Lead generation sites are one of the easiest ways for small businesses to gain traction and build positive reviews and relationships with customers. However, not all lead generation services are created equal. Let’s take a look at a lead generation site, Thumbtack, and compare it with Pro In Your Pocket.

Thumbtack: The Basics

Thumbtack mostly covers home projects, but it offers other services as well. It’s less well-known than some other sites, which can actually be an advantage for both customers and professionals: customers won’t be overwhelmed with hundreds of professional options to choose from, and businesses won’t have as much competition.

The Customer’s Perspective

When customers use Thumbtack, they can browse profiles of local professionals and businesses, get price estimates, reach out to the pros they like to discuss project details, book the pros they choose, and leave reviews once the project is done. Choosing a professional through Thumbtack is free.

A customer who chooses Pro In Your Pocket will have a slightly different—dare we say, easier—experience. All the customer has to do is submit a project request with a description and location, then sit back and wait. Pro In Your Pocket will contact potential Pros about the customer’s project request, and each Pro will then reach out to the customer with a bid. This eliminates the need for a customer to spend hours researching the best places to reach out to, and it still allows the customer to pick the best Pro for their needs.

The Pro’s Perspective

Unlike many other lead generation sites, Thumbtack has no subscription fees for professionals. They do pay per lead, though. This means that every time a new customer reaches out, the pro will have to pay Thumbtack. On the one hand, this seems like a pretty good deal—no expensive subscription means you’re only paying for possible customers. On the other hand, a customer will most often reach out to several businesses to find the best pricing and availability, so the professional will frequently pay for lost leads. Depending on the rate of a subscription, this pay-per-lead system will very often end up being more costly than a subscription.

When a professional uses Pro In Your Pocket, there is no pay-per-lead system. Pro In Your Pocket sends project requests to relevant Pros, and it costs nothing for the Pro to reach out to the customer. Professionals pay $24 per month after their first free bid and a month of unlimited bids.

Rating System: The Hidden Factor

It’s no secret that every decent lead generation site will have a rating system to assist customers in their choice of professional—but there’s another component that sets the best sites apart. A two-way rating system, where customers rate pros and pros rate customers, allows for the most transparency and helps professionals understand the type of customer they’ll be working with. Many lead generation services without a two-way system produce fake or no-show leads and shady customers who, after the project is completed, will falsely report it as unsatisfactory to receive a refund.

Thumbtack has a rating system where the customer rates the pro after the completed project, but there’s no way for the pro to rate the customer. This leaves pros unable to properly vet their customers and ensure they’ll be spending their time and money wisely. Pro In Your Pocket, alternately, has a two-way rating system in place so that both customers and Pros know what they’re getting into. 

The Bottom Line

As far as lead generation sites go, Thumbtack is a decent choice. There’s no stifling of competition that comes with other sites, it’s free for customers, and there’s no overpriced subscription fee for professionals. Thumbtack has to earn money somehow, though, and they get it by charging pros for every lead, regardless of whether that lead becomes a customer. Ultimately, professionals will lose money with this system, and without a two-way rating system, they risk dealing with shady customers. And customers will spend much more time researching the best professional for their job than they would with Pro In Your Pocket, where the Pros reach out to the customers.

In the end, the choice is yours—but if you’d prefer a site that provides an easy experience for customers and a cost-effective, simple way for businesses to grow, then skip Thumbtack and check out Pro In Your Pocket.