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!
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.
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 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?