Bark offers to connect service providers of all kinds with potential customers. But you pay for leads that are sometimes worthless
Expected pay: You set it
Commissions & fees: You pay for leads
Where: Nationwide (And select international communities)
Requirements: Have a service to offer; be legally able to work in your country
Bark promises to connect service providers with potential customers in 1,000 different fields — tutoring; cleaning; child care; IT support; web design; magic — just to name a few.
How it works
The sign up process takes just a few minutes. Once your account is in place, you will be considered a Bark Pro. At that point, Bark will send you leads for potential clients seeking your service.
If a lead works out, you (the service provider) negotiate the rates and terms with the customer and do all the collection and job management. Bark’s role is simply to provide you with job leads. Once it has provided customer contact information, the site’s job is done. You are in charge from then on out.
Fees for contacts
But there’s a big catch. You have to pay “Bark credits” to see the contact details for any particular lead. These details include the potential client’s name, phone number and email address.
And even though Bark claims there are no commissions or hidden fees, the pay-for-leads system is complex.
You buy “Bark credits” upfront. The standard price for each credit is $1.80, but you can bring that cost down if you buy in bulk. The number of Bark credits required to buy any single lead varies from 3 to more than 20, depending on an opaque lead value system. In other words, it could cost you between $5 to $36 to buy contact information for a single potential client.
Bark offers no guarantees that the potential customer leads that it supplies will result in business. In fact, service providers contend in reviews that many leads are old, fake, or simply lookie-loos, who aren’t interested in buying anything.
The site says that if you don’t get any customers after using your first batch of lead credits, Bark will “restore” those credits. But that gives you the ability to try again, not to get a cash refund.
Although there may be some legitimate leads to be found here, the risk of spending a considerable amount for no return is real. When responding to complaints, Bark actually reveals one of the reasons why: It’s up to the client to remove their job request. If a client doesn’t report that they’ve already hired someone/filled the position/moved on, their job request remains on the site indefinitely.
This site works a great deal like Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor, which are panned by service providers for identical reasons. If the leads were appropriately vetted and kept up-to-date, they might be worth paying for. As it is, it’s a crap shoot. And the odds are never in your favor.
Our best advice is to go to the SideHusl.com work page and click on your industry — build, beauty, lawn & garden, teaching, tutoring, accounting — whatever you offer. Look for sites that have Husl$cores of $$$ or more.
What their users say: (from G2.com)
I have so far spent roughly $250 for about 25 leads, out of which I’ve had one response, and one booking. So I have about broken even. That’s just not good enough to continue.
“I can’t recommend BARK.COM for anyone trying to find genuine leads online. The system has a deceptively nice-looking UI, but doesn’t do what they advertise. We spent 500+ AUD to get at least one answer as advertised, but we haven’t heard back from any of the people we contacted.”
“Don’t waste your time or money dealing with them. You’re better off standing on a street corner with a sign!”
“I’ve received zero work so far from Bark and only one company has reached out. After following their tips, being a good fit for the people I reach out to, and following up, I feel as though I should have more interactions with potential clients for the cost.”
“It is exceedingly expensive with no guarantee. I am a professional photographer and it costs me about $22 to buy a lead. Only to find out they have already gotten the work done or they are just shopping around. I’m out hundreds and hundreds of dollars with zero to show for it. Much better off with an SEO expert who can bounce me above them in an Google search and let the client contact me directly.”
“Recycled / Fake leads? C’mon.. Anyone with a brain can notice how “copy and paste” these leads are. They switch the name and minor details. Don’t believe me? Sign up, put your email but don’t pay.. get out, and then you’ll see your Email get spammed with similar leads all alike, with the exception of minor changes. I’m done!”
“Many leads turned out to be nothing, even when filtering out those “just researching and planning,” as Bark suggests. Why are we paying for leads that do not even answer their calls? In one case, a text message reply was sent saying “STOP” to us on our first text contact to that lead. We had only sent one message and were asking them about the project they supposedly wanted information about!
When I complained about the leads – bark tried rushing us into canceling our account before using up all the remaining leads on our account.We will be canceling our account when our purchased leads are all used up.”
Ok I’m speaking from a professional cleaning standpoint: The company is trash. We have to pay for bark credits and there’s no guarantee that these people are legit! They allow the same individuals to get on and repost for absolutely no reason. Don’t waste your time or money trust me!”
“Bark is a waste of money. The market is full of people who are only after a cheap deal without understanding the process and work that goes behind the jobs. There are many people that will gladly take their little money and not provide a proper service. I would not recommend bark to anyone looking to improve their business unless they offer subordinate services at cheap prices.”
“26 leads. No return. You pay premium prices or little to no results. It’s downright criminal. I suppose that’s capitalism in a sense. Wont be returning. STAY AWAY. “
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