Have you ever tried to get leads through Thumbtack.com? If you’re a contractor, you know that you could literally spend hundreds of dollars before you get a good quality lead. Unfortunately once you get that lead the other contractor who bids extremely low ends up getting the job and you still wind up with nothing (or at least that’s what I hear from most of the contractors that I work with). It would seem as though it’s impossible to win with Thumbtack, however that’s not entirely true. There’s definitely a way to get quality contractor leads while using Thumbtack, and I’m about to tell you the story about how I found out, and exactly what you can do.
Thumbtack for Painting Leads
This project started when I reached out to a buddy of mine, Shawn Sivils of The Painting Company. Shawn has been a painter for over 30 years and has had experience buying leads from all different types of resources. He was painting when the Yellow Pages was the best way to get leads, and he’s still painting today.
I asked Shawn about his experience with Thumbtack, and he said he didn’t get anything out of it. This was odd to me because I knew that my buddy, Jesse in Atlanta (also a professional paint contractor) almost only got leads through Thumbtack. A part of me got the idea that maybe it was just the locations that they were servicing, but a part of me also thought that perhaps it was just the way they pitched themselves to their potential customers. So I decided I would take it upon myself to find out the best way to get quality leads through Thumbtack.
I’ve had some experience as a contractor before, and I also have experience as a painter (that’s one of the reasons why a large majority of the clients I serve are contractors). So I decided to create a painting company of my own that I would use to get work through Thumbtack. The company was called “Nashville Painters“. I chose this name because it’s very simple, it tells my potential customer that I’m local, and it also happens to be a phrase that’s searched in Google several times every month. That was the start of this project to show you how to get quality contractor leads on Thumbtack.
Step 1: Create a Profile
If you aren’t familiar with Thumbtack, it’s just like any other lead generation site where you’ll create a profile. It’s important that you fill out all the information on your Thumbtack profile! Here’s another few pointers that you need to keep in mind when writing your Thumbtack profile:
- Put up pictures of yourself and the team.
In my profile I had a picture of myself and a couple buddies of mine. I also had a picture of myself and my wife, as well as a picture of me and my baby niece. The reason you want these pictures up is because your potential customer is going to want to know who they’ll have in their home. They’re much more likely to invite you into their home if you look like a family man, or maybe even just a friendly guy. They’re not very likely to invite you into their home if you look like you’re going to try to steal something from them, or even if they don’t know anything about what you look like.
You might be familiar with the phrase “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” Well unfortunately that doesn’t always work in the home improvement industry. That doesn’t mean that if you have tattoos and scars you’re not going to get hired, because your work will sometimes speak for itself and get you referrals. However, having a professional appearance on your Thumbtack page will go a long way. You’re definitely going to get more work than the guy who doesn’t have any pictures up.
- Put up pictures of your work.
Unfortunately I didn’t ever save any pictures of the work that I’ve done in the past, so I ended up borrowing a few pictures of work that was comparable to my own. Whatever your trade may be, it’s always a decent idea to keep some pictures of the work you’ve done (especially before and after pictures). People respond well to seeing quality work.
My personal preference in the order of pictures is that your personal photos and team pictures come first, then your work. Most of your customers aren’t going to really know what they’re looking at when they see a painted wall or new roof unless there’s something unique to the picture that really makes it pop out. Landscapers can often post eye-catching photos because they deal a lot in creating beautiful scenery, but if you can’t say the same for your trade then I recommend you stick with team photos first.
- Link to your website.
If you don’t have a website, let me know and I’ll fix you up (again, I work with a lot of contractors). However if you have a website it’s important that you link it up to your Thumbtack account. This is pretty easy and self explanatory. By doing this you allow your potential customer to find out more about you and your company (and bring them closer to becoming a lead).
- Fill in the empty spaces.
There’s a lot that you can fill out. You should take the time and answer all the questions that you can. The more information you provide the better. The point is that you want to have a profile that really sticks out. There are a lot of people out there who lose on Thumbtack because they don’t say anything about who they are or what they do. They expect to pay a few bucks here and there and people are going to want to do work with them. Unfortunately that’s not the case. You’re competing with other companies for these leads, so that means your profile needs to stick out more than the other profiles.
By this time you’ve managed to establish yourself as a credible company through your photos, through your website and through the information about your company. You’ve made sure that your potential customer knows that you’re a safe person to invite into your home and that they can trust you. This is also a good time to mention that the $7 background check is worth it (so long as you don’t have some big criminal record).
- Get as many reviews as possible!
Thumbtack is great because they let you get as many reviews as you like from former customers. In my situation I had to ask some close friends who could vouch for me as a person to write something nice about me in my Thumbtack reviews.
It’s important that you get as many reviews as possible. This could be a huge advantage in your efforts to close a lead. I took it upon myself to get some leads from other SEO companies on Thumbtack and found one company with over 100 reviews. I couldn’t say whether the reviews were real or not, but I put myself in my customer’s shoes and realized that nobody else really mattered. These guys had over 100 positive reviews! When I saw that it meant that these guys must have been good.
Your average competitor is probably going to have anywhere between 5 and 20 reviews. If you can get 100 people to write a positive review for you, that would make a huge difference in your Thumbtack campaign. If you can’t possibly get that many, just get as many as you can. Your reviews are worth a lot, but they aren’t everything.
Step 2: Selecting Contractor Leads
Thumbtack is a platform where your potential customer reaches out to you for a quote and you get to decide whether or not you want to give them that quote. A total of 5 companies will get the opportunity to submit a quote for the work, and unfortunately that means that often times the lowest bidder is going to get the job. However here’s what you do to ensure you’re not wasting all your money on Thumbtack:
When you get a notification that someone wants a quote, only bid on the guys who give you a time frame of when the work needs to be done. Very often you’ll get people who don’t have a specific time that they need the work done. These are usually people who are just shopping around at the idea of maybe someday doing some work. They aren’t always serious buyers. I can’t say that none of them are serious buyers, but you’ll find that you’re not going to get a lot of response from these guys. In fact, after you’ve sent them a quote you might find that it’s impossible to get a hold of them again. So be selective in who you choose to give a quote to.
The best leads are usually going to be where the person says that they need to work done before the end of the month, or within the week etc. It’s also a good sign if they have a profile picture and a phone number. If the lead has a profile picture it usually means that they’ve used Thumbtack. Some people won’t post a picture because they only just created a Thumbtack profile so that they could get a quick quote and be done with it. Again, that’s not always the case (because most of the leads that come to you won’t have a profile picture). It’s only mentioned here as a bonus.
Step 3: DON’T Send a Quote
That’s right, don’t you dare send a quote! You know just as well as any other contractor that the best way to give a quote is going to be in person where you can see exactly what needs to be done, and you can talk to the home owner face to face.
Thumbtack allows the potential customer to fill out the details of their home improvement project so that you can give them a quote. The potential customer will fill out the measurements of their room, the color of the paint etc. However if you give them a quote over Thumbtack then they really don’t need to talk to you anymore (unless you write a really compelling quote and they decide to hire you).
Instead of giving them a quote, write them a simple message stating that the only way you can give them an accurate quote is to see the work that needs to be done. Tell them you’d be happy to pop by for a quick estimate. In my case I said something along the lines of:
Hey ______ !
I would be happy to come by and give you a free quote as there’s no way for me to do this accurately without actually seeing the work that needs to be done.
I could pop by for a quick visit this week if you’re available. What do you say? 🙂
The above message got me in contact with about 50% of the leads that came through on the first try. The combination of choosing the right leads and sending the right message made a decent impact on my contact rate.
For those of the people who didn’t respond, I tried them again the next day. Altogether I contacted about 80% of the people who requested a quote. The next step was to get an estimate.
Out of about 20 leads I contacted around 16 people (by sending only 2 messages). Out of 16 people I gave 6 estimates. Since I’m not really a contractor and I have no experience in giving painting estimates I only closed 1 job.
Keep in mind here that once you buy these leads you can message them as many times as you like (and you should message them frequently). You have a right to hear back from these guys! Send them a message every day if you like. You paid money to get in touch with them, so you should know if they’re going to do the work or not. I stopped after two messages, but I could have persisted and probably scheduled more estimates.
I should also mention that I didn’t reach back out to the people who I gave estimates to. After I saw them I left the house and never contacted them again. They have my contact info if they want to get in touch with me, but again, I’m not really a contractor so I don’t need the work (if I get contacted by one of these guys I’ll refer it to one of my local painting buddies).
The End of the Story
In the end I wound up with a painting job that paid $500. I had Shawn help me figure out what kinds of supplies I needed to buy for the job and I had another painter friend help me get the job done. The home owner was very pleased with the work that I did and said that they would gladly hire me again.
Oddly enough the home owner also worked in SEO and happened to work for a company that some of my friends work at. It was just a very strange coincidence.
Altogether I ended up making back all my money and now I have a bunch of painting supplies too. If I ever wanted to start a painting company I suppose I could.
If you’re looking for leads and you’d like to try Thumbtack, I’d recommend giving this strategy a shot. Otherwise just call us here at Zing Marketing and we’ll be happy to help you out!