Some projects are just too big to tackle on your own. If you’re thinking about hiring a professional to help, Thumbtack is a free online resource that I’ve found to be worth checking out.
I recently created an account on Thumbtack and asked for a few quotes for a kitchen painting project — just to see how the process would go. Thumbtack can help you connect with professionals in dozens of other fields too, ranging from auto services to health care.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at what you can do on Thumbtack and how it can help you find the right professional for the job.
What To Know About Thumbtack Before You Sign Up
Whether you need help with plumbing, roofing, house cleaning, pest control or something else entirely, you’ll likely find a professional on Thumbtack who can do the job. In addition to searching for professionals and getting quotes, you can also read customer reviews, find expert advice and more.
Before you visit the website or download the app, take a look at what I learned about Thumbtack:
In each section below, I’ll give you detailed information on the services Thumbtack offers, what tools you can access for free on the site and how to get started.
1. What Is Thumbtack?
Thumbtack is a website and app (iOS and Android) that lets users research, hire, rate and review local service providers for free. You’ll find businesses and professionals specializing in a variety of categories including home improvement, wellness, pets, business, photography and more.
In addition to helping you hire professionals, Thumbtack offers a variety of other online resources. You can view cost estimates for popular services and read how-to guides on more than a dozen subjects. You can also check out the website’s guides for projects or read advice from Thumbtack’s editors in the commonly-asked questions section.
2. How Does Thumbtack Work?
Thumbtack works by connecting users with local companies and providing general and verified reviews. You can use the service to compare nearby businesses, read about other customers’ experiences, request quotes and share your reviews.
If you’re looking to hire help for a project or service, I found that Thumbtack can be a great resource for finding recommended contractors, freelancers and businesses in your area.
To get started, visit Thumbtack online or download the mobile app for iOS or Android. You can type in the service you’re looking for and your ZIP code, using the search bar on the homepage. Or you can click “sign up” to create a free account.
I recommend creating an account first since it’s easy and free. Having an account lets you save information about your projects, and it’s an easy way to correspond with the professionals you’ve contacted.
Finding a Professional
The main way to find a professional using Thumbtack is by searching for the type of service you want. Once you’ve created an account, you can also browse popular services.
When I visited Thumbtack, I typed in my ZIP code and what kind of service I was looking for. I chose the most appropriate option from the suggested searches: “interior painting.” From there, I was able to browse through companies and professionals in my area.
Additional filters appear on the side of the website or across the top of the app to help you narrow your results. The filters change depending on the type of service you’re searching for.
Gathering Information and Requesting Quotes
Once you’ve found a company that you’d like to learn more about, you can click on its name to see more information including a general overview of the company, accepted payment methods, social media links and more. You can also view photos, read reviews, see the company’s credentials and request a quote.
Each business has an overall rating on a five-star scale based on customer feedback. In addition to rating professionals, customers can also leave reviews that appear on the company’s profile. There are four types of reviews that you may see on Thumbtack:
- Verified review from Thumbtack customers
- Reviews from Facebook
- Reviews from Google
- Unlabeled reviews from customers that the professional met outside of Thumbtack
Thumbtack displays all verified reviews and up to 10 additional reviews from other customers (including reviews from Facebook and Google).
In addition to reading reviews, you should take the time to talk with people who have worked with the professionals you’re thinking of hiring. Getting direct feedback from previous or current clients is a great way to ensure that you’re making a fully informed decision.
Just contact the company or contractor and ask for a reference sheet that includes dates the jobs were completed. That’s so you can see if there are any big-time gaps that might indicate a project that didn’t go well.
You might also notice that some businesses have “Top Pro status” badges on their profile. Businesses on Thumbtack must meet the following qualifications to become a Top Pro:
- Reply to leads within four business hours at least 75% of the time
- Maintain a rating of at least 4.8 based on verified reviews
- Receive at least five verified reviews within the last year
- Complete a background check through a third-party provider
Companies are reevaluated twice a year during January and July. To learn more about Top Pro status, visit the website.
Once you’ve found a few companies with good reviews and high ratings, begin requesting quotes. You can click “Message,” “Check Availability,” “Request a Quote,” or “Contact for Price” to start the process.
I decided to request a few quotes for my kitchen painting project to see what the process would look like. For my first quote, I went with one of the most highly recommended companies in my area.
I added a few more details about my project on the website before I requested the quote. Then I entered my email address to get responses. Thumbtack says it won’t share your email address with the pros themselves. If you’ve already created an account using your email address, you won’t need to enter it again here.
Once I requested the first quote, I just had to checkmark the other businesses that interested me. Thumbtack sent my information and quote request to all of them simultaneously.
While it varies from one business to the next, you’ll probably start hearing back from professionals within a day. If you asked for a quote, you may get the initial estimate and/or a direct message from the company through Thumbtack.
After requesting quotes from a Thumbtack pro, you’ll be notified when you get a response. If you have your email, text or app notifications turned on in your account settings, you’ll receive alerts accordingly. After a pro has responded, you can continue the conversation with them in one of two ways:
- Log in to Thumbtack and go to your inbox to view new and old messages. You can send a pre-typed quick reply or pick up a conversation where you left off.
- Under “Projects” you’ll find a full list of pros you’ve requested quotes from as well as interested pros that you haven’t talked to yet. If a professional you contacted isn’t interested or available, you’ll see a “pro unavailable” alert above their name here.
Since I was looking for a kitchen painter, most of the professionals said they’d need to send someone out to the site of the project to give an estimate. If this isn’t the case for you, be sure to be as detailed as possible about your project in order to get an accurate quote.
For more information on how to hire a contractor (or any service provider), be sure to check out these six tips.
3. The Thumbtack Guarantee
Thumbtack offers money-back and property damage protection for users who hire professionals through the website or app. The Thumbtack Guarantee provides coverage up to $1,000 if your project wasn’t finished as expected as well as coverage for accidental property damage.
If you hire a professional through Thumbtack and the project isn’t completed in a way that it was initially outlined, you may qualify for the money-back guarantee. According to the website, you must meet the following qualifications to be eligible:
- Placed the request and hired the professional through Thumbtack
- Provide a contract or document showing the agreed-upon terms
- Show that you hired the professional within a month of submitting your initial project request
- Discover the problem within six months of hiring the professional and notify Thumbtack within 45 days of noticing
Thumbtack also covers accidental damage to property that occurs during the project — under certain conditions. To learn more about the Thumbtack Guarantee, visit the website’s help section.
Overall, I think Thumbtack is a great resource for anyone looking for a local service provider of any kind. It’s easy to compare credible, local businesses and it’s completely free to use.
After I created my account and requested a few quotes through Thumbtack, I found the following pros and cons:
- Price: The website’s resources are available for free.
- The Thumbtack Guarantee: The $1,000 money-back guarantee and accidental property damage coverage to fall back on for free is a huge pro!
- Additional resources: You can read how-to articles, browse commonly-asked questions and use the cost estimator to plan ahead.
- Verification: Not all reviews are verified since they can be posted from sources outside of Thumbtack.
- Unorganized search results: It’s hard to tell how the search results are ranked, which means you may find some lower-rated businesses high on the list and easily overlook other quality options.
If you’re looking for a contractor or service provider to hire, getting a few quotes from Thumbtack is a great place to start.
Have you ever hired a professional that you found on Thumbtack? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!