When potential customers use Google to search for products or services, they'll type in certain keywords. For example, "plumber near me", "best plumber in Canton", "plumbing service in my area", and so on. Google will then show the user a page of relevant results. This page will be a blend of paid results (ads) and non-paid results (organic).
When it comes to searches for local services, Google uses the very top of their results page to display relevant businesses that are in proximity of the user. These are paid spots (local services ads). Rather than using the traditional 'pay-per-click' format, it uses 'pay-per-call' and encourages the user to call a given business.
Similar to PPC, the pricing is determined by bidding. The more competitive the area, the higher the cost will be per call (generally speaking). One nice feature about LSA is that businesses have the opportunity to recoup money from Google if they feel they received calls that were illegitimate (McNulty Marketing will handle this process on your behalf).
The short answer is, probably. Just like with PPC, the volume of leads you get and the pricing of leads is entirely dependent on your market. If for example you're a personal injury lawyer in the heart of LA, chances are there's quite a few competitors bidding a lot of money on those leads. This brings cost up quite a bit. On top of this, you're business may not be in the prominent 3-pack (reference photo below). If you're a new business and/or don't have an established 'Google Business Profile', it can be challenging to beat out those that do (particularly in a competitive market like the one mentioned).
The good news is, most small local businesses are not in the heart of LA. If the search volume is there, and bidding for LSA is low to modest, it's almost always worth it. One of the main reasons is because these tend to be very qualified leads, and so they convert to paying clients at a much higher rate than many other marketing channels. Most small local businesses end up leaving a lot of money on the table when they don't utilize LSA.
This is a local plumber that appears at the top of Google when users search "plumbers near me". This ad will only appear to searchers in a certain proximity of the business to ensure leads are from qualified customers.