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Google Local Service Ads in the UK & What You Need To Know

Google Local Services Ads have been quietly updating their Google Ads Help resources with UK information which is a clear indication that Local Service Ads will be appearing somewhere soon in the UK.

The signup page is still not displaying the UK as an available country, which indicates they are still on boarding the first trial segment, before officially launching the UK.


Current UK Relevant Information

Getting Started Section:

At this time, Local Services ads are available only for certain service categories and areas:

United Kingdom – Locksmiths and plumbers


The Google Guarantee Section:

The Google Guarantee badge helps you build a great reputation online.

If your customers aren’t satisfied with work quality, Google may refund up to the amount paid for jobs booked through Local Services ads, with a lifetime cap for coverage.

Google Guarantee maximum coverage by country:

UK: £2,000


Advanced Verification Section:

Requirements by Category for UK

Categories (Listed alphabetically) Background check requirements Insurance requirements License requirements
HVAC -Business check
-Owner check
-Service professional check
-General liability insurance
– Most pertinent business, owner and service professional licenses on city, state, province, county, or country level
Locksmith -Business check
-Owner check
-Service professional check
-General liability insurance
– Most pertinent business, owner and service professional licenses on city, state, province, county, or country level
Plumber -Business check
-Owner check
-Service professional check
-General liability insurance
– Most pertinent business, owner and service professional licenses on city, state, province, county, or country level


Because the UK does not require business registration for businesses trading below VAT threshold, this check will be in the form of Business Liability Insurance and CRB checks for employer + all employees that actually go out on the customers location.


Background Checks:

Who conducts the background checks?

Google has engaged background check partners in your country to conduct local and/or national background checks and to help determine, based on the General Criteria described below, which businesses are eligible to use the Local Services platform. Google doesn’t see the specific background check information of any individual worker or company, and you are prohibited from sharing such information with Google.

Background check Partners

Country   –  Background Check Partner   –  Contact information
UK                Onfido Ltd                          


What are Google Local Services

Google local services is a pay-per-lead advertising platform for service area businesses (SAB). Google started testing this model in the US in July 2015 initially called Home Service Ads.

This early roll out was initially testing a way to screen legitimate businesses from traditionally spammy markets which then morphed into the current Local Service Ads program offering Google Guaranteed labels and to participate SABs use the Ads platform to select a budget based upon a set fee for the lead.

The rate in which Google is rolling this out is phenomenal, from the initial locksmiths in San Francisco, they now cover a range of business services:

  • Appliance repair
  • Auto glass
  • Car repair
  • Carpet & Upholstery cleaning
  • Electrician
  • Event planners
  • Garage door
  • House cleaning
  • HVAC
  • Junk removal
  • Lawn care
  • Locksmith
  • Moving
  • Pest control
  • Pet boarding
  • Pet grooming
  • Photographers
  • Plumber
  • Roofing
  • Tree service
  • Water damage restoration
  • Window cleaning
  • Window repair


Once the initial launch and testing phase is completed in the UK, we can expect to see a similar speeds in country wide rollout and expansion.


Where Do Local Services Ads Appear?

Local service ads typically appear at the top of the search results page when a service based keyword is searched and triggers the Ads. These appear above other normal AdWords and the Local 3 Pack. Although they have tested some different displays, they have stayed right at the top of the SERP.


Google Local Services Ads in Search Results - Online Ownership


Clicking on the >> More plumbers in, will take you to a full list of businesses, where you can then refine the particular problem / service you require and your exact Post Code.


Google Local Service Ads Business Display and Service Search - Online Ownership


Cost of Local Services Ads Leads

In the US the cost per lead varies by category and location. They currently vary range from $10 – $30 per lead. Given the fact that the Google Guarantee is set at the same as the US £2000, then I would expect the cost per lead to be similar in pounds £10 – £30.

For example a Plumber in London’s cost per lead may be £25 and a Plumber in Peterborough’s cost per lead may be £15. The lead is charged when a user calls when the users Ad is running, it is not charged when the Ads have been paused or participating in the free local service listing.

The Ads work by selecting a daily budget based on the amount of leads you want. Like current AdWords if your daily budget is not used on one day, the additional could be rolled over to the following day.


What Checks are Involved in Joining Local Service Ads

To be involved and get the Google Guaranteed Badge (Paid Listing) the current Local Service Ads checks are:

  • Business Checks – I assume this would also involve credit checks in the UK
  • Owner and Service Employees CRB checks
  • Liability Insurance


Advanced Verification:

Advanced verification is an additional layer of checks typically for spammy verticals and or sensitive verticals, in the US this includes ALL locksmiths and garage door companies and they must pass this to even advertise on AdWords or AdWords Express once this category & location starts showing Local Service Ads in that area.

So even if you don’t want to be involved in LSA once it rolls out in your area, you will have to pass advanced verification to continue using Google Adwords / AdWords Express. **This is only for heavily spammed categories**


Typically Includes:

  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations – for the UK this could be Gas Safe register or other trade bodies
  • At company level this also include checks into fraudulent behaviour / misleading behaviour on Google
  • Your current Adwords account to be reviewed
  • Video interviews – they want to see your van, your equipment, evidence of business structure
  • Online checks about businesses conduct, any fraudulent or misleading activity


Benefits of Local Service Ads

  • Get seen at the top of Google.
  • Connect with potential customers who are searching for services you provide and are most likely to book.
  • Make use of simple tools to help you get started and create a personalised profile.
  • Use the mobile app to communicate with customers at any time.
  • Build trust with the Google Guarantee .
  • Pay only for leads related to your business and the services you offer.
  • Customers choose you: You only hear from customers who have specifically selected your profile out of all the rest.


How Do I Get the Leads

Call from customer via the call tracking number displayed in your Ad provided by Google, or via email.

When you signup you are provided a Local Service Ads app / dashboard and you will also get a notifaction direct to your phone that you have a lead waiting. When a customer uses the call tracking number it will display as “Call from Google”

Your dashboard shows you:

  • Receive phone calls and message leads generated by your ad
  • Receive emails and app notifications about new leads from potential customers
  • Respond to leads and manage booked jobs
  • Book jobs in the app to get reminders and collect verified reviews


How are Leads Checked and Can I Dispute Leads

Because this is via a call tracking number provided by Google, they also record the calls and when a lead is disputed, its pretty easy for them to determine it was not an actual lead call.

Types of charged leads that are eligible for a credit:

  • Requested job isn’t listed on your profile.
  • Customer’s location isn’t listed on your profile.
  • Not a customer (for example: wrong number, sales call or other solicitation).
  • Not a human (spam or bot).
  • You were charged twice for the same customer lead within 15 days.
  • You didn’t have a conversation with a customer and you had no way to contact them. For example, you receive a message lead where the customer’s email is invalid or a phone lead with no caller ID.


This is Coming, No If’s or But’s About It

The initial roll out as listed above will be for Plumbers, Locksmiths and HVAC, this is where Google will refine their UK process as the checks are slightly different to the US, but once refined they will be rolling this out at speed.

In a 12 month period in the US they went from Locksmiths and Plumbers all the way through to Event Planners and Per Grooming and it will continue to be rolled out to more and more categories, with the only limitation being where the cost of the service is typically less then the current cost per lead (taxi, window cleaner, car wash).

Brace yourselves this is going to happen with or without you. I would personally recommend getting yourself involved sooner rather then later – remember you can always pause your Ads at any time.


How Will I Know When It Rolls Out

Typically a LSA reps will start trying to onboard businesses before it appears live in a business category and area. So this is the one call from Google you should be listening to. Make sure its for LSA and not another “Hi We are Google” spam calls.

If you did happen to hang up on them and it appears in your area, then you can go to the Signup Page (Not Open Yet).

This is coming to the UK and it will move fast after initial bedding in period, so be aware and be prepared. If you have been approached by LSA in the UK I would love to have a chat with you regarding business category, area and cost per lead.