Table of Contents
- What’s The Best 800 Service For My Business?
- Affordable VOIP 800 Numbers Save You Thousands ($X,XXX.XX) Per Year Over Your Local Landline Company!
- Best Toll Free 800 Service Provider For Cell Phone Use
- Best 800 Number Service Provider For Office Phones
- Best VOIP 800 Service Provider For Computer & Laptop Integration (And Softphone Conference Calls)
- What’s The Best Toll Free 800 Number Phone Service For Your Business?
Well a lot has changed over the last 5 years, and I’ve used just about every 800 service provider on the planet for my small business clients, local lead gen, and call tracking for sales audits. In this article, I’m going to break down which 800 number provider will work best for different circumstances. Unfortunately there isn’t a one size fits all solution, (which is good for you so you’re not paying for feature you’ll never use!) but by the end of this article, you’ll easily be able to decide which 800 number service is best for you.
What’s The Best 800 Service For My Business?
If you don’t have a lot of time, and just want the quick list of which 800 provider to go with in your situation, here’s what I recommend:
- Grasshopper – perfect for adding a toll free 800 number to your cell phone, and perfect for most most small businesses
- Ring Central – great for offices and laptop computer calls (softphone), adding a VOIP line to an existing office
- Virtual PBX – enterprise voip service good for multiple offices, multiple lines, multiple secretaries & sales personnel, etc…
Learn about the best 800 number service for your needs, whether you want to connect to a cell phone, office phone, and which provider offers inexpensive unlimited minutes, and more…
I’m sure you might have questions like:
- Should I buy a landline or a VOIP number service?
- What’s the best 800 number provider for small business advertisements?
- What is the cheapest 800 number service for my business?
- Are virtual 800 number service providers any good?
- Which 800 number provider should I use?
I’m going to break this article up into sections, based on the way you might want to connect and use your 800 number, so you can easily find the right recommendation for your situation.
Most business owners want to connect and use their 800 number in 1 of 3 ways usually:
- connect to cell phone
- connect to an existing office
- or use their toll free number with a laptop or office computer, often wanting multiple employees to be able to have access
These are very different feature sets, and some of the below providers excel at different types of phone setups, I just want to make sure you get the right one for you at the most affordable price.
Affordable VOIP 800 Numbers Save You Thousands ($X,XXX.XX) Per Year Over Your Local Landline Company!
I only use VOIP phone providers these days, which is a digital voice over ip phone service as opposed to a traditional hardwired landline. They’re much cheaper, way more portable, and best of all, cost a hell of a lot less than what the local phone companies want for business phone service!
See these reviews and comments about how much most business owners are paying for phone service… And how much you can save by going VOIP VS local phone company! The price to add a toll free 800 number to your local business phone service plan is insane… Not to mention you don’t even get an online control panel you can log into and change where the number is routed in 30 seconds.
Don’t fall into these traps of crazy monthly prices just to add 1 to 3 lines from major phone providers like AT&T, Verizon, Vonage, etc… Now are there instances where you’d want a landline no matter what? Sure, like in instances where you have high dollar merchandise on hand in a retail store or warehouse, and have ultra high insurance deductibles… Probably pretty important to have a hardwired landline for your security system, and you can usually get an alarm only line for around $10 bucks a month. (note – a lot of VOIP services are 911 compatible these days)
800 Line VOIP Pricing
- Grasshopper – starts at $12/mo (see pricing options)
- RingCentral – starts at $24/mo (see pricing & phone options) ** side note – one thing I really love about Ring Central’s options, is the fact that they let you lease office phone equipment with no contract. So if you have a small office, you can easily get 3-5 VOIP lines (and phone hardware) without spending thousands of dollars to set it up.
- Virtual PBX – starts at $14/mo (see plans & pricing options)
Like with anything, features determine the monthly price with VOIP phone service, and the main determining factor is how you want to connect and use your 800 number.
For example, some business owners want to be able to connect their 800 number to their office line or their cell phone line. You can do this in one of two ways, and I recommend two different providers for this, depending on what you want.
To simply add a toll free 800 number to your cell phone, Grasshopper is the way to go. They have a free smartphone app that lets you decipher between business and personal calls, send and receive business SMS text messages separate from your personal cell, and it will work anywhere with you on the go. Best part? All of this without having to carry two separate cell phones.
To add a 1-800 line to your office, and let your sales agents or secretary answer the calls from their laptops (whether their in the office or working remotely) Ring Central is the way to go. Their softphone application (a piece of software that lets you take and make calls on your computer, laptop, from anywhere) is perfect for this, and they too also have a smartphone app just like Grasshopper. If you think you might want to do conference calls on the road, or have a complete mobile office, Ring Central‘s functionality is perfect for this.
Common Problems Most Business Owners Face When Trying To Use A Voip Number Service
Some business owners have had bad experiences with VOIP services, but most can be avoided if you know what you need for service before signing up to a provider. A lot has changed these days however, and in 2016 and beyond, most of the connectivity and voice clarity issues that used to be a problem are no longer an issue. The internet is everywhere nowadays!
Here are some common problems business owners run into by signing up for the wrong VOIP service, and how you can avoid them…
- Pay by the minute – most business owners that get wrapped up into VOIP 800 number plans that only offer pay by the minute options, normally just didn’t research all the options and got taken advantage of. Almost all of the providers I recommend offer a cheap baseline plan option with a set amount of minutes, and then an inexpensive upgrade that lets you have unlimited minutes for a flat fee. There’s also tiered options like Grasshopper, where you can pay a flat fee for XXXX of minutes that you’ll probably never go over.
- Don’t know they need a phone adapter – there are a lot of slick salesmen out there… You can’t expect to use your old landline phone hardware with a newer digital VOIP connection/service. Fortunately, services like RingCentral let you lease a $350 phone for $10/mo with no contract, and you can upgrade at any time. Not to mention their softphone app, which lets you have a full suite of phone features right on your computer. (it’s free, no need to buy anything extra, no additional hardware… Easy to setup)
- Can’t see who’s calling by using a cheap forwarding number – most of the cheap 800 forwarding services out there, don’t give you any of the nice features like the top 3 VOIP providers I keep mentioning do. With a cheap 800 number forwarding provider, you can’t see who’s calling, whether it’s personal or business (if on your cell phone), and you can’t call them back on the same line, which always creates problems with contacts later on. With any of the main smartphone and softphone compatible 800 services like Grasshopper, RingCentral, Virtual PBX, etc… They all have smartphone apps that fix this, softphone apps that work with your computer, and/or offer cheap office phone hardware (*ring central)at really affordable prices.
Best Toll Free 800 Service Provider For Cell Phone Use
Grasshopper is commonly touted as the “entrepreneurs phone system”, and has a system that works excellent for a ton of mobile and service based businesses who are always on the go. The way it works is, you get an online control panel to setup everything from a company greeting, to how your voicemail are delivered. You can also get your fax messages emailed to you as well.
With their smartphone app, you can keep your personal cell phone, and you can connect your business line and business sms text messaging entirely separate from your personal line… All without carrying another device.
This let’s you easily determine if you have an incoming business or personal call, and also lets you differentiate business text messages from personal. And even lets you disable notifications after hours, so you’re not bothered by customers who just want to leave you a voicemail late at night.
Most importantly, you can see the caller id of who’s calling on your business line, unlike how a cheap 800 number forwarding service would only forward the call. The best part? When you return calls, customers won’t get your personal cell phone number, even if that’s what you’re using… They’ll see your business line.
Best 800 Number Service Provider For Office Phones
If you’re looking to add an 800 line to your existing office setup, Ring Central has some more advanced features that might come in handy. Just like Grasshopper, Ring Central has the awesome smartphone app that lets you take and make calls from cell, but they also take it a step further with their softphone application.
This allows you to not only receive and make outgoing calls from your office, but also from any computer be it a laptop of desktop computer. The way it works is you download their software on your computer, connect your account and phone numbers, and whenever you’re on the road or working remotely, you can use your phone services just as if you were in your office! Your customers will never know either.
But what about connecting to an actual office phone on my desk you ask?
Ring Central has you covered there too with their inexpensive VOIP office phones. They will even let you lease an office phone with your plan, for less than $10 bucks per month. (click on the products tab > Phones & Headsets to see all available hardware options) This will connect to your VOIP line, and let office staff, sales agents, and secretaries answer calls from their office desks, and their computers as well if you install their free softphone app.
Best VOIP 800 Service Provider For Computer & Laptop Integration (And Softphone Conference Calls)
Like I mentioned in the section above, most business owners aren’t aware of the true power of a softphone system on their computer. It might sound funny, or maybe a little confusing, but all a softphone is, is a telephone on your computer. (hence the name “softphone”… Software phone, on your computer) All you need to operate it is usually a cheap headset so customers can hear you clearly, and you can use it on your laptop at home, desktop computer at the office, etc…
The Ring Central softphone software you run on your computer does a whole lot more than simply turning your computer into a phone through. If you’re interested in conference calls, you’ll be happy to learn that Ring Central also includes free audio conferencing in all of their office phone plans.
To understand more of what features and capabilities the soft-phone software can do, here are a list of features:
Included with the Ring Central for Desktop is the Ring Central softphone, which enables high-quality VoIP calling and transforms your PC or Mac into a sophisticated call controller with an array of features and options.
What does a softphone allow you to do? Make and answer calls on your computer, just as if you were sitting in your office.
- Use a headset or simply use your laptop’s speakers and microphone to turn any computer with an internet connection into a fully featured business phone
- Make calls to your contact list quickly and easily by automatically connecting to the cloud
- Manage and control all of your inbound and outbound calls
- Send calls to voicemail, mute, and easily place calls on hold and switch lines… all from your desktop app (both mac and PC compatible)
- Place an incoming call on hold from your computer, and then pick up the call from your mobile device/cell phone once you leave the office of hop in the car
- Transfer calls to any number, extension, or device of your choosing (includes office desk phone, computer softphone, or mobile device or smartphone)
- Easily join up to 6 callers to a conversation, for an on the fly conference call, and delete or drop any one caller at any time… All with the click of a mouse
- High Definition (HD Voice) call quality makes calls clear and easy to hear
- Record calls at any time
- Option to record any single call at will, or set default options to automatically record all calls
- Download recorded conversations, store them on your computer, or forward them to others for review
- Send callers text-to-speech messages in real time, just like Apple or Android text voice recognition
- Allow callers to hear a default message or type a personalized one to be transmitted via text-to-speech technology when you’re too busy to take a call
- Hear voicemail in real time, right as they’re being recorded by the inbound caller
- Pick up mid voicemail if it’s someone you want to talk to
- Send and receive fax messages, cover letters, and attachements
- Send and receive SMS text messages right from your computer, including group text messages which is VERY rare to be able to on a business line
What’s The Best Toll Free 800 Number Phone Service For Your Business?
Most all the providers I listed are easy to setup, instant activation (literally you can setup your business phone system in less than a half hour), and no contract services. Some of the 800 providers offer a 100% free 30 day trial, but be mindful about keeping your number so you don’t have to change anything if you forget to signup at the end of your 30 days. Each provider has a good selection on toll free 800 vanity numbers as well, if you happen to be looking for a custom vanity number for your business.
All of the providers mentioned are cheaper than a local landline service, and offer MUCH more flexibility that you’d get from a traditional phone company. Simply having an online control panel you can log into, and quickly and easily change greetings, extensions, departments, pretty much anything you want… Is night and day compared to most small business phone service provider features. Best of all, there’s no contracts with any of the service I use, and most of the time you don’t even need to purchase any additional hardware.
This makes it a no brainer to go VOIP for me and my clients, and they very often save thousands of dollars by switching their main business phone system over to VOIP after learning about the best 800 service for their needs. (most providers make it very easy to port your existing number into their system, as well as add new lines with the click of the mouse. Keeping your existing number is easy, but some providers charge a one time $30 fee to process it, and it takes about a week but the cost savings is tremendous over the course of the year!)
So Which 800 Service Should You Choose?
- Grasshopper – if you’re a local contractor, own a mobile service based business and are rarely in the office or operate out of your house, are a real estate inspector/estimator usually on the go, Grasshopper is the best 800 service for you with their smartphone app for cell phones.
- Ring Central – if you own a retail storefront, but also either work remotely or do service calls or installations, Ring Central will offer the most flexibility for you with their smartphone app, softphone (make calls from your computer), and office phone hardware selection.
- Virtual PBX – if you’re a larger office with multiple secretaries and sales personnel, Virtual PBX will make adding multiple lines with hundreds of extensions a breeze. Their enterprise level service, coupled with their industry leading Parachute disaster recovery service, is a great fit for a call center or larger office environments.
I hope this helps you choose the best 800 number service for your needs. As always, if you have any questions or maybe have a unique situation and wondering what provider to go with, comment down below and I’ll respond within 72 hours to help you out.