What Are The Best Business Phone Providers In My Local Area?

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Are you looking for the best business phone service in your area? You may not know about virtual phone providers and how they work, but VoIP services have saved myself and my clients thousands of dollars over the years, and might be a good fit for you too. We are no longer limited by the landline providers in our local area and nearby zip codes anymore, which is a huge blessing compared to those costly landline contracts, that are severely lacking on the technology side without phone call analytics and an online dashboard to monitor everything.  In this article, I’d like to share with you how I use voip providers for my 800 numbers, client call tracking, and even just as a regular business line for a ton of service businesses (for example, for companies like stucco repair contractors, lawn maintenance businesses, and more…) By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea if a landline service or voip is right for your business needs.



Summary:

Check these 3 providers for an alternative to landline phone services, and compare rate plans before signing a contract with your local phone provider (these are ALL no contract services, some with optional unlimited minute plans)

No More Sorting Through Business Landline Phone Service Providers By Zip Code!

Remember the days when you used to have to thumb through the phone book to find a local telephone company to come out and setup your new business line for the new company you started?

Hah!  Those days are OVER…

Now you can quickly and easily get set up with your business phone service in less than 20 minutes, and there’s no nonsense scheduling and waiting on a service technician to come out and hook up your lines, just to take and make your first few calls. It doesn’t matter if the phone service provider is based in your city anymore, which has created competition driving prices down and eliminating ridiculous phone service contracts… and you can pick and choose the best plans for your needs.


Why You Are No Longer Limited To The Telephone Companies In Your Area With The Advent Of VOIP Technology (and no longer stuck in phone contracts!)

If you’re anything like me, today’s fast paced world of high information availability through the internet has changed the way we do business. Now, I can take a client’s concept or idea, have their website up and running the same day, as well as their business phone line, so they can start making prospecting calls right away and get new customers immediately, without waiting weeks for silly technical barriers.

And let’s face it, starting a new business, whether it’s your main income or a side venture, is no easy task in itself. There are enough hurdles to jump through just to make payroll, not to mention deal with all this new technology stuff right?

But the cool thing is, a lot of this “techie stuff” can work to our advantage nowadays. Let me explain…

See we can deploy things like call tracking, and find out where are customers are coming from, track any advertisement and marketing spend for the business, and even change where business calls get routed with the click of a mouse. In the old days, you’d have to wait for a technician to come out and adjust your lines, or at the very least, spend a couple hours on the phone with customer support just trying to get things updated. Not anymore.

With the virtual phone service providers I’m about to show you, all you have to do is log in to your phone system’s control panel online, and within a couple clicks of your mouse, you can make adjustments to your call routing on the fly.

Pretty neat huh?


So How Do You Choose The Best Business VoIP Phone Service Provider For Your Needs And Save The Most Money?

I know it can still be complicated looking for a virtual landline replacement, but here’s a simple way to know right off the bat which providers you should be looking at based on your individual needs.

Simple Easy 3 Step Process You Can Use To Choose

1) how many lines

If you know you just want one line, or you think you will need over 5 lines for your business, a different provider would be recommended for that… for both cheaper alternatives for bulk lines, and some are a little bit overkill for most small businesses.

1 line: www.grasshopper.com
2-5 lines: www.phone.com
5+ lines with multiple locations: www.ringcentral.com

2) how do you want to receive your calls

Do you just want to receive your business calls on your cell phone, or do you need an office desk phone with multi line support at some point? If you just want to forward a business line to your cell, any of the services will work great as a forwarding service.

The two most affordable services of the bunch for this, would be Grasshopper and Phone.com.

If you want to add physical hardware, and have voip phones on your desk in addition to smartphone support, do not get Grasshopper. They do not have phone adapters, nor do they support physical hardware. Phone.com will be the most economical for this, and Ring Central is also good, but a it more expensive with more advanced features to boot.

3) how many people, devices, or locations would you like to support?

Most all voip providers have unlimited extensions within your phone phone system (internally), but that doesn’t mean external numbers. So if you’re looking to add a ton of numbers to your inbound sales department, you definitely want more than a simple forwarding service. Both Phone.com and RingCentral will support this well, but don’t rule out the ability to easily use any laptop computer to control all of your business calls.

If you’re not familiar with a softphone app, it’s an application that runs on any computer you own, and can connect to your virtual business phone system. All you need to take and make calls, is a simple little usb microphone. Almost all of the voip providers have a softphone app these days, with the likes of RingCentral being much more advanced to do things like video conferencing. Their monthly fees reflect this however, and are typically twice as much as the other companies. All of these are nominal business expenses (less than $50/mo), but I know some are bootstrapping and just starting their side businesses, so I try to keep it as economically focused as I can.


The Most Recommended & Top Rated Choices For Most Small Businesses:

I have a series of other comparisons you can use to see which is best for you:


What About Answering Systems For Small Businesses That Want To Save Money On Secretaries And Use Auto Attendant Or A Virtual Receptionist With A Custom Greeting?

The nice thing about all of these virtual phone providers, is the ability to customize your phone system routing with the click of your mouse. This is why I first starting using Voip services for clients, so we could run a lead gen campaign on a certain day with a promotion, and then entirely change it the next to see which performed better. Along with call tracking and call recordings, we were able to quickly see which versions lead to the most sales, and ditch the poor performers.

You can utilize these same features to save money in your company. Instead of having a live answer receptionist on the payroll for all departments, you can simply scale back and replace that with an automated attendant that leads customers to the department of their choice all on it’s own. In some cases, it can be more professional, since their needs are expressed right in the extension menu, and they instantly relate to the options… Whereas a secretary isn’t going to know the intimate product details in a lot of cases, and is simply there as a gatekeeper.

There are some cases where this isn’t a good fit admittedly, but for most service businesses and contractors, this is LIGHT YEARS ahead of just using a cell phone for business line voicemail.

With a service like Grasshopper, you can setup unlimited extensions for a big company feel even if you’re just starting out. With a company like Phone.com, you can have your voicemails transcribed, and sent to any email address you predefined. This worked great for me in the past, where I’d be testing different ads and sending the sales calls to different staff members. Some of those would be traveling or working remotely, so it was never the same call route twice.

Or take something like RingCentral’s Office Platform, where you can easily transfer an inbound call on hold that was received through the softphone app, and send it to a rep on a cell phone outside of the office.

There are endless options for auto attendant settings and call routing, and all of these providers handle it a bit differently depending on what your goals are.


How Well Do These Affordable Small Business Phone Lines Work? And Are They Reliable?

Back in the early 2,000’s, I would say Voip was unreliable and constantly stat-icky compared to landlines. But with the inernet being available just about everywhere these days, there really isn’t a call quality issue like there used to be. I’ve never had any issues with any of the providers listed on this page, only with two specific ones utilizing an API platform which you won’t be doing. (to be specific, the only two I have had a problem with call quality on, are: Twilio and Callfire for 800 numbers)


Ripoff Small Business Phone And Internet Packages From Time Warner (Spectrum)

The thing that drives me nuts about some of these local phone companies like Time Warner Cable, is they make you sign up for business class internet even if you don’t need it if you’re located at a “retail” business address. Not so much of an issue for home based business owners, but for guys that just have a painting service or own a lawn maintenance company with a warehouse to store their equipment, it’s a little ridiculous.

By separating you internet and phone service, you can sometimes save a bit of money, but more importantly, you get access to the great features Voip services have to offer like call tracking and call recording to name a couple. With a cable or local landline phone company, you don’t get the ability to manage your account int he same fashion. And not even close to the level of detail for extensions and call routing. Personally, I don’t like to buy phone and internet packages together for my small business needs, but that’s just me. I get better performance, and better pricing on my plans, by separating them. Now this wouldn’t be true for a little retail shop that has no clue what call tracking even is, or have the slightest aspiration to learn how to grow their business and do advertising.


The Cheapest Landline Phone Service Is More Expensive That Top Tier VOIP Services (with no contract!)

Stay tuned…. I called all the major landline providers acting as a customer again this year, and you won’t believe some of the plans and prices they tried to sell me! I am still compiling all the data into a table that I can add here, so you can easily see which ones are being competitive, and which are price gouging.


What To Do When You Just Need A Cheap Business Phone Line

9 times out of 10, business owners just need a professional business line added to their cell phones. It’s not very professional using a personal caller id, I don’t care what business you run or are starting. Not to mention, those of us who started out will a cell phone number in a different area code, it seems like the call is coming from another city to the customer.

If this fits your current needs, I would use either Grasshopper or Phone.com.

I put together an 800 number guide that follows the same principles which you can find here: How To Get A Cheap Business Line On Your Cell Phone (great for startups and bootstrapped side businesses alike)


Updates:

How the landline providers are trying to break in to the VOIP space, but what you’re missing out on by going with a company like Vonage VOIP, ATT, Verizon, etc…
– call tracking, control panel, etc… you still have to wait for the phone company to set things up, AND get their assistance to change anything… whereas you can do it yourself in 3 minutes with a provider like grasshopper, ring central, phone.com etc…

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Join the conversation on Matt's case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.