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Smart Hiring on Thumbtack

Tips for hiring the right pro

It’s important to ask the right questions when you’re hiring a service pro to help you with a project. Here are some important tips to help you make the right decisions:

Do your research

  • Plan it out. The more thought and research you dedicate to your project up front, the more you will have a good sense of what you’re looking for when hiring a pro. Clarity about your project will help you select the pro with the right credentials and experience.
  • Communicate. Thumbtack makes it easy to communicate with pros using our secure messaging platform. Tell the pro exactly what you’re looking for, and ask the pro as many questions as you need. Ask about similar projects the pro has done, for pictures of past work, for references from past customers, if your project requires a permit, and if the pro plans to subcontract any of the work. Feel free to send the pro pictures of what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to schedule a phone call or an in-person meeting.
  • Get a grasp on licensing, insurance, and permits. Some projects may require a pro to have an occupational license and/or insurance, so check out our articles about how to verify pro’s licensing and determining which insurance would be best to have for your project. Consider whether you or your pro will need to get a permit to do the job.

Check out the Pro’s Quote and Thumbtack Profile

  • Get an overview. Use the pro’s profile to get important information about their experience and credentials. For instance, on a profile you can find the number of times they’ve been hired on Thumbtack and the way they describe themselves: how long they’ve been around, how many employees they have, and why they’re passionate about their work.
  • Reviews matter. Reviews can offer valuable information about a professional’s timeliness, technical skills, qualifications, and quality of work. Verified reviews are reviews from customers who hired pros on Thumbtack, while unverified reviews are from customers who found the pro somewhere else. You can also see how the pro responded to reviews to gauge how they treat their customers.
  • Pictures are worth 1,000 words. Pros can provide photos or videos of their work to showcase their past projects. Look for examples of projects the pro has completed similar to your own. If you don’t see any, feel free to reach out and ask the pro to provide some.
  • Review the Pro’s credentials on Thumbtack. The Top Pro badge means a Pro has maintained a high rating, across several reviews from customers who hired the pro on Thumbtack. A background check badge means the pro has passed a national background check. A license badge means we’ve used a public database to verify as valid the license number the pro provided us.

Write down the details (and keep copies)

  • Provide plenty of info and be clear about your expectations. Be sure to include specific project details so that you receive quotes from pros who are willing and able to meet your needs. Send photos (or add them to your project details) if you’re looking for a distinct style, design, or technique.
  • Get a written contract. When you’re ready to hire, a written contract is the best way to make sure that you and the pro are in agreement, especially for very technical or high-value projects. The contract might include the who, what, where, when, and cost of the project. It should also specify how and when payment will occur.
  • Keep copies of your records and payments. Keep records of communications, invoices, proof of payment, insurance, and proof of licensing. For construction-related projects, you may want to take photos of the ongoing work. Having photos and documents means that you’ll be prepared if there are unexpected issues. No matter what your project is, be sure to ask about additional fees beforehand and always make sure to get a receipt from the pro.

Use your best judgment

  • Don’t automatically choose the pro with the lowest price. We all love deals, and many of the lowest quotes you receive are offering just that. But you may want to request an explanation to see if there’s a reason for any unusually low price.
  • Do a final check on licensing, insurance, and permits. It’s always a good idea to ask one more time whether the pro has all necessary licenses, insurance, and permits to do your job. You can confirm a pro’s license by checking with the government agency that handles licensing for the type of pro you’re hiring.
  • Ask for references if you’re not sure. One of the best ways to learn about a pro is to hear directly from their former customers!
  • Take your time. Feel free to ask lots of questions and get all the info you need before making a hiring decision.
  • Get help if you have trouble. If an issue arises while your project is being completed, first attempt to resolve it with the pro, which can often be successful. If you aren’t able to come to an agreement, please let us know. We are here to help.
  • Trust your gut. If something doesn’t quite feel right, trust yourself. What’s most important is that you invest the time and effort in the hiring decision so that you can enjoy a stunning finished project.