Eli Harz is passionate about tree care. He left a salaried position to launch his own business, but without clients he was looking at cold calls to collect leads. He found Thumbtack and boosted his business, Heartwood Tree Care, in record time. It now provides a steady stream of jobs and income. Here’s how he used Thumbtack to launch his own company, collect great reviews and connect with clients.
How did you become a Thumbtack pro?
I joined Thumbtack in March 2016. Four to five months prior, I had been building toward leaving my salaried manager position at a landscape company and launching my own tree care business. In March I began working for myself in earnest. I signed up with Homeadvisor because I didn’t have any clients yet. After I signed on with them, I realized I didn’t like the structure of how they charged me. It inspired me to look into other services with a similar structure. Thumbtack popped up and it seemed like a good operation.
What role does Thumbtack play in your business?
Right now, probably 50-60 percent of my work comes from Thumbtack. I also get jobs as a result of existing relationships that have sprung from my longtime work in the field. Earlier in the year, when I was just starting out, the percentage was even greater than that. Without Thumbtack, I would have been making cold calls trying to get work. Thumbtack had a big impact on creating viable leads and getting me going my first months.
What have you learned since you started on the site?
The initial quotes I was providing to people weren’t as sussed out as they should have been. In the beginning, I had a short period that was like a fine tuning process. What changed was using the Thumbtack recommendations for how to quote, and researching how my competitors were quoting.
What are your suggestions to those wanting to grow on Thumbtack?
I think it’s the same as being successful in any form of business. Your work should always stand alone and speak for itself, but it’s also all those extras that count. Focus on communication, following up, staying connected before, during, and after a job, and making clients feel comfortable. And always provide concise and accurate info up front.
How do you write top-notch quotes?
I include the things that make me stand out from my competition: my degree, my certifications, and why I’m passionate about tree care work. I use the mobile app, especially if there’s been a storm, because in my industry you need to act fact. Every quote I send out is a total of $1. I explain to the client I can’t give an accurate quote without seeing firsthand what needs to be done.
Any suggestions for building positive reviews?
Building reviews is a big part of being successful. One way to achieve this is sending a follow-up query to make sure the client is satisfied with your work. It can be easy to want to avoid this question. But if you ask if everything is up to their standards and it is, it is much easier to then gently ask them for a review.
What has been the best part of working with Thumbtack?
What has been particularly rewarding is how I’ve been connected with people I would have never met without this platform. I’ve met some really good people.
What makes you passionate about your work?
Tree care is different from tree services. A lot of people have the ability to get a bucket truck and remove a tree from a property. What I love is going one step deeper and trying to understand the biology and health of a tree. I look at the dynamics of the landscape and take into account the harmony of people living with trees and how the trees live with the people. Tree care is not only preventative pruning and maintenance but also developing a stronger relationship between people and trees. I’d like to attract more clientele focused on that aspect.
[Photos via Eli Harz]