David Tello was working for an airline when his wife came home from work with an idea. David, a military veteran, had long considered building a business of his own when his wife—who was working as cleaner with a larger company—suggested that they go into business together. Today that business, Freedom Cleaning, has been hired over 200 times on Thumbtack and has earned 100+ five-star reviews. We sat down with David to talk about the freedom he’s gained by running his own business and what role Thumbtack has played in his overall success.
You and your wife run Freedom Cleaning together. Who’s the better cleaner?
She is by a longshot! My wife has been cleaning for so long that she does really fast and detailed work. I’m good but I’m definitely slower. Anything that’s really delicate she cleans, definitely.
Before we turned on Instant Match, I used to spend a lot of time on my phone checking Thumbtack. My wife would turn around and see me typing away and get angry. “What are you doing? We should be cleaning! Will you help me?” I think she thought I was on Facebook. I would tell her that I was working on getting new jobs but it was frustrating for both of us. That’s not a problem now. But still, she’s the better cleaner. Way better.
Do you remember setting up your Thumbtack profile?
It definitely took some time to get used to how Thumbtack works. There were times where I was confused or frustrated because I wasn’t sure why my quotes weren’t working or why we weren’t getting a lot of traffic. Over time I figured out how to adjust my preferences so we were set-up for the right kinds of customer requests. When I first signed up I wasn’t getting a ton of work. Nothing compared to what I get now. I had to really focus on perfecting my prices, my quotes, and my templates.
What is the first thing you do when a customer contacts you?
It depends on what they ask. When they respond to the quote I really just focus on any lingering questions. Once they’re ready to schedule an appointment, I take them through our whole process so they know what to expect. Once we’ve figured out a time that works, I collect their information so that we can get the booking ready.
How I answer depends on how the customer reaches out. Sometimes customers call me right away, sometimes we set everything up over messenger. It’s a little bit of everything. I prefer a phone call because it’s an easy way to gain trust and get their information, especially when you have multiple customers trying to book you within the same block of time.
What made you decide to try out Instant Match?
I was definitely skeptical first because I wondered about the budget and paying more when customers reach out, but not for each quote. It took me a week or two to commit to turning it on but once I did, I didn’t turn back.
The customer support team called me as soon as I turned it on. They went through the steps of how to set my profile up so I had a clear idea of what was what. That was really helpful for setting me up to get the kinds of jobs that we’re after on Thumbtack.
Have your customers changed now that you’re using Instant Match?
When I was quoting for myself I would send out $60 a week at most, and there were times that I never heard back from anyone. Now I spend $100 to 150 a week but I’m getting so much more business. I think that Thumbtack picks customers better than I did for myself because generally these days, if I hear back from a customer odd are they’ll hire me.
How did you set your job preferences on Instant Match?
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 set my budget at $100 to start (the suggested amount). Some weeks I have to raise it because I’m getting so many jobs and some weeks I lower it because we have more work than we can handle. Generally, I’m more likely to raise it than to lower because we want to keep ourselves open to new business.
What are you doing with the time you used to spend sending quotes?
It’s day and night, the amount of time that I’m saving with Instant Match. Before, my phone would go off and I would check it no matter what. Missing a quote wasn’t an option. Now I only have to pay attention when the message comes directly from the customer. Then I look for the type of cleaning they want and size of the house or the apartment to see if it’s a good fit.
I’m working so much more now, because jobs get finished faster when you’re not always checking your phone. That’s a good thing—with the amount of business I’m bringing in, I need to work faster.
How has your business changed using Instant Match?
I had to hire on another cleaner because our work has increased so much since turning on Instant Match. It’s helped me get in touch with new and different clients. I started working with a property management company that brings us in to clean entire complexes when people move in or move out.
What are three pieces advice for pros who want to become Top Pros?
- Take pride in your work. People know when you’re cutting corners. You’ve been hired to do a job and you should do it to the very best of your ability.
- Don’t give up when things change. Thumbtack has changed a lot since I started on it and not all of that change has been easy at first. Just remember that change can be a good thing and give yourself time to adjust before throwing in the towel.
- Ask for a review before letting more than two days pass. People are busy and they forget. Ask for a review once in person and then follow-up about the service and ask them once again.
Read more stories about how pros are succeeding on Instant Match.