I think that backlinks are the ‘new’ seo trend that everyone things is super important. Are they important, sure, but is it necessary to spend money? Likely not. There are so many ways to gain customers. Do link outreach it feels natural, but I wouldn’t spend money unless you’re a national business.
If you’re local, and it sounds like you are – Google My Business should be high on your list if not #1. Work on your website, on-page SEO, UX making sure your copy is tested and refined. Content wouldn’t hurt. Look into citations or citation services like brightlocal. Then look into social ads.