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How to Win New Clients on Thumbtack: My Thumbtack Experiment to get Math Tutoring Clients

After playing with Thumbtack to get new online tutoring clients, I had no luck. No one looked at my quote, read my profile or ever contacted me. I was ready to give up. But, I got some new ideas about how to use Thumbtack. So, I decided to experiment with Thumbtack to win new clients to tutor online.

The Experiment: For one week I would commit myself to answering any tutoring request that fit into my ideal client, middle school, high school or college algebra, geometry, or pre-calculus. I knew I had to do something different than I had before, so I revamped my quotes.

1) Chose N/A for the price. In Thumbtack info this means Needs More Information.

2) Write different quotes for every subject, Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus. Or your different types of clients for your subject.

3)Think about what my ideal client was thinking and feeling. In other words direct your quote right to the individual you are sending it to.

4) Limit my qualifications unless it further clarified my quote. Nobody really cares about your qualifications, they are concerned about their student. I did use the fact that I've taught for 30 years as a way to justify the price I was quoting. But if it doesn't really relate to your client, then I wouldn't use it.

5) Set my notifications to ON for email only.

6) Respond the minute you hear the ping of a new request.

To find out more about how Thumbtack works, read my blog:

What I learned:

1) It is VERY time consuming. In fact it was all consuming the entire week and the pings drove me crazy. I hated having to live with my phone all day and night long.

2) Fill out your Profile completely 100%. I put up 5 pictures because you get rewarded. I had no reviews so I posted my testimonial video. Later in the week I asked 3 clients to review me. Things picked up after the reviews.

3) Your profile will not be looked at very often.

4) Your reviews are always looked at.

5) Put your time in making good quotes that:

  1. Have the clients name on it.

  2. Sympathizes with the client (think empathy chart)

  3. What is special about you that makes you standout. For me, it is that I taught for 30 years and have extra tools and can get the student up to speed faster.

6) Speed is everything on Thumbtack. When I viewed the insights the first time I saw that most of the other Pros were responding within 30 minutes, whereas it took me 239 minutes. This taught me about the speed factor.

  1. As soon as you hear a ping, send a quote. (this is where the prepared quotes will help you)

  2. As soon as you get a notification that someone has viewed your quote, send a follow up. I mostly just said that if they had any questions, I’d be happy to help. I found that asking for more info about the math situation made very little difference.

  3. As soon as a potential client views your profile, send a follow up message

  4. As soon as a potential client contacts you, write them back immediately.

The speed factor is important because there are so many other tutors out there. They will beat you to the client and they will follow up faster than you.

7) Don’t quote a $ rate on your initial rate, or $0. I looked into the insights and found that my quotes were completely too high. This depends on your subject. The more advanced the topic the more you can charge. If you charge more than $100/hr, Thumbtack is not for you, no one will hire you. For math, the going rate is $40 on average. My normal rate right now is $50. I was able to get $50/hr because I put N/A on the initial quote. When money got raised, I told them what my rate is and that it might be higher than some, but you are getting (put in what makes you special). This worked every time.

8) Not everyone will look at your quote and even if they do, they may not go any further. You’ll get people looking at your quote and you won’t get contacted let alone hired. You have to be okay with this from the start, or you shouldn’t be on Thumbtack.

9) Make sure when you do get hired, that you tell your new client to mark you as hired. I lost one client that was going to use me because I didn’t tell her to mark me hired and another Pro got to her and stole from me.

10) Once you get hired, you can direct them to your business email and webpage and never look back at Thumbtack again. They are all yours to have.

11) Don’t give up because someone says they aren’t sure or not ready. I convinced three clients to go with me after they said that. Two clients I just had to convince them to try online tutoring. I had a video on my profile of what online tutoring looks like. They both viewed it, and I landed them. One potential client wasn’t sure they wanted to pay my rate. So I offered them a free 30 minute tutoring session, we had the session, and now they are mine.

12) Dipping in for one quote every once in a while will not work. It is a numbers game. Commit to a solid amount of time when you can quote on a ping and you will get much better results.

13) Get Reviews from your clients when things are going well. The more reviews you have, the better your chances of being contacted. I didn’t get any contacts until I got my first review posted. My video of testimonials made no difference because most people don’t look at your profile, so even if it is a great testimonial, hardly anyone will see it.


I will use Thumbtack again, especially if I need clients. 10 clients in one week is a miracle to me. I don’t think I can withstand a whole week sprint like I did this time, but I will do a whole day sprint to get someone. I think I would get one client at least if I do that. Was it too expensive? That’s up to you to decide. For me, $18 compared to having a client for 12 weeks or more, or $600 coming in or 3% ad cost. No question it was worth it. I also like the fact that I keep my own money as opposed to working for a big tutoring company where they may take 40%. After the initial quote, I’m done paying Thumbtack and they are now my private client.

This Thumbtack experiment taught me so much and forced me to think creatively to problem solve how to get clients. Results will undoubtedly differ for everyone. This was just my personal experience. What worked for me may not work for you. This is just a brief summary of what I found during my experiment. If it helps people find clients, I am all for it. There are enough people online for all of us to tutor.

If you found this blog helpful, please feel free to share it. My name is Terri Grigsby. I do online math tutoring and in-person tutoring in the Portland, Oregon area. I am accepting new students, check out my website at, look around, and book a tutoring session. If you have any questions, you can always contact me on my website or at

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