Do your research
- Plan it out. Consider the design and materials you want. The more you can communicate to the pros about what you want, the better your quotes and final product will be.
- Look at the pro’s quote and Thumbtack profile. Compare prices, experience and past work to get a sense of what will be best for you. Be sure to visit the pro’s Thumbtack profiles to see pictures of past work, reviews, and licensing information to help you make your choice.
- Ask questions. Thumbtack makes it easy to communicate with pros using our request forms and our secure messaging platform. Feel free to ask the pro as many questions as you need. It’s smart to inquire about similar projects the pro has done, references from past customers, if your project requires a permit, and if the pro plans to subcontract any of the work.
- Get a grasp on licensing and insurance. Some projects may require additional licensing and insurance, check out our articles about how to verify pro’s licensing and figuring out which insurance would be best to have for your project.
Check out the Pro’s Thumbtack Profile
- Get an overview. Use the pro’s profile to get other details that may not be included in the quote; for instance, the number of years they’ve been in business, the number of times they have been hired on Thumbtack, and how many employees their business has.
- 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. It’s cliche, but true. 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.
- Confirm the credentials. In the credentials section, you’ll see several indicators of the pro’s past experience on Thumbtack. Profile badges (bronze, silver, or gold) indicate how complete the pro’s profile is, and Best of Thumbtack badges indicates that the pro has been recognized based on their customer reviews during a certain year. You may also see a background check badge (meaning the pro passed a national background check) or a license badge (showing we’ve been able to verify the pro’s license through a public database).
Write down the details (and keep copies)
- Provide plenty of info. Be sure to include specific project details so that you receive quotes from pros who are willing and able to meet your needs.
- Be clear about your expectations. Send photos (or add them to your project details) if you’re looking for a distinct style, design, or technique. And you can always reach out to pros if you want to discuss the details over the phone. Once you’ve hired a pro, it’s also important to determine how payment will occur and what specific requirements you have for the project.
- 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. For larger home improvement projects, many finalize the project and payment details in a contract. Smaller projects, like a one-time house cleaning or massage session, may require a different arrangement. The contract might include the who, what, where, when, and cost of the project. For lengthy projects, you may want to specify in the contract that payments will be made as certain work is completed.
- Keep copies of your records and payments. Create a record 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.
- 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.