A Service Area Business (also known as a SAB) are businesses whose staff move around to offer services at the customer’s location. Often these are “home-based” businesses and do not have a location customers can visit during posted business hours.
Typical kinds of businesses which fit the SAB model include: plumbers, electricians, carpet cleaners, lawn mowers, mobile dog grooming, and so on.
Keep the area you serve a reasonable distance from your home base. Having a radius the size of the country does nothing to help your listing show in other areas. Google’s default radius is 20 miles (32 kms) – that size or below is what Google considers trustworthy.
Google provides a range of methods for indicating your service area/s. You can search by city or suburb, region, postcode, and more. You can define up to 20 service areas – but don’t overlap them.
Defining a large range for services delivery is acceptable. However doing so will not necessarily help your listing rank better in areas away from your home base.
- Bing: Select the box next to “Do not display address lines in search results”.
- Apple Maps: Apple does not allow service area businesses at this stage.
In the “bad” example of a SAB region in the above image, this huge radius backfires on them. Due to the quirks of the way Google draws the maps, the end result is only the pin for their competitor shows on the local pack map.
Bing does not offer a service area display, only a general map in the area general the business is located.
Service Area Business listing guidelines:
- Google – https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038163
- Bing – https://www.bingplaces.com/Home/MoreFAQ#BusinessWithoutStore
Setting up a new Service Area Business Listing
- Create the business listing or claim an existing listing
- If you see a prompt: Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a shop or office? Answer No and complete the rest of the information. Google will still request an address for mailing a verification postcard, but your address will remain hidden on Google Maps.
- Enter your service area/s
- Complete the rest of the prompted information
If you are claiming an existing listing, removing the information in the address fields will make the listing hide the address.
Some service area listings have trouble getting verified. Often these listings immediately suspend after you have entered your verification code. While there isn’t a specific list to check which categories automatically suspend, following is a selected group which will give you an idea:
- appliance repair services
- carpet cleaning services
- cleaning services
- garage door services
- junk removal services
- pest control services
If you think your business might be affected by this behaviour, contacting Google Support is the fastest and easiest way to get the suspension lifted.