Licensees with (almost) Overlapping Territories (Service Area Business)


brettmandoes

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Hey folks, I've got an interesting multi-location problem. We're onboarding a client who distributes their product through licensees. These licensees install the product in people's homes, and operate out of their own personal residence. By definition, a service area business. In most cases, the territories are very distinct. For example I've got a guy in Cleveland who is different from the one servicing Columbus.

But I've got a situation in Atlanta. The metro has been broken in two by zip code between two licensees. These licensees are literally in the same town. One of them has about 7 zip codes for Marietta and the other one has 3 or 4. It's that close. As part of our contract we're building distinct websites for each licensee. The content and architecture is similar between each, and the brand is covered well, but they're unique enough to get past Google's duplicate content filter. This has worked great for us over the years because each location has its own website that's backed up with a ton of content, which is much stronger than your typical locator like what a True Value store might have.

This is a bit of a gray area. In this case I have two service area businesses, with two GMB profiles, two websites for two licensees, servicing the same metro area under the same brand. There are unique zip codes between them, but I'm wondering if Google will filter one of them because of the similarities and their guidelines regarding having multiple verified SAB "locations" within a metro.

I could use some brainstorming. Thoughts anyone?
 

Phil Rozek

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@brettmandoes, you shouldn't run into problems if you divvy up the ZIP codes in the new/overhauled "service area" field of each GMB page.

Where you may run into problems is in using "personal residence" addresses. If it's a home-based business, you can use that residential address, but not others.
 

Colan Nielsen

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It really depends on the details but in most cases you can't have a separate listing for every single licensee. Are these individual franchise owners? Or are they essentially employees delivering the service of the main business?

The interpretation and eligibility in relation to the Google My Business guidelines is often in the finer details of how the business operates.
 

brettmandoes

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Where you may run into problems is in using "personal residence" addresses. If it's a home-based business, you can use that residential address, but not others.
Each licensee operates out of their own home. Most have home offices, and are often a husband-wife duo. It's the kind of business where the licensees still use paper filing systems and the acronym CRM is completely foreign to them.

They do have separate zip codes I can tie to them, but it's like divvying up Marietta GA into 7/10 one licensee and 3/10 another licensee. I might have to create one website for the metro area and figure out how to divvy the leads up. In that scenario I think I can only use one GMB profile for their entire combined service area.
 
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@brettmandoes I work with a client in a similar situation but because there are only 5 licensees, they have gone with one website. They do have more than one licensee in my city so if a lead comes in for the east end to the licensee in the west end, they must refer the lead. Everything is tracked by the franchise owner (and also there is not enough time to deliver service outside of your appointed zone). You might have to trust that your two Marietta licensee's will play nicely?
Or you could ask for the zip code of their home and have the appropriate licensee follow up accordingly?
 

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