Thumbtack - One call, not hired once, and lying about quotes submitted

Thumbtack - Review about Job Quotes Service Fee

Thumbtack - Very questionable business practices

Thumbtack generated false leads that seem enticing

It’s hard to find business some times and marketing can take on many different forms. If you provide a service for others – handyman, plumbing, cleaning, what have you – you are always seeking out your next client or job. Going without work means going without pay, so there is always pressure to do what it takes to find the next job and keep your income steady.

One marketing strategy can easily backfire, however. If you have been paying for leads through websites, you may be spending more money than you’ll ever hope to actually make in return. There are some solid lead generation programs, but they seem to be increasingly few and far between. Often the ones you see advertised the most are the ones to be the most wary about.

Creating the Hype
The first step for a website hoping to make money through leads is to get some workers and service providers on the site. They promise big things: One job in every five bids! Low fees! Work guarantees! But often those big promises fail to pan out completely. Instead you become just what the company needs – someone to provide bids.

On the other side of the table are the customers. These folks are advertised to and promised low prices and competing quotes. This is where you come in. The client requests bids on a particular project. You then submit a bid on the project, and cross your fingers that you’ll be hired.

But you’re not.

And the same is true for the next bid. And the next. After a while you realize that you’re bidding for dozens of projects and hearing exactly nothing in return. What gives?

Generating False Leads
Many service providers who have been playing the bidding game on one such website are starting to complain vigorously. The service providers are calling false on the business practices from the company. It seems that the website doesn’t require any money from the client for requesting a bid, but when the service providers actually place a bid, they are charged money.

If the providers were getting a job every five bids or so, spending almost $4 per bid the rest of the time wouldn’t matter much, but the jobs aren’t appearing despite an increasing in bid requests. It seems hundreds of people want bids, but nobody wants to hire the bidding service workers. So they keep paying the website money to place bids that nobody wants. And they are tired of it.

One service provider was so suspicious of what he was seeing on his end of things that he signed up as a customer and requested a bid for his own service. Logging in between his two accounts he quickly realized that the numbers weren’t adding up and the bids being placed weren’t reaching the clients who requested them.

Another caterer realized that many of the bids being requested were for events at venues where catering is already provided. Why bid out catering if a venue provides catering? It doesn’t make any sense.

Or at least not good business sense.

There is one thing that might explain the problems the service providers are having – fake bid requests. If the website seeded the field with fake requests for bids, they would wind up well ahead of the game. Not only would they skip the need for customers on their own site, they would still earn quite a bit from the poor service providers paying fees as they bid like crazy for jobs that don’t exist.

If this is the case, it’s certainly a shady business practice and everyone should just steer clear.