Have you searched for a local handyman, plumber, electrician, or pest control company near you recently? You may have noticed the results look a bit different lately. As you can see in the example below, the top-tier placements for these types of local searches are no longer dominated by traditional paid search ads. Let’s take a look at Google Local Services Ads. 


Google’s new Local Services Ads are a new type of ad placement that operates on a pay-per lead platform. That is, you only pay for verified leads that call your business through your ads (average cost per lead is around $26). Unlike traditional paid search ads, Local Services Ads do not point users to your website, rather, they are predicated on generating qualified phone calls directly to your business. This makes Local Service Ads a great option for a local business that doesn’t have the time or resources to build out an SEO-friendly website, create dedicated landing pages or just wants customers to call them directly. 

With so many advantages, Local Services Ads seem like a no-brainer for many companies – particularly small businesses. Getting the best possible positioning in the search engine results page (SERP) above all other organic/paid listings and paying only for verified leads is a huge advantage. However, you can’t just flip the switch and go. There is a fairly extensive application and approval process before you can get up and running. 

How To Apply for Local Services Ads

Below, you will find a basic list of items needed in order to get started with Local Service Ads. The time it takes for this entire process can vary but the entire approval process can take up to 6 weeks if there are no issues with background checks. 

  1. Sign up for Local Services Ads through the web form
  2. Verify local service eligibility in your market
  3. Create ads and a local services portfolio
  4. Complete verification and background check process (three background check categories):
    • Business (Business license, Insurance information)
    • Owner
    • Service Technicians (background check for all technicians)

The Google Guarantee

Once your business passes this screening and qualification process, you become “Google Guaranteed,” as shown by the green checkmark next to your company name in the Local Services Ad listing. With the Google Guarantee, if a customer (that came to you from a Google Ad) isn’t satisfied with the quality of your work, Google may refund the amount paid for the service. 


If you are interested in getting started with Local Services Ads for your business or one of your clients, you can get started here. If you think traditional paid search ads are more suited for your business, check out our post on the biggest search marketing mistakes to avoid before you get started.