The main point to make is that SEO is not difficult, in fact, for either long tail keywords (3 or more words like "ticket printing Sydney") or niche keywords, you should be able to list on the first page inside of the first month of optimisation. This should not mean paying someone to do it, but rather setting your website up correctly the first time.
There are 3 main points everyone should have on site:
1.) Content is king - every term you want to target needs its own page and should be used again and again on this page. Placing it in bold or italics will also help to tell Google to look for it. You are basically trying to say, this page is about Ticket Printing Sydney
2.) Title Tags - This is the title of the page and is the first thing Google reads, so make sure your keyword is mentioned in there, preferably early on. Unfortunately for me, Blogger (my publisher) does not allow that, so i will be at a ticket printing sydney disadvantage.
3.) Meta Description - Google announced they no longer look at these recently. I am sure they are planning on phasing them out, but as per my clients over the last few months, I can assure you they still play a key role. Make sure you mention your keywords in there if this the core of your business. As I do nothing with printing or tickets, I am again at a disadvantage for listing for the term ticket printing Sydney, but even still, expect this page to ranking in the top 10.
How bottom feeders sell:
Most agencies offer results that they are sure they can return quickly and easily, these are usually (but not always) low value, low traffic terms, yet they measure success on be listed high on Google. This is the same thing a mechanic does when he tells you to replace your 'flux capacitor' sounds impressive, it's not. In the example of Ticket Printing Sydney, I would be surprised if this blog does not rank on the first page within 10 minutes of me writing it.
To finish off on bottom feeding SEO companies and the Ticket Printing Sydney example, they sell 10 keywords or something like that. This is because these first few words are the easiest to rank for, in fact they are basically gimmes, remember you keep paying even after you are ranked. A reputable digital agency will try to optimise for an unlimited number, preferably somewhere in the low thousands, so more than just ticket printing Sydney, they will look for related printing keywords like "events and party supplies" or cheap ticketing solutions. The key to this is content!! You can not rank well for lots of terms, without lots of pages written in a specific and clear manner.
As for Ticket Printing Sydney - Google the term now. If this blog comes up on the first page, then you know I am right and should call me for your next SEO / SEM project. If you still want to go with the other companies, then feel free, but please remember that you will end up paying more in the long term and they will deliver very little in the way of ongoing value.