Here's the deal with SEO - if you're contacted by someone, then they're not doing their job
If they can't rank themselves in the Number 1 and Number 2 spots for the targeted industry, then there's no reason you should ever be with them.
That said, my wife runs an SEO company which I work on quite a bit, and I can tell you without a doubt, SEO DOES WORK! It must be done correctly, but it has a bigger reward than any other medium.
As for the topic of this post - "getting a page rank" - you can ignore that factor. PageRank no longer plays a part in SEO. It does help for those that want to charge others for advertising etc, but traffic reports and clientele is a better indicator.
As Steve mentioned, blogging is going to be a huge factor in getting your website noticed. If you're not blogging, you're missing out!