Craig McBreen

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A potential customer has a home services business, part of a small, regional franchise. He has only one physical address (the main company office) but many satellite "offices" All the other GMB listings (in several states) each use an independent contactor's home address. He has not had trouble with listings so far but this violates GMB's policies. I've never seen a GMB setup like this so wondering if there is any way around this, to avoid a future suspension(s)?
 

Tim Colling

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A potential customer has a home services business, part of a small, regional franchise. He has only one physical address (the main company office) but many satellite "offices" All the other GMB listings (in several states) each use an independent contactor's home address. He has not had trouble with listings so far but this violates GMB's policies. I've never seen a GMB setup like this so wondering if there is any way around this, to avoid a future suspension(s)?

I've seen this a lot over the years. It often works until a competitor's SEO person notices and reports them to Google. Then bad things can happen to all those fake locations, and in some cases, to the main office listing as well. It's a gamble but it can work if you don't get turned in. <grimace>
 

JoyHawkins

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If he has permission to use the contractor's houses, Google likely won't do anything about it, even if reported.
 

Craig McBreen

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I've seen this a lot over the years. It often works until a competitor's SEO person notices and reports them to Google. Then bad things can happen to all those fake locations, and in some cases, to the main office listing as well. It's a gamble but it can work if you don't get turned in. <grimace>
Thanks, @Tim Colling That's definitely something I'm worried about. And the client relies heavily on these GMB pages.
 

NexstarNickR

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Because Google doesn’t remove listings when service area business contractors show their home address. As long as it’s the only listing for that business in the area, they always let it go.
Yes, Google does still allow for Service Area Businesses to be based out of people's houses, and it will not show the home address. The downfall is that Google much prefers listings where there is a physical address, so you end up in situations where the smaller offices just don't get as much traction.

I always go down to the bottom line: do these listings work in generating leads? And if so, make sure they are just within Google's Guidelines so you can't get flagged and risk losing your main office listing.
 

JoyHawkins

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Permission to use their houses only for purposes of receiving the verification postcard, @JoyHawkins?
I'm no lawyer but I would think for legal reasons you'd want to have that solidified.
Thanks, @JoyHawkins Why do you think they would not do anything about it?
I'm basing that on my experience. Reporting listings that are doing this doesn't result in anything, in my experience.
 

studentoflife

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Yes, Google does still allow for Service Area Businesses to be based out of people's houses, and it will not show the home address. The downfall is that Google much prefers listings where there is a physical address, so you end up in situations where the smaller offices just don't get as much traction.

I always go down to the bottom line: do these listings work in generating leads? And if so, make sure they are just within Google's Guidelines so you can't get flagged and risk losing your main office listing.
Both in my own experience and from what I have read on this forum from Joy and others, Google will not take down a listing for a service area contractor using their home address. It’s against their rules, but they never take it down.

If it is a second or third or fourth listing using residential addresses for the same business, then Google will take those down. It’s very common for contractors to use their employee’s addresses to get multiple listings for their business.

But if it’s only one listing for the business and it’s based out of that address, Google will leave it.
 

Craig McBreen

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I wanted to thank everyone for their help here. The owner and I decided to do the following:

The main office stays the same. It's the main office with signage so we'll show the address.

For the 4 satellite offices in smaller towns, each one of his contractor's houses: we've decided to hide the addresses and list service areas within GMB.

I understand Google might not penalize him for using the contractor's home addresses, but he was nervous about getting suspended.

I hope this is the right decision!
 

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