If you have been in the water damage restoration industry for some time, you are probably aware of the extremely high click costs in Google AdWords and Bing. If you or someone you hire is not an expert, it is very possible to spend an excessive amount of money with Google, and not see a single penny of ROI.


An Alternative Solution

What if you could only pay the marketing and/or advertising company you hire when they actually generated you qualified phone calls? That is where pay per lead marketing comes in. Essentially how it works is that companies or individuals will promote your services and get people calling you who are in need of those services. This is accomplished through various channels like SEO, PPC, and buying water damage leads from their affiliates. These calls will then be tracked and you will only be charged if they meet a predefined set of criteria for a billable lead.



Unlike most marketing and advertising contracts, pay per lead contracts are often more flexible when it comes to the contract terms. In fact, some pay per lead services won’t even make you sign a contract at all to get started. In addition, most water damage lead generation businesses will allow you to cancel at any time.


Qualifications For A Lead

Beyond the normal legal jargon that comes with a contract, lead generation companies will typically identify what qualifies as a billable lead. Normally the more qualified a lead is, the more expensive it will be.


How The Cost Per Lead Is Determined

The cost per lead is determined by a variety of factors, some of which are discussed here. To get a general idea of what a fair cost per lead may be in your area, simply go to the Google Keyword Planner in your Google AdWords account and refine the search results to only show the metro area around your service area. Once you have this, simply search for the CPC (cost per click) of the keyword “water damage restoration” along with some related terms. Once you have an average CPC (cost per click) multiply that by 5 to determine what the price should be for a lead in your area.


Call Tracking

Most companies will use call tracking phone numbers on these advertising and marketing materials to track the calls. Once a potential customer calls in based off of the lead generation companies marketing materials, the call will be routed to you directly as if it is a normal phone call and usually recorded. This will allow them to perform quality control on the calls, potentially provide tips for your staff that is answering the phone, check any calls that you may have disputed, and much more. It will also allow you to login and check to see how many calls they sent you and the details of the calls.


Whisper Message

Most companies will use what’s called a whisper when they send you calls. Essentially this is a brief automated voice that will play when the call is answered so you know that the call is from the lead generation company.


Answering The Call

When answering a call sent by a lead generation firm, you should be sure to introduce yourself and your business. Sometimes the pay per lead company you are working with will use generically branded advertising or marketing materials, which may cause the customer on the other end of the phone call to be confused as to who they are calling.


Closing The Deal

You want to proceed with closing the deal, in the same manner, you would for any other lead that you receive. Ask the customer some basic qualifying questions and if it is an emergency, assure them that you are dispatching a crew as soon as possible.



Lead generation service providers bill on various cycles, some will make you pay up front, some will bill you weekly, and others may use an entirely different billing cycle. Most of the companies that bill you after you receive the leads will require you to provide them with a valid credit card so that they can charge you on a regular billing cycle.


Disputing Water Damage Restoration Leads

Pay per lead companies usually has a process where you can dispute a lead based on whether it meets the criteria for being billable. Usually, the contractor will provide a dispute to the lead provider and the provider will evaluate their request and make a binding decision. As you can imagine, the companies sometimes make mistakes. If they do, they will try to rectify the situation by not charging for the lead, or by providing a partial discount.



Many pay per lead companies will allow you to pause your leads for a certain period of time for whatever reason. This could be helpful if you get overloaded with work during a storm for example.


Increase Your Chances Of Receiving Leads

Although you will only have to pay when leads come in, you may find that you are not receiving as many leads as you expected to in your particular service area. If you want to increase your chances of receiving more leads, there are a few ways you can do that:


  1. Buy leads for more services. If you are currently only receiving water damage leads, but your company does mold, fire, and biohazard restoration also, it is a good idea to ask your lead generation agency if they can provide you services for those as well. Offering more services will increase your chances of getting the lead.
  2. Expand your service area. The further you are willing to drive, the higher the chances that there will be a lead in that area.
  3. Increase your price per lead. Sometimes you may agree on a price per lead that is too low so the pay per lead company you hired cannot generate your leads and still be profitable. They can get an idea of how much they will need to charge per lead using certain methods, but it is not always perfectly accurate.
  4. Hire one or more additional pay per lead companies. Although you may be making these companies compete with each other to generate you leads, some of these companies will have access to affiliates or marketing channels that the others may not. This will increase your chances of getting the lead.



There could be various reasons why you may need to cancel a water damage restoration lead generation service. You may decide to scale back your business for example and decide that your marketing efforts are sufficient for getting the number of jobs you want and/or can handle. If this happens, you can usually cancel with most companies with a somewhat advanced notice.



Advertising and marketing campaigns may be complicated, time-consuming, and/or overly expensive for some contractors. If you are looking for a simple way to grow your business, hiring pay per lead service providers can help you do that.