Top Pros on Thumbtack are a select group of professionals—from plumbers and electricians to personal trainers and wedding planners—who consistently win jobs and do excellent work for their clients. We interview hundreds of Top Pros every month to understand what helps them succeed with Thumbtack, as well as we can add to the product to make them more successful.
Here’s what they told us are their best tips for winning more business with Thumbtack.
1. Have great profile photos.
It’s simple math: Pros with high-quality profile pictures get hired 43 percent more often than pros who have no photos. Your profile should have at least two photos:
- A clear headshot: Customers want to see the person performing the work.
- Your portfolio: At least one project example, such as a remodel you’ve completed, dessert you’ve created, or event you’ve decorated.
Dessert caterers Paul and Stephanie Staley put it this way: “Fill out your profile as much as you can with pictures of past services. Make sure to take pictures of your food to share with your potential clients, post any Thumbtack badges you earn on your website, and link to Thumbtack on your social media channels. It makes a difference.”
2. Write a thoughtful profile description.
Professionals with complete profiles are hired 40 percent more often. Here’s a handy checklist of what to cover:
- Overview any training, certifications, or licenses you hold.
- Talk about why you are passionate about the work you do.
- Tell a story about a previous job you completed and why it was special to you.
Make sure to ask a friend or family member to read your profile and give you feedback on whether it looks professional.
Los Angeles-based personal trainer Meghan Aro says, “The most important piece of advice I can give is make your profile look professional. Take the time to answer questions, upload photos, and give insight on your business and what makes you different. Don’t undersell yourself. People won’t always pick the cheapest quote. Help people see your worth.”
3. Personalize your quotes.
It’s a simple step that reaps huge rewards. When you are writing a quote:
- Use the customer’s name
- Mention at least one detail from their request
- Suggest something you think would work for them
- Attach photos of relevant work
Rebecca Foster, an event planner in Vancouver, WA, built her business in part by tailoring every quote to the details of the customer’s event. She says, “I respond to requests for quotes as specifically as possible. For example, if I have an anniversary request and the couple wants black and white colors, I let them know how much I love celebrating a couple’s longevity and their marriage. Then I show them photos of other black and white parties or anniversary parties I’ve done. I provide specific examples.”
Another way to encourage customers to respond to you is to ask questions, says Rachel Grahmann, an independent photographer and designer. “So often the client is waiting for you to ask for more information to better understand what they’re looking for themselves. I’ve also found that clients tend to appreciate suggestions, from a favorite photo location to a unique color scheme for their branding.
4. Quote quickly.
When a request comes through, you know that a customer’s attention is focused on looking for the right pro. Set yourself up to quote quickly by downloading the Thumbtack mobile app for iOS or Android.
Photographer Bill Howard says, “I use the mobile app 100 percent of the time for my quotes. It’s essential in order to bid quickly.”
Personal trainer Meghan Aro agrees—in the hyper-competitive Los Angeles market, she has to quote immediately to get the most coveted opportunities. “I’m rarely on my computer when answering quotes. Thumbtack mobile app allows me to be anywhere and get work quickly. I live in LA so job requests in areas like Santa Monica, Venice, and Beverly Hills go quickly. I have maybe 2 minutes to respond before that job request is gone. You have to be on your A-game to get those gems.”
5. Follow up.
As soon as a customer has viewed a quote, you’ll get a notification. Top Pros take advantage of this right away. Once you start a conversation with a customer, you can deeply understand their needs and suggest the right solution for them—but you have to follow up to get the chance to doso.
Josh Downing, a general contractor in Florida who has made $2 million in revenue from Thumbtack since he joined two years ago, says, “I focus on getting the client to respond because once they respond, I know I can get the job.”
Kari Kerr, a dog trainer in Forest Grove, OR, says that with follow-ups, “the point is to let them know how you can help them.”
Here are her tips:
- As soon as she gets a notification that someone has viewed her quote, she follows up with a message that is even more personalized to their request.
- This message includes more information her expertise and how it relates to the customer’s needs.
- She also uses what she calls a “tick work file.” For every quote she sends, she creates a new file reminding herself to follow up in four to six weeks. If the customer still hasn’t hired someone for the job, she follows up again.
6. Learn from jobs you don’t get.
Top Pros take advantage of their weekly feedback email to learn how their quotes compare to the competition. Says Shane Wolcansek, a plumbing and bath remodel professional in Boiling Springs, SC: “Look at the top competitors from your competitive report and see what their profiles look like. If yours isn’t every bit as good, spend some time to get it up to par. These are the peers you want to emulate.”
Wade Coleman, a photo booth rental provider in Denver, has a more direct approach: he recommends messaging customers who hired someone else to ask how you could have made a more competitive offer. “If you’re just starting out, don’t worry if you don’t get quotes. Just keep quoting and ask customers for feedback if you don’t get the jobs at first. They’ll tell you if it was experience, quality, or price that was the determining factor in their hiring decision.”
7. Do what you do best.
You’ve won the job—now what? “Deliver superb customer service each and every time you do your job,” says James Harriott, a photographer in New Haven, CT. “If you always provide top-notch service, word of mouth spreads and you get more customers. This leads to higher revenue, so you can afford better equipment that allows you to expand, grow, and keep your business functioning.”
Every job is an opportunity to build relationships for word-of-mouth referrals. Chef Matt Salazar says, “Cook your butt off and please the client and their guests with the best food possible. Remember they can hire anyone they want, but they chose you. If you overperform you will get more clientele and repeat customers. I also always leave business cards on the table before I leave for guests if they need my services in the future.”
8. Ask every customer for a review.
Professionals with five or more reviews are hired four times more often.
“Be sure to ask for reviews,” says Shane Wolcansek, a remodeling pro. “Let your customer know why they are important for your business and make it as easy as you can for them to leave one. Thumbtack does an excellent job of reminding the customer on your behalf, but you can set the tone early by letting them know how much you would appreciate the feedback while wrapping up the job.”
A review from a Thumbtack customer is marked as a “Verified Review” on your profile. Reviews from customers you met outside of Thumbtack are not marked as verified. Verified reviews give your review rating more credibility and increase customer trust. Find out how to get your reviews verified here.
9. Show customers who you are.
Customers want to know that you are an expert who’s passionate about your profession and will be an empathetic partner to them, whether they’re inviting you into their home to remodel a kitchen where they’ll spend quality time with their family, asking you to help them learn to dance for the first time, or depending on you to capture the perfect photos from a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding.
You can communicate that you’re the right person for the job at every touchpoint, from your profile to your quote and your follow up message.
Sarah Freeman, an event planner, says “it took me awhile to start booking consistently, but if you stick with it and really do a nice job, the business will come. You have to grow that portfolio and gather all the reviews you can. I’m so happy I didn’t give up on Thumbtack in my early days. It was truly a lifesaver when starting out.”