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Thread: Why Thumbtack may or may not work for DJs.

  1. #1
    Member Galager's Avatar
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    Why Thumbtack may or may not work for DJs.

    A previous thread started bemoaning how terrible the lead generating web site Thumbtack.com was. I happen to like TT very much and get a lot of business from them. Based on what I read I see that there are a lot of misconceptions of what TT will do for you and questions about how to make it actually work.

    I feel this deserves it's own thread because I want people to learn how to use it and I would like to refine what I do with TT and other sites like it by seeing what kind of feedback is given. If you have experience with TT or other lead generation sites, PLEASE CONTRIBUTE your ideas and what has worked and what has not. We can all learn from both.

    This is how TT works. TT is like Yelp in that you can get bids on everything from movers, tree trimming, accountants, etc. As a client you type in the service you want bids for and in the next 24 hours you get bids from a variety of providers. It is free to the end user.

    As a provider, you prepurchase 'points'. Different leads for different types of service cost different amount of points. For DJs in my area it costs 5 points to submit a bid. What happens is when an end user puts in a request for service, a TT employee will usually call first to verify the information (I don't know if it is all the time though... I've used TT as an end user twice and each time I got a call from TT to verify information before they sent the bid request out) then they send a mass e-mail out to all the providers of that service. For convenience I will use 'DJ' as the service requested from now on.

    As a DJ I have set it up so that I get both an e-mail and a text that there is a bid request waiting to be responded to. Often it is time critical to get back to the client because (and this is very important) only 5 providers are allowed to respond. If you are the 6th provider to try to respond you will not be charged for the points and will not be allowed to submit a bid. This is the first big reason why I like TT over some of the others... I have a limited number of competitors. The days of bidding against 20 other DJs for the same gig are gone with TT.

    Just because you are sent an e-mail saying that someone wants a bid, doesn't mean you must give a bid. You can sign up and NEVER send in an actual bid. You only bid on what you want to bid on. If there is not enough information, don't bid on it. If they are asking for Rap and you only do country, don't bid on it. If you don't work on Sundays and the bid is for Sunday, don't bid on it. If they say they only want to pay $200 and you are used to getting $1000 per gig... DON'T BID ON IT! I don't bid on more than I do bid on... quite a few more actually.

    If there is not enough information in the initial bid request (and there often ISN'T) then you can send the client a question. You must follow the guideline for asking questions which can be pretty stupid at times, but this can often help you get more information to help you determine if this is something you want to bid on or not. There is not charge to ask a question and all other DJs can see both the question and answer.

    Sometimes (not often but sometimes) a client will also request a bid by phone. It is VERY important to call ASAP! I have lost potential gigs because I waited an hour to call. If someone wants a bid by phone they usually want to make a decision NOW!. When I am the first person to call, 80% of the time I hang up the phone having won the gig because I sell myself well over the phone. If that happens, tactfully ask the client to state on the web page that they have picked a provider and the phone number will no longer be given out and no more bids will be sent.

    Another nice thing is that TT will return the 'points' to your account if the bid you sent in is not at least looked at by the client within 5 days. If the client doesn't at least OPEN the e-mail with your bid in it then there is no chance of you getting the bid therefore it is not fair to charge you for it. Over the last couple of years I have had MANY bids refunded to me. The cool thing is I have had a few that have opened them AFTER the 5 days and have taken my bid yet I still got the points refunded to me.

    TT limits the number of characters you can type in the initial bid. I don't think that is nearly enough to let me 'sell' my self. Instead of trying to crunch my bid down to the very essence of what I do in those few characters I let the potential client know that I will be sending them a 2 part bid due to that TT policy. I have pre-typed bids for weddings, corporate parties, B-day parties, etc. and I just cut and paste those into the bid, changing a few things as needed such as numbers of hours the bid is good for, lights or no lights, etc. I feel by having a much more detailed information the client is better to make an informed decision and choose me (because ANYONE who has all the facts will obviously go with me because I am the best... duh).

    I was a salesman for many years so I am constantly refining my pitch to add sizzle to what is often a very boring process... looking through written bids. If you have never been a salesman you may not understand what I mean. I believe it was Dale Carnagie that said 'you sell the sizzle not the steak' meaning that steak is nothing more than dead meat. very unappealing. What gets the taste buds going is the sound of the sizzle of the steak on the grill... the smell that causes the taste buds to swell, etc. It's the perception of what that piece of dead meat may become is what is appealing not the meat itself. You are a DJ. There are lots of DJs out there. DJs are the dead meat. It's what you as a DJ can DO to make their wedding, party, etc. the best it can be (the sizzle) that makes your bid appealing. When you write your bid, add the sizzle.

    I also send a copy of my wedding worksheet (for potential wedding clients, obviously) with my bids. The worksheet is there to give me as much information as I can but it also helps give the client a sense of comfort knowing that I pay attention to details! Wedding are about details and my wedding worksheet alone has won me numerous gigs I believe.

    I also ask for references of TT clients that other TT clients can look at. TT makes it easy to do this. Once you complete a TT gig you can send a request for a reference directly from the TT website. I even will often ask, as part of my negotiations, ask for them to give me a positive reference via TT if they like what I did. I will also ask potential clients to look through my references on TT. I have more than any other DJs in this area so it makes me look good.

    It is true that TT clients are often, but not always, looking for the cheapest DJ they can find. I bid low. Not stupid low but I strip my bid to nothing more than playing music. I then add extra items like lights to help me up the price. I usually go over these items more in detail if they bite on the low bid. It is not a bait and switch. I give them a very basic bid I am glad to do it for, but if they want more, and often I can talk them into more, I can charge more.

    I am not sure how much this affects things now but you can do various things to make you look more credible than the other guys. I am a GOLD member of TT. This is based on points as well. You get these points by doing things such as adding pictures, references, verifying phone numbers, doing a criminal back ground check, etc.

    I am successful at TT not because of any one thing I do. I believe it is because there are lots of little things I do in relation to TT that make me look more and more appealing to a potential client.

    Just know, to get a client through TT it is a different process than many of you are used to. Just because they don't make a policy change because you sent them a letter pointing out a deficency in their methods doesn't make them a bad company. How many times have you been told by someone at a gig that you need to change something (the type of music being played, the gear you have, etc.) and you didn't do it? They do listen. They have called me and asked me my opinion. I have called them and told them mine. I have seen positive changes in how they had done things over the years. Yes, I wish they would do other things differently but I make the most out of what I am given.
    Last edited by Galager; 11-19-2013 at 08:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Couldnt agree more
    I won't deal with "bargain shoppers." If a customer calls me and thinks he/she can whittle down my price because DJ RectalSquirt is offering to DJ for $100 for the night, then he/she and DJ RectalSquirt probably deserve one another. -Badger

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Galager View Post
    DJs are the dead meat.
    Dammit...... Just when I was starting to build up some self esteem again.



    Seriously, good read, G. Do you really have to wait 5 days to get a credit back if the client doesn't view it? I've always gotten them back within 48 hours if they are not viewed. I have managed to land a few gigs from TT but I have yet to get any of them to leave a review on the site. My biggest complaint is the price of credits. I would probably bid on more gigs from TT if the credits didn't cost so damn much. As it is, the client MUST have a budget listed before I will bid on it. No budget, no bid, no exceptions.
    WillieB69

  4. #4
    Truck Driver Dix's Avatar
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    As a matter of fact, I think I'll sticky this... Good job my friend.
    1) Contract, Contract, Contract!

    2) Join VIP & support DJF: http://www.djforums.com/forums/payments.php

  5. #5
    Member Galager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillieB69 View Post
    I have managed to land a few gigs from TT but I have yet to get any of them to leave a review on the site.
    Willie,

    There is a link on the TT page where you have your client information that will automatically send a request for your client to give a reference.

    When appropriate I will also ask the client at some time BEFORE I do the gig if they would leave a positive reference when the gig is done, assuming they like what I have done. I have yet to have anyone say 'no' to this once I tell them how easy it is. I tell them I will send a message to remind them about it when the job is done and all they need to do is type in one of two sentences telling how much they liked what I did and hit 'send'. After the gig I will casually remind them of their agreement to give me a good review in an e-mail I send at the same time I send the reference request.

    This tactic doesn't always work but it is better than leaving it totally in their hands.
    Last edited by Galager; 11-19-2013 at 08:17 PM.

  6. #6
    Member fatcatdj's Avatar
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    What Event type

    Other (religious event)

    Number of guests

    50-100

    Music preferences

    R&B / Soul

    Indoors or outdoors?

    Indoors

    Equipment/services needed (e.g. sound system, lighting, MC)

    Sound/PA system, Microphones

    Total budget for DJ

    I'm not sure yet

    Message

    Cost needs to be under $100 for the total event.



    When Date: Fri Feb 14 2014
    Time: 5 PM
    Length: 5 hours
    .."You can NEVER go too far"---Ferris Bueller

  7. #7
    Member Galager's Avatar
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    Event type

    Wedding ceremony, Wedding reception

    Number of guests

    200-300

    Music preferences

    I'm not sure yet

    Indoors or outdoors?

    Outdoors

    Equipment/services needed (e.g. sound system, lighting, MC)

    MC, Sound/PA system, Microphones, Projector

    Total budget for DJ

    $900-$1,000
    When

    Date: Sun Aug 10 2014
    Time: 2:30PM
    Length: 7 hours

  8. #8
    Member Galager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatcatdj View Post
    What Event type

    Other (religious event)

    Number of guests

    50-100

    Music preferences

    R&B / Soul

    Indoors or outdoors?

    Indoors

    Equipment/services needed (e.g. sound system, lighting, MC)

    Sound/PA system, Microphones

    Total budget for DJ

    I'm not sure yet

    Message

    Cost needs to be under $100 for the total event.



    When Date: Fri Feb 14 2014
    Time: 5 PM
    Length: 5 hours
    I recommend you don't bid on that one... that's just me though.
    Last edited by Galager; 12-08-2013 at 11:41 AM.

  9. #9
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    I love Thumbtack, my first gigs were through it and Craigslist.

  10. #10
    I just joined Thumbtack. I am getting leads and have bids on a few already. Waiting on one and have been in contact with other. I like it so far. You really need to try and have self control on wanting to bid on everything.

    I'll advise. The way I see it, if I get one gig every few months out of it, i'll be satisfied.

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