Thumbtack vs Yelp: The Best Choice for Online Contractors

By Kay FleuryUpdated on March 7, 2022

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If you are a local business owner, then having an online presence is critical to bring in more clients. Word of mouth advertising is great to get business around your neighborhood, but if you are looking to generate more leads and expand your network, then online business directories are the way to go. You might find our article on how to get your business on Google Places useful if you are just getting started with promoting your business online.

There are plenty of online directories to choose from. In this article, we will be comparing Thumbtack and Yelp so that you can decide which one is the best for your line of work.

What is covered in this article

Let’s take a closer look at both platforms by reviewing what they have to offer for every kind of professional.

Thumbtack overview: the best for finding any kind of professional

thumbtack homepage with handyman

Started in 2008, Thumbtack is a relatively newer player in the home services industry. This San Francisco based startup positioned itself to be an all-in-one solution for any kind of professional help that you needed for your day-to-day activities. Whether you were looking for a handyman, a piano teacher, or a personal chef, they have over 100,000 professionals listed on their platform.

Professionals can list themselves for free, and only pay when they respond to a potential lead. Thumbtack takes up the responsibility of vetting and verifying the professionals’ credentials and making sure their licenses and insurance is up-to-date. The Thumbtack App is also very intuitive, allowing professionals to easily navigate and be discoverable to the potential leads. For a detailed review of Thumbtack’s features, check out our article that covers everything you need to know about Thumbtack.

Who is Thumbtack best for?

Since it doesn’t cost anything to create your profile on Thumbtack, it can be a great platform for small business owners and independent contractors who are looking to generate new leads and do not have massive advertising budgets.

Thumbtack Pros

  • Creating and maintaining your profile is free.
  • Ideal for finding professionals for pretty much any job.
  • Professionals only pay for the leads they want to pursue.
  • If the lead doesn’t respond within 48 hours, the professionals are reimbursed for lead fees that they paid.

Thumbtack Cons

  • Thumbtack invests in ranking their professionals on Google, so if someone were to search for your business, they’d be directed to Thumbtack. This will allow the potential client to reach out to you only via Thumbtack.
  • Thumbtack professionals are competing against a large pool of professionals, since anyone can create a free listing.
  • Leads are not exclusive, so there is no guarantee that a lead will convert into business.

Download It Now: Android | iOS

Download It Now (for Thumbtack Pros): Android | iOS

Yelp overview: the best for checking rating and reviews

yelp homepage with food background

Yelp originally started as a platform where users can rate and review restaurants in their city, which is what it is synonymous with. If you want to find the best Chinese takeout restaurant in your neighbourhood or want to show off your city to an out-of-town visitor, then you’d probably first check Yelp for the best recommendations.

But over time, Yelp added more verticals of the service industry such as plumbers, salons, gyms, and auto repair shops among others, making it one of the best online business directories that every business should be listed in.

Who is Yelp best for?

As an online directory that millions of users check before booking any service, any business that heavily relies on having good ratings and reviews must be listed on Yelp, which pretty much encompasses all of the service industry.

Yelp Pros

  • Businesses can list themselves for free.
  • Users can retrieve the contact information of businesses.
  • Yelp is one of the best resources on the internet to find reviews and ratings.
  • Businesses can respond to customer reviews with a public message or a private comment from their Yelp Pro account.
  • Business owners can track real-time user engagement and get insights to improve or modify their business page.
  • The paid version of the app allows businesses to pay for targeted advertising to gain a broader reach.

Yelp Cons

  • Since anyone can create a free listing, businesses can find a lot of competition, making it difficult to rank higher in the search results.
  • In some cases, new users have reported that Yelp rejected some reviews submitted by genuine customers.
  • Businesses need to get the paid version of the app, since the free version has limited features.

Download It Now: Android | iOS

Download It Now (for Thumbtack Pros): Android | iOS

Thumbtack vs Yelp comparison table: how these sites stack up

In the table below, we will be looking at some basic parameters that can help you choose between the two platforms and see which one fits your business better.

Feature

Thumbtack

Yelp

Estimated Average Costs for Common Jobs

$40-70/hour

Not Applicable

Review System

Users who book the professional services leave a review once the job is completed.

Users can leave reviews of any service, without having booked or completed a job through them.

Coverage

All 50 states in the US

Over 35 countries use Yelp

# of services

More than 2000 services

Over 25 types of businesses listed

Customer Service

Very responsive for customers and service professionals

Very responsive for customers and businesses

Privacy

Customers can only connect with a service pro through the app and vice versa

Once a user logs in with their email or phone number, they can view the contact information of any business

Thumbtack vs Yelp: most & variety of services offered

Winner: Thumbtack

While Yelp’s main focus is restaurant reviews, they list other businesses such as auto repairs, gyms, salons, and handymen. Thumbtack on the other hand, has more than 100,000 verified professionals ranging from personal trainers, DJs, roof contractors, and motivational speakers.

Is Thumbtack or Yelp’s review system better?

Winner: Yelp

Yelp definitely has the best rating and review system for businesses. They have over 178 million unique visitors every month, which is difficult to ignore. This makes it lucrative for businesses to get on their platform for discoverability. Businesses could get reviews on the platform even if a user didn’t find them via Yelp. Thumbtack on the other hand only lets users rate and review service professionals once the job is completed.

Who has better fees for contractors: Thumbtack or Yelp?

Winner: Thumbtack

When you compare Yelp and Thumbtack for contractors, it doesn’t cost anything to create an account and list your business on them. When you sign up for the full service package on Yelp, which costs $150/month, you can use features like targeted ads, add videos to your profile, reorganize your photos, and have Yelp’s marketing team guide you to make your profile stand out. On Thumbtack, you only pay when you want to connect with a lead, which typically costs anywhere between $8-25 for handyman jobs and $50 for bigger jobs such as flooring or kitchen remodeling.

Which service provides the most leads for contractors?

Winner: Thumbtack

Where Yelp allows users to connect with the businesses directly through their online business directory, Thumbtack allows users to connect with pros only through their app. As a business owner, the lead conversion on Yelp is unknown as the customer may or may not give them their business and may just be price shopping. On Thumbtack, if a customer has connected with a contractor then they are probably going to give them their business, since they begin a conversation only after checking the job fee that other pros are charging.


As a business owner, it is critical that you list yourself on Yelp to have visibility because of the large number of users of the service. Whether these users convert into leads is irrelevant as that is not the purpose that Yelp is trying to solve.

Thumbtack on the other hand is a booking service, so generating and converting leads from the platform should be the main goal. It is important to keep in mind what each platform is trying to achieve so that you can use it to your advantage to support your business needs. If you are looking to increase your exposure, but don’t want to use Yelp (or want to see what else is available), check out our list of the best Yelp alternatives.