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Thumbtack Clone - How to Build a Website Like Thumbtack

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Yuri Musienko
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Thumbtack is a website where you can hire a private individual, specialist or company to do things for you that you don’t have time, desire or skills to do. The platform was launched in 2010 and in several years gained the status of a unicorn company with a capitalization of more than $ 1 billion. In this article, you'll learn how to clone a Thumbtack — create a site with the same features, similar design, and repeat its success story.

Step 1: Thumbtack Business Model

In terms of the operating algorithm, Thumbtack is an open multi-vendor platform like Amazon or AliExpress, only instead of goods on this site they sell and buy various services. Whether it’s buying food, standing in line, or drawing up a conclusion from an aeration expert, you can outsource it all with Thumbtack.

Benefits for Employers. The main value proposition for those who are looking for performers is the ability to quickly find a local professional in any field with transparent and competitive prices (250000 performers in more than 1000 services). At the same time, on Thumbtack you can find both a performer for a one-time job and a professional for constant cooperation.

Other benefits for employers:

  1. A large list of services (even very strange).
  2. Simple and quick search hiring system.
  3. Verification of specialist data and escrow.
  4. Insurance guarantee or compensation for absence.
Escrow implies that when you hire someone, you transfer money to his Thumbtack account, where they are “frozen” until you confirm that the service is provided on time and in full.

Benefits for Performers. On the other hand, service providers can advertise their business on the site for free and without much effort, reaching over 10 million users. “The average Thumbtack specialist earns about $ 70 an hour,” said Marco Sappacosta, CEO of Thumbtack. Moreover, more than 40% of performers earn on Thumbtack from 50 thousand dollars a year.

Other benefits for performers:

  1. Money is received immediately after the assignment.
  2. Rating system and reviews for the development of the client network.
  3. The ability to work on a convenient schedule for a decent pay.

Step 2: tasks to be solved

Competitive environment. One of the biggest problems when launching sites like Thumbtack is fierce competition. In North America, Europe, and East Asia, there are a lot of online service listings, such as TaskRabbit, Fiverr, or Upwork. However, they usually focus on a certain type of service (for home, delivery, copyright, software development, pet care, etc.), so when the Thumbtack founders launched their project, they had no choice but to bet on the horizontal market «all for all».

When doing your service listing, you should analyze the region you are targeting. If you have many competitors that provide a wide range of services, then you need to bet on a specific niche (at least at the start). If there are no such sites, then you can follow the Thumbtack path, creating your own horizontal services market. To make it easier for you, here is a list of such sites in different countries, regions:

Thumbtack Clone

Features of the local market. This is another thing to look for when starting a Thumbtack clone site. Many such startups, such as TaskPorter, GoGetter, Butler and TaskIsland, have failed because they did not take into account certain nuances of the local market. So, when launching the Singapore listing of TaskPorter, its founder did not take into account the following features:

  1. High-income Singaporeans prefer maids rather than strangers to carry out their daily tasks.
  2. The city has a low level of women's participation in the workforce (58.1% versus 75.8% of men), which is why for many tasks that women usually take, there was simply no demand from performers.
  3. Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so only students are willing to undertake work like "bring-give" with a low cost (and this is not always the case). At the same time, the quality of students' work, as a rule, was unsatisfactory, which did not suit employers.
But this is the specificity of the city of Singapore, while other places have their own characteristics, which can also create difficulties for the site of the services market. For example, Kuala Lumpur startups faced a traffic problem: the contractors did not have time to complete the tasks of the tenants on time. African site KibaruaNow failed due to a small number of employers, and also because there are no on-demand services on the continent yet.

In addition, one can also note the difficulties that TaskRabbit encountered when entering the UK market. The startup team found that their tonality of providing information is not suitable for local residents. In the USA, texts and advertisements are presented in an enthusiastic style, while in the UK this must be done in a more restrained English manner.

Supply and demand balance. When you start a site like Thumbtack, you may not have enough performers to complete all published tasks. Usually this problem is solved with the help of an advertising campaign, which is launched a few months before the official release of the listing. But this does not always work, because marketers do not always choose the right target audience.

For example, it is believed that the best performers of everyday routine tasks are students, because they have a lot of free time and are ready to work for little money. Therefore, advertising is launched with an orientation towards this target audience. But the thing is the students are free only in the afternoon, while you need to walk the dog or buy food in the morning or at lunch (before the children return from school). Therefore, to search for performers of everyday tasks it is better to rely on the unemployed or students on external degree program.

Step 3: online listing services features

Registration / Login. Give users the opportunity to create a profile in the most convenient way for them: via email, phone number and account on a social network or Google. At the same time, unlike most other sites, for the normal operation of the online listing of services, you also need to check the user in several directions during registration:
  1. IP address. Lets you know the location of the user. It is important in cases where preference is given to local performers. For example, if you need a local translator or guide. In addition, this way you can divide users by language groups and currencies for calculations.
  2. Bank card. Allows you to check the name, surname and address. Important for rating system and protection against fraud in financial calculations.
  3. Documents confirming competence. Usually these are documents on education, less often - a driver’s license, insurance, vaccination certificates.
  4. Video interview, interview. Allows you to check a person’s compliance with documents, competency and communication skills.
On some sites, for example, on TaskRabbit, to complete the registration, they ask to transfer $ 25 to a deposit on the site, which is protection against bots and spammers, and also makes it possible to check bank details.

Performer's profile. Each participant in your system who wants to be a service provider should be able to specify various details in his profile, such as a description of the services provided, rates, portfolio and more. In addition, it is important that the performer’s profile automatically displays his rating and reviews, as well as the number of completed tasks.

What else is important to consider:

  1. If you read the reviews about Thumbtack, it can be noted that many performers complain that the profiles do not allow you to provide enough information about yourself, because of which they are often asked to do something outside the profile of the activity.
  2. It’s important that only a real photo can be inserted in the profile. This should be a portrait that will allow the customer to recognize the performer.
Search and match. Thumbtack is a platform where more than a thousand different services are presented and over 250 thousand performers work. This means that without a good search engine and filters, it will be quite difficult for the customer to find a person to carry out his job.

To simplify and speed up the selection process, Thumbtack uses a questionnaire to automatically filter profiles. For example, if a customer is looking for cleaning services, the questions may be: “Which dates are preferable?”, “How many rooms do you need to clean?”, “Are there any pets?” etc.

Based on the survey, the system issues recommendations to performers. The place in the list of recommendations depends on factors such as proximity, skills and education, ratings, availability and time of the last completed assignment.

Job posting. A questionnaire is also used to create a service announcement on Thumbtack: city, business profile, price range and specialization (name of service). Next, you need to add a photo, indicate some details (business name, year of foundation, number of employees, address, etc.), add a brief description of your business and answer a few more questions regarding your business and target audience.

Communication between users. Already during cloning a Thumbtack site, you need to create a real-time chat function with the ability to video chat, use photos and links. Herewith, it is imperative to implement the message history function with time stamps for all activities.

What else to consider:

  1. Usually it’s forbidden to indicate contacts on such sites.
  2. On TaskRabbit, the opportunity to communicate with “rabbits” opens only after payment has been made. This is true in the case of TaskRabbit, but bad for Thumbtack, as customers often want to chat with a specific performer and clarify a few details before hiring him.
Payment system. Since the main idea of Thumbtack is to become an intermediary between customers and contractors and charge a fee for this, you need to add some popular, safe and convenient methods of payment and acceptance of payments. In addition, the escrow function should also be implemented to prevent the possibility of fraud on both sides.

What is important to consider when implementing a payment system:

  1. The choice of settlement method should be convenient for all parties. For example, in the USA and many other countries you can use PayPal, only in the USA you need a minimum of time and effort, but somewhere it takes several days and requires the use of online exchangers.
  2. It is important that users use the same local currency. Payments in dollars and euros are good for stability, but bad for profit, as foreign currency transfers eat up part of the performer’s income.
  3. Observe local laws. For example, cryptocurrency transactions are now popular, but not all countries allow them.
Ratings and reviews. For users to trust each other, they need some guarantees of security and quality of services. At Thumbtack, this problem is solved by checking at the registration stage, as well as using customer reviews and ratings. Moreover, as polls show, it is reviews and ratings that play a major role in choosing an performer.

Typically, performers are judged by these criteria:

  1. The quality and speed of the assignment.
  2. Communication skills (knowledge of the local language).
  3. Speed of response to the application, chat message.
Customers are also given a rating and feedback, but the speed of payment, the level of communication and how correctly (precisely) the task is set are important here.

Step 4: Thumbtack Monetization Model

Commission. The easiest way to monetize the online services market is to take a commission from each transaction. As a rule, in this case they charge money:
  1. As a percentage of payment for work performed. This model is used by TaskRabbit, charging 15% of the payment for the task.
  2. As a flat rate for providing a contact to a service provider. This is exactly the model Thumbtack uses, charging 20% for each ad the service provider responds to.
The model with pay per contact (pay per lead or cost per lead) protects against the option where the customer and the contractor find each other on the site, but decide to make calculations directly so as not to pay a commission. But keep in mind that the interaction between counterparties does not always lead to a deal, therefore, the customer can waste money. This will cause negativity and criticism. Here you can read similar negative reviews about Thumbtack.

Subscription. In this model, most of the features are provided free of charge, while some premium features are available only by subscription. Money can be taken for connecting a chat, disabling advertising, expanding the coverage area and more. Access to the site only by subscription is not worth it, as this will greatly reduce the number of users.

Freemium. Assumes free access to the site, but with limited capabilities. If the user needs more features, he can connect them for an additional fee. Such a model is similar to a subscription, only in this case the user connects each function separately, and does not receive all the premium functions in one package.

Advertising. Some platforms provide their services absolutely free of charge for both customers and performers, and profit from advertising. This can be “highlighting” the profiles of performers and showing them at the top of the list for an additional fee, or it can be regular contextual advertising that can be connected using Google Ads.

Step 5: the cost of creating a thumbtack

Thumbtack Clone table

As you can see from the table, to create a site like Thumbtack, you need from 500 to 580 hours of development, which will require at least 3 months of real time. If the hourly rate is at the level of 50 dollars per hour, then this budget of such a project will be in the range of 25 to 29 thousand dollars. The hourly rate mainly depends on the region of the technical partner: North America and Western Europe - 80-100 dollars / hour, Eastern Europe and East Asia - 40-60 dollars / hour, Africa - 20-40 dollars / hour.


Thumbtack Clone - How to Build a Website Like Thumbtack key takeaways:

#1. Step 1: Thumbtack Business Model
#2. Step 2: tasks to be solved
#3. Step 3: online listing services features
#4. Step 4: Thumbtack Monetization Model
#5. Step 5: the cost of creating a thumbtack

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Yuri Musienko
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