Hindsight is twenty-twenty. You make a mistake, you learn, you get better. But what if you didn’t have to make that mistake in the first place?
We interviewed Top Pros from across the country about their hardest earned lessons. Here’s what they wish they knew when they started using Thumbtack.
1. Your Profile Matters
Creating a great Thumbtack profile takes some time, but according to Top Pros it’s time well spent. Coming in at number one on the list of things Top Pros wish they’d known sooner: Your profile is your business. Make it good.
“Think about what customers want to see—reviews, photos of your gym or your work, information about your services—and make sure it’s all there. Your profile should be polished because it’s the very first thing that the customer will see, and they’ll look fast. You have less than a minute before they’ve made their initial decision to consider your business or not. So make sure your pictures are high-res, your grammar is flawless, and your details are all there.”—Evan Mather, Custom Fit Personal Training and Nutrition
For more on how to make your profile stand out, check out 5 Profile Tips for Getting Hired Faster.
2. Reviews Are Key
Top Pros know that when customers look at their profile, they go straight to the review section. When you’re new to Thumbtack, they recommend collecting verified reviews right away.
“Once great reviews start rolling in, potential clients will see you’re a reliable pro they can trust to hire. Think about it like this, if you were a customer would you go with the bad reviews or the pro with the best reviews? If you succeed in pleasing your clients then your business will succeed.”—Matt Salazar, My Culinary Table
For more on how to ask for reviews, check out these review tips on Thumbtack’s Help Center.
3. How to Find Your Ideal Customer
Lots of people will hire you, but finding customers who want exactly what you’re best at is an art. Top Pros who quote for themselves and on Instant Match explain what they wish they knew.
“The better we know our prospective clients, the more effectively we can anticipate a prospects’ needs. If the initial message fails to communicate the potential for success, the client might pick another pro, so it’s critical we have a profile or persona for the ideal prospect.”—JR Gramstad, JRG Taxes
“Move-in and move-out cleanings are the bulk of my business so that’s what I focussed most on when I set my preferences. I also make sure that’s clear to customers in my profile, so when they come to see my past work, they’re looking at exactly what they need.”—David Tello, Freedom Cleaning
For more on finding your ideal customer, learn how to adjust your preferences in this article of the Pro Tips Guide.
4. Read Your Pro Insights Reports
Learn everything from the number of quotes you’ve sent to how your prices stack up to the competition with Thumbtack’s pro Insights report. Longtime Top Pros tell us they wish pro Insights had been around when they first started. Lucky you…
“I check my pro Insights all the time to see where I am compared to other pros in terms of pricing. I never want to be the lowest price but I want to know that I’m within reason. More often, I check to see if customers have responded to other pros instead and if they have, why. Were they cheaper? Were they faster? Did they offer more services than I did?”—Steve Novitsky, Novitsky Photography LLC
For more on how you’re measuring up to your competition, check out 4 Key Insights on Your Weekly Pro Insights Report.
5. Your Follow-Up Will Win You Jobs
Follow-up: It’s the most powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to staying top of mind with customers.
“The number one thing is follow-up. Follow up with your estimates, with your customers, with your employees. It makes a huge difference for your company. Before we start, I let them my client know that we have a 24-hour fix-it guarantee in case they’re unhappy with the work. And I always do a next day follow-up call to hear about how things went and what might have been better.”—Paige Rounds, MaidPro Wichita
For more Top Pro tips on follow up, check out these three example follow-up messages from Thumbtack’s Help Center.
6. You Can Turn Around a Bad Review
Don’t be discouraged by the occasional negative review. Our research shows that customers tend to consider reviews that aren’t all five-star as more credible.
If the review is negative, there’s also a silver lining—you have the opportunity to respond. Here’s an example of how:
“I’m so sorry I was running late for our appointment. No excuses, we shouldn’t have inconvenienced you. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. It’s valuable feedback and I’m working on adjusting my estimates. I’d love to work with you to make the situation better! Your business means a lot to us.”
For more reasons not to despair, check out How to Deal With Negative Reviews (And Why They’re Not So Bad).
7. Customer Support Is Your Friend
Whether you’re new to Thumbtack or you’ve been on it for years, the customer support team is your ally—and the first place to turn when questions pop up. And for those self-serve types, the customer support team’s tips and tricks are all available at the Thumbtack Help Center.
“Customer support was so helpful to getting setup on Thumbtack. They helped me with everything from setting my travel preferences, to job type, and making recommendations on how my profile should look.”—Alexander Rosan, Alexander Rosan Massage and Bodywork
For help with pricing, reviews, quoting, and more visit Thumbtack’s Help Center.
8. Fine-Tune Your Travel Preferences
One thing to check twice when setting up your Thumbtack account: travel preferences. Thumbtack makes it possible to select the zip codes that are most popular for your business.
“Over time I realized that the jobs I wanted most were located in only five or six zip codes. So I went back onto my Thumbtack profile and adjusted my travel preferences to that I was only traveling to those specific places.”—Maasha Evans, DJ Maasha
For more on setting a travel distance that works, see how to set your preferences in Thumbtack’s Get Hired Guide.
9. Know What You’re Good At
Offer services that you’ve trained in or passionate about. That doesn’t mean doing just one thing—on the contrary, many Top Pros offer a range of service types. What it does mean: Whatever you’re promising, be sure you’re ready to deliver.
“The biggest thing though is to know what you do. I don’t do body building. I don’t do cardio classes. I’m a personal trainer. So when I see someone looking for body building or spin classes, I’m not going to waste my money and time giving them a quote because that’s not what I specialize in.”—Christopher Doran, Serious About Fitness
For more on picking the types of jobs you work, check out My Job Preferences on Thumbtack’s Help Center.
10. Pace Yourself
Getting jobs is what you joined Thumbtack to do. We’re getting close, but not every job you get will be the right job. And not every right job will fit on your schedule. Top Pros know to pace themselves—and they had to learn the hard way.
“It’s easy to overbook yourself, especially when things pick up. I always make sure that I make time to rest and to focus on the aspects of my business that I don’t have time for while I’m training. It will be tempting to take every job you can get, and you should take the ones that are right as much as you can. Just be careful not to overdo it.”—Eric Pliner, Dog Training with Eric
One final tip: Try Instant Match and send quotes automatically for free (you only pay when customers contact you). Here’s a guide to help you get set up quickly and easily.