Should You Pay Per Lead For Your Business?

Pay Per Lead (PPL) has become a much more interesting way to do business for home service contractors in the recent decade. The pitch is very simple, pay us a fee or percentage of the total job and we’ll supply you with leads. You’re paying for results rather than a promise, at least in theory.

Full disclosure, at JCSURGE we don’t, at least not at the current moment, provide a pay per lead service. In fact, pay per lead has been our competition so why are we writing this article in the first place? Well, because while Pay Per Lead might be a great idea, it may not work out for everyone. In this article we’re going to discuss what pay per lead, specifically pay per lead SEO, is, how it works, and whether or not it’s a good idea for your business to utilize.

What Does it Mean to Pay Per Lead?

Pay per lead marketing is simply when you purchase a lead from a lead generation company. It’s an easy way to get fast leads for your business, specifically if you’re in the home service industry. 

Most of the time a lead generation agency will have local properties or listings/websites that rank high for your type of service. You do not own these properties but are simply given the right to have the leads that come in. You can either rent the site or pay for each individual lead. 

With a pay per lead service, your provider will forward the leads in exchange for a flat fee or percentage of the total worth. For instance, if you’re a plumber and get a lead for a trenchless sewer repair job that’s worth around $1,500 then your provider might ask for 10% of the total job ($150). Or they might bill you a straight fee of say, $50. 

We’ve found that leads can range, for home service calls, anywhere from a flat fee of $20 a lead to $100 a lead. Percentages can be anywhere from 5% to 25%. 

Most of the time the agency providing these leads will request you pay per call rather than per final job. At the end of the day, they are a lead generation agency, not a sales agency. 

How Does Pay Per Lead SEO Work?

As quickly mentioned before, many times an SEO agency will build out “fronts” or “dummy sites” and rank them in smaller locations that target specific phrases. They will get an address verified on Google My Business, setup a website (usually an exact match domain), and begin building that site to generate traffic. Take a look at “Manchester NH Roofing and Siding” which was a quick experiment we made a few months back.

We started to receive phone calls and lead requests after working on it for a couple of months. We decided to just give away these roofing leads because we were booked with other work that finding a renter was just not worth our time and it was more of an experiment than a proper campaign.

What is a “lead”?

Well, that depends on the structure of the pay per lead SEO company, typically you will be billed if a call comes in and lasts more than a few seconds and if the caller mentions a specific service they need. 

How do they determine the quality of the lead? Any good agency will have call tracking software that determines the length of the phone call, and what is being said. In our case, we receive phone calls from people asking for roof repair, or a quote for a new metal roof. These were not just robocalls or sales calls, but actual prospects in need of a service.

Pay Per Lead Services 

Below are some pay per lead service providers that will fit your needs for a handful of contracting industries:

Is Pay Per Lead Good For Your Business?

Like with any business idea, there’s some good and then there’s some bad. However, let’s determine if it’s the right fit for your business or if you should hire a contractor SEO agency to do the work on your own site.

The Pros of Pay Per Lead

  • Instant leads
  • Pay for results
  • Minimal hands on work
  • Easy to setup

The main pro to paying per lead is that you’ll oftentimes get results quickly. You’ll be able to get the phone ringing within weeks of signing up. The next major upside is that you’re paying for results, not a promise, at least in theory. Assuming the leads are good, and that the company is reputable you should be getting results quickly if they have a property that is already ranking in your local area. This means you’re not paying for results that may or may not occur in 3 to 6 months.

The next major plus is that you don’t have to work on the site. You don’t have to learn much or expand your knowledge base on digital marketing. In theory you just pay the provider, and they supply you with leads. Which leads us to our next point, it’s easy to setup. After signing an agreement, paying your first month and possibly sending over a few photos such as logos and banners to put on your new rental property, you are pretty much set. The provider (if you’re renting it out monthly) will route all the calls to your number, and if not then they will simply send you the leads on a regular basis.

If you’re looking to play the short-game and need quick results, this might be a good strategy for you to consider.

The Cons of Pay Per Call Lead Generation

Let’s talk cons, and why you might want to avoid it.

  • You don’t grow your own assets
  • Google hates lead generation listings
  • You may be locked in long-term
  • If you cancel, your business loses its leads

The first con is that you don’t grow your own assets. Your website won’t be touched, and nobody is landing on your site. It’s all going to a third party, so in reality, you’re paying for people to reach out to a skeleton site and you’re paying for the temporary rights to those leads. So if you want to grow your own business, this is going to be a hindrance.

The second major problem is that Google HATES lead generation sites. I mean, they hate it with a passion. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT REAL BUSINESSES! www.plumbersinqueensnyc.com (example) is setup to JUST get phone calls. They are not a real business. As soon as Google finds out, they will likely penalize the site and kick it off the Google Maps section. Once it’s kicked off it’s really hard to get it back. This makes perfect sense because Google wants to pair users with real companies, not some fake pseudo-site that is setup to almost deceive people.

Thirdly, these agency owners aren’t stupid. They know it’s a bit manipulative or at least sketchy to do something like this. So may try to lock you into a long-term agreement. It’s like having a lease to an apartment that looks promising on the outside and even feels fine for sometime, but it’s built on unstable foundation and can collapse at any second. The problem is, with lead generation and on pay per call, there’s no “renter’s rights” So it’s important to recognize that these property owners may try to pressure you into a long-term commitment almost like collateral in case the listing flops. So at the very least, be cautious and aware of that possibility.

Lastly, as soon as you cancel, or as soon as cancel, your leads will stop coming in. Remember, you’re not building your own assets so if Google decides to penalize your lead generation listing, or your provider decides to lease it out to someone else (remember there are no regulations in this industry) you lose your incoming phone calls. This can leave you frustrated and back to square one for your contracting business.

So if you’re looking to play the long-game, and want stable results that are going to benefit your prospects long-term, it might be a good idea to have someone work on your own site rather than rent one to you.

Should You Hire an SEO Agency to Work On Your Site?

Once again, if you’re looking to play the long-term game, it might be best to have an expert work on your own website rather than lease one to you. This way you’re in full control of everything that goes on, if you decide to fire your agency you (at least with us) reserve the rights to all content and material. If you rank high for a few phrases but decide to quit, you keep those results.

Also thinking about it from a customer or homeowners perspective, if you’re looking for a roofer or plumber you want a real business to show up. You want a website that has answers to your specific problems, and you want a reputable business, not a skeleton site.

Contact JCSURGE For Contractor SEO Services

So if you’re looking to increase your website’s visibility, consider reaching out to JCSURGE. We work with home service contractors across the country to provide them with more traffic and more jobs per month. Our mission is to bridge the gap between homeowner and home contractor and supply honest and professional contractors with high quality customers.

Call: (917) 747-4234 or email info@jcsurge.com for more information!

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