For those of you who have not heard of this website before; it is a highly trafficked website for searching for independent professionals (construction, IT work, entertainment). It is also a source of extreme frustration to entertainers because of the fact that it is system based on micro transactions that reward customers.
How Booking Sites Generate Their Revenue
Most websites use a fairly simple model for making revenue; you pay the site a subscription fee for posting your profile and each time the site earns you a booking you register that booking (allowing the client to review it and paying a small fee-20$). Now almost all websites are based on this; gigmasters, gigsalad, and even small scale third party sites (like entertainment starz) that few people use.
Now the revenue model for thumbtack is radically different; instead of a subscription fee the site makes it’s money from performers purchasing credits. Those are credits are used to submit your quotes to clients. The amount of credits necessary for a quote is based off how many people with your specialty are in the area and how common the request is. So a quote for a comedy magician will cost you three credits in my area while attempting a quote for a circus act is 0 credits due to the scarcity of requests and performers. Each credit is approximately three bucks.
For the client side, the client sends out a request which goes to all the professionals on the list but only the first five professionals has their quote listed. So the math for this is assuming a three credit quote; each performer will spend about 9 dollars making the request. Meaning that the site makes just shy of fifty dollars each time a request is responded to for a comedy magician. That is assuming that the person making the inquiry hires the first person they find and do not make multiple inquiries (which about maybe a fourth to a third do).
Now this doesn’t seem bad until you realize that if you wanted to you could respond to probably about 5-10 requests a day. While on the other hand, gig master’s four month basic package is about 70$ and that you only pay per gig upon receiving payment. While I keep an eye on thumbtack I normally do not take gigs from that site. If I see any clients that I can contact independently usually I will reach out on my own directly to that client as I do not wish to support thumbtack. Here’s the math as to why……
Assuming that you respond to three requests (low end) a week you will normally pay approximately 27$ a week and if you if you respond to about six request (reasonable)s it will be 54$ a week. Over the course of a month that turns into 216$ which in the space of four months will be 864$. Without access to the websites metadata there is no way to see what the site’s ROI (return on investment) actually is. Now between the services; I would definitely prefer spending 70$ at gigmasters and gigsalad in comparison.
What does this mean to you?
Quality; at the end of the day when you hire someone to entertain you (be it juggling or magic or fire performance) you want quality performance.
Professionals don’t use it: Out of maybe twenty professional entertainers I know one who swears by it. The return on investment (ROI) just doesn’t support using it. Personally I found that the type of clients that I found on thumbtack generally speaking were looking to hire someone for an hour show at 50-100$ on average. So what you get is a pool of young inexperienced entertainers who haven’t learned the business end of entertainment work. This on average will lead to a low quality show.