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I am a landlord in the mountains of Pennsylvania along with the other things I do. Part of this means that there is a need to think differently when advertising vacancies. For example, advertising in the local news paper gives a mixed quality of potential tenants and advertising online through the popular websites such as Trulia, Realtor, etc., has it's own problems along with being expensive.

For now, I have created a single page mobile web site, though I have not yet decided on a domain name, perhaps another question, and I expect that I can compete rather well for local search. No other landlords have a web site or other online presence that ranks at all so the competition is basically zero except for the commercial sites.

As part of this new effort, I am considering using Google My Business.

Being a landlord, our business means that we do not always want to advertise our business. This makes sense considering that we can only help people when we have vacancies. Duh... As well, landlords seem to get more nuts than the Baltimore Nut Company. For this reason, other than the address, I would like to add and remove the phone number as needed on both the web site and with Google My Business.

Question: Is it possible to toggle the display of the phone number on and off in Google My Business as needed?

As a side note, landlords are constantly harangued by inquiries and sales pitches. We, as a group like to stay private as a result. Does having a listing with Google My Business mean more sales advertisements in our mail and on our phone? This is my real concern and why I want to toggle the phone number. I want to rank my site, advertise in a smarter way for a more quality tenant, and still keep relatively private.

  • Out of curiosity, where in PA? I grew up in the PA mountains. Acme, PA specifically. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 16 '17 at 16:37
  • @StephenOstermiller See? I knew I liked you! Bedford/Everett. I love the area. It is a bit of a mind-bend culturally which I appreciate very much. What cracks me up are all the D.C. liberals with sandlas, a Prius, and Country Living magazines move up here and leave just months later. Yeah. We are not New England! – closetnoc Feb 16 '17 at 16:43
  • @StephenOstermiller You grew up close (enough) to here! You know the culture well. Hard-core self-reliant farmers. No nonsense and unbelievably lovely. – closetnoc Feb 16 '17 at 16:49
  • Yeah, I can't believe you stayed. ;-) – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 16 '17 at 16:50
  • @StephenOstermiller I am no nonsense and love physical work. I worked on a friends farm in the evening and weekends, then got tired of IT and worked there full time for a while. I am a city boy by birth, but I do get the Mennonites around here and actually love their almost hidden humor. One day, I was driving along in a heavily Mennonite area just on the other side of the mountain. There was dad and the two boys all in black waiting by the buggy and horse presumably for Mom to go to meeting. Mom then shoots around from the back of the barn on a 4 wheeler buggy laughing her keister off. – closetnoc Feb 16 '17 at 16:57
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Google requires all businesses to have a telephone number for customers, without one it is not possible to have your site listed, even cash machines, video rental kiosks and express mail dropboxes require a number.

Eligible businesses

In order to qualify for a Google My Business listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.

Why? well no number is bad customer service

Not having a telephone number would be classed as poor customer service, even if you do not have vacancies it would be considered good customer service for your customers to be able to communicate with you, also a previous customer may have a complaint.

Block Nuisance Calls

You can't stop all phone spam but you can ward of most unsolicited calls by call-baring re-held numbers and newer phones often have technologies built in that will allow you to block received calls.

Answerphone

If your unable to provide a service and can not be bothered to inform customers again and again that you have no vacancies then setup a answer phone message that informs customers of this but also give them the option to leave a message should it be about something else.

Rankings

Adding a business to Google My Business allows that business to rank locally within local search results, it is always best to add a business to Google My Business. Often it is easier to rank locally than it is in the organics, because it works of a different Algorithm (NAP, Reviews, etc.)

  • I was not trying to hide from Google per se', I am fine with providing a phone number to G, just interested toggling it on and off in the knowledge graph card. I did intend to link it to the website and keep the address up. I was trying to keep the endless stream of calls to a reasonable level when full. Believe me, some days all I do is answer the phone. The problem is that landlords are not always open in the traditional sense with hours and walk-ups and so on unless we have a lot of units. With just a few units, the traditional model does not make sense. Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 15 '17 at 22:09
  • BTW- Thanks for the link. Interestingly, under Ineligible businesses there is Rental or for-sale properties, such as holiday homes, show homes or vacant apartments. Sales or leasing offices, however, are eligible for verification. I was thinking of using the street number only, however, I realize now I would have to use my apartment number to validate the business which is just plain wrong for a rental business. There is no leasing office. This means that only larger rental businesses would be able to use this offering. I could just talk to my carrier. Sheesh. Getting ugly! – closetnoc Feb 15 '17 at 22:17
  • One of the other criteria is a business name. This location has been a rental business since 1920 and never has there ever been a business name associated with it. I was just thinking of using the domain name or street address. even though I fly under my own name in all other respects. Perhaps I will just put up the website and see what happens first. – closetnoc Feb 15 '17 at 22:29
  • Business without a business name? Interesting. But anyway, I don't know what it costs to get a business name, but where I live it costs like $10 to get a name (ie. Joe Blow dba Joe's Crabby Patties) – SiXandSeven8ths Feb 15 '17 at 22:37
  • ...must make in-person contact with customers... seems kind of vague. I am almost always here and people come up asking for rentals all the time. It is a weird thing people do around here, they walk around asking landlords for openings more than anything. ;-) In that respect, I qualify. I wonder if a phone number is really required? I am happy for G to have it. I can also use Google Voice... I wonder if that works. Something to think about. – closetnoc Feb 15 '17 at 22:37

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