digital marketing, Google Ads, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs, Pay Per Click Advertising, service contractor leads, Uncategorized

What is a DBA and Do I Need One?

DBA stands for “Doing Business As”. It is not the same thing as an LLC or a Corporation. In fact, it’s not a business entity at all. Rather, a DBA is a label. It’s a filing with your state to get permission to operate under a different name than your own. DBAs do not provide any extra liability protection for your business. Sole proprietors and corporations often file a DBA as a means to get permission to operate under a specific name. If you own a sole proprietorship and plan to claim your Google business listing or run a Google Ads campaign, yes, you’ll want to file. The good news is that it’s quick and inexpensive. 

Limitations of DBAs

Filing a DBA will not protect you or your family from liability. A DBA is also not a business entity; you would need to file as a corporation or a partnership with your secretary of state (which is a good idea but not covered in this post). Last, filing a DBA will not block someone else from using the same business name. In order to keep your business name to yourself, you’d need to file a trademark or register your sole proprietorship as a corporation or partnership. 

Why Register a DBA?

So it’s not a separate business and doesn’t offer protection. Why should I file a DBA? There are several benefits to spending a few minutes and a few bucks to file your DBA with your state. Because we are in the lead generation business and work to optimize GBPs (Google Business Profiles) regularly, the team at 99 Calls will tell you that’s the biggest reason to register. Google’s requirements to verify a business profile have become much more stringent. They want proof that you are who you say you are, and showing your registered DBA is one of the documents that will meet their requirements. Keep in mind that the address that you use to register your DBA must be the same one you use on your Google Business Profile. Other benefits to filing a DBA include the ability to operate your business under a different name. DBAs give you an affordable way to increase your flexibility. For example, if you started your business under a different name, but you decided you don’t like it or it no longer fits your branding or you want to run a different service under a different name, filing a DBA is the means to get permission from your state to operate under a different name. Most states charge around $50 to file. You will need to maintain your DBA registration if you plan to continue using the name on legal documents and bank accounts. 

For more information on filing a DBA for your business, see this state-by-state resource or call the friendly lead generation team at 99Calls.com at 800-717-4669.

cleaning business leads, Commercial Cleaning Leads, Contractor Leads for Winter, digital marketing, How much is online marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Generation for Contractors, online marketing, online marketing costs

Why One-Time Cleaning Leads Are Just as Valuable as Recurring Cleaning Leads

by Devon Osborne

In the commercial cleaning industry, getting inbound leads for recurring cleaning services are some of the most sought-after types of leads. What some business owners fail to realize is that one-time cleaning leads can be equally as valuable. 

Many commercial cleaners go to their lead providers requesting lead generation solely for recurring cleaning services. Unfortunately, doing so is not an easy feat. When prospective clients are searching online for your services, they are most commonly searching terms like “office cleaning” or “commercial cleaning near me,” and not “recurring office cleaning” or “recurring commercial cleaning.” For this reason, it makes it extremely difficult to generate only these specific types of leads via SEO and Google Ads Campaigns.

We can understand the preference for recurring cleaning services, from getting more of an initial return on investment to having a steady agreement with the client for the future. The lifetime value of your recurring jobs is very high compared to jobs that are one-offs, periodic or seasonal. However, if you look at all of the benefits of accepting one-time cleaning leads, you may just see them in a new, more appreciative way. 

There are many benefits of taking on one-time commercial cleaning leads, such as: 

  • Saying “yes” to the job gets your foot in the door to get called back for more! 
  • Often, companies are looking to try out a new cleaning service before signing on for a long-term contract. If you do an excellent job on that first cleaning, you may just land yourself a recurring deal.
  • Providing more one-time cleanings throughout the year will allow you to keep your good employees busy and on payroll. 
  • These jobs can keep bringing in a good flow of revenue, even during the slower times of the year.
  • Many seasonal or quarterly jobs such as carpet cleaning or floor stripping and waxing have high profit margins.

Sometimes waiting for the perfect job to come along causes us to pass on the great opportunities in front of us. Next time you receive a call for a one-time cleaning service, think twice before turning that job down. Make the best of the leads that come your way, you never know what can come of it! 

For more information on commercial cleaning lead generation, contact customercare@99calls.com.

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Don’t Freeze Your Leads This Winter:

3 Mistakes Contractors Should Avoid as the Slower Season Begins

Fall marks the beginning of the slower season for many contractors. The period between Mid November through the New Year yields far fewer consumers looking to remodel, move or expand. People are gearing up for the holidays and the new year ahead. Add to that the uncertainty that COVID has unleashed, and the supply chain issues that have slowed the market even further, and you may be looking at a lean winter. 

There are several common mistakes that contractors make when tighter times approach. It may seem to make sense to cut back, lay off and lay low to avoid any unnecessary expenses, but savvy contractors utilize these quieter months to build. This keeps revenue channels open and puts businesses in a prime position to enjoy exponential growth when the hot season begins.

Top Three Slow-Season Mistakes: 

  1. Scale way back on marketing – It might seem prudent to cut your marketing budget as the season comes to a close. However, when the number of booked jobs on the schedule begins to decrease, this is an excellent time to review your marketing strategy and trim out the efforts that aren’t yielding results. 
  • If you are losing money on print, it may be time to pause or halt that marketing.
  • If you are paying more for leads that you are making in jobs, it may be time to find a new lead company.  There are lead generation businesses that only charge for their performance, meaning the leads they actually produce. 
  • Google Ads may also be a viable short-term option for increasing lead volume into the winter. The team at 99 Calls is still seeing a 15 – 20% conversion rate on Google Ads campaigns. Google Ads marketing allows contractors to target specific services in selected areas so that you can get more done with a smaller budget. 

There are plenty of opportunities there to gain some leads, win new jobs, and keep your team on the payroll. 

  1. Cut back on labor – Because there is a general shortage of qualified, motivated laborers in the workforce nationwide today, if you are lucky enough to have them on your team, now is not the time to furlough or lay them off. 
  • Do what you can to keep those smaller jobs coming in, even if at lower profit margins to keep your valued workers gainfully employed.  
  • We all prefer the big jobs and/or recurring business, but those smaller gigs often lead to larger, more valuable jobs in the future.
  • Not only are you contributing to your employees’ livelihood, but you are building trust and loyalty. See #1 above for ideas on getting those smaller, one-off jobs to keep your calendar full and your people working.
  1. Take it easy and chill for the winter – It may be tempting to take a long winter nap, but here are a couple of things to do before you decide to take that much-needed vacation or rest after a busy summer. 
  • Take a look at your SEO efforts. Are you promoting the services that you offer in the winter months now? It takes time for new content to get indexed and start ranking on Google. Now is the time to promote the services you want to offer in February and March. 
  • Contact current customers and offer a discount when they book winter services. 
  • Plan your 2022 budget. What are your goals for the new year in terms of growth, revenue, advertising? 
  • Take time in the slower weeks ahead to review what’s working, what isn’t and see where you can trim the fat. 
  • Take some of your summer profits and invest them in some solid targeted online marketing. Remember, smart online marketing is an investment, not an expense!
  • Once you’ve got these things in place, take a quick break – you’ll be recharged and ready to reap the rewards of your efforts!

If the thought of laser-focusing your marketing dollars and finding low-cost, high-value leads seems out of reach at the moment, consider trying the bundle program with 99 Calls. For a $349 price tag, you’ll get set up on SEO marketing which will grow over time, and a Google Ads campaign that can start working for you immediately. 

Get Started Here

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Are You Just Spending, or Investing in Your Business?

Effective Lead Generation is an Investment – Not an Expense

Are you treating lead generation costs or prices per lead as monthly expenses? If so, you haven’t found the right company to partner with!

Does thinking about setting a “marketing budget” make you cringe? Do you immediately imagine your bank account balance going down, down, down? If you see your lead generation budget as a regular monthly expense, you may be wasting a lot of money! Expenses are car payments, electric bills, and internet costs. Good lead generation is an investment. Something that GENERATES revenue for your business, not an expense.

Most lead generation companies charge a flat rate per month and don’t promise anything in return. Yes, that’s probably an expense. But there are a few pay-for-performance companies out there that can prove their value to you month after month. In addition, many companies no longer require contracts, so you are free to take your investment elsewhere if you aren’t seeing the returns you were lead to expect.

If you want my team to just take care of your online marketing click here for a consultation.

Most Lead Generation May Cost You

The budget you set aside each month for online marketing is probably being considered an expense if you are lumping it in with your other costs. When times are tight, you might think your marketing “costs” should be the first to go. Then you trim other costs to save money. If you could generate reliable leads each month that turn into profitable jobs, your lead generation budget would become a necessary investment (and a sound one, at that!) If you are constantly trying to keep your monthly costs low by cutting into your lead generation budget, you are missing out on the potential to turn your service business into a cash cow. When leads become expenses are when they don’t produce measurable results.

Example: Say you have allotted $500 each month for online marketing of your remodeling business. If you hire a lead generation company that charges a flat rate of $500 each month and tells you they will promote your business online, get you onto the first page of Google and get calls coming in, but then doesn’t produce, this would be an expense.

If you hire a different company and they tell you that you’ll only pay for qualified leads that come in and you get to determine what a qualified lead means to you, you won’t be paying an expense, you’ll be investing in those customers who call you for a quote. And the higher your close rate, the more money your business will make from that marketing investment!

Return on Investment is the way businesses measure the net increase or decrease that comes from investing money. Return on investment, or ROI is the amount of revenue you bring in, minus the amount of money you invest to make it. So if you invest $500 in lead generation, and that turns into 6 qualified leads, and you win 4 new jobs, and each job is worth $1000 in profits, Your return on investment is $4000 (profits) – $500 (investment), or $3500. Imagine if you could invest $500 every month and watch it turn into $3500. Now that’s a solid investment!

Online Marketing and Lead Generation as an Investment

Customers use online searches more than any other means to find service businesses they want to hire. If you’re not there, front and center, with a great reason for them to call you for the quote, you probably won’t get called.

Good marketing entices customers to call you for a quote, which results in jobs, which means revenue for your business. When online marketing in the form of lead generation works in this way, it is considered an investment in your business. Even when times are tight, you don’t want to stop investing in good marketing, because it’s probably your best chance to build your revenue stream back up. Instead, start slow and build as you land more jobs. And don’t spend your excess profits. Keep investing in your business and watch it grow.

How to Increase Your Lead Generation ROI

So how can you spend less money per contractor lead? What is the best way to lower online marketing costs? Get seen and called more often and win more sales from your monthly lead budget!

  1. Improve Your Visibility and Get More Calls

The more phone calls and emails you get from your monthly marketing budget, the higher the return on your marketing investment will be.

When you sign on for services for online marketing and lead generation, be sure to find a company with a complete package: Highly optimized lead generation sites that will rank well on Google, Bing, and other search engines and the ability to customize the lead generation site and listings with your unique branding.

As important as getting found is for getting calls, making your business attractive to potential customers is also critical. Entice your customers to pick up and call you by displaying high-quality photos of your work and pictures of yourself or your team on the home page. Offer a special promotion to motivate them to call you rather than your competitors.

For other tips on improving visibility and making waves with an online presence, see this article: https://blog.99calls.com/2021/03/16/maximize-digital-marketing-returns-on-a-small-budget/

  1. Improve Your Close Rate

The higher your close rate, the lower your costs per lead and the more leads you can get for the same monthly investment.

Here are the top 5 things you can do to increase your close rate, and thereby increase your returns:

Always Answer Your Phone: It seems so simple, but we see it all the time. Customers are impatient. They identify a need, search online and call the first contractor they see who looks legit. If that’s you and your phone rings, you are LOSING MONEY every time a call goes to voicemail.

Quick Quote: If you’re able to give a ballpark figure over the phone, go for it. Otherwise, schedule a visit within the next 48 hours to see the job and give a quote. Get in there before your competition.

Professionalism Pays: No, you don’t need to show up in your Sunday best, and actually, arriving in some work clothes lets potential customers know you’re a busy person who other customers already trust. Just change into a clean shirt to change and be prepared with pen and paper to take notes. Listen to what they are asking you to do, and repeat it back so they know you heard it right.

Offer Options: When you offer 2 or even three options for getting the work done, you’ll asking your potential customer not to choose between you and someone else, but between two or three price points from YOU. Offer a budget option, which less expensive materials and less expensive detail, and then one with the best quality. This also lets them know you are versatile and can work with different budgets.

Follow Up: Don’t drop an estimate and run. People appreciate a friendly reminder that you are available to schedule their job. Maybe even give them a discount if they can fill an opening you have in a given month. Persistence pays!

For more information on improving return on investment, learn why combining SEO with pay per click gives contractors the best bang for their buck: https://blog.99calls.com/2020/07/20/benefits-of-combining-seo-lead-generation-with-ppc-advertising/

Summary

If you’re ready to really start growing your service business, start viewing your marketing budget as a smart investment, rather than a monthly expense, then find a quality lead generation team to make your monthly lead generation investment work for you. For more information on getting the most from your online marketing investment, give the team at 99Calls.com a call at 800-717-4669.