Our friend Emil creates and tends beautiful gardens all over the Bay Area. He took some of his rare time indoors (time normally reserved for garden design and planning…) to answer our questions. Thanks, Emil!
Tell us about yourself and your business.
In 2011, when I was unemployed, I started a gardening business with nothing but a station wagon and a pair of pruning shears. Since then I’ve slowly built my customer base, invested in education and equipment, and focused on always improving the quality of my work. Having grown up gardening and raising vegetables, I had an intuitive advantage, but being a professional service provider is much different than taking care of your back yard. It takes experience, confidence, and knowledge of best practices. You have to be able to look at a landscape and quickly “read” it, see what has happened there recently and decide what needs to be done. I’m a big plant nerd and the variety of plants that thrive in the Bay Area is mind-blowing, which is an awesome opportunity and also means there is always lots more to learn.
I am also a garden designer, an aspect of my career that I’m really excited about because I get to be creative and let my imagination run wild, and end up with something that will be both beautiful and practical. (I’m also concerned with the environmental impact of landscape construction, and luckily there is a lot that can be done to reduce that). When I create a design, I’m inspired by comfortable, human-scale spaces that encourage exploration and utilization. I look to the surrounding environmental and cultural contexts to derive a beautiful, cohesive, low impact solution.
Why do you use Thumbtack?
Sure, I can sell my services by talking to a person one-on-one, but I’m not a marketing firm, and as a tiny sprout of a business, I didn’t have an advertising budget. I started using Thumbtack because it was easy and the rewards were huge compared to the investment.
I discovered Thumbtack early on. Establishing a gardening business can often depend heavily on word of mouth, so breaking in can be tough. Thumbtack gave me a sales platform and visibility, and sent work my way. Building my profile on Thumbtack helped me think through important questions and encouraged me to be more professional. The early reviews from appreciative customers encouraged me to dig my heels in and make my new venture succeed. I’ve found most of my maintenance gardening clients through Thumbtack!
I have used other online marketplaces, but Thumbtack sends more business my way. I like that their website is user-friendly and easy on the eyes without the graphics overwhelming the functionality. You can tell they’ve put a lot of work into making the experience gratifying, yet I have nearly complete control over the content of my profile. In some cases, a Thumbtack representative has actually spoken with the potential client and passes on detailed information about the job. With features like refundable credit for a bid that a client doesn’t read, Thumbtack has convinced me that they’re looking out for me as much as for themselves.
Tell us about a great experience you’ve had with a customer you reached through Thumbtack.
My first ever maintenance gardening client was also my first Thumbtack lead. I’m still working for her, two years later.
Make the most of your profile page. My thumbtack profile has all of the important information and photos I want to share with potential clients, so I use it as the homepage for my business, which is a lot easier than trying to make my own snazzy website. (I also have a blog, so maybe the Thumbtack engineers can figure out a way for that to show up on my profile too).
Check out Emil’s Thumbtack profile.