Cost of Google AdWords for tree care companies

How Much Will Google Ads Cost My Tree Service Company?

One of the most common questions I get from our tree care clients is “How much will Google Ads cost?” It’s a fair question, but not an easy one to answer, particularly now that Google Ads costs seem to be going through the roof in the tree service industry.

In this article, we'll look at:

  • The things you'll pay for when running Google Ads campaigns
  • Which costs you can control and what you can't
  • The most important metrics to look at when running Google Ads campaigns (it's not what most people think!)
  • How to tell if your ad campaigns are working (and what "working" means - many tree service owners get that wrong)
  • How to set a reasonable budget for tree service ads
  • How to maximize the return on your Google Ads spend
  • A free Google Ads Budget Calculator to help you manage your ad spend


What Costs Go Into Google Ads for Tree Service?

Several different factors make up your Ads costs. Some you have clear control over and some you don’t.

At the most basic level, you'll pay for the following:

1 - Ad Spend for Your Ad Campaigns

What you'll spend is the cost per click (CPC) multiplied by the number of times people click on one of your ads. It doesn't matter how many leads you get from your Google Ads - you're paying for clicks, not leads (unlike Google Local Services Ads, where you only pay for leads).

2 - Ads Management Fees 

This is either your time (which isn't free!) or someone else’s time to create and actively manage your ad campaigns. Google Ads are not something where you can "set it and forget it".

If you hire an agency or Google Ads specialist to manage your tree service ad campaigns for you, they’ll either charge you a flat monthly fee or a percent of your total ad spend. And you’ll generally pay the agency regardless of how well your campaign works.


One thing you always have full control over is the maximum amount of money you want to spend on your Ads campaign. You’ll never pay more than your maximum budget, although you may well end up paying less.

So how do you determine the right Ads budget for your tree care company?

Think about your Ads campaigns as having two phases –

  1. testing what works, and
  2. maximizing return on investment.

Your budget will probably look different for these two phases.


In the first phase, you’re essentially doing market research to find out what works best for your tree care business – which keywords, ads, and landing pages are a profitable combination for you and which aren’t.

You’ll need to know the average cost per click (CPC) for the keywords you’ll be using. You can find this information in the Google Keyword Planner tool within Ads. It’s just an estimate but it’s usually not too far off and is helpful in planning your testing budget.

In the tree care industry, the cost per click for many of the key search terms can be as much as $20 or even more, depending on which services you're advertising. It’s a pretty competitive market in many areas of the country.

Why is CPC for Tree Service Ads So High?

There are several common reasons why CPC can be expensive in the tree care Ads market:

It Can Still Be Profitable

Tree service can be pricey so business owners are willing to pay more to get a new customer because they know the lifetime value of a customer will likely exceed their acquisition costs.

Large Competitors in the Market

Some of the large tree care companies spend a lot of money on Ads and bid up the CPC for everyone.

DIY Advertisers

Many business owners try to do it themselves and end up spending far more than necessary for very little return. Google loves people who don't know what they're doing!

Post-Covid Slump

During the Covid lockdowns when demand for tree care services skyrocketed, landscapers and people who saw it as a quick way to make money jumped into the industry. Without a strong online presence, their only way to generate work was by paying for leads; we saw a large increase in competition for tree service keywords in Google Ads during that time.

We're now seeing a drop in search volume for tree services - up to 60% in some markets! With fewer people searching online for tree care, and more competitors in many market areas, the cost to run Google Ads is steadily rising. Until we see more consolidation in the market and unprofitable companies folding, expect to see CPC remain high.


Many business owners look at a $10 CPC and say “No way – I’m not spending that just to get someone to click on an ad!”

But that’s short-sighted.

The cost per click is only the first part of your online sales funnel, and it’s not the most important number.

Let's look at an example - 

What if you spent $1,000 on ads (that’s 100 clicks at $10 each) and got $10,000 worth of new business as a result. That's a 10X return. Would that be worthwhile? 

Most people would say "Heck yeah!" But the answer really depends on your profit margin. As long as your costs to deliver $10,000 worth of services leave you with more than $1,000 (the amount spent on ads) in profit, then you're good to go.

At that point, you’d want to spend as much as you possibly could on Ads because you’d be making money on every lead generated through your ads. Of course, this is assuming your business can handle the increased workload – if not, stop getting new customers until the proper staff/crews and equipment are in place.

CPC is NOT the most important metric when running Ads campaigns.


As a general rule of thumb, you can estimate that 1% of the people who see your tree service Ads ad will click on it. Of course, that depends on the quality of your ad, your targeting, budget, etc. but for planning purposes, it’s a good number to work with.

Of those people, how many will then go on to call you and eventually become a customer? Each tree care company is different but you probably have at least a rough estimate. If not, it’s time to get analytics and call tracking in place!

A good estimate when you’re starting out is that 5% of the people who click on your ad will eventually buy your tree care services. So at $10 per click with a 1% click-through rate and a 5% conversion rate, you’d be paying $200 for a new customer.

Throughout the testing phase, you’ll be monitoring your Ads performance very carefully and making adjustments to try to increase the click-through rate, bring down CPC and improve conversions (such as calls to your business or completed contact forms).

The length of time you spend testing your tree service ads depends on search volume for your keywords and your budget. If very few people are looking for what you’re offering, then it’ll take longer to get enough clicks to determine how well your online sales funnel is working. And if your budget is too low, you won’t get the number of clicks you need.

Tip: Google will tell you if you’re using a low search volume keyword and I recommend removing those keywords from your campaign (at least during the testing phase).

Assume that in the tree care industry you’re going to spend about $1,000 to $2,000 testing EACH campaign and that it’ll take 2 to 4 weeks. That’s just a ballpark figure – you can spend much less or a lot more (it helps to have an expert do this for you as you’re likely to get better results).


Once you have your tree service keywords, ads, and landing pages dialed in, you’re ready to start maximizing the return from your Google Ads spend.

The testing will give you a good idea of how much you earn (on average) per click. Look at how much each click costs you, how many of those clicks turn into customers, and what the average lifetime value of a customer is for your business.

If that number is positive (you earn more per click than you spend), then spend as much as you can! If it’s negative (you lose money with each click) then go back to the drawing board.

Most tree care business owners don’t know their earnings per click – that’s why they end up spending too much on Ads and seeing nothing in return.


The typical monthly spend for a small tree care business is in the $1,000 to $2,500 range, although it’s not unusual to see budgets up to $10,000 per month. I know that may seem like a lot to spend on something that many people say just doesn’t work. But when Google Ads is used correctly, it can have a significant return on investment (ROI) for tree service companies that makes the monthly spend worth every penny.

When setting a Google Ads budget, the key things to look at are:

  • the expected CPC,
  • the number of clicks you’ll get,
  • the number of those clicks who convert into customers, and
  • the average lifetime value of a new customer.

You should have all of that information from your testing process. Ultimately, you want to set a budget that will allow you to maximize ROI (the value of a new customer divided by the amount you spent to acquire that customer).

BONUS! CLICK HERE to use my FREE Google Ads Budget Calculator to see how changes in CPC, CTR, and landing page conversions affect your budget and the number of new customers you can expect to get.


You need to spend enough money to get a large enough number of people to click on your ad. But BEFORE you do that, you must optimize your entire online sales funnel – ad wording and keywords, ad extensions, landing pages, call tracking, and a solid customer service person to pick up the phone when prospects call.

Without all of that in place, it doesn’t matter how large your Google Ads budget is – you’ll just be flushing your money down the toilet.

Focus on ROI, not on managing Google Ads costs – that’s what will make or break your Ads campaign.

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