How to Buy High-Quality Service Contractor Leads for the Right Price

Contractors who serve home and commercial industries understand that to get jobs, you need leads. This blog was updated based on 2023 information. Whether you are a skilled painter, carpet cleaner, plumber, or electrician, you share the common headache of finding a reliable stream of leads. You may get quite a few referrals from happy customers who have shared your information with a friend or neighbor. Other people may have called after seeing your lettered truck around town. While referrals and recognition deliver the highest quality leads, there generally aren’t enough for sustained growth.

Are Leads Worth the Cost?

Many contractors are reluctant to purchase leads, especially if they have been able to operate, or even thrive without it in the past. The first page of Google for service industries has become so saturated, that it’s nearly impossible to get found by organic efforts alone, especially for small businesses with small marketing budgets. There is still value to be found when purchasing quality leads. There are a few companies out there that get it right and work to give you the biggest bang for your marketing bucks.

If you think leads are too expensive, you are not alone. We frequently hear from contractors that they don’t have the money to buy leads. And it can certainly feel that way when you do not have a lot of revenue coming in and times are tight. However, investing in lead generation is a proven way to grow your business. How can you determine what a good price to spend on a lead is for your industry? The following calculation can be used to ensure a positive return on your investment.

How to Calculate a Fair Lead Cost

Here is a simple way to figure out how much you can afford to spend per lead. In general, the goal is to keep your cost of lead generation and other marketing efforts below 15% and Ideally below 10% of your revenue from each job. If your average job brings in $800, you should spend no more than $120 on your marketing to get each job. To complete the calculation, you’ll also need to know your close rate. Most professional contractors close 1 or 2 of every four jobs they bid, a 37.5% close rate on average.

So, if you generally close 1 or 2 jobs out of every 4 and the average job brings in $800, you can afford to spend a maximum of $45.00 for each lead. Imagine if your goal was to get 20 good leads in a month. You could expect to win about 8 jobs from the 20. For an investment of $900 (20 leads X $45 each), you could expect to bring in $6,400 in revenue. If you can get your leads for less, your profits will increase, of course!

Unfortunately, just like all other forms of marketing and advertising, there is no guarantee that a purchased lead, no matter how “hot”, will turn into a job. In fact, even the best sales reps close about one of every two to three leads. Those less seasoned may close one in 5 or 6, especially if they don’t have a polished presentation or regularly follow up after providing a quote.

This is just the cost of doing business. There are certain methods you can use to increase your close rate, which will increase your return on investment of purchased leads. The biggest factor is knowing ahead of time how much you can budget each month for your leads and working with a lead generation business that won’t bill for unqualified leads. Finding a company that listens to the calls and only bills you for qualified leads is key. What is a qualified lead? You decide what that means to you, but we generally define it as an inbound call or, form or email requesting a quote for a service you provide in an area that you serve.

Lead Generation Methods

Quite a few contractors tell us that they are concerned about being sold “stale” leads. Many share stories of getting a lead and calling the number almost immediately, only to find that the person does not respond, or that they “no longer need the service”. How can this be if they were just sent the lead? Some companies sell leads from a list, and they tend to be inexpensive and of low value.

There are companies that use different channels to generate leads. Our experience is that producing live, exclusive leads is the most cost-effective way to go, even if shared leads are less expensive on the front end. Three of the most effective methods of procuring paid leads are SEO (organic lead generation), PPC (pay-per-click with Google Ads), and LSA (Google Guaranteed). Although SEO lead generation is less expensive, it takes time to generate consistently, PPC and LSA are great ways to accelerate lead production.

The Difference Between Shared and Exclusive Leads

Contractors can choose to purchase shared or exclusive leads. Many lead generation companies sell their leads to multiple contractors (AKA shared leads).

Shared leads can create situations where multiple contractors are competing for the same jobs. They have to race to be first to respond and provide a quote and often have to undercut themselves to compete.

This situation can be disastrous if you have to compete with businesses that do not play by the same rules. Businesses that cut corners by not being fully licensed and insured and don’t pay employees reasonable wages quote low estimates for jobs that quality contractors can’t compete with.

There are lead generation companies that offer live and exclusive leads to contractors. Although a lead may be exclusive to a contractor, customers may still choose to call several contractors for quotes, and some corporations require getting 3 or more bids. However, contractors who answer their phones in a professional manner and provide professional and fairly priced bids quickly, enjoy much higher close rates. And if they are exceedingly professional and knowledgeable, the consumer may feel no need to call others.

Here are the top things to look for in a lead generation company:

  • Avoid paying a high fixed monthly rate for organic lead generation that doesn’t hold them accountable for results. Organic lead generation is a very slow process and you will not see results quickly. Many companies are happy to charge you $599 or more per month whether you receive 1 lead or 30. Find a company that will bill you a fair price per lead.
  • Look for transparency. Ask if you will be given regular reports of progress.
  • Find a company that only bills for qualified organic leads. Getting billed for services you do not provide or from areas you don’t serve will rack up your expenses and offer no value. Be sure to set the parameters ahead of time and find out what their policy is for disputing leads.
  • Beware of companies that sell shared leads. These are frequently cheaper, but the quality is lower, and you probably end up having to compete on pricing to win the jobs. Be careful that you do not bid so low that you lose your profits, or worse, come out in the hole!
  • Avoid any company that requires a long-term contract. Make them prove themselves to you month after month.
  • Don’t allow companies to own your listings. Thousands of customers have wound up with listings in a tangled-up mess, with outdated information that they no longer have access to. Reputable companies will keep you as the owner or will turn over the ownership to you should you part ways.
  • Be patient! If you are working with a company that utilizes SEO-style lead generation, which tends to be the least expensive method, know that it takes months for the system to ramp up. In the meantime, consider working with them on a highly effective and pinpointed PPC campaign. These leads are a bit more expensive but can still produce leads within your max lead price point.

If you still have questions about buying leads, the lead generation specialists at 99Calls.com are ready to help. You can call 800-717-4669 to speak with a representative or click here to schedule a call at a convenient time for you.



Is Your Website Ready For Local SEO In 2021? Local SEO Checkup For Your Service Business

Local service providers (e.g., painters, plumbers, landscapers, electricians, cleaners, etc.) are having to enhance their web presence and improve their online rankings to stay competitive in getting leads through online searches.

With 97% of consumers learning more about a local company online than anywhere else and 46% of all Google searches seeking local information, optimizing your website for local SEO is key to generating more leads and growing your business.

However, Google changes the rules of the SEO game frequently by updating its algorithm. While this helps deliver relevant results to searchers, it has become more challenging for business owners to keep up with the latest SEO best practices so their websites can consistently show up at the top of relevant search engine result pages (SERPs).

When you lose your position on search results, the number of website visitors may go down and Google may interpret the signal as your site not being as helpful to users — creating a vicious cycle that would hurt your SEO.

Is your website SEO-ready for 2021 and beyond?

Now is the time to do a local SEO checkup for your website!

SEO Check-Up For Your Local Service Business Website

Here are the key areas to evaluate when optimizing your website for local SEO:

Do You Have Local Content and Location Information?

Publishing fresh, timely, and engaging content regularly helps you show up on Google’s radar. Meanwhile, including local search terms (e.g., town or city name, local events, or local landmarks) can increase your ranking on local search results. Mentioning local news and sharing educational content related to local conditions helps signal relevance to search engines while positioning you as a local expert to build trust.

Experiment with different content formats to increase engagement and dwell time, which is a significant ranking factor. For example, post infographics, how-to videos, or photos of your team participating in local events to make the content more interesting.

Also, include information about your location, such as address and phone number, on various pages and the website’s footer area. Add locally descriptive copy in the “About Us” page and add a Google Map to your “Contact Us” page. Make sure your contact information (e.g., name, address, phone number) is identical to that on your Google My Business listing and other online profiles.

Are You Leveraging the URL, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Headers?

Each page on your website gives you an opportunity to rank for a geographic search phrase and get found by searchers in the area. Besides the content on each page, you should also optimize the URL, title tag, meta description, and header tags to include relevant search terms and keywords, such as the name of the cities or areas where your audience are located and the specific services that you provide.

Title tags and meta descriptions are displayed on search engine results so you should optimize them to drive high-quality traffic. Meanwhile, the header tags help organize your content to improve the website’s user experience while helping search engines understand your pages’ content, thereby increasing the likelihood that your site will show up on relevant search results.

Title tags and meta descriptions are displayed on search engine results so you should optimize them to drive high-quality traffic. Meanwhile, the header tags help organize your content to improve the website’s user experience while helping search engines understand your pages’ content, thereby increasing the likelihood that your site will show up on relevant search results.

Image source

Also, research long-tail keywords and incorporate them in your title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. These long search phrases are less competitive and more likely to drive traffic that is looking for your exact services and ready to hire you right away.

Is Your Website Mobile-Optimized?

Did you know that 89% of consumers search for local businesses on their smartphones every week and 58% do so daily?

With more people using mobile devices to conduct online activities, it’s important that your website is optimized for a fast and streamlined mobile experience to increase engagement and signal relevance to search engines.

Not to mention, Google’s algorithm prioritizes mobile-friendly websites so using a responsive template, reducing load speed, simplifying navigation, and leveraging mobile-optimized features such as tap-to-call and location services can help improve your search engine rankings.

New for 2021 – It’s All About Speed!

Google will update its algorithm in May of 2021 to include “Page Experience”. One of the metrics will have to do with the loading speed of the sites. If your landing pages take longer than 2 seconds to load, your rankings may be penalized. Simple ways to improve your load time include resizing your images or compressing them, and staggering what gets loaded for your viewers through “lazy loading” or “progressive loading”.

Have You Created Individual Service Pages?

While it’s may seem easier to list all your offerings on a single “Services” page, doing so may hurt your SEO because it doesn’t allow you to rank for specific search terms used by prospects with high purchase intent.

Instead, create one page for each service so you can target the most relevant long-tail keywords. This will also improve the clarity of the site map so search engines can better index your site and rank your pages. Similarly, if you service multiple cities, you should create an individual landing page for each location to rank for local terms.


Also, optimize your site with local business schema (also called structured data markup), which is a set of codes added to webpages to help search engines understand who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and how you may be relevant to searchers. This is the key to getting listed on the Local Pack at the top of Google search results.

Internal and External Linking Structure

Adding internal links from one webpage to another on your website helps support website navigation, improve website hierarchy, and build page authority. This will not only assist search engines index your site but also improve the user experience. Visitors will stick around longer and view more pages — signaling relevance to Google and boosting your search engine ranking.

Meanwhile, external links from high-authority third-party sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Facebook) and local directories can improve your SEO. It’s important to make sure that the information on your profiles and listings (e.g., company name, phone number, address) are exactly the same as that on your website. You can do so by mirroring your Google My Business listing to maintain consistency.

Up Your SEO Game with an Optimized Website

Having an SEO-optimized website will not only help you improve SEO ranking and drive high-quality traffic but also engage your visitors to signal relevance to search engines — creating a virtuous cycle that will further boost your SEO.

Not to mention, a high-converting website is key to maximizing profits from your investment in SEO and online ads.

That’s why at 99 Calls, we don’t just run Google Ads for local service businesses. We make sure that they’re part of an effective lead generation strategy by setting up an SEO-optimized, high-converting website so you can attract high-quality leads and get the most of your marketing dollars.

Learn more about 99 Calls Lead Generation services or Schedule a free consultation.


Essential Businesses & Employees

Authors: Devon Osborne and Diane Lovine

There is a great deal of uncertainty about who and what is considered an essential employee or business during this time of lockdown throughout much of the United States. Of most importance is the safety of workers and the public from the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19. However, government officials also recognize that there are certain services that need to continue in order to keep people safe and maintain buildings in working order and support a struggling economy. 

When the additional safety guidelines put out by the CDC for businesses and employers are also adhered to, contractors can continue to provide these services safely. In addition, the continued provision of services by certain industries enhances the economic stability of the country. 

There is good news for contractors in a variety of industries who provide services to both residents and businesses.  Tradespeople are considered to be essential employees in many states. According to The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses, and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response” are considered essential businesses. 


As lead generation providers who specialize in serving contractors, we at 99 Calls have identified several categories of essential services under the guidance of the CISA. Industries relevant to these essential services include Janitorial and commercial cleaning businesses, damage restoration companies, plumbers, appliance repair personnel, emergency tree services, landscaping businesses and others who provide residential and commercial services that keep people and businesses sanitary safe, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Of the 16 categories (see image below), three specifically relate to contractors within industries we serve. They include commercial facilities, residential facilities and services, and hygiene services.

Commercial Facilities Category

  1. Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.
  2. Workers distributing, servicing, repairing, installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces, and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment.

Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services Category

  1. Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services.
  2. Workers performing housing construction-related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.
  3. Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing.

Hygiene Products and Services Category

  1. Workers providing personal and household goods repair and maintenance.
  2. Workers providing disinfection services, for all essential facilities
  3. Workers necessary for the installation, maintenance, distribution, and manufacturing of water and space heating equipment and its components.
  4. Support required for continuity of services, including commercial disinfectant services, janitorial/cleaning personnel, and support personnel functions that need freedom of movement to access facilities in support of front-line employees.


As the current situation continues to evolve, it is important to also check with your state’s government offices. It is also important to note that in addition to being considered an essential business or worker, it is necessary to follow the CDC’s guidelines to avoid the spread of COVID-19, including wearing appropriate protective equipment and social distancing. 

This information is advisory and should not be considered a standard across all states. Each state has determined what businesses are considered essential and contractors should adhere to their states’ rules and regulations for specifics. At the time of this article being written, the following states are considering tradespeople as essential:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arkansas
  3. Arizona
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. Hawaii
  11. Idaho
  12. Illinois
  13. Indiana
  14. Kentucky
  15. Louisiana
  16. Maryland
  17. Massachusetts
  18. Michigan
  19. Minnesota
  20. Mississippi
  21. Missouri
  22. Nevada
  23. New Hampshire
  24. New Mexico
  25. New York
  26. North Carolina
  27. Ohio
  28. Oklahoma
  29. Oregon
  30. Utah
  31. Vermont
  32. Washington
  33. West Virginia
  34. Wisconsin
  35. Wyoming


If you are considered an essential employee, you may be wondering how to keep yourself, staff, and customers and your family safe and healthy. The virus is primarily spread from person to person and there are steps you can take to protect yourself and those around you. Employers must stay abreast of the latest CDC guidance, and should frequently remind workers to follow all necessary precautions.

  1. Keep at least 6 feet of space between you and other people. This includes all customers and coworkers. The newest guidance is to wear protective face masks when in public places.
  2. Avoid groups of people of 10 or larger. Allow employees to work from home when possible. 
  3. Continue to wash your hands often and thoroughly. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after being out in public, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  4. If handwashing with soap and water is not readily available, use a hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol.
  5. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  6. As a contractor, it is important to limit staff members on-site and practice social distancing when on a job site.
  7. When it comes to getting payment from your customers, try no-contact methods like PayPal, Venmo, or other online payment methods.

How to Keep Your Business Operating During COVID-19

Of course, the health and safety of your family, your employees, your customers and yourself comes first. Second, and still important is preserving the viability of your business. If you are in a state that considers your services to be essential, how can you access leads and get your phone ringing? First, update your website and Google listing to alert potential customers that you are still open for certain types of business. 

Next, if you aren’t doing so already, consider running a Google Ads campaign. Google Ads is a great way to generate leads quickly. Google Ads PPC is a silent auction-style where you bid on certain keywords to get on the first page of Google. This service allows contractors to target specific services in the towns they serve. Many business owners are concerned, and rightly so that Ads campaigns can be too costly. If you are not familiar with how to manage a budget and get the biggest return on your investment, consider partnering with a lead generation firm that can help you reach your lead and revenue goals. 

There are quite a few services that people are searching for amid this viral crisis. Some of the most frequently searched services we are seeing include disinfection and decontamination of homes and facilities, plumbing services and appliance repair. These are all important to keep homes and businesses functioning. Even during these times, emergencies and disasters still occur, such as water damage from appliance leaks and home damage from fallen trees. 

The main industries that are still receiving a robust supply of leads include:

  1. Commercial Cleaners
  2. Restoration Companies
  3. Appliance Repair
  4. Plumbers
  5. General Contractors
  6. Roofers
  7. Remodeling Contractors
  8. Handymen
  9. HVAC Contractors
  10. Electricians
  11. Pest Control