various local vendors calling! I thought I would be given a list of vendors that closest fit the description I provided of my project, and then I would choose which ones I wanted to contact. After that experience, I crossed Service Magic off my list. On Angie’s List I have reviewed several of the service professionals I have hired, but have never hired anyone from AL. I have always found my service providers via word of mouth from neighbors, acquaintances and friends.

    • Khaled Soliman May 27, 2015, 9:22 am


      From the consumer’s perspective, being provided with a list of companies you can select from would be ideal, but from their point of view (Yelp, HomeAdvisor, AnmgiesList, etc.), it only makes business sense to spam your inbox or send a boatload of cold calls your way because they get paid for every lead they send to you.

      So far, I never found a service directory that creates the perfect balance that connects consumer needs and with local businesses. I used to think Thumbtack accomplish that balance but sadly not anymore.

  • tom shuppert May 26, 2015, 8:44 pm

    well I had a account with thumbtack had / 80 hires had 55 5 star reviews had a customer book with us then change your mind which was no big deal a few days later she laughed a terrible review the only one I had ever gotten claiming that we used tire pressure sales tactics I called thumbtack in an attempt to have this false review removed since we provided no service they refused to help me subsequently we got into a argument over the telephone and thumb tack closed my account they are without a doubt concern whatsoever and protecting their service providers and are a real sorry excuse 1 customer probably cost me $40,000 I’m currently hiring an attorney to handle this thumbtack is basically a piece of s***

    • Khaled Soliman May 27, 2015, 9:15 am

      Wow Tom, I agree with you, go ahead and sue them!

      A similar situation happened to us where someone we don’t know and never hired us for any of our services posted a 1-star review with a detailed list of bad things that never happened (it was likely a competitor).

      At first, Thumbtack refused to remove it but after a lot of back and forth they finally came through and deleted it. If they haven’t, we would have deleted our profile and never advertise with them again.

      Either way, we are no longer advertise with them because we realize their leads are very unresponsive!

    • Mark May 9, 2016, 10:48 pm

      Unfortunately if this happened in CA then you can’t sue. A corrupt, liberal, legislative branch is in full swing in my state…..

  • jason August 13, 2015, 11:55 am

    ThumbTack’s review may not give the true feeling of the customer, since reviewer may not want to write bad review even they have trouble with the business.

  • SeanM August 15, 2015, 4:42 pm

    Thumbtack is the typical Bay Area start-up full of “I know everything…I’m so smart” 25 year-olds that could use a little humility. Fees are high for leads that aren’t that great. From my experience, they don’t have much vision of how they could scale with other businesses/entrpreneurs who are doing hiring for pieces of their projects. Google invested $100 million to start a venture similar to Thumbtack. Good luck with that Thumbtack.

  • Richard August 17, 2015, 9:24 pm

    So I’m currently looking for ways to grow my business. My question hours out to everyone. Which one is the best? Which one is trust worthy? I’ve heard the pros and cons on homeadvisor, yelp, Angie’s List etc. So if you were to decide on one. Which one would it be. Thanks for all your support and help.

    • Khaled Soliman August 19, 2015, 6:56 am

      Hi Richard,

      I would stay away from all of them. The surest way to guarantee targeted leads for your business and scale up is by ranking in Google for your local keyword terms. It beats paying a boatload of money for the same leads that others are also paying for with no guarantee they will choose you over the others.

      • d January 22, 2016, 5:14 pm

        There is no such thing as a guaranteed job. Not even the President of the USA has a guaranteed job. He can get impeached!

  • zz December 31, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Thumbtack is 100 times better than Angie’s list. We through Thumbtack found a lot of good handyman and contractors. We use them frequently. We’re Angie’s list member too. We have to search handyman by ourselves in Angie’s website. Ton of names and companies come out and we have to send questions or make phone call. Almost of them on the list they’re so rude to respond me message or total ignore my inquire message. But Thumbtack always let us fill out an form to detail what we’re looking for. Then in 24 hours will have some handyman or contractors contact us. They’re very nice and polite.I’m going to cancel the membership at angies’s list even thought they only cost me $9.99!

  • Joe January 13, 2016, 11:56 pm

    A little late into the thread, but I am a contractor in Florida and have to be licensed for my trade. I use HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, have a PPC campaign and monthly SEO management for my website. I will not use Thumbtack purely based on the fact that they do not require anyone to be licensed (they do not ask or check). If you are a service provider it is very difficult to answer emails during the day, (Thumbtack is 99% email leads only) unless you have a full time secretary. HomeAdvisor is not bad if you control the leads, and be tight on your service area and budget. Angie’s list is in the category of HA. Spend the money on Google. My personal campaign competes with Home Advisor and Angies list on Google and yours can too. If your on all of them (not Thumbtack) you will constantly be getting work. It takes time to do it right and find the right balance for your company. Don’t do it yourself, and hire a reputable, small marketing firm. Track your ROI on every $.

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