For Marco Zappacosta, services like ride-sharing and home-sharing do not represent the future of work.
The cofounder and CEO of Thumbtack has kept a close eye on the rise of the “gig economy” — or on-demand, short-term, unskilled jobs where employees are usually referred to as independent contractors — and he doesn’t see how it could provide people with meaningful sources of income long-term. That’s where he hopes Thumbtack will come in.
Zappacosta’s goal is to provide a service that makes it easier for people to thrive as skilled workers.
Thumbtack is a platform that matches skilled professionals like house painters and personal trainers with customers. The company was founded in 2009 and has raised more than $273 million, according to startup investment tracker CrunchBase. Thumbtack most recently raised $125 million last September.
The company works to solve a problem that Zappacosta says many skilled laborers have: excess time to perform more work but no easy way to find customers.
An average of $61K
“These folks did not get into business because they were great online marketers,” Zappacosta told Business Insider. “They got into the business because they’re great drum teachers or carpenters. What used to hold them back was the challenge of finding customers.”
Thumbtack wants to eliminate that challenge. The company is active in all 50 states and due to the volume of professionals — Thumbtack claims to have 200,000 pros who offer 1,100 types of services — it was able to survey those professionals to see how much they’re earning.
Thumbtack surveyed 12,000 of its professionals, asking them multiple choice questions about their income. The company found that pros on the platform are making a median annual income of $61,010 — which is higher the national average of $54,000.
For a skilled worker like a massage therapist, the average hourly income was more than $70. House cleaners earned about $46, guitar teachers earned $44 and local movers earned more than $85 per hour. In general, 43% of Thumbtack’s full-time pros earned $50,000 each year (For reference, Uber drivers make anywhere from $10.75 to to $13.17 per hour.
Zappacosta hopes Thumbtack can be a source of stable, longterm income for its professionals, leading to a middle class lifestyle.
“We think that future of work is going to be in the skilled professional,” Zappacosta said. “It’s going to be about having a specific talent that the world wants and needs and monetizing that talent.”