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Need a Business Phone Number, but Not a Business Phone?

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

You already have a cell phone to make calls. You don't need another phone for business. You need a business number to work on your phone.

  • Business phone numbers can be used to get and receive workplace calls onsite and remotely.
  • Business phone options include VoIP, mobile, toll-free and vanity numbers.
  • Paid and free business phone options are available from providers such as Google Voice and Phone.com.

You already have a cell phone to make calls. You don't need another phone for business. You need a business number to work on your phone.

Let's be honest: the phone is no longer a necessity for some businesses. Even if it is still a must, a traditional phone system (or even just an actual landline as we once knew them) are no longer the only options. 

If you are looking for business phone number but are on the go a lot, or perhaps you not make enough calls to warrant installing an actual office phone system, then a VoIP mobile app or call forwarding service is what you need.

Types of business phone numbers

There are different options open to small business owners who wish to implement one or more new business phone numbers. Phone number options have expanded with the availability of new technologies.

Local business phones are arranged through telephone service providers. The number will start with your local area code with calls made directly to your place of business. Vanity numbers may be available through your provider. Vanity numbers are pre-selected digits that make your phone number easy to recall.

Toll-free business numbers typically start with the (800) area code. These numbers allow clients to call you without having to pay any phone charges. Vanity numbers are also available for toll-free lines.

Cell phone business numbers are assigned to a mobile device. A business call can be made directly to the cell number or you can forward your local business calls directly to your cell.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the most popular choice for those looking to implement new business phone numbers. In the simplest of terms, VoIP numbers get assigned to users in lieu of a phone line.

We take a look at three popular options below and give you the info you need to decide which is right for your business.

Google Voice: A great option for a single user

Cost: Free

Google Voice, like most of Google's products, is helpful and free. You set up a Google Voice number and then connect it to your other numbers (mobile, home, etc). You can use either your computer or your mobile phone, meaning you do not need a dedicated business phone line/device.

 

Other features include:

  • Customized forwarding options
  • Voicemail-to-text transcription
  • Block caller option
  • Text-to-email transcription

When using the Google Voice App, you can receive and make calls using your Google Voice number.

The main drawback with Google Voice is that it's a good option for one user; there is no way to connect multiple users to one account. If you are the only user and need a way to get a business number on the cheap, using Google Voice may be just the ticket.

Phone.com: Value and features for multiple users

Cost: $12.99 to $39.99 per user, per month (unlimited minutes)

Phone.com is a great middle-of-the-road option for multiple users, providing a good mobile/computer VoIP solution without breaking the bank (no traditional phone required). The mobile phone features are basic but allow you to make/receive calls using your business number and view call logs.

Phone.com About

Image via Phone.com

Here are the features you can access from your computer:

  • Set up an auto receptionist
  • Schedule calls
  • Call queuing
  • Setup a find-me/follow-me feature
  • Make conference calls
  • Voicemail-to-email transcription
  • Send/receive faxes

Grasshopper: A mobile VoIP option for multiple users

Cost: $12 to $199 per user per month (minutes are sometimes an additional charge)

Grasshopper is basically a business VoIP service that uses your existing mobile phone instead of an office VoIP setup. You can set up a business number, receive calls from that number using your phone, and set up as many users as you want with custom extension options.

Here are some of the features available with Grasshopper:

  • Auto-assistant/call routing system
  • Call queuing
  • Find me/follow me
  • Call scheduling
  • Conference calls (see below)
  • Voicemail-to-email transcription

Because Grasshopper is entirely mobile, the features it provides are more extensive than other VoIP providers that provide mobile options via an app.

There are two important things to be aware of with Grasshopper. First, some users have reported poor call quality, although there are plenty of users that also are very happy with their service. Second, the minutes you use are charged by Grasshopper and your mobile carrier, which is the case for most VoIP mobile apps.

On conference calls, however, you are charged for the total number of call minutes multiplied by the number of conference call participants (e.g., a five-minute call with five callers would result in 25 minutes used for each caller). This is different from other carriers like Phone.com, which gives you a conference call bridge that only charges for one call.

If you make an extensive number of calls, Grasshopper might not be for you. But if you do not anticipate very many conference calls/minutes but still need multiple users, Grasshopper can be a cheap option, especially considering the wealth of features it provides.

Image Credit: Gajus / Getty Images
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