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Finding a trustworthy local service provider is way too hard. Asking friends and family might net you a recommendation for a babysitter, but if you need a good Hungarian tutor, you could be out of luck. And even when a consumer does identify a service provider, the interaction isn't straightforward: there is no simple way of comparing their prices,schedules, or reputations.
Amazon and eBay have moved the buying and selling of products fully online--and in the process, made these transactions much more transparent--but local services are largely isolated in the physical word: service providers still advertise with flyers on telephone poles! Even where services have moved online, the marketplace is paltry and highly fragmented. Thumbtack will fill this void by creating an online marketplace for local services of all kinds.
Thumbtack is a trusted online marketplace for local services, from handymen and cleaners to tutors and errand-runners. For service providers,Thumbtack offers a virtual home, verifiable reputation, transaction support, appointment management, and marketing tools. For consumers,Thumbtack provides a central marketplace to easily find, compare, and purchase local services.
Thumbtack.com is currently in alpha but will be launching into beta later this year.
Marco Zappacosta, Co-Founder & CEO
Prior to Thumbtack, Marco worked for Students for Saving Social Security, a non-profit student advocacy group in Washington, DC that represented the student voice in the Social Security debate with over 10,000 student members on over 300 campus chapters nationwide.
While studying Political Science and Neuroscience at Columbia University, he and two friends hatched the vision for an innovative local services marketplace which eventually became Thumbtack.com.
Jonathan Swanson, Co-Founder and President
Financial Market Policy Analyst in the White House West Wing
BA in Ethics, Politics and Economics, Yale University
Dan Birken, Director of Engineering
Software Engineer at Google
BS in Computer Engineering, University of South Carolina
Thumbtack is a community marketplace for you to list, discover and book local services. More than 200,000 small businesses and independent professionals have listed their skills on Thumbtack.
We make money on the transactions we see through our site - when we bring professionals a job lead, they pay us either a flat lead fee or a commission payment on the booked job.
There are a few ways to find local service providers today, but they are all limited in important ways:
Word of mouth is of course the most time-tested method for finding a local service provider. But while your friends might know a local babysitter or handyman, what if you are looking for a babysitter who can also teach your child Chinese, or a handyman who specializes in your specific project? More importantly, word of mouth allows for no way to compare price, quality, or calendar availability. Finally, if you have recently moved to a new area - and your social network has been disrupted - word of mouth breaks down entirely. Thumbtack allows you to find a myriad of great service providers that are outside your social network, and additionally allows you to compare these providers in a number of important ways that are not possible by word of mouth alone.
Craigslist has a deep and active network but is very poorly suited for services. Craigslist is primarily designed for the one-time exchange of goods; it doesn't make sense for a service provider to re-post their information every few days. If you are a guitar instructor today, you still are next week! Most importantly though, Craigslist is not trustworthy. It has been designed to be anonymous and there is no way to verify someone's identity or reputation. Thumbtack solves the first limitation by giving service providers their own permanent webpage where they can upload photos and videos and even choose their own URL. Thumbtack solves the issue of trust by offering a powerful combination of identity and reputation tools.
AngiesList offers a large database of service provider reviews. But that's it. The transaction must happen entirely off line, and if you don't find what you're looking for on AngiesList there is no way to leave a wanted ad so service providers can contact you. Thumbtack facilitates the transaction as well, and also helps a consumer find a service provider even if they are not listed in the database.
Finally, there are a number of narrow verticals which have had some success in childcare (SitterCity), home repair (ServiceMagic), and virtual services (oDesk and eLance). These verticals are limited to their narrow niches, and leave large swaths of the service marketplace un-served. Like eBay the local service space has many characteristics of a natural monopoly, and there is no reason for there to be dozens of verticals serving narrow niches. Just as there are not a dozen eBays, we believe there is a need for a broad marketplace to serve a significant portion of the local service space.