Daniel Poole was burnt out on the corporate life when he discovered Thumbtack. Just a few months earlier the former IT consultant quit his job working with high profile financial institutions and began helping out with a friend’s moving service. And a strange thing happened. Daniel fell in love with the local moving industry, with the simple pleasure of helping people transport their life in one piece. Today The Daniel Poole Moving Company helps people move and reassemble their homes all across the Washington, D.C. area, and has grown to include several employees.
Daniel shared what he loves most about his local moving business and what it takes to become a Top Pro on Thumbtack.
How did you get started?
I worked for 12 years doing IT work for large organizations including the International Monetary Fund, Royal Bank of Canada, and the FDIC. It was an intense job and over time I got incredibly burnt out. I quit and took some time off to decide what my next step was.
Meanwhile, I started working part-time for a friend’s moving business. It was a mid-sized company with a brick and mortar location, and I started picking up jobs here and there. I really loved the simplicity of the business; you show up, do a good job and that’s enough. It’s hard work but it’s straightforward—you never have a meeting to have a meeting.
I started picking his brain about the business and best practices. He knew I wanted my own space and pushed me to do my own thing.
When did you first discover Thumbtack?
My landlord told me about Thumbtack two years ago and I signed up right away. I bought a $50 pack and started quoting.
I had no clue what I was doing when I started but I figured things out as I went along. I got a few jobs under my belt and started doing really well. I got more comfortable with sending quotes and reaching out to customers.
What does it take to succeed as a local mover on Thumbtack?
I try to take on every job as if I were working for my mother or grandmother. The moving business can be fickle—a lot of people have random horror stories. When I take on a job I want to be sure that people are being treated well and that the job is done right.
If you’re not in the space to work—if you’re in a bad place—take the day off. Knowing when you can’t give the job your all is just as important as showing up and doing something well.
When you do a job right it’s such a wonderful feeling. You feel like you’re doing something good and something people need. And I would say that 99 percent of the people I work with are really nice and pleasant.
How has Thumbtack helped your business grow?
The majority of my clients come from Thumbtack and a lot my non-Thumbtack clients can actually be traced back to my work on Thumbtack. Sometimes I’ll talk to someone from Thumbtack but won’t close the deal, then three months later they’ll reach out directly. That happens to me twice a week these days.
What goes into writing the perfect quote?
People have short attention spans so I get down to brass tacks right away. I keep a very structured format so that I’m doing the same thing each and every time. I try to be exact and quote a fair price for each job, without wavering or inflating. Other than that, I keep my quotes professional. I make sure my spelling is correct and my sentence structure makes sense.
I have four to six quotes for each of my different services. The only things I swap out are the exact details of the service offered and the cost of the job. At the bottom I include my name, email, phone number, links to social media, and a snapshot of my business card.
For me, the five-minute phone call is key. It covers all the basics that the customer might have breezed past on the quote.
Do you have any tips for setting up your preferences on your Thumbtack profile?
My company does both moving and home installation work so my quotes are pretty different depending on what the customer is requesting. I always say that I can work same day for assembly jobs, because when people want their stuff put together, they want it done yesterday. The jobs are small so I limit them to a pretty close radius. Those jobs really add up but it takes time to figure out the proper ratio.
What advice do you have for new pros on setting up their Thumbtack profile?
Be clear, be concise, be open, be friendly. The space you have on Thumbtack is so small. You can do so much in that small space, but you can also do very little. It’s very hit or miss and you need to keep trying until you come into your own.
The goal is to have people look at you and know who you are and what your business is right away. Everything that is generated that says “Dan Poole” is in lockstep with who I am and what I believe in.
It has to be an earnest thing, too. Listen to what your customers tell you about your profile and take that into account. There is a middle of the road approach you need to take because people from so many backgrounds are going to read your profile, and you want to appeal to everyone. Finding that space takes time.
What’s the key to becoming a Top Pro on Thumbtack?
It can’t be about the money or about the reviews; it has to start with the desire to be great. And it has to be personal.
I treat every job like a favor I’m doing for my favorite person. Your customers should get that service no matter what. As soon as you step up to a job, any and all extenuating circumstances—how much they negotiated you down—go out of the window.
Do you have a favorite Thumbtack story?
Moving can be an incredibly emotionally charged time for my clients. A huge part of my job is taking the time and energy to connect with them when they’re stressed and make sure they’re okay. In the ideal world our friends and family would have limitless time to commit to helping the people they love with things like moving—I’d be out of a job.
A growing portion of my client base are now my friends, and that was not the case at my last job. People ask me to stay for dinner all the time. A few months ago, a client sent me tickets to the opera. My mailbox is full of holiday cards from the people I’ve helped move. I know that it’s strange but I also think it’s great.
[Photo via Daniel Poole]