Chances are you’ve already heard about this Google program rolling out, but if you haven’t, let’s break it down. The Home Service Ads (HSAs) are here to help people find trustworthy professionals—specifically in the home services industry (think HVAC professionals, locksmiths, plumbers, etc.). It’s a result that will appear as a 3-pack at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and will allow people to book an appointment quickly. These companies have been approved by Google and received a “Google Guaranteed” shield in its listing.

On the business side of things, it’s an ad. If you’ve been selected and approved to enter the program by Google, you can set a weekly budget and let it go—there’s no bidding. So far, it appears that the fixed cost per lead based on vertical and city ranges around $12-$38. You’ll never pay more for your leads than you set in your budget. If you received a call from a spam number or didn’t answer the call or call the customer back, you won’t be charged for a lead. Learn more about costs and payments.

As mentioned above, there’s no bidding system. Instead, Google uses a merit system that determines which results to show. Some things they consider include distance of the business from the customer, hours, number of reviews and the business’s responsiveness. As a business, you can target these ads with postal codes. It’s also possible to exclude postal codes you don’t service.

At this point, HSAs are exclusively targeting metro areas, including:

  • San Francisco Bay area
  • Sacramento
  • Stockton
  • Philadelphia
  • Atlanta
  • Phoenix
  • Seattle
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego

They are also covering these categories:

  • HVAC Contractors
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Locksmiths
  • Overhead Door

We’ll certainly be seeing more announcements, categories and cities from Google in the upcoming months.

Why should you be interested in Google’s new program?

HSA Green CheckmarkA huge benefit to being in this program is that green checkmark—the badge of trust. With this badge, Google is letting everyone know that your business is a reliable and trustworthy service provider. Another obvious benefit is receiving the prime real estate at the very top of the search results. This will be the very first thing people see when they are searching for service. These results also allow customers to schedule an appointment right then and there. It simplifies it for them and has the potential to bring you more leads. Finally, you get access to an app that allows you to manage ads, leads, schedules and have direct communication with potential clients.

How can you prepare for HSAs and apply?

There’s a variety of things you can do to prepare for these changes. First and foremost, make sure your Google My Business profile is claimed and you have reviews. You won’t even be considered for the program if you don’t have at least one review on your Google My Business listing. Encourage your customers to leave a review after working with you and be sure to follow up—whether the review is good or bad. Thank them for working with you or for pointing out an issue and invite them to have a further discussion offline to solve any issues or hard feelings. Showing potential customers that you care and want to give them the best service possible could make a big difference.

Be sure to have a copy of your business insurance and licenses ready for Google to review. Background checks must be completed by Pinkerton’s portal for anyone that will be entering a customer’s home from your business. If you’ve had background checks completed by another company, you will need to have them redone with Google’s selected company. Google has stated that they are willing to cover the cost of Pinkerton’s, if you need them redone. In the situation that an employee does not pass the check, your company will be ineligible for the Home Services Ads program; however, after a 3-6-month period, you can reapply.

Currently, Google HSAs are invite-only, but you can reach out to Google and let them know you’re interested in the program by filling out the form.

This is just the first of a series of blog posts that will focus on the HSA program. If you have any questions about Google Home Service Ads, please reach out to us. Otherwise, continue checking our blog to take a deeper dive into HSAs and stay up-to-date on the program updates.

Google Home Services Ad Infographic
Google Home Service Ads Infographic
Google Home Service Ads Infographic

Special thanks to Michael Splittgerber, the Strategy & Analytics team and the Creative team for putting all the pieces of the infographic together.