Google Guarantee Program

The Google Guarantee Program for Home Inspectors

If you have been trolling the internet and watching your competitors, then you may have run across the Google Guarantee Program. This is a pretty big program that Google has been testing for some time now – and will have a bearing on the future of searches for local service providers.

But what is it? How Does it work? And is it available for home inspection companies? We will discuss all three of these questions here.

Google Guaranteed – What is it?

So the short answer is that the Google Guarantee is a money back guarantee that Google gives consumers if the company that they hire has the Google Guarantee Badge . If a company has that badge, it means that if a client is dissatisfied with their services, they will get their money back. Coverage is up to $2,000 USD (Or 2,000 Canadian).

That’s the short answer, but there is a little more to it. The Google Guarantee is actually part of Google Ads (formerly called Adwords). More specifically, it is part of Google Local Ads. For those that don’t know, when you search for a local company and several companies come up in the map section, often times some of those in the map are paying money to be in the map section via their Google Ads.

So that is what is called PPC (Pay Per Click). Some advertising companies are claiming that this is more “Pay Per Job” than “Pay Per Click”, but I have yet to see that Google is actually doing it that way. So basically it comes down to this: A company pays for Google Local Ads, and as long as they qualify they can be “Google Guaranteed”, which makes their ad stand out and look a lot better.

According to Google’s signup page for the program, you automatically apply for the Google Guarantee Program whenever you sign up for Google Ads. So there are likely thousands of companies (including home inspectors) who have technically signed up for it.

So how does it work exactly?

Google Guaranteed – How Does it Work?

How it works is pretty simple actually. When a company signs up for Local Services ads with Google and they are enrolled in the program, the Google Guarantee badge  will start to appear on their ad. This will make their ad stand out (especially as people are curious during the beginning part of this program).

This badge means that if a client is not satisfied with the services of the provider, they can try to get their money back. I know what you are thinking right now – “Whoa! Won’t everyone try to get their money back and then I will be left broke and sad?”

That was my first thought too, but in Google fashion, they have already taken both sides of a program into consideration. They want people to stay in the program and not have this go the way of Google+ (Google+ is gone as of April 2018 by the way).

Google has a claims process that they go through, so it is not automatic. They also have criteria such as the following three points:

  • Google actually states that they cover the claim (which I am not sure of the details yet, because there is not a lot of data on it yet). Claims will be covered up to the invoiced amount (up to $2,000).
  • They HAVE to book through Local Services ads. So this means that only clients who directly use the program can get their money back.  Add-on services like radon, pool, and septic or future projects, as well as property damage, not liking your price, and even cancellations are all NOT covered.
  • The client has 30 days from the service provided to submit a claim.

So here is my 2-cents on those three points. First, the second bullet point negates half of the complaints that a home inspector gets. So some of the people trying to work the system get blocked before it ever gets anywhere. Second – 30 days from service? In reality, most people don’t even close on their property within 30 days after their home inspection to even discover an issue. Even then, if an inspector messed up, most would return their fee anyway.

The only time (in my opinion) that I can see a claim going through for a home inspector is if we really mess up. In other words, if you show up, yell at the client, don’t finish the inspection, and drive off. 

Google Guaranteed – Is It Available for Home Inspectors?

Yes, and no… It is not fully open to home inspectors as of the writing of this blog. I have seen a couple home inspectors out West that have been part of the beta project and testing period though.

This is a game changer, in my opinion, for Google Local Service ads. It adds a whole different layer to how we compete online as inspectors, and what the average consumer is going to start to expect – or it could flop like some other Google programs… who knows. That’s why Google tests things like they do.

But is it right for home inspectors? Jason Bowings from Tech Mountain is an expert at Google Ads and specializes in ads for home inspectors. His comment on the program is as follows:

“Although Google Local Service leads are high quality and reasonably priced, as with any marketing, it is dangerous to “put all of your eggs in one basket”. The goal of Google with any of their platforms is to create revenue for Google. A skilled digital marketer can generate leads at approximately the same cost as the Local Services leads, and your leads are not shared with other companies.”

I think the takeaway from Jason’s comments above is that just because it is there, doesn’t mean that it will work great for you. Jason has run these ads for other service companies, and he would know.

Either way, this is a VERY interesting program. It reminds me of what Amazon tried to do with their service provider program, except this one is actually working and something that people are already using. If you have tried the program or have an opinion, leave your comments below.

Want some more home inspector marketing advice? Check out our blog on Old School Home Inspector Marketing, or Sample Letters to Real Estate Agents.