Steve Novitsky rediscovered his love of photography while capturing moments with his family on film. Two years later, his one-man photography business has been hired more than 170 times on Thumbtack, with 115 four and five-star reviews. Steve, who shoots and edits the photos himself, prides himself on his artistic range (he shoots everything from commercial products to holiday photos) and customer-first approach to running his photography business.
Here are his tips for courting clients and building a strong Thumbtack profile.
What percentage of your business comes from Thumbtack?
Ninety percent of my business comes from Thumbtack and I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out exactly how to make it work for me.
What does it take to be a Top Pro?
This is the third year that I’ve been a Top Pro. My main tips are:
- Keep your portfolio up to date. Every time you finish a shoot, you should upload the best of your most current photos.
- Offer great customer service. It starts the second you approach a lead and continues way past the moment you finish a job. A lot of my business is word of mouth and referrals.
- Spend time on your profile. Your profile and website are your business’s storefront for customers searching online.
How do you ask customers for reviews?
Once a customer agrees to work with me, I change the job status to “hired” in my inbox and Thumbtack sends a message to the customer asking them to review my work. I do that the same day that I send the final photos to the customer—so my work is still top of mind.
If they don’t post anything in the next couple of days I send a follow-up email politely asking once again. At that point, I reiterate how important these reviews are for my business and include a link to where they can review me on Thumbtack.
How did you decide to try out Instant Match?
I’m very dependent on Thumbtack so I’m always looking for ways to work smarter. Instant Match solved one big problem for me—I no longer pay for quotes that the customer sees but doesn’t respond to. It was frustrating to check my pro Insights report and see that sometimes customers don’t end up responding to anyone.
Now I only pay when customers are at least interested enough to respond.
What goes into a great Thumbtack ‘About this pro’ section?
Be personal. Make an effort to really connect with your customers. My pictures are the most important part of my business, so I refer customers to my portfolio in the body of my bio. No amount of explanation can replace seeing the work itself. Any photographer will tell you, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Any tips for building a great website?
I update my website all the time. Every time I finish a new round of photos, I swap the old out for the new so that I’m constantly showing the latest and best versions of my work.
How did you decide which questions to answer in the Q&A section of your profile?
I put myself in my customer’s shoes. I never want to give customers more to read than will be actually useful.
I went through and answered only the questions that I thought would be informative for a customer hiring someone in my field. In my case, that’s mainly questions about my process and experience.
Do you use Thumbtack’s pro Insights report?
I check it all the time to see where I am compared to other pros in how I price. I never want to be the lowest price, but I want to know that I’m within reason.
More often I check to see if customers who didn’t respond to my quote responded to someone else’s—and if they did, why? Were they cheaper? Were they faster? Did they offer more than I did?
Read more about building a better profile in Find Your Best Customer in 3 Steps.