Thumbtack vs Organic Lead Generation: What’s Better For Your Business?




There are two types of lead generation. If we have to translate this into our premise, the basic would be that Thumbtack is a paid option while organic lead generation is the “free” one. The question is, which one is worth your time? 

We will be discussing the pros and cons of each option and why the paid one seems tempting, but it may not be the best alternative for your business. 

For starters and before we jump to the actual action, you must know that paid leads are worth when you rely on companies and directories like Thumbtack, but they end up being costly as well. 

When your business finally starts moving more capital and clients, you will spend a fortune, and the benefits won’t be the same as you will be limited to the audience that uses the directory only. 

But where does organic lead generation enter here? We will get there. First, the basics you should know. 

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What Is Thumbtack & How Does It Work?

Thumbtack is simply a website and an app for iOS and Android that allows users to search, hire, rate, and review local service providers free of charge. Usually, services and businesses like construction, painting, plumbing, and any local are included among the options. 

There are many categories that you can find professionals and businesses that specialize in, including business, home improvement, pet care, and photography as well. 

Thumbtack provides many other online resources to help you find professionals. You can also view cost estimates of popular services and how-to guides covering more than a dozen topics. You can also view the guides for projects and get advice from Thumbtack’s editors’ frequently-asked-questions section.

Thumbtack connects users with local businesses and provides general reviews. The service allows you to find nearby businesses, get quotes, and share your experiences with them.

The platform is a great place to find freelancers, contractors, and businesses that can help you hire people for your project or service.

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What Does Thumbtack Offer Specific?

Thumbtack aims to offer a traditional way of connecting experts and professionals.

It will now be the preferred method for customers to submit queries rather than via advertisements. The company will connect the data with professionals if the activity is suitable.

Thumbtack is now focusing on automating its marketplace and doubled down its independence to quickly connect service providers with clients.

Thumbtack’s business model is multifaceted. It has two interconnected customer segments, which are both essential for operation:

  • Consumers: Individuals who seek services from local professionals are called consumers.
  • Service Providers or Small businesses and professionals: all of them are looking for consumers and get the chance to connect with them. 

Thumbtack was the first to create an amazing administration for an online marketplace platform that allowed individuals to procure local professionals quickly.

It was the next major leap in developing administration-based business previously limited to newspaper ads, telephone directories, and internet registrations.

So, the premise in the case of businesses and what we care about in this aspect is the fact of generating leads for companies and charging a commission since nothing is free. 

When you connect with a prospect or lead, you are charged a percentage of the deal based on the price established by the platform. 

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How Does It Make Money?

If we follow the last part about percentage and leads, Thumbtack makes money by charging service providers per lead it generates.

A lead is a potential customer who calls a service provider to inquire about a project but not necessarily hire the service or company. It’s someone who just decided to contact it. 

A variety of factors can affect the cost of a lead in Thumbtack. These factors include the type of work sought, geographic location, and the existing competition.

Thumbtack service providers can buy credit in advance, similar to Google AdWords. The budgets are automatically generated each week, and contracts are automatically bid on.

Thumbtack’s Instant Match technology was launched at the end of 2017 to match prospective clients with service providers.

Businesses used to bid on client jobs manually. This led to many missed opportunities.

However, automated matching technology has been criticized. Providers complain that they are matched with either physically unavailable leads or have little chance of a conversion.

Thumbtack’s Opportunity Section displays prospects who have been engaged with but not converted by their competitors.

Thumbtack added the service provider booking tool in 2021. This allows users to select a service provider and then book them immediately. This functionality is intended for simple tasks.

What you need to pay attention to in all this is the fact of giving them money whenever you generate a lead on the platform. 

If you wonder about the total price you will need to pay for, you will have to read—carefully—all the conditions and terms established for your business, niche, and how much you can afford per lead. 

However, many people tend to pay about $10 per lead minimum, and some can even cost over $50. 

There’s, however, an option that focuses on pros or more like businesses. If we follow what the platform says in specific, you will have an answer regarding the price. 

Thumbtack says that each quote will be different depending on the job’s value and how many interested professionals are available in the area. Signing up is free, in any case. 

Larger jobs, such as kitchen remodels, will run you $50+ while smaller jobs, like replacing a toilet or hiring a handyman for a day, will run you $8-$25. All this is per lead. 

Thumbtack lets the market decide the cost of a lead. The price of leads will rise if many people in the same area want the same job. If there are few people in a particular area, the cost of leads can drop.

For example, leads were more expensive during the pandemic because many people were looking for work, and fewer jobs were available.

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Thumbtack – Is It Worth the Investment?

Companies just starting out can benefit from sites like Thumbtack because it places them in front of actual prospects and potential clients, but it can turn out to be expensive when they start getting many leads. 

They are great for helping to spread the word and building a loyal customer base. They can also help home service businesses pick up work during slower seasons.

Contractors have many online tools available today. Your website doesn’t necessarily have to be the only source of leads, but it may be the most effective and affordable one. 

We recommend that you carefully consider the pros and cons of using the service to determine whether this is a place that can beat organic lead generation once we get there. 

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Thumbtack’s Cons and Pros: What You Should Consider

We need to get deeper into the whole topic of pros and cons, and based on what we have found, we are sure you will be more inclined to the latter:


  • This is not a scam; it works. As more people turn to the internet for service providers, a strong online presence is essential. Thumbtack is a powerful website that helps find professionals and won’t be a scam compared to other options. 
  • Long-term ROI. Although leads can seem costly, considering that many of the people you connect with through the platform will be long-term customers makes the value proposition even more attractive. A lead can cost you $25. If the lead is converted into a client, they will likely hire you for a much higher price.
  • Easy to manage. Once you’ve set it up, it’s simple to access your account. You can also toggle on and off your leads at will. 
  • You only need to pay for the leads if you are reached out directly. In other words, you only pay for a direct lead or if a customer replies to your interest when reaching out to them. In this way, you don’t get as many bad leads.
  • You can get jobs quickly. It is a fact that you get to close deals regardless of your local niche.

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  • Low-quality leads: Although it is a favorite, we must admit that it’s not the best. We’ve received leads who were just looking for a price and not interested in hiring anyone. Sometimes leads don’t answer the telephone. Many of the leads—and this is related to many businesses’ complaints—aren’t worth it even when they are cheap. 
  • Leads are expensive overall. If your leads, such as those for kitchen remodels or real estate, are not converted into customers quickly, it can quickly impact your profits as you will be paying over $35 for each.
  • It can be frustrating: Fake leads or leads that don’t return calls at all can frustrate. This is especially true when you spend money to acquire these leads. 
  • You don’t control lead’s prices. You will have a volatile profit margin, and there’s nothing you can do about it as Thumbtack just does what it wants in terms of how the system works.
  • You will need to drop prices to compete. There are way too many competitors, which leads you to offer cheap services to stand out from the rest.
  • If you don’t respond asap, you lose the lead. It is logical, but this means you need to be a slave of Thumbtack. If not, it will send the lead to another business in less time than it takes you to blink.
  • They are not exclusive. Customers will contact more pros, which is why you need to be fast whenever they inquire about your services,
  • You don’t have a steady stream. Although Thumbtack gives you relevancy for your experience and reviews, you aren’t guaranteed to receive a steady stream of leads that are qualified as well.

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That Being Said, What Are Organic Leads?

Organic leads are prospects that search for your company via a search engine. They will visit your site and contact you through any presence you have built online. These prospects and leads don’t know much about your products or services, but they are free, and you can get them based on your efforts.

The premise starts with the fact that Google and other search engines can be used to answer everyday questions. It doesn’t matter whether you want to find an actor’s name or how to set your phone up to solve business problems. Google is the key to everything. 

Marketers hope Google will recommend information from their websites to searchers. Because they want their attention, companies fight for the top SERPs (search engines result pages).

How can you climb to the top of these search results? How can you convince your visitors to visit the site? The whole idea of organic leads is to make sure people searching in Google, and other engines are clicking on your website after all. 

It is essential to have the right lead generation strategies. Start with a landing page and a website. Then, build your presence online and offline through social media.

You may get more leads or less depending on which strategies you choose since not all strategies work for every company.

This type of marketing is often more cost-effective than paid advertisements or Thumbtack since this last one is the main comparison in the article. 

All the organic leads are those generated through your efforts and building your presence.

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Suppose you’re a business owner who creates your own blogs and social media posts. Even if you pay an agency to create organic content, one blog post can bring in leads and traffic that will pay back many times over.

This organic lead generation is superior to Thumbtack because it feels more friendly and less pushy. Organic marketing is about showing value, not selling. It builds trust between people with high purchasing intent, which leads to more loyal customers.

Sometimes business owners are less persuasive. It is wonderful to be able to click your ad, but it is even better to have customers return who like and share your social posts.

These points will help clarify the situation:

  • Thumbtack provides instant results, but you don’t know the leads’ quality or if they are worth your time and money.
  • Organic lead generation is a long-term strategy with great ROI and is economical in the long and short term.
  • Thumbtack asks for certain rights to your company, and many of the reviews you get can’t be shared without adding the Thumbtack link to your profile.
  • All organic lead generation will be completely free, and all will be yours.

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How to Work with Organic Lead Generation

We mentioned that organic leads are only possible if you have the right strategies. These are the strategies that most companies should use to generate these leads, and you will notice that, even when it takes more work, you get amazing results for much less money:

Keyword Research

Organic traffic is dependent on your ability to identify search terms used by customers and prospects to navigate search engines. Keyword research is essential to ensure your audience can find you online.

It is important to identify relevant keywords for your business and those of the competition. This will allow you to get organic traffic.

The goal is to ensure your website is more searchable by using the correct keywords.

It is crucial to do your research in order to increase website traffic and achieve SEO (search engine optimization). You can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planning tool or Google Search Console to find new opportunities.

A content strategy can help you improve your organic ranking. You should always start with the most low-hanging fruit. This is where your website ranks highest if it matches the most monthly searches.

Also, you should look for keywords with high volumes and relevance that aren’t yet ranking.

You can check your site analytics to see where your visitors land most often.

Correct any errors found in pages being indexed. Do you mean one of your main pages or another? Or is it a blog article? These data can give you a great insight into the Google values of your website.

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Understanding Your Buyer Personas

To determine your target audience, you need to create buyer personas. Basically, your ideal customer must be defined.

If you produce quality content that is relevant and useful to your target audience, your organic ranking will increase. Keywords and searches can only get you so far. Writing keyword-driven content without useful information is not a way to generate leads.

These are just a few examples of questions you might be able to answer when creating your customer profile:

  • Characteristics (demographics, psychographics, behavior, etc.).
  • What type of online searchers do they perform?
  • What are their most pressing issues? What are their most pressing problems?
  • What are their buying patterns? What are their information sources?

You can create content that resonates and appeals to your prospects by knowing whom you are trying to reach.

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Create Remarkable Conversion Points

Now you know how to attract new visitors to your website, which is why it’s time for you to ensure that your leads are converted into customers. 

Think back to a time you visited a physical shop to search for something. Many people will tell customer service representatives that they are just browsing and reply with “no, no.”

What does all this have to do? This is what many website visitors feel when you set yourself with the strategy that the best way to convert website visitors is to request a demo or fill out a contact form.

Instead of giving in to temptation, imagine yourself reading a blog post on how to plan your next marketing budget for the year. While you’re doing this, you will be able to find a link to download a budget template. This offers a better user experience that solves immediate problems.

What does this mean? This valuable element converts visitors faster and more effectively than the contact page, which is poor because they feel you are trying to sell only.

This problem can be solved by looking into Google Analytics’ User Flow. It will show you which pages are most popular and which pages make it difficult for them to return to your site.

It might be possible to create a common user pathway through your website so that you have a clear view of where visitors are coming from, their activities, and where they go. Do you think this makes sense? 

Each searcher will have its own needs. They will also have different needs. Potential customers should have a variety of options to choose from when they visit your website.

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Add Video to Your Website or Blog

Video has been an integral part of SEO since the introduction of “universal search” by Google over a decade ago. It is more important today than ever. 

One study found that websites with video are 50 times more likely to be visited than those without it. Many algorithmic factors can explain this. These are just a few of the reasons videos work better.

  • Google values quality content over keywords. This is because Google knows that users care about the decisions they make. Videos can often be educational and informative, answering queries.
  • Search results with video have a 43% greater CTR than search results without it.
  • The video encourages visitors to stay longer on your website, making your content more authoritative and relevant.
  • Video builds more links. These will increase the number and quality of linking domains, not text. This is a key element of SEO.

Use Social Media

Engaging content will bring more people to your website. This is why social media is such a powerful tool. It is difficult to imagine any business without at least one account on one of these platforms.

Spend time creating engaging content. Don’t just keep it on your site. To increase your chances of sharing it and to bring people back to your site, share it on social media.

Each social media channel has its own search engine. Keywords are just as important in blog posts as they should be in social media channels. Use #hashtags to increase your social media posts’ clicks, views, and retweets.

Search engines are built to deliver relevant, meaningful results that answer customers’ questions. Don’t waste time creating content that doesn’t benefit your company.

With all of this in mind, you won’t immediately see an increase in website traffic and organic leads. When combined with data-driven decisions, persistence, and hard work, these strategies can have a significant impact on the success of your company.

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Which Is Better?

However, which option is best in the end? If you are looking for quick and easy results, Thumbtack can be a good option, but you will spend hundreds without being confident that each lead is qualified. 

This is why we recommend organic lead generation. You will find it easier to get used to it. Listings and directories are not going to give you as many qualified leads.

We understand that some companies and contractors choose to invest both in Thumbtack and their organic leads. If you have the time and budget, we recommend it. If not, the organic option will be your game-changer in the long term. 

And in our case, we consider it should be your main source of high-quality leads.

The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business

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All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?

The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).

Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:

The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.

Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”

You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.

The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.

The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.

To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.

Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.

To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.

By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.

An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor

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You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.

HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.

They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.

If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.

HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.

Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services.  They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).

Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?

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They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.

However, you need to remember two facts:

  1. Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
  2. They don’t generate “natural” leads.

Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.

Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.

What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.

When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.

What Is Local SEO?

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Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.

What does this mean?

Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.

To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.

If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.

Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.

“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.

Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.

Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?

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If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.

Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.

Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.

How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?

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For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.

This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.

I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.

However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.

On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.

You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.

What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?

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Here it goes: you can work from home.

The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.

We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high.  Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.

You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.

Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.

So, let’s summarize this:

  • You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
  • You can bet on passive income.
  •  There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
  • You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.

How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?

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Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.

Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?

You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.

You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.

Learn more about local lead generation below.

Take a sneak peek into our proven strategies to build a passive income by building a local lead generation business from your laptop...