The MSP Google Ads Budgeting Guide

By Scott Millar •  Updated: 02/27/22 •  5 min read

Without a doubt, Google Ads is one of the most costly marketing activities your IT business will invest in.  

The financial risks are significant, but the rewards are even more remarkable. If you have been burnt in the past with Google Ads or have no idea where to start, then keep reading.

In this article, I’m going to detail the biggest mistake I’ve personally made with Google Ads and how your IT service business can avoid it.

The story of how I got started with Google Ads.

Back in my break-fix days, I was dominating the search locally for keywords like Computer Repair”, Laptop Repair heck, I even ventured into iPhone screen repairs. That all stopped when I finally migrated from break-fix to MSP.

It was a hard decision. 

Gordon considering google ads

I was one of only a handful of computer repair companies servicing the local market. Receiving 10-20 calls every day from residential clients looking for IT support.

I made the decision to close the break-fix services and focus purely on managed IT services. (That’s a story for another day).

One-Off Transactional Ads

When I was running the break-fix business, I was dealing with small clients, which were mainly residential. 

From a Google Ads perspective, I was paying 75 cents per click. Literally pennies for a phone call. Running ads made a lot of sense as the competition was low and the search volume was high.

breakfix computer repair cpc

Converting a cold phone call to a customer was extremely easy. I had a few lines scripted when it was time for the customer to ask, “how much will it cost”. My pre-prepared script was spoken:

“We’re more expensive than most of the other computer repair companies locally – our service might now be for you.”

“The main reason for this is that we guarantee the work for 90 days.”

“If you encounter the same issue, it comes under our guarantee.”

Closing the customer with this script was near 100%.

From a Google Ads perspective, I knew no matter how much I spent. I’d make a return as my close rate was so high.

The MSP Perspective

From an MSP’s perspective, it’s like Apples and Oranges – the contrast is stark. It’s forbidden fruit, and if you go down the Google Ads rabbit hole attempting to attract business owners searching for such terms as “IT Support” and try to win a managed service contract with said lead, you are in for a big shock.

It’s surprisingly tricky – there’s no 3 line script, and even your best sales pitch will be hard-pressed.


They have no idea who you are or what value you add. There’s no nurture phase, and there’s far less likely to be looking for one-off project work or just be looking for the best price.

If, indeed, the prospect is in “research mode” and already has a current MSP in place, then you need to identify this ASAP.

Is the prospect looking for one-off project work or something else? It would help if you qualified as soon as the leads come into your funnel.

I’ll go as far as to say you can do the qualification piece on the Google Ads landing page – ask the questions upfront to find out what type of lead they are.  

Do not be running Google Ads directly to your homepage.

The sooner you can identify this, the sooner you can fix the conversion funnel that is a cold lead coming in from Google Ads and converting to a managed services customer.

The task is not impossible, but you need a sales process that converts those “project work” customers to MMR.

I ask you this question now. 

What is your sales process?

I’m sure you have one either written down or in the back of your head.

What I can tell you about this process is that it’s not geared to the cold prospect.

I’m sure you’ve quoted many times to businesses that you’ve either nurtured using fantastic marketing material, like the stuff you get here at IT Rockstars.

Or it’s been a word-of-mouth referral, and you’ve “worked” the prospect over many months to finally get them to sign on the dotted line.

Once you realise you need to create an entirely separate sales process for your Google Ads leads, the sooner you can get Google Ads to work for your MSP.

“Trust the science.”

Where have we all heard that line before 😀 – I’ve got a better one for you – trust the numbers.

I’m going to let you in on an unusual number.  

I ask you this – how much is a managed service lead worth to your business?




Let’s say the average client is ten users in size – that’s a conservative $100/user/month over an average 36-month contract that works out to $36,000 – this excludes project work and hardware margins – pure managed services.

Let’s say your close rate is 1/3rd.

For every three leads, you get in, and you eventually close one.

With this in mind, we can now look at our Google Ads clicks.

If they are hitting $25/click and the landing page you are using converts at 2% – for every 150 clicks, you’ll have around three leads and close 1. 

That’s an ad spend of $3,750 for each new customer.

It sounds like a large sum; however, remember – our average customer is worth $36,000.

As you can see, these numbers it’s in stark contrast to our break-fix model. You need to be prepared and commit to a budget and have a rigorous sales process; otherwise, you are burning hundred-dollar bills every day.

There is, of course, another factor in this – who says you’ll spend $25/click? – it might be closer to $75, depending on local competitors.

Just remember this – the more you are prepared to pay for a lead over your competitors, the more of the market you’ll capture.

Scott Millar

Founder of IT Rockstars, Scott has helped over 300 MSPs & IT service businesses transform their marketing and position them as the local technology leaders in their area.