Local Lead Generation Legalities?

by art72
6 replies
Tho it's been awhile, I was working on a new marketing system for generating targeted 'in-bound' phone leads for local service providers, business owner's, and contractors...

There seems to be a heavily debated argument going on across the web, whereas locally licensed business owner's are pitching a fit... that marketers are 'advertising professional local services' in their service areas... without being 'licensed contractors'.

While much of this argument suggests 'the marketers' are selling 'in-bound' phone leads to "unlicensed contractors and/or service providers"... I too had planned on generating in-bound phone leads...and selling them to "licensed only contractors and licensed service providers" in specific cities and states.

Granted, I imagine a simple 'disclaimer' can be added on the fine print stating we are a referral service, local directory service, or I could pre-screen local contractors seeking in-bound phone leads and broker a deal using their state contractor's license or info (*with permission) on my owned websites...

It seems, a lot of licensed business owners are trying to get the FTC, state, and local officials to shut-down and penalize marketers focused on local lead generation.

I've read about "JobKillers" Dan Klien and Brad Cambell's run in with someone (*Mark something or other) pitching a bitch fit about them scamming students... and the one thing in question is this;

Is it illegal to advertise local professional services and sell in-bound phone leads - without being a locally licensed contractor or service provider?

If so... could a marketer simply include a disclaimer in the TOS on the website as being a local referral system supporting State and Locally Licensed/Insured Business owners who will happily provide professional services.

I had planned to collect phone leads and forward them to locally licensed providers...and now I'm like WTF... is this not legal?

Thanks in advance...

Art
#generation #lead #legalities #local
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  • Profile picture of the author samsosa
    Hm, very good point. I would also like to hear the answer.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Originally Posted by art72 View Post

    Tho it's been awhile, I was working on a new marketing system for generating targeted 'in-bound' phone leads for local service providers, business owner's, and contractors...

    There seems to be a heavily debated argument going on across the web, whereas locally licensed business owner's are pitching a fit... that marketers are 'advertising professional local services' in their service areas... without being 'licensed contractors'.

    While much of this argument suggests 'the marketers' are selling 'in-bound' phone leads to "unlicensed contractors and/or service providers"... I too had planned on generating in-bound phone leads...and selling them to "licensed only contractors and licensed service providers" in specific cities and states.

    Granted, I imagine a simple 'disclaimer' can be added on the fine print stating we are a referral service, local directory service, or I could pre-screen local contractors seeking in-bound phone leads and broker a deal using their state contractor's license or info (*with permission) on my owned websites...

    It seems, a lot of licensed business owners are trying to get the FTC, state, and local officials to shut-down and penalize marketers focused on local lead generation.

    I've read about "JobKillers" Dan Klien and Brad Cambell's run in with someone (*Mark something or other) pitching a bitch fit about them scamming students... and the one thing in question is this;

    Is it illegal to advertise local professional services and sell in-bound phone leads - without being a locally licensed contractor or service provider?

    If so... could a marketer simply include a disclaimer in the TOS on the website as being a local referral system supporting State and Locally Licensed/Insured Business owners who will happily provide professional services.

    I had planned to collect phone leads and forward them to locally licensed providers...and now I'm like WTF... is this not legal?

    Thanks in advance...

    Art
    Ask Google? https://ads.google.com/local-services-ads/ Right? Does google go the added step to determine of these contractors are "Legal" I would assume so..

    The reality is this... you are no different, you are contracting with a "legal" business to provide leads. The steps you take to determne "legal" i think is where the issue is.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    I believe it's a bit of a grey area after digging deeper.

    On one side of the fence you have the perspective of locally licensed, insured, and in some cases bonded business owner's who are highly invested such as; contractors, plumbing companies, electricians, etc.

    The few contractor's I've found bitching online about marketer's "posing as licensed contractor's" do bring a valid argument...

    If I create a professional website proposing "Professional Plumbing Services in the Memphis, Tennessee area" and either rank my site in the GMB 3 box, page 1 of G, or just drive a ton of highly targeted traffic via ppc ads... No I am not a licensed plumber in Memphis, Tennessee!!!

    But... the ideology is; I would only sell those leads to qualified locally licensed, insured, and legal business owner's.

    One guy suggested... marketer's are posing as contractor's then selling leads to non-licensed plumber's or un-qualified people... Why the hell would we be that stupid?

    Clearly, if the focus is on the local homeowner, which is exactly who I would be targeting and compelled to serve... (*after all, it's their money being spent, right?)- then why would I direct them to some unlicensed schmuck or shyster?

    I wouldn't!!! Period!

    Rather, supporting the homeowner first and using marketing skills most contractors lack... I know; the local contractor is licensed/insured and qualified gets the lead, closes the deal, gets a contract signed, collects a down check... and in turn; happily pays me (*or a marketer) with the homeowner's money... not their own!

    Havong nearly 30 years experience in multiple trades of construction... I know damn well; contractor's "do not" use their own money once they've established themselves... yet, some act as if; a marketer selling leads is any different?

    F' no... Once that ads or funnels converting, the contractors getting over 20:1 ROI (*or more) using a lead gen service... provided they can close the deals on pre-screened traffic/leads, and in-bound calls for estimates, quotes, or to schedule an appointment!

    Then, they pay me... or a marketer who knows their sh!t using the 'end user's money' they collect ats a 'down payment' to start the project!

    The only hiccup I honestly still "DO NOT" know; is it legal to build, own, and advertise local services from a generic website... or does there need to be a disclaimer; such as we are a referral service or directory... or something of the sort?
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Has anyone come knocking on your door with a summons?

    few contractor's I've found bitching online
    Wouldn't mean a thing to me.

    I would go with a disclaimer like "We work with local contractors to get you the best deal." Or something along those lines. Make it seem like this is a benefit for the end user.

    Brent
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Let me preface this.. I am a General Contractor, or let me rephrase that, I have a General Contractors License. I do land development from time to time, and it is just cheaper and easier to be the lead on your own job.. but anyways...

    I know in my neck of the woods and many parts of the States there are kinda 2 options. you can have a full blow license be it GC or Electrician or Plumbing.. OR you can obtain what is called here a "Handy Mans License"

    Lets say a General Contractor.. they can depending on local laws build pretty much anything they want. be it a deck or a garage or a house etc etc and generally speaking of any value. VALUE is the key... A "Handy Man" or unlicensed trade provider can do the same work.. as any and all as long as the JOB amount is less than $2500 ( again this number will vary by location. Here for me its $2500, and in other states the number may be higher or lower.

    To clarify this.. a Handyman can do a lets say bathroom remodel, if the total is less than $2500. They have the ability to complete plumbing, electric and construction tasks... with no specific trade licensing.

    The reality is a "Handy Man" that in any way shape or form that knows what they are doing will bid and complete and bill the job in segments.. so basically doing a $10K remodel in incriments of less than $2500 staying within the law ( KINDA )

    And THERE is the rub. The guy with the 10,000 man hours to get licensed, the guy with $1,000,000 liability, the guy with a 1,000,000 bond etc etc is being cut out on the "smaller" jobs.. and they don't really like it.

    Let me break this down a bit further... you have flickering lights in your house... an elecrrician is going to be somewhere in the $65 range just to show up, and then maybe 80 to 90 an hour after... a Handyman.. shows up charges $100 and calls it a day. WHO is the homeowner going to call? Let alone after the home owner spoke to thier best friend and they refered Tom over here that fixes everything for them.. and the trade guy is pissed.

    I would worry less with the drama, until the drama becomes law.. as long as the people you have listed are licensed correctly, by trade or with a handymans license, and insured.. how it plays out after that means nothing. Thats what Labor boards are for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Legalities? Ask a lawyer. Might help wouldn't you think?

    Soliciting legal advise in forums? Might not help wouldn't you think?
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