Thumbtack For Photographers – It’s Frustrating! But It’s A Numbers Game!

T TackAs I write this post concerning Thumbtack, I have Facebook comments from two photographer friends concerning Thumbtack opened up on my other monitor. Many of my posts are inspired by things that go on around me along with my personal experiences. Trust me, I have a few experiences with Thumbtack.

As of this post, I have been on Thumbtack for 19 months, so I have formed my own opinion. That opinion does cross over into the Facebook conversation of my two photographer friends.

1) I have 98 MARKED AS HIRED as of this message, so I've done a few gigs on Thumbtack. Guess what, not everyone that MARKED ME AS HIRED actually did business with me. That number is low, but it's also a reality of Thumbtack. Yes, you can be MARKED AS HIRED and still not get business.

2) Thumbtack is a numbers game. You have to provide a lot of quotes to close just one gig. It's the nature of the beast. You have to accept that or not use the platform.

3) Many (actually most it seems) will click on your quote/message but will NEVER actually look at your profile, your website or even communicate with you at all. NADA/ZERO/ZILCH Again, it's the nature of the beast. You have to accept that or not use the platform. 19 months on Thumbtack has taught me that.

4) Thumbtack makes money whether you do or not. For example, on the low end, a headshot is about $3 to quote. If 5 photographers quote, that's $15 for Thumbtack. That number is much higher on other things like events and architectural which could be roughly $24 to $35 +/- if 5 photographers quote. 5 is the maximum number of quotes thus the use of 5 in my examples. What can be frustrating is knowing that Thumbtack made all the money and not a single photographer was hired especially when people check that they hired someone outside of Thumbtack.

So what's the solution?

You must accept that Tumbtack is a numbers game, that not everyone that marks hired will actually do business with you, that communication from those requesting services is generally pretty non-existent and that Thumbtack is going to make money on people submitting quotes whether any of the photographers that reply with quotes are hired or not. It's the nature of the beast. You have to accept that or not use the platform.

In closing, don't assume!

Don't assume that because I have a physical studio outside of my home in a business district that I close the majority of headshot quotes that I provide. NOPE, I'm right in there with everything stated above. It's a numbers game and I have decided to accept it along with everything else that I mentioned above. Why? Glad you asked why 🙂

For me, it's MATH and MATH is part of the numbers game. For example, if I quote on 5 headshots that costs me around $15 or even 8 headshot that costs me around $24 and close just one of them, I am fine with the math based on what I consistently get for headshots. Thumbtack, for me, is CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS. At the end of the day, am I making money on Thumbtack or wasting my time? Do I put more dollars in at the end of the day than I get out? Oh, and that's based over a period of time and numerous quotes not just a bad week of quoting.

FYI, I'm still Thumbtack, so as frustrating as it is, Thumbtack is NOT a complete waste of time for me because I accept #'s 1 to 4 above. As long as the math works in my favor over time and not Thumbtack's, I'm fine. There are days that Thumbtack wins and days that I win.

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David Williams

About The Author: David Williams is a professional still photographer and videographer focusing on corporate and commercial work. His love for still photography began in 1982 while still in High School. David started making money at photography in 1982. David and his wife Brenda started working together in photography in 1988 when they met and were married in 1989. Brenda is the photo editor for the business. David and Brenda have two daughters in their 20's. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed: our goal is to respond as promptly as possible. You may also call David direct at 919.723.8453. You may share this content using the larger social icons above this bio section. You may find David on various social platforms by clicking the smaller icons to the left of this paragraph under David's headshot. Check out David Williams on Google Plus. Finally, you may also want to visit our home page as well.
  • jeff

    I think it also depends on the industry. Headshots are relatively inexpensive compared to a video shoot. I just got hired for 4 Thumbtack jobs in the past week totaling over $3800. Not bad for spending $12. I love Thumbtack! It is one of my main streams of business. I have learned to figure out which jobs to bid on and which ones are dead beats.

    • David Williams

      Jeff, Thanks for commenting! I’m just seeing this almost two weeks later, so my apologies for the late response. Like you, “I have learned to figure out which jobs to bid on and which ones are dead beats.” At the end of the day, it’s worth the effort to me. David