Why We Don't Advertise on Thumbtack, Angi, Facebook, Etc



It's common today for customers to rely on internet-based platforms to seek their handyman, and that is certainly understandable because it's the most convenient way for customers to find service labor! I've written about my former career in IT in other articles on this web site and that knowledge and experience has steered me away from using these platforms for our business. While we understand that we are missing out on a large pool of potential customers, using these platforms have significant downsides for business owners (and homeowners, for that matter):


Competition: Competition is great, but the high level of competition on these platforms can make it challenging to stand out from the crowd. With so many handymen vying for attention, it can be difficult to get ads seen by potential customers. Because the businesses on these platforms are primarily competing on prompt response and low cost alone, customers don't have the opportunity to consider other important handyman traits: craftsmanship, experience, warranty, a business portfolio, etc.


Cost: Advertising on handyman platforms like Thumbtack and Angi is very expensive. For example, receiving nothing more than a single lead can cost $50 and most leads go nowhere, so that's significant money simply thrown away. Just having a presence on Angi is hundreds of dollars per month (not to mention the contract term), which may or may not yield a return at all. 


Dependence: These platforms are designed to be a “walled garden” and advertising on them mandates businesses rely on them for generating leads and managing customer communications. This dependence is problematic if the platform experiences technical issues or decides to change its policies. There are also issues businesses may not be aware of: the interests of the platform directs potential leads to those businesses that are most fruitful for the platform, for whatever reason that may be. That's great for those golden businesses and the platform, but not so great if your smaller business is spending hundreds or thousands a month on the platform and not getting leads because they are being steered away from you.


Nuisance and Risk: These platforms are a nuisance to deal with for business owners. Constant calls, texts and Emails from sales staff, lack of support when you need it, lengthy and expensive contracts, unfulfilled promises, escalating costs once they have you dependent on them, fabricated barriers to cancel when you've had enough, etc. Facebook has absolutely zero human interaction with anyone for any reason, so if there's an issue with a business profile (such as getting hacked) then your business profile can be defiled by hackers and there's literally no recourse! This actually happened to a prominent Youtuber in the handyman community in May 2024 and she was devastated when she found Facebook offers no account support services whatsoever. We've added an experimental Facebook page to our strategy, though we've done so with caution.


RELATIONSHIPS! We've very intentionally designed our advertising and customer relationships to be managed and governed entirely by us while leaving all potential third parties out of the equation. This obviously comes with challenges of its own, but these challenges are at least known and manageable by us while not depending upon the interests of a third-party platform. We also have the opportunity to develop closer relationships with our customers, which is demonstrated in the fact most of our business is repeat customers who know us and trust us, which is something we don't take lightly. While I value the online reviews left by our customers, few of our customers leave reviews and their positive feedback is reflected in the fact that we get Christmas cards from them, or they refer us to their friends and family!