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99 Calls Partner Spotlight

by Danielle Giarrusso

In continuation of highlighting a business partner each week during National Lawn and Garden Month, 99 Calls is proud to feature BMF Masonry and its owner, Jack Sinani. Located in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, Jack has been a specialized Mason since 1999.

How Jack Got Started in The Masonry Industry

Masonry is a family business for Jack. His father entered the masonry industry and established his own business. When Jack’s father was ready to retire, it aligned perfectly with Jack’s desire to give the masonry business a try. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a skilled mason. Jack took over the masonry business where he has found his true passion, and years later, still loves what he’s doing.

The Challenges of Business Ownership

Like anyone new to business ownership, Jack quickly became aware of the challenges of owning and operating a business. From learning the ins and outs of the day-to-day operations, maintaining quality customer relationships, meeting customer needs, and preserving a good reputation, Jack quickly realized he found his true calling as a business owner. Throughout his many years in business, Jack has learned that keeping his customers happy has led to repeat business and a trusted name, which in turn means quality to others.

Past and Present Inspirations

Upon going into business, Jack learned a lot from his father. Having made so many wonderful memories working alongside his father, Jack found his inspiration and continued to build a strong business that would last for years to come. Now, Jack says that every day, his team of employees continues to inspire him to keep the business thriving and to keep serving others. In addition to his reliable team, Jack’s long list of happy customers has played a huge part in the inspiration behind the business and its success today.

Future Plans for Jack and BMF Masonry

Having owned and loved BMF Masonry for so many years, Jack plans to stay in business as long as possible until retirement. His future goals for the company are to expand the business and keep growing as long as he’s able! 

How 99 Calls Has Helped BMF Masonry

When we asked Jack how using 99 Calls has helped his business grow, he replied, “I am happy with all my services. My organic service performs really well, averaging 25 leads per month. I am consistently ranking on the 1st page of Google when someone searches for a Mason. My business has greatly improved over the years and the leads have turned into multiple referrals which keeps us quite busy.”

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99 Calls Partner Spotlight

Bayze Painting

by Devon Osborne

Exterior Painting Expert

This week, we are shining the spotlight on a highly-skilled exterior painter in Tucson, Arizona. Rafael Bayze of Bayze Painting has been in the painting business for over 5 years. Bayze Painting is Licensed, Bonded, and Insured and prides itself on providing consistently high-quality exterior painting services.

How did you get into the painting industry?

Rafael knew throughout his college career that he wanted to start his own business. Upon graduating from college with a business degree, Rafael was hired through the Manager Training Program with the top painting provider, Sherwin Williams. 

“I never imagined that I’d start my own painting company until interviewing a couple of business owners and painting contractors,” said Bayze. After meeting many of the successful painting contractors in his area, he realized what a great living he could make which pushed him to start his own painting company. “After working for Sherwin Williams for 5 years, I had a great deal of knowledge about all different types of paint coatings. I thought to myself, “I could very well get my contractor’s license and create my own painting business.” 

What challenges have you faced as a business owner? 

Bayze Painting specializes in exterior painting jobs. “Exterior painting is my favorite of all painting projects since most of the time it involves using a spray paint machine. I love spraying, as well as being outside.” One challenge that Bayze mentioned is the weather. Especially when focusing on exterior work, you need the weather to cooperate! It can also sometimes be hard to reach or get to certain areas that need to be painted, but nothing will stop Rafael from getting the job done right!

Some of the most notable challenges that Bayze encountered were during the COVID pandemic. There were new challenges being faced in all aspects of the business. From the price of materials increasing to them becoming more difficult to come by due to shortages, navigating this new situation was not an easy task. It was also tough hiring new employees. Jobs would continue to come in, but Bayze didn’t always have enough manpower to take them all on. 

What are some lessons that you have learned through the years?

There are several important lessons that Rafael has learned from owning his painting business including:

  • Don’t rush into anything that you might not be completely comfortable with
  • Always keep your word and follow through with the things you say you’ll do. 
  • Always continue learning
  • Try to keep a positive attitude during difficult times. 

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Aside from his friends that he had met working with Sherwin Williams, Rafael’s mother and father have always been two of his biggest supporters. He notes that his mother is one of his biggest inspirations. “She was always there to give and show support. During the difficult times when I first started, she always kept me motivated telling me, “Your hard work will pay off faster than you think.”

What advice would you offer to your younger self?

“Never be scared to take a risk if you know it pays off in the end,” says Rafael. He would also tell himself to try and look towards the future to learn how you want your business to be in the future by making small and big goals and achieving them. He also notes the importance of learning from your mistakes and taking the time to learn and see what can be improved upon. Most importantly though, he would tell himself to always have fun and love what you do.

What are your future goals for your business? 

“I never would have imagined that I would have created a successful painting business,” says Bayze. His future goals include continuing to grow the Bayze Painting business and helping others. Within the next 5 years, he would like to add HVAC and Plumbing services to his expertise and even extend to include full remodeling services within the next 10.

 How has using 99 Calls’ lead generation services helped your business grow?

“99 Calls has helped me out tremendously! I highly recommend 99 Calls for people that are just starting a business as well as business owners who are looking to grow their business. I get compliments all the time from the website that was also created by 99 Calls. It’s great to have a lead provider that not only provides excellent customer service but also handles my website and marketing.”

digital marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, Uncategorized

99 Calls Partner Spotlight

Earth Landscape

April is National Lawn and Garden Month. It’s that time of year when we can get outside and enjoy all things Spring. Each week of this month, we’ll be shining the spotlight on some of our partners who help to keep outdoor spaces looking beautiful.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Curtis Dragon, owner of Earth Landscape, which is located in Salem, Massachusetts. For over 35 years, Curtis has specialized in practicing landscape solutions using organic products and sustainable practices. His most recent focus is on getting organic products on the market that are not just “earth-friendly”, but also price-competitive as compared to synthetic products.

Background

I asked Curtis, “How did you get into the landscaping business”? 

Curtis went to an agriculture high school. Students were presented with a variety of trades, and with the urging of his father, he chose horticulture and agriculture. “My dad was a truck driver and a carpenter. He guided me in this direction because he saw that there was an opening in the industry and a chance to grow as an entrepreneur”, Curtis said.

The Push for Sustainable Landscaping

I knew that Curtis has a special niche in his practices. He focuses on providing organic, or sustainable landscaping services in Massachusetts. So I asked about his inspiration for going into organic services. 

Curtis explained that in school, students were pushed to get their agriculture licenses so they would be certified in the use of DDT. Where he is from, agribusiness is synonymous with the use of petrochemicals. It is standard to use harsh chemicals for weed and pest control. One day, his class was up in the potato fields during a hands-on lesson. Curtis went on, “Our professor was so proud of the power of the chemicals to kill weeds and pests. He sprayed the whole area with them.” There was a pond at the bottom of the hill. The next day, it rained. As the group of students returned to the fields, Curtis was horrified to see ducks and birds lying dead by the pond and fish floating belly up. The destructiveness of synthetic products had a profound impact on him. “Bells went off and I thought there must be a better way”, he said. Curtis discovered Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. It was his first exposure to sustainable gardening and he still uses it today. That was the beginning of seeking alternatives. 

Over the years, he has moved away from the term organic, which usually conjures up a sense of “expensive” and moved to “eco-minded” or “sustainable-minded” terminology. He continues to educate others to overcome the stigma that organic is much more expensive than synthetic products. 

Challenges of the Landscaping Business

When asked what unique challenges he has faced with his business, Curtis quickly responded, “Seasonality!”. It hit him quickly that the growing season is short in New England. He had to find a way to make a living year-round. Curtis earned a college degree in horticulture and agriculture and got creative with learning ways to hone his tool to provide income throughout the year. The answer was product development, running workshops and becoming active with related organizations. 

In an effort to find affordable organic products that he could use in his landscaping practices, he discovered that the standard system of using petrochemicals is incredibly inexpensive, but that organic products have come a long way. In fact, Curtis learned to develop his own line of organic products that are competitively priced and can compete with synthetic fertilizers, such as Miracle Grow and Miracid. Curt uses a blend of kelp and fish, which are derived from ocean waste (fish bones, guts, etc) and ferments them in 55 gallon drums. This is just one of many creative ways to create beneficial products from waste products. 

In addition to using these “homegrown” organic fertilizer products, he now sells them to consumers. Why is that important? His products feed the soil, which feeds the plants. He can customize the pH depending on the result needed (neutral for grasses and annuals, acidic for perennials, shrubs, evergreens). People are raving about being able to purchase organic lawn and garden fertilizer that is both effective and cost-competitive.

Curtis uses sustainable practices to control grubs and other garden pests in ways that protect the environment and surrounding plants and enrich the soil. For example, seed oil only goes after the grubs. The water becomes a carrier of the oil, which penetrates their exoskeleton and stops them from feeding. 

How 99 Calls Helps With Landscaping Leads

Curtis attributes over 25% of his business through the years to leads generated by 99 Calls. The content team worked with him from the beginning to customize the lead website to focus on being found by new customers who are specifically looking for sustainable lawn and garden solutions. Although this is a smaller niche, the customers are “preselected” and he’s happy to have a more condensed audience. He receives fewer leads than if he advertised as a mainstream landscaping company, but they are of higher quality to him. 

Goals for the Future

Demand is changing. Consumers who began buying organic food years ago are now searching for additional lifestyle choices that support sustainability. This is naturally bringing eco-sustainable-minded people to businesses like Earth Landscape. Curtis hopes to continue to educate them on the lowering cost of organic practices and will continue to produce these products himself and bring them to market. He is working on packaging and promoting these products. 

As if that isn’t enough to keep him fully committed, Curtis is also writing a book around a term he has coined, “Eco terrascape”, which he describes as a system of sustainable practices. 

Further Recommendations

In closing, Curtis disclosed that 95-98% of Landcare businesses are still doing it the conventional way. They are removing material from their lawns; filling trucks up with cut grass, debris, and paying to dump it! By following these methods, landscapers can actually make more money if they will go into sustainable maintenance practices. The soil food web needs that. Green grass is 70% nitrogen and water. They are taking it out of the system and having to put it back in by watering and fertilizing. Simple practices such as using mulching mowers will feed the system and save water. There are many benefits to sustainable gardening, for workers, homeowners, and the environment.

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The Importance of High-Quality reviews on Your Google Business Profile

by Dipa Gandhi

You might be wondering why getting positive reviews on Google Business Profiles is so important. Have you ever wondered, “I know people rave about my business, how can I spread the word so that others will give it a chance too”? Getting reviews on Google has the power to do just that.

Five-star, high-quality reviews on your Google Business Profile (GBP) will draw attention to all the great things about your business offerings. They often are the tipping point that can drive someone to make the call to book an appointment. Following a plan to continually request positive reviews from happy customers should be a part of every business’s marketing strategy.

Positive Reviews Elevate GBP Rankings & Visibility

One major ranking factor for your GBP is high-quality, positive reviews. The greater the steady influx of high-quality, positive reviews on your GBP, the better it will rank, and possibly move your GBP up to the Local Pack. What does “high-quality reviews” mean? Reviews with just a star rating without any text or reviews simply saying “Great Job” aren’t as effective as reviews that mention the type of service provided, or even better, reviews with photos included. For example, a high-quality review might read “Bob and his team did a great job with my roof replacement. The entire process was seamless. Thank you!”. This review includes the type of service Bob provided this customer, which is also a key service he is trying to receive leads for. To take this review one step further, the customer might have added a couple of photos of the completed job.

Great Reviews Build Trust

How many times have you decided to move forward with a product or service based on the number of positive customer reviews? A positive experience described or photos shared by a customer “speaks a thousand words”. The more customers you ask to share their great experience with you and your business, the more affirming it is for your potential customers. People want to feel that they can trust you and count on you and your business. The more positive reviews you have, the better your click-through rate will be. 

Bonus Points for Speed: Your Quick Response is Valued

Once a customer has left a review on your GBP, whether positive or negative, it is crucial to respond to this review. Your speedy response shows consumers that you truly care about your customers and your business. If you receive a negative review, a professional response to it could also show your customers your side of the situation and that you worked within your power to remedy the situation. People want to know that you will be fair and trustworthy. Also, Google scans for review responses, which could help with your GBP’s rankings.

Lots of Positive Reviews Improve Website Traffic and Rankings

How reviews on GBP improves website traffic ties in with how they also improve click-through rates. When people see all of your positive reviews, they are likely to click to visit your website. The greater the traffic to your website, the better your website will rank. When your landing pages are relevant and compelling, customers are likely to stay on the pages longer and read them, which also increases the rankings of your pages, making them more likely to show up in organic searches. 
For more information on GBP management or lead generation visit 99Calls.com, where you can book a free consultation.

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Google Ads Management in 2022: Not a DIY Project

by Jake Ramer

Contractors all over the United States have noticed that they are spending more on advertising and getting less in recent months. Formerly consistent pipelines of shared leads, social media campaigns, and powerful word-of-mouth referrals are drying up as of late and online competition is higher than ever. 

Like many contractors, you may run paid ads in order to grow your business. As a home services contractor, you have probably heard homeowners say they’re going to “do it themselves”. And you know what happens when DIY goes wrong! So Frank and Debra decide to install their own toilet. Next thing you know, a plumber gets a call about a burst pipe and a water damage team is extracting water from underneath their entertainment center. Trying to run your PPC campaign on your own can be a similar disaster. Ads are not a DIY Project. Some things are better left to the experts in that field.

When choosing an agency for your PPC Ads, Ask Questions!

  • How much experience do they have? 
  • Are they a Google Partner company? 
  • Will you be assigned a dedicated specialist to assist you? 
  • What can you expect for click costs for the services your team offers?
  • Will they provide you with honest and transparent reporting on performance?

The team at 99 Calls works primarily with service contractors; generating leads for them both via SEO and Pay Per Click. Generating exclusive live leads within your target market can be difficult, but the reward is quality opportunities. Our business partners appreciate being able to leave the lead-generating headache to us. They want a turn-key lead solution that allows them to focus on their areas of expertise.

Biggest Challenges With Running Ads

Two of the biggest changes we have seen with running Google Ads campaigns are increasing costs and new mandatory verification processes that have made advertising in today’s evolving digital marketing space more difficult and confusing than ever. Recently, one of our Ads Specialists wrote an informative piece on the rising Google Ads Cost per Click (CPC) across many service industries.  Both rural and dense urban markets are seeing the highest advertising costs ever recorded.

But increasing costs are not the only obstacle that contractors and advertising partners face. Google also released an update that frequently requires businesses and owners to confirm their identity, their business operations, or both. One huge benefit of hiring an expert to handle your campaigns is that they will walk you through the steps and help you complete the verification process. Failure to complete this process and provide necessary documentation within 30 days of notification can result in your campaigns being paused, essentially freezing potentially your biggest stream of leads for your business. 

Other Major Challenges With Running Google Ads Include:

  • Junk searches eating up your budget
  • Missing the target audience and getting flooded with competitor clicks
  • Creating relevant landing pages
  • Lack of data to build your account around
  • What Google recommendations should you apply to your account? 

If this all sounds daunting, you are not alone. People study and hone their skills over time to become Ads specialists, and must continually learn to stay informed. 99 Call’s team of marketing professionals builds custom targeted campaigns that meet the needs of our contractors from coast to coast. Customers trust the 99 Calls team to deliver meaningful results and insights with the primary goal of achieving the highest lead volume possible for the lowest price. As Google Partners, we’re equipped to handle any changing policies and guidelines so that partners can focus on running their businesses.

Have questions, or want to learn more about how your company can benefit from having experts run your ads campaign? Give us a call today at 800-717-4669.