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How To Start Rank & Rent Business in 5 Steps | How Much Does It Cost?

February 23, 2024

How to start a rank and rent business in 5 steps: 

  1. Look for a rank and rent business opportunity
  2. Build the rank and rent asset
  3. Optimize the asset with rank and rent SEO
  4. Partner with a local business to take your leads
  5. Scale the process

46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, according to HubSpot. The rank and rent business model takes advantage of this fact by targeting local search intent and creating recurring revenue from it. A rank and rent business builds website assets that attract customers for local service businesses. By allowing a local business to rent out the website space and use the leads it generates, you can receive monthly compensation for your digital marketing services. 

As a company that focuses on lead generation, rank and rent businesses are typically compensated well for their services. In fact, the average cost per lead across industries is $198, according to data from the Demand Generation Benchmark Report. Imagine the value of a website generating just 10 to 20 leads per month, or multiple websites doing so. It’s no surprise that 7 figure internet entrepreneurs like Nick Wood, James Dooley, and Dan Klein have used this business model to build wealth in a similar fashion to traditional real estate investing. 

1. Look for a rank and rent business opportunity

Looking for a rank and rent opportunity entails choosing a niche and finding the right location. Fortunately, there are hundreds of niches and thousands of locations that are suitable for the rank and rent business model.

What factors make a good rank and rent niche?

  • Phone-driven business
  • High ticket
  • High profit margin
  • Relatively low competition
  • Low customer loyalty

Phone-driven businesses are businesses that go to their customers' locations to complete their work, such as roofers, plumbers, or electricians. The rank and rent business model exists because there are phone-driven niches that rely on digital marketing to get customers. For example, dry cleaning is a service business that is not phone-driven, as dry cleaners typically have an in-person store where customers drop off their clothes. Therefore, dry cleaning isn’t a suitable niche for rank and rent because there’s not really an opportunity to capture customer leads before they go to a dry cleaning business. 

The best rank and rent niches are also high ticket and high profit margin because it means the business owner can afford to compensate you well for your leads. High ticket means the service costs at least $500 and a high profit margin is at least 20%. For example, the average roof replacement costs $11,500 and the average profit margin for a roofing company is 20% to 40%, according to Joist. That means most roofing contractors will have the financial means to pay well for the leads they receive. 

Some niches are too competitive for rank and rent. For example, the real estate niche is dominated by big names like Zillow, Realtor, and RE/MAX. Outranking these kinds of national sites that are optimized for local search is nearly impossible. The best rank and rent niches are also those with low customer loyalty. Low customer loyalty means that instead of calling a service professional they already know, the potential customer is likely to call any business that can fulfill their need. 

What are some of the best rank and rent niches? 

  • Air duct cleaning
  • Appliance repair
  • Asphalt driveways
  • Cabinets
  • Carpet cleaning

These are just a few of the best rank and rent niches to choose from. 

What to look for when choosing a rank and rent city?

Look for population sizes between 75,000 and 250,000 when choosing a rank and rent city. Populations below 75,000 are likely too small to produce a suitable amount of leads for your business while populations above 250,000 are typically more competitive and difficult to rank for. 75K to 250K is the perfect sweet spot when just getting started because you can rank fairly easily and there are likely enough people to make decent money from a rank and rent website. 

I like to use this list by Wikipedia that ranks city size by population to quickly find cities I should potentially target with a new rank and rent site. 

How to do market research for a rank and rent business website?

  1. Search your niche & city on Google
  2. Look for local map packs with weak results
  3. Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to analyze the backlink profiles of competing sites

Begin doing Google searches picking a niche & city, such as:

  • plumbers columbus oh
  • tree service ann arbor mi
  • limo service grand rapids mi
  • electrician albuquerque nm

You want to find a top 3 map pack with some weakness. I like to see 2 listings with 15 reviews or less. Avoid markets where the top 3 map pack is filled with listings with many reviews. 

The map pack listing is just one part of the equation. If you want a high-ranked map listing, you also need a powerful site that ranks on page 1 of Google that is attached to that map listing as well. 

Use an SEO tool like  Ahrefs that shows the amount of backlinks a site has to find out how powerful the sites are on page 1 of Google. Backlinks are a major ranking factor for Google because they tell Google that other websites respect a site as an authoritative source, which pushes a site up in search results.

Referring domains (RD) are a metric used by popular SEO tools to tell you how many websites are pointing backlinks to a particular website. Any website that has less than 50 referring domains typically isn't very competitive. There's a good chance you can outrank them in just 3 - 6 months of solid SEO work. 

Common Question: What if the search volume shows up as zero for a local search (according to Google Keyword planner)?

If the search volume shows up as zero for a local search, it's probably incorrect. Estimated monthly search volume for local keyword is not always accurate. In fact, I have proven this to myself over and over again with my own sites. Just because Google Keyword Planner shows zero search volume for "service + city" type of keywords doesn't mean there's no search happening.

For example, if I live in Novi, MI and type "tree service" on my phone, Google automatically knows I'm searching from Novi and will return local results. Therefore, not everyone is going to be typing the city after the service. Also, as long as you see 10 or more business map listings in the area, that is evidence that there are enough customers in the area to keep the businesses operational. 

2. Build the rank and rent asset 

Building the rank and rent asset includes creating a website and Google My Business profile. Starting with the website, there are many no-code website builders that enable you to create simple business websites, such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. However, these options really aren’t optimized for ranking websites in local search. 

The best website builder for building rank and rent websites is Snapps.ai. Snapps allows you to efficiently create and scale local SEO-optimized websites. It included access to advanced tools like AI website generation, AI content creation, and even a tool that lets you track Google Map Pack rankings for a competitive advantage in local search, called localgrids. Snapps even hosts your website on the premiere Amazon Web Services (AWS), ensuring minimal downtime and top of the line site speed. 

Regardless of the website builder you choose, there are some key aspects that every lead gen site should incorporate, including:

  • Minimum of 1,000 words on the home page, optimized with relevant keywords
  • Tracking phone number on the top left of the site
  • Email quote form near the top of the site

Once the website is set up, create a Google My Business profile for the rank and rent property by going to : https://www.google.com/business/. Many find getting the Google My Business profile approved the most difficult aspect of the rank and rent business model. This is because you need a real address where you can receive a verification letter from Google. 

Some people are able to get their Google My Business profile approved using their home address, or an address of friends or family. However, this doesn't always work, especially if you're trying to set up a rank and rent in a city where you don't know anyone. 

In our lead generation coaching program, we have created a whole new system and network of people that can create these map listings for us and our students. I'd say our network of over 7,000 students is one of the most valuable assets of joining the lead gen program because it allows you to crowd source essential aspects like GMB addresses and website backlinks. 

You can also try using Craigslist to find people who are willing to verify their local address as your business address in exchange for a small fee of $50 or so. I've created plenty of GMBs this way myself.

3. Optimize the asset with rank and rent SEO

Once you’ve set up your digital assets, you need to optimize them in order to rank on the first page of Google and attract leads. Rank and rent SEO can be relatively simple. It includes factors like:

  • Distributing keywords in your website title
  • Publishing authoritative content on a consistent basis
  • Creating and connecting social media accounts to your website
  • Building citations in local directories like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and YellowPages
  • Building relevant backlinks

Of the local SEO tasks, building relevant backlinks can be the trickiest aspect because it usually requires you to coordinate with other website owners . 

5 Strategies to get backlinks for a rank and rent business

1. Guests posts and niche edits

Guests posts are writing full blog posts for other websites so that you can place a link back to your website while niche edits are just adding a minor section to an existing blog post where you can place a backlink. To get these links, you need to reach out to relevant website owners. Getting these links from websites with low domain authority between 10-30 typically costs around $50 to $100 per link, according to Digital Media Ninja. 

2. Fiverr links

Fiverr links are backlinks from freelancers on the Fiverr platform. Many are tempted into purchasing Fiverr links because they can be incredibly cheap, costing as little as $5 for 50+ links. However, cheap links are almost always low quality links that are more likely to negatively affect your website than improve it. For that reason, I recommend avoiding Fiverr backlinks because Google penalizes sites with low quality backlinks. 

3. PBN links

Private blog network (PBN) links are links that come from a network of websites, typically controlled by one publisher, that exist just to sell links. Google will penalize you if they find out you are trying to boost your website authority by using PBN links, but they won’t always catch you. PBN links typically cost $20 to $100 per link, according to Easy Blog Networks.

4. Link building agency 

A link building agency is an SEO agency that focuses on building backlinks for clients. Instead of you spending time doing backlink outreach, a link building agency can handle the whole process for you. According to linkbuilder.io, the average cost for a backlink from a link building agency is $400 to $1,500 per link.

5. Forum and blog comment links

Forum and blog comment links are when you place a link from a forum like Reddit or the comments section of a third-party’s website blog post to your own website. These links aren’t super powerful, but they can provide a minor boost and add to your overall backlink portfolio.

6. Link circles

A link circle is when a handful of similar websites come together and exchange backlinks. For example, the rank and rent group I’m a part of helps to match rank and rent websites owners in the same niche to exchange backlinks. This is basically the same strategy as buying links from a PBN, except it’s free because everyone in the link circle is doing the exchange to boost their website ranking. It’s also easier to guarantee that link circle links are highly relevant and more likely to boost your website ranking because they are coming from websites in the same industry that you’re targeting.

4. Partner with a local business to take your leads

Once your website starts ranking, it’s time to partner with a local business to take the leads and monetize your website property. Before you can partner with a local business, you’re going to want to set up a call tracking software like Callsling so that you can forward calls directly to the business you partner with. 

When you start getting calls, you should forward these calls to local businesses for free to allow them to test out the leads. This enables you to establish a trusting relationship with the business owner and showcase that your leads are legit before approaching them with an offer. 

Results in Advance is the key to this business

You don’t need high-level sales skills to pull off this strategy because your leads can basically sell themselves. Once a business owner sees the value your leads can bring to their business, they’ll often elect to stick with your services for the long-term because they want the extra revenue and they don’t want another local competitor to get your leads instead. 

That’s right, if one business owner doesn’t want to work with you, you can easily find another business that will be happy to pay you for the leads.

5. Scale the process

You can scale this entire process to earn 5-figures or more per month in recurring revenue. Once you get a website ranked and partner with a local business, rank and rent sites require very little maintenance, allowing you to make mostly passive income. Earning passive income allows you the time to focus on building out more of these rank and rent website properties. 

After you hit 5 to 10 properties that are earning you recurring revenue, you’re earning a fairly substantial paycheck each month. You can outsource all but the most high level tasks to continue expanding your business at a faster rate. 

Here are a few tips I’ve garnered from scaling my own rank and rent business to over $50K/month.

  • Hire VA's (I like to hire VA's from onlinejobs.ph).
  • Use Time Doctor to record the time of your VA's work. This allows you to make accurate payments each month and verify they are working. 
  • Use Stripe or Ontraport to take care of payments from clients.
  • Create an automated prospecting strategy. I like having a VA scrape emails from different markets and sending an emailing blast of a screencast sales pitch video to them everyday (the more people you tell about your service, the more money you will make in the longrun)
  • Set a goal on creating a certain amount of new properties every month, so that way you constantly have new properties that are climbing up in Google's rankings
Here's a clip where Simon, Josh, and I are at Dan's house discussing our best tactics for scaling a rank and rent business. 
We Discuss Scaling the Rank & Rent Biz

How much money does it cost to start a rank and rent business?

It costs $500 to $1,000 to start a rank and rent business. The primary costs when starting a rank and rent business include:

  • Website domains: $10-$20/year per domain
  • Web hosting: $2.95-$50+/month for shared website hosting (host multiple sites)
  • Backlinks: $0-$200+ for backlinks for one site
  • SEO tools: $0-$99+/month (depending if you use free tools like Google Keyword Planner and MozBar or paid like SurferSEO, Ahrefs, and SEMRush)

Can you make money with rank and rent? 

Yes, you can make money with rank and rent. The rank and rent course by Dan Klein has over 7,000 students making money with rank and rent businesses. I make over $50K/month in recurring income myself from rank and rent. If you want more proof, consider the story of UK entrepreneur James Dooley, founder of PromoSEO. James started his rank and rent SEO agency back in 2011. Today, it’s worth over $20 million, according to The Independent. 

2 Rank and rent website examples

Example #1: Tree service rank and rent website

This tree service rank and rent website targeting Grand Rapids has been generating me $2,000/month since 2015. 

grand rapids tree service website

Example #2: Limo service rank and rent website

This limo service rank and rent website has been earning me $750/month since 2015 as well. These are just a few rank and rent website examples from my own portfolio of sites. 

Does rank and rent still work? 

Rank and rent does still work. In fact, it’s probably the best opportunity in search engine optimization for the foreseeable future. Things are changing rapidly on the internet, with Google leading the way. For example, Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) uses artificial intelligence to scrap the web and provide an AI answer to informational search queries. Gartner predicts that Google SGE will contribute to 25% less website clicks by 2026 as people rely on AI to provide the answer they are looking for rather than clicking into the website. Although this affects most websites targeting national and international search intent, like affiliate marketing blogs, it doesn’t affect websites targeting local search. An AI result really doesn't fulfill the search intent of someone looking for a local business, which is why you don't really see Google SGE responses for these queries. 

Besides Google SGE, there’s also the Reddit issue. Reddit has been rising rapidly in search engines since the end of 2023. Google is giving experience-based online forums like Reddit more authority as the search engine tries to combat the plethora of bad AI content being published to the internet. Furthermore, Google has formed a $60 million partnership with Reddit for access to the forum’s data for AI training, indicating that Reddit is likely to dominate Google SERPs for the foreseeable future. Although affiliate and Ecommerce sites are likely to lose substantial traffic to Reddit going forward, rank and rent sites aren’t affected by this. Google is still returning Google Map Pack and local website results for local search queries, not Reddit posts. 

Is rank and rent legal?

Yes, rank and rent is legal. Although you should be sure to incorporate standard online marketing protections into your websites, like a disclaimer and privacy policy, owning a website and selling the marketing results is a legal and common business model. 

FAQs

1. Can this business be built outside of US?

A: Absolutely, we have students all across the world building this business. As long as you have a laptop and internet connection you can be anywhere in the world and get clients in your country or get US clients. We know how to guide foreign students through this. In fact, some students are finding out that there's some countries out there with much less competition.

2. What if the business owner already has his own website?

A: Doesn't matter, most of my clients do have their own website but they're treating my lead gen site as a separate marketing channel similar to owning another billboard property, they're essentially treating it as if they own two separate companies in the same town, just like how Starbucks will have multiple storefronts in the same city. (More properties = more leads)

3. Is this really the best business model?

A: I believe it is, just look at this quick infographic I made explaining what all the main things I love about Rank & Rent or we like to call it the lead generation business.


Conclusion: Should you join the rank and rent coaching program by Dan Klein? 

You should join the rank and rent coaching program by Dan Klein if you want access to a proven step by step process for creating passive income with rank and rent, weekly accountability to achieve your goals, and access to a community of thousands to exchange ideas, backlinks, and GMB addresses. 

Sure you can research all you want including using this guide to start your own rank & rent business, so why should you invest in this coaching program?

Here's a quick run down of things that's only available to our students that I'm still benefiting from ever since I joined back in 2014. Making this investment worth its weight in Gold many times over.

1. Video Training - It's one thing to read about this business model and a whole another thing to watch 30 hours of video, that allows you to simply follow along the entire business step-by-step. We've been improving and updating this training since 2014. Everything is covered & more.

2. Private FB Group - We have over 5000 students inside our private Facebook group with daily testimonials for continued motivation & ability to connect & learn from other students that's much further along in this business. Also we are educating each other on the newest techniques & changes that occur in Google's search.

3. Full Time Support - On top of the coaches that's constantly available in the group, we also have dedicated full time support (former students) 7 days per week.

4. Lots of Experience - We have been coaching students since 2014, which means experience is on our side. We have so much data on what works and what doesn't in the Rank & Rent model plus you can use the search bar in our FB group to find answers to questions you may have that most likely have already been addressed. This leads to faster learning curve.

5. 2x Weekly Coaching Calls - We also have the coach Dan that's also very activate in the Facebook and he also does live coaching call twice per week, where you can ask questions to him directly, live. Dan's also an excellent motivator and has a great mind for entrepreneurship, I continue to learn a lot from him. We also continually innovate new ways to monetize this business such as creating a backend promotional products business with our clients.

6. Outsource Services Available - We have "done for you" services that can build out entire lead-gen websites & rank them for you, basically you can outsource every step of this entire business to us if you want.

7. Leverage Power of the Group for Backlinks - We have a powerful network that allows us to get backlinks you can't find anywhere else that gives us a massive boost in the search engines

8. Live Events - We have mastermind events where you can form lasting relationships and business partnerships with other students in the program (including regional events throughout the country and one big event we do every year in Vegas), I've achieved many breakthroughs in my business by attending these events & forming new connections.

Join the rank and rent coaching program to start taking action on building a passive income business online alongside thousands of like-minded people doing the exact same thing. 

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Ippei Kanehara
Founder/CEO

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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  1. I’ve been trying to get ahold of someone and no responses so far. Had some expensive things come up for repair on my car and can no longer afford the program, I signed the paper and down payment was agreed to hit on June 1st. I just need someone to contact me to help get this resolved.

  2. We'd be interested in the done-for-you services across the board, if that is something you'd like to discuss offline, please reach out. The site(s), ongoing SEO, etc…. We have a strong business background, and enough technical and sales experience to grasp this, but we would want to partner on the SEO and sites. No problem if you dont offer it outside the course, we'd turn to an agency. Great articles btw.

  3. Hi and thanks for this! I notice you mention citations in your Step 3 subheading, but don't touch on it in the content section. If we are buying GMB addresses from people e.g. via a FB group, Craigslist, etc.—are we then also building citations to these addresses? Seems kinda funny to be building citations to like someone's apartment or something! 😅

    1. Hi Drew-no you’re right. The address you use to create your GMB profile is the same one you use for your citations. Google does give you the option to hide the address on your GMB listing, so it doesn’t need to be public, but the citations need to be consistent. In my years of lead generation, I have never had any of my contacts receive mail or calls because I used their address in my citations. Our training program covers citations at length, so if you’re still not sure, you can always jump on a call with one of our coaches to ask any questions or get more information with this link: https://ippei.com/best/ I hope this helps, and all the best in your lead generation journey.

  4. Awesome information, thanks for the writeup. For the ahrefs toolbar, I installed it from the chrome extensions but it doesn show that data. I assume you need a subscription package? Looking at their plans, its not exactly obvious which plan is needed for that toolbar to work.

    1. Hey Chris! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article, and glad to hear you enjoyed the post. ahrefs does require a basic subscription to access the toolbar but if you’re just starting out, their LITE plan is more than sufficient. Hope that helps! Enjoy your day.

    1. Hey Kakyn we would love to have you! If you have questions or want more information you can schedule a call with this link: https://ippei.com/best. No pressure or hard sales tactics-just a chance to ask questions and fill in any blanks you might have about the program or the methodology itself. Look forward to connecting.

  5. I'm bout to start up my own rank and rent websites, but I have a serious question for you. How did you got about setting up your business? Like the legal task such as registering business with the government, state and federal tax requirements?

    1. Great question! You have to look into what the requirements are for setting up a business depending on what state you live in. Each state has their own way of doing things so you really have to check out the requirements are.

  6. Hi Ippei, this was a great informative article. Quick questions, what web building platform do you use for building these local rank and rent websites? Also, I am not very good in creating websites and writing content, do you recommend I use a web design agency to build my website?
    I will appreciate you’re response 🙂
    Thanks!

    1. Amer, we have a purpose-built platform for our students to build and host sites. It’s easy to use and scale, regardless of experience or tech know-how. We’ve also added some secret sauce to the platform which speeds up the ranking process too. We don’t recommend hiring a web agency (too expensive) but many of our students do take advantage of our ‘Done For You’ lead gen site packages that allow them to focus on making money fast.

  7. Hi Ippei-dono,

    Great write up and read through, I loved it and quite interested. Based on what I read I have two questions though.
    (1) If a person makes 5-10 niche sites like you suggested for one localundefinedcityundefinedtown should they use only one address or get one different address in that city for each site?
    (2) Should a person post blog articles like regularly on a niche site (eg to help in ranking)? [I might have missed it while reading]. Your own sites in this article didn't seem to have any regular blog articles

    Thanks.

  8. Hey Ippei, this was a truck load of extremely helpful information for someone like me who is looking into starting blog and ranking it on Google.

    What would you say are the main disatbsntsges to ranking a blog versus ranking a local sea website in 2020?

  9. Good day Mr Kanehara

    My name is Sipho Duma Mahlangu, I am based in South Africa, Soweto, Protea Glen, I’m 33 years old.

    I was reading your blog and I am highly motivated to get funds and learn digital marketing course to get a good background.

    I would appreciate your help on being my mentor as I will be new to this exciting environment that I know it will be my game and life changer.

    Kind regards

    Sipho Duma Mahlangu

  10. This makes so much sense!
    I have been trying to run a successful digital marketing agency for over two years now. As soon as you do all the hard work for clients by getting their site ranked or advertising their products/services on social media, then they drop you. And then you have to start all over again for the next client.

    Rank and rent makes a lot more business sense: own the asset!

    Can’t believe I didn’t figure this out for myself…

    Thanks for sharing. I am definitely interested.

  11. Super value here-thank you!
    Loved how you have broken down the steps and will definitely be signing up for that coaching call to learn more about this business.

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