Whether you’re new to Thumbtack, you’ve recently moved, or you’re just starting your business, pinpointing what to charge for your services is something of an artform. Many factors go into determining the price you quote on Thumbtack—everything from years of experience to the distance you’re willing to travel and the level of competition in your area.
In the end, every professional’s pricing will depend on factors unique to their industry and services. But some of the best advice is universal. We checked in with Top Pros specializing in everything from carpentry and painting to resume writing and event planning, to learn their best secrets for finding a price that works for their business.
If you’re just starting out and need to build up your Thumbtack reviews, think about taking on smaller jobs or offering discounted services. As your client base grows, odds are so will your prices, so start by taking jobs that you know are a lock for your skillset. And if you get lost, Thumbtack has hundreds of cost pages for services ranging from photography, life coaching and painting to help guide the way.
Secret #1: Leave Room to Experiment
“In the beginning I figured that offering a high-quality service meant charging top rate prices. Of course, we didn’t have any jobs under our belt so that wasn’t going to happen. I brought the price down to a reasonable rate to get my name out there and our business has been growing ever since. —Jonathan Johnson, SnapSeat Photo Booths
“I used to give a straight price on quotes. Now I give a specific range, and tell customers exactly what’s included in the price of the job: paint, materials, nails.” —Chris Grimes, Chris’s Multitask Services
“Atlanta is a competitive place to be a florist, so I look at Thumbtack’s Weekly Competitive report to know where I am compared to the competition. I recently adjusted my pricing after realizing how little the people around me were charging and it helped me a lot.” —Daphne Simpson-Wellman, Elite Designs by Daphne
Secret #2: Get to Know Your Customer (and Your Competition)
“Know what your target market is and bid accordingly. If a lead will not produce a profit, do not bid. If a lead fits your criteria, bid quickly and confidently.” —Bill Howard, WJ Howard Photography
“We like to think of pricing our services like online shopping. You would one-click shop for a blow dryer but not for a car. We’re more like a car. The customers who will invest in us will be the ones to hesitate, to slow down, ask for numbers and talk.” —Ian McCarthy, SharpShooter Bartending Services
“I definitely think you need to be priced competitively. That’s so much of what it comes down to: price. Often clients have a number in mind, so knowing that number and what your competition will charge is important for picking a reasonable in your rate. —Tiffany Cruz, Power Writers USA (Resume Writing)
Picking Up Steam
Once you’ve hit your stride on Thumbtack—and have the reviews and stars to prove it—you’ll have the space and intel to zero in on your ideal customer. Whether it’s the distance you’ll travel, the services you offer, or the amount you charge, stay true to your professional value and pick your customers and prices accordingly.
Part of knowing your worth is knowing how to communicate that dollar amount clearly and openly with your customer. Nobody likes a hidden fee, so be detailed about any add-on charges from the start and make sure that your customer is on the same page long before they get their bill.
Secret #3: Know Your Value
“Stay true to your worth. As a beginner you will have regrets, taking jobs that aren’t quite right, but you’ll find the right balance as you go. As I’ve gotten successful my prices have gone up, in large part to manage the volume of work I get.” —Jessica Rae Miller, Jessica Rae Productions
“Don’t undersell yourself. People won’t always pick the cheapest quote. Help people see your worth.” —Meghan Aro, Meghan Aro Fitness
Secret #4: Be Transparent and Upfront
“Be honest. I have seen a lot of people that come in with low number quotes, but when they go do a site visit, it’s a different charge or there are hidden fees. Be open and honest and your business will grow.” —Eric Evans, Phoenix EZ Key
“I always tell my clients that I provide a free onsite consultation for a more accurate quote. I have to see the property and go room by room because there are different angles, amount of doors and windows, height variations, or you may be working around furniture. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for a painting project.” —Fred Heath, Bravo Professional Contractors
“Be simple, yet specific. People want to know what they are getting for their money—no one likes surprise add-ons when the invoice is presented.” —Elizabeth Trujillo, BlushPix
Becoming a Pricing Pro
Talking about price is tricky for even the most experienced of pros. The sooner you and your customer can agree on the exact details of your service and the final cost, the smoother your working relationship will be. Knowing when to ask for more information and how to communicate pricing details to the customer is what sets Top Pros apart.
Secret #5: Read the Request and Get Detailed
“Don’t go too fast while you’re scanning through their request. If you have a question about price, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify.” —JaNae Thomas, Glamorous Drinks
“In the beginning, I started quoting without enough information and I found I wasn’t getting a lot of business. But when I gave specific prices with starting services, breaking down options, that helped get more clients. To be as specific as possible with clients on price is something I wish I knew from the start.” —Rebecca Foster, Parties and Events NW
Secret #6: When in Doubt—Talk it Out
“In the long-run, setting up an in-person consultation is the best way to go. I come over, discuss measurements and give product options so that I can give an accurate proposal. People have told me that they hired me because of the free in-home consultation.” —Andy Gill, Patriarch Painting
“We stopped quoting people and started always saying that we didn’t have enough info. We told customers we needed to know more about their job and provided a link to our profile. People tended to see our profile and say ‘Oh my god, that’s awesome! That’s exactly what I’m looking for and I didn’t even know I was looking for it!’” —Ian McCarthy, SharpShooter Bartending Services
Secret #7: Go Above and Beyond
The most successful Top Pros know how to price—but they also know that the biggest secret of all is to create ongoing client relationships and that certain services are priceless.
“If I see a small fix while on a job, I’ll offer to do the work for free. I want to make the customer happy. I believe in looking out for the future of the work rather than just getting the job done.” —Fred Heath, Bravo Professional Contractors
“If out of town visitors hire me to cook a dinner party for Friday night, I respond and offer to stock up their fridge for their vacation. And just doing that little bit, going that extra mile brings me endless return on investment. It means glowing word of mouth referrals, great reviews, repeat clientele, and just really nice relationships with people. I enjoy what I do.” —Danny Wells, LucaBella
What do customers look for in a quote? We asked some of the most active customers on Thumbtack and here’s what they told us.