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HRAI25072018C

By contributing writer Bruce Nagy

In a previous newsletter HRAI provided some general information on Google Home Services and the Google Guarantee. We quoted Dave Squires, an HVAC and plumbing consultant in Pennsylvania, who has done extensive research on the program. Here are some more details quoted or summarized from posts by Squires.

Google Home Services has moved east to Philadelphia and expanded beyond plumbers and locksmiths to HVAC, electricians, garage door, roadside assistance, auto glass, painting, handyman, home cleaning and appliance repairs.

As mentioned previously, it’s probably a good idea to participate, but to also implement a fallback strategy. For example once you are in the program, the reviews and star rankings that they show clients are specific to Google Home Services, and different from your regular Google reviews. They’re generated within the app/platform and stay with the platform. You lose them if you leave the program. So build your own customer lists and capture your own reviews.

WHO OWNS THE LEAD?

Google also wants to own the lead so that it can evolve the system into a more significant revenue stream. The phone number they show is not the contractor’s number, but an assigned tracking number. The number the consumer used to call you will remain active for that consumer for the next 15 days. “The consumer’s call will display to you as a Google-forwarded number—not the consumer’s actual number. As long as you’ve spoken to the customer in the past 15 days, you can continue to stay in touch using the Google-forwarded number. The unspoken part here is, should you ask the customer for their direct number to try to circumvent Google recording your communication, you may find yourself out of their program.”

If you have not interacted with that customer in the past 15 days, the consumer’s forwarding number will be deactivated, and the real number will display in your Home Service dashboard. So you can retain their real contact information beyond the initial call.

The cost of a lead is based on a flat fee of about $25 dollars per lead in at least one area. Which is reasonable, except that Google sells it to a few contractors at the same time. You have to compete for the business, so mathematically, the cost per lead is actually higher.

GOOGLE GUARANTEE

It says: “Google guaranteed – Pros are pre-screened and insured. You’re guaranteed to get the job done right or your money back. Learn more” 

Under Learn more it says: “If you’re not satisfied with the work quality, we’ll cover claims up to the job invoice amount, with a lifetime cap of $2,000. Your job must be booked through Home Services. Add-on or future projects, damages to property, dissatisfaction with price or provider responsiveness, and cancellations aren’t covered.” Customers have 30 days after the job is done to file a claim if they are unsatisfied.

TO QUALIFY

“Like AdWords, you pay only for leads from customers who click on your listing, and your listing will only show up when you have money left in your weekly budget.” Unlike AdWords, Google now has some exposure in the actual work performed due to their guarantee. Therefore participation in the program requires qualification based on your online reputation (reviews) and passing a background check.

Background checks are conducted by Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, Inc., a third-party risk management and security company, include inquiries about employee Social Security numbers and criminal history (including US national sex offender, terrorist, and sanctions registries). In addition, each pro‘s company is checked for applicable trade licenses, Insurance, and civil litigation judgments & liens. Google covers the cost of the initial background checks.

For Google, Plumbers, handymen, electricians, and HVAC pros need a contractor’s license to perform services costing more than $500. If you don’t have a license you can still be featured in Home Services, but are prohibited from performing services that cost more than $500.

RE-CERTIFY

To stay in the program, you will be required to recertify your approval every three months. Recertification will require you to attest that:

  • You haven’t hired any new workers during the last reporting period who will perform services in customer’s homes or workplaces referred through Google’s Home Service ad platform.
  • Every worker you are sending to customers’ homes and workplaces are the same workers who were originally background-checked and approved.
  • There are no circumstances (of your company or your workers) that could change the outcome of the previous background check approval.

How does this stack up against the HRAI Member Contractor membership process?  HRAI prescreens all contractor application for membership for valid trade licenses and other documentation to illustrate that the company has qualified individuals on staff to service and install HVACR systems as determined by their jurisdiction and type of work performed.  

Google Guaranteed has not arrived in Canada yet.  The speculation is that 3rd quarter 2018 may be the launch of the Google program. 

HRAI is monitoring this very closely and is consulting with various Google Partners to be in the know on this new venture.  HRAI will report any findings or opportunities back to our members should they arise.

Feel free to contact HRAI with any feedback or inquiries at lzita@hrai.ca

Squires link: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2017/07/27/how-google-home-services-can-affect-you-by-dave-squires/