Set of push pins in different colors. Thumbtacks. Top view. Vector illustration. Isolated on white background. Set

Why You Should Stay Away from Thumbtack as a Landscaper

So you’ve heard of landscapers using Thumbtack to get customers, but you don’t know if it’s worth setting up?

Spoiler alert: we think not.

This article will detail why some landscapers are using Thumbtack, the downsides of the platform, and how to set it up should you decide not to heed our advice. Let’s dive in.

Why Landscapers are Using Thumbtack

You already have a fast website, have set up Google My Business, and are getting flooded by referrals. You may ask yourself, why do landscapers care about Thumbtack?

On Thumbtack, you pay for landscaping leads. Not impressions, clicks, or website visits.

Obviously, leads are more valuable than other marketing vanity metrics. It’s also nice to control your budget and spend exactly how much you want each month.

Also, if you do a stellar job and your Thumbtack customer raves about you to her friends and family, that one lead can turn into several. If you know your average customer lifetime value (including referrals like this) is high, then you can afford to spend more on Thumbtack leads.

The Downsides of Thumbtack

You Don’t Own It

The biggest downside of using Thumbtack is you don’t own the real estate, so to speak. You’re at the mercy of whatever Thumbtack feels like doing at any given time. This has already caused landscapers some grief.

Race to the Bottom

On Thumbtack, you’re competing with other landscapers for every quote. Your entire business boils down to one number – price. Commoditizing your business like this can easily become a race to the bottom if you’re not careful.

Your “race to the bottom” will not be nearly this cute. via Gfycat

Low Lead Quality

The other side of the coin is low lead quality. People using Thumbtack are either those who

  1. only care about price
  2. now primarily care about price

Aggregators like Thumbtack can take otherwise decent people and turn them into cutthroat bargain shoppers. Many pros have found that leads don’t answer their phones or ghost them.

In that case, Thumbtack will credit your account balance for prospects that don’t follow through on their bids. Not as good as a refund, but you can reuse that amount for future bids.

Unpredictable Cost Per Lead

Some pros have been surprised at the variability in Thumbtack lead cost.

Here are a few excerpts from reviews on ConsumerAffairs:

“After spending nearly $75, I am yet to be booked on any of their leads but they keep generating questionable leads.” – Tony of Old Hickory, TN

“Thumbtack charges you if a client responds in ANY way. I had a client ask about my website and was charged $26 for her email.” – Mike of Murrieta, CA

“They don’t tell you that you get charged for getting MESSAGES. They don’t tell you if and what you’re getting charged for. I have over $130 in charges from people I’ve never talked to, from ‘leads’ I never knew about.” – Ben of Brooklyn, NY


Of course, you may want to take these comments with a grain of salt since people who are unhappy are often the loudest. But I think it’s fair to say that your cost per lead may end up being much harder to predict than it seems.

So What’s the Verdict?

Overall, Thumbtack can be a great complement to your existing customer acquisition strategy – just don’t rely on it completely. If you need more landscaping leads, Thumbtack can be worth experimenting with.

[We’re currently collecting data from landscapers on their customer acquisition breakdown. For free access to the report when it is completed, email us at with a breakdown of your landscaping leads by channel from 1/1/20 – 6/30/20.]

How to Sign Up

So you’ve said “what the hell” and are willing to give Thumbtack a shot? The process of signing up is super simple. Thumbtack has a helpful page that walks you through it, but here are the main steps:

1. Visit the pro sign up page

2. Enter “Landscaper” for line of work and your main service area

Thumbtack landscaper signup screen

3. Click “Get Leads”

4. Select the services you offer

5. Sign up for / log in to your account

6. Set up your business profile

Thumbtack landscaper business profile setup

7. Complete remaining registration steps (may differ depending on your situation)

What’s the Alternative?

We’re big believers in generating your own landscaping leads. You can do this on a variety of channels, but you want customers choosing to work with your business, not just any landscaper. In doing so, you get to charge more and deliver better work that feeds your flywheel of world domination.

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