Local Services ads

Our policy

Advertisers must abide by:

Advertisers (your company) and advertisers' workers who provide services must complete regular background checks through a Google approved third-party security firm. Google doesn’t see the specific background check information of any individual worker or company and doesn’t restrict how advertisers price or perform their services.

This policy applies to all of the advertiser's employees, contractors (including subcontractors), or other workers who provide services in customers’ homes, workplaces, or any other properties on behalf of the advertiser using the Local Services ads platform. As the advertiser, you are responsible for ensuring the compliance of all of the foregoing with this policy.

Local laws and regulations

You must comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which you provide or offer services through the Local Services ads program. You must comply with all relevant licensing, insurance, privacy, or other regulatory requirements, and you are solely responsible for all compensation, licensing, regulatory fees or dues, insurance, or any other related costs and legal duties required of you as a service provider.

Age restrictions

You and each of your customers must be 18 years of age or older.

Employment

Employees of Google and its affiliates may not provide services (or help you provide services) as part of the Local Services ads platform. You can't say or imply to anyone that you are an employee of Google or its affiliates, or that you otherwise work for Google or its affiliates. At all times you must ensure that each member of your team is properly classified and paid according to the applicable employment laws of your jurisdiction.

Minimum provider requirements (background checks)

You must satisfy Google’s Minimum Provider Requirements:

  1. You and any employees, contractors (including subcontractors), or other workers who provide services in customers' homes, workplaces, or any other properties must pass third-party background checks before you may participate in the Local Services ads program.
  2. Your company must meet the criteria for passing a background check as described below at all times.
Cooperating with the background check process

When Google’s designated third-party background check partner, see table below, conducts a background check, you and your workers must provide honest, complete, updated, and accurate information. If circumstances change after a background check has been completed, you and your workers must immediately provide updated information to the background check partner to ensure you remain eligible for Local Services ads. You can reach the partner via the contact information listed in the table below for your country.

You must keep your background check partner informed of the number and identity of members of your team who provide services in customers’ homes, workplaces, or any other properties. Be sure to provide updated numbers and identifying information to your background check partner if you hire or use new workers - these workers must not attend Local Services call outs until they have completed the background check. Again, you can reach the partner via the contact information listed in the table below for your country.

When your background check provider requests information about the number and identity of members of your team, including any new workers hired recently, you must promptly respond within the time requested.

What’s included in a background check

USA

For each worker, the background check includes inquiries about Social Security number validity and criminal history (including cross-checks against national sex offender and terrorist/sanctions registries). For some services (for example, electricians in many states), worker-level checks may also include licensing requirements. At the company level, the process also includes professional license and insurance verifications, as well as civil litigation history (including judgments and liens from federal and state courts).

Canada

For each worker, the background check includes inquiries about national and/or provincial criminal history (Canadian Police Information Centre, Provincial/Territorial Court of Justice). At the company level, the process also includes professional license and insurance verifications, as well as civil litigation history (including judgments and liens).

UK

For each worker, the background check includes a basic check for criminal records to be obtained from Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or Disclosure Scotland by the background check partner identified in the table below for the UK. At the company level, the process also includes professional licence and insurance verifications, as well as civil litigation history (including judgments and liens). All checks will be performed based on the information that you provide to the background check partner identified below for the UK.

Who conducts the background checks

Google has engaged background check partners in your country to conduct local and/or national background checks and to help determine, based on the General Criteria described below, which businesses are eligible to use Local Services ads. Google doesn’t see the specific background check information of any individual worker or company, and you are prohibited from sharing such information with Google.

Background check partners

Country  Background Check Partner Contact information
USA, Canada Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, Inc. pes.disputes@pinkerton.com or (800) 635-1649, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern.
UK Onfido Ltd support@onfido.com

 

Criteria for passing a background check

Adjudication decisions are based on the following general criteria (“General Criteria”):

  1. Full, complete, and accurate answers to all background check and related questions.
  2. Honest and up-to-date disclosures, including disclosures related to government documents (Examples: Passport, driver’s license, Social Security numbers, federal or state identification numbers, professional licenses, registrations, or insurance certifications).
  3. No criminal history that demonstrates a risk to the safety or security of persons or property.
  4. No civil litigation history that demonstrates negligent or substandard performance of services.

Your company also may be disqualified for any other reason consistent with the General Criteria or Minimum Provider Requirements, provided that is allowed by applicable laws and regulations.

Eligibility decisions are made at the company level, not at the individual employee, contractor, subcontractor, or worker level.

Example: You own a business with 10 workers who clean customers’ homes. You work solely in the office, not in the field. Eligibility will be based on the results of your background check, the background checks of all 10 workers who clean customers’ homes, and the company-level check of your business (for valid licensure, insurance, and civil litigation history).

If you have questions about the adjudication process, please direct inquiries to the background check provider’s compliance department listed in the table above.  

Eligibility to provide services

Only your workers who have been properly background checked and who hold appropriate qualifications may provide services in your customers’ homes, workplaces, or any other properties that were referred through Local Services ad platform.

Example: You employ one dispatcher (who doesn’t provide services in customers’ homes or workplaces) and 10 workers in the field who serve customers. Your 10 workers properly completed background checks and your company was approved to use Local Services ads. You may not send the dispatcher to serve customers referred through Google’s Local Services ad platform because the dispatcher didn’t complete a background check.

If you hire additional workers (beyond the 10 who already completed a background check), you may not send those additional workers into customers’ homes until they complete background checks (and your company continues to satisfy the Minimum Provider Requirements).

Obligation to provide updated information

After your company has been approved to use Local Services ads, you must promptly notify your background check provider of any circumstances (of your company or your workers) that could change the outcome of the previous background check approval. Examples of such circumstances include:

  • You hire a new employee (or retain a new contractor) to perform services in customers’ homes, workplaces, or any other properties referred through the Local Services ads platform.
  • One of your existing employees or contractors (who performs services in the field) is convicted of a crime.
  • One of your government-issued licenses expires, is suspended, or otherwise ceases to be current and active.
  • One of your government-issued licenses expires, is suspended, or otherwise ceases to be current and active.
  • Your insurance coverage lapses, is suspended, ceases to be current and active, or otherwise changes by 5% or more.
  • Your business is named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit alleging negligent or substandard performance of services.

To report changed circumstances, please contact the background check provider using the information listed in the above table. Also note that when your background check provider requests updated information, you must promptly respond within the time requested.

Recertification

After your company has been approved to use Local Services ads, your company will be subject to periodic recertification checks. Where permitted by local law, these checks will be conducted by your background check provider without requesting any further information from you. If you are requested to provide updated information during the recertification process, you must promptly respond within the time requested.

Privacy

Background check providers are prohibited from sharing individual or company background check information with anyone other than the individual or company whose background was checked. Google receives notification from background check providers that a company is (or isn’t) eligible for Local Services ads based on the General Criteria described above, but Google doesn’t see the specific background check information of any individual worker or company. You can’t share the results of any individual worker’s background check with Google.

If you are an employer or business owner, also note that the background check partner is prohibited from sharing your workers’ background check results with you. If you wish to see your workers’ background check results, you’ll need their permission or you must perform your own check (the background check provider will never provide an employee’s background check performed in relation to Local Services directly to you).

Audits

Google and its vendors (including all designated third-party background check partners) may conduct audits to ensure compliance with Minimum Provider Requirements. To remain in good standing as a Local Services ads advertiser, you should fully cooperate with all audits and to promptly provide information within the time period requested.

More information

For more information about background checks, contact the background check provider for your country, listed in the table above.

Required disclosures and other responsibilities

Required disclosures

Your Local Services ads and the information you provide to Google when creating those ads must be accurate, complete, and not misleading. At all times you must follow the AdWords Advertising Policies.

Example: As explained in the policy governing Misrepresentation of self, product, or service, any prices that you present to customers on the Local Services ads platform must be inclusive of all applicable fees, surcharges, and taxes.

Upon request, you must provide Google and its vendors (including the background check partner) with proof of licensure, insurance, bonding, and related requirements. Google may publicly post these documents on the Local Services ads platform. When answering questions from Google or its vendors about licensing or insurance-related issues, you must provide honest, accurate, and complete answers.

Occasionally, Google or its vendors may have additional questions about your documents and privacy policy. To remain in good standing as a Local Services advertiser, be sure to respond promptly and accurately to these questions.

Other responsibilities

You must maintain all required and appropriate insurance coverage and licenses for the types of services you provide. You will fully cooperate with any follow-up questions from the background check partner or Google about these topics and related responsibilities.

You must protect the privacy and legal rights of your customers. You are solely responsible for the personal data you collect in relation with your services, and you must comply with all relevant data protection laws.

Customer relationships

When you provide services, your customers are not Google’s customers. You can’t claim to work for Google, and you can’t involve Google in any service issues between you and your customers. If a dispute arises, the customer may use the Local Services ads platform to find an alternative service provider, or the customer may file a Google Guarantee claim, but we won’t help resolve any issues between you and your customer.

Google won’t recommend prices or fees for services and won’t negotiate prices with your customers.

You are solely responsible for deciding which referrals to accept or reject from Local Services ads by Google.

You are solely responsible for training, instructing, monitoring, evaluating, and disciplining your workers who interact with customers. Serious or repeatedly negative customer feedback — or repeatedly failing to promptly respond to customer requests — may result in lower ad rankings, removal of the option to receive message requests, or your ad not showing at all. Google may suspend or terminate your access to the program in the event of your egregious or repeatedly inappropriate conduct towards customers — such as fraud, criminal activity, excessive property damage, subcontracting to non-certified companies or workers, or related misconduct. Google may show your ads on our platform to help customers find you. The rest is up to you.

Keep in mind

Google doesn't dictate how you choose your customers, so you can’t suggest to customers that Google told you which requests to accept or reject. Be careful not to imply that Google influences the pricing of your services or how those services are performed.

Prohibited practices

The following are not allowed for Local Services ads advertisers:

Customer reviews

You can’t alter, interfere with, or otherwise tamper with customer reviews of your services or the services of your competitors. You can ask a user to submit a review on Google, but only if they booked the job through a Google platform or booked the job directly through you (for example, if they found you through word of mouth or a general web search). You can’t ask a user to submit a review on Google if they booked the job through a non-Google platform. Any conduct related to customer reviews that may result in misleading information to consumers is strictly prohibited.

Unauthorized use of Google branding and trademarks

You can’t use the Google logo, Google Guarantee Badge, or other brand elements without permission. If you wish to use any of Google’s brand features on your website or other public materials, read Google's brand-usage guidelines.

What happens if you violate our policies

If you violate our policies, you may be subject to one or more of the following:

  • Ad disapproval: Local Services ads that don't follow our policies may get disapproved. Disapproved ads won't be able to run until the policy violation is fixed and the ad is approved.
  • Domain disabling: We may suspend websites that violate our policies, meaning that the website can no longer be advertised until the problem is fixed.
  • Account suspension: An account may get suspended if you have several violations or a serious violation. If this happens, all ads in the suspended account will stop running, and we may no longer accept advertising from you. Any related accounts may also get permanently suspended and your new accounts may get automatically suspended at setup. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Need help?

If you have questions about our policies, let us know: Contact AdWords Support

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