What: ThumbTack promises to connect contractors with work in almost any industry or capacity but charges dearly for the service

Expected pay: You set your rates

Husl$core: $$

Commissions & fees: variable, undisclosed fee for each lead

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: You must be over 18 and able to legally sign a contract. Other requirements will depend on the type of work you do


Thumbtack promises leads for 1,000 different jobs — from personal chefs to general contractors. The site allows workers to register and post profiles. You are then “matched” with consumers, who need work similar to what you provide. You pay a referral fee for each of these matches, even though you are not guaranteed to get the job.

If the referral fee was relatively small, the concept wouldn’t be bad. The problem is that the site isn’t forthcoming about the amount you’ll be charged for any given referral. And, it apparently changed its procedures to “match” far more contractors with each individual opportunity.

To clarify, contractors say they’re paying a higher referral fee to be among 10 or 15 contractors bidding for a single job. In the past, referrals were given to just 5 contractors. This is unfortunate because some users have said that the site provided a great service when it launched and has only recently soured.

The lack of cost transparency and bad current user reviews earned Thumbtack a substandard Husl$core. Better options: Job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor, offer a wide range of opportunities at no cost to the job-seeker.

Contractors can find jobs through JiffyOnDemand. Landscapers can do better with GreenPal.

And there are numerous better options if you’re looking for work cooking, cleaning or in child care. 

What their users say: (From Site Jabber)

“Hi my name is Patrick Mock my company is PM Services. I have been with thumbtack for 4yrs. At first it was awesome. [You’d pay] 9 dollars or so for a lead with only 5 contractors biding on those jobs. Then the quotes went to 20 dollars a quote, which I thought was high but fair. Now thumbtack is TAKING 45 dollars a quote with 10-15 people bidding on a job. If the home owner just replies with 1 question, we are still charged. This turns out to be more money for thumbtack and less jobs and money for the contractor. If you are a contractor please do your home work before signing up with them because you will be spending more and making less.”

“I’m a pro on thumbtack and very disappointed how things work in this site. They made this instant match saying its easier for us. But we get charged everytime we get a message. When i got message saying “your price is high” or “i choose another pro,” I have to pay $10 a $20 just to get this message.

Bad changes

“Have been a TOP PRO member for 4 years. Recently they have made some changes supposedly to help professionals and all they have done is figure another way to scam money from the business owners. Basically you pay for all inquires that come through the site whether they become a job or not. In the beginning they would send out five quotes to a client and then they could choose from there. Now it is ten and they sent out a note last week that there is no set price to send a quote. They will decide how much they will charge when the customer contacts you — anywhere from $5- $200 per job. Professionals have to foot the bill even if people are just shopping and not really serious.” 

“I created a thumbtack account just to see if it would work for our business. After spending about $30 with no jobs I quit using it and logged out. That was last October, I just checked my bank statement to see they have been charging me each month because my “instant job match” was on (which I did not even know). I was charged hundreds of dollars throughout the past couple months and have not even signed in.”

Fake leads

“I started to sign up-then saw the prices to bid on poorly described jobs. I did not go further. Now my email box is full of crap emails. I looked at them none looked like a legitimate job. and surely none worth 12 dollars to bid upon. I thought some of the Freelancer sites were bad taking 20% of your takings on a job. This one is pure GREED. creepy.”

“This Website 3 years ago was very different and worked to help the pros and customers as well… now I feel like they are faking customers to get our money.

“When I first started using thumbtack I would hear back from a customer for about every 5 leads I applied for. Now Thumbtack is coming up with a random dollar amount just to take all the profit. If 5 designers are bidding on that same quote that’s $200 that Thumbtack pockets. After bidding you never hear back from the customer and its a dead lead. I’ve wasted thousand of dollars on this site. It’s a complete scam.


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