Gone are the days of expensive landline contracts, and now in 2017 we have tons of options when it comes to business phone solutions. In this article, I’m going to go over how you can save a ton of money on your business phone system, and which providers work best for different services businesses. By the end of this article, you’ll easily be able to decide which voip phone service provider is right for you.[/column] [column size=”1/3″]
Table of Contents
- In A Hurry? Here’s The Summary Of The 2 Affordable VoIP Providers I Recommend Most (Based On Your Needs)
- What Do All Service Businesses Have In Common?
- When Is A Number Forwarding Service A Bad Idea And You Need A More Robust Phone System?
- The 2 Best Cheap VOIP Business Phone Service Providers I Recommend To All Small Businesses
- Which Provider Makes It Easier To Get A Local Vanity Number Or A Toll Free 1-800 Business Line?
- When Might You Want Something More In A Business Phone Solution, And Which Provider Is Best For Multi-Line Solutions With Multiple Offices?
In A Hurry? Here’s The Summary Of The 2 Affordable VoIP Providers I Recommend Most (Based On Your Needs)[columns] [column size=”1/2″]
Go With Grasshopper If…
- You just want a cheap business line on your cell phone
- You do not need an office desk phone
- You’re looking for the cheapest number forwarding service that will be setup in less than 20 minutes, so you can take and make calls today
visit website: www.grasshopper.com[/column] [column size=”1/2″]
Go With Phone.com If…
- You want to add a physical ip phone to your desk
- You want better call tracking analytics and monthly reporting
- You’re looking for premium features like hold music, conference calling, the ability to record all your calls, and crm integration
visit website: www.phone.com[/column] [/columns]
*note – you can’t go wrong with either provider, and both will work well for small business. Grasshopper is generally the best choice for most small businesses that just need a cheap business line.
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What Do All Service Businesses Have In Common?
Generally, they all serve customers at their location, and are normally always on the road. A lot of the phone system plans of today come with features that these types of businesses will never use, since the majority of their time is all mobile based. This means you can get better marketing functionality in the form of call tracking reports and phone number analytics, and save money over expensive landline providers of the past.
Best of all, I only use no contract phone providers for myself and for clients these days, so if something is ever not working out anymore, you simply keep your number, and port it to another service. (yes sometimes there is a fee for this, usually around $30 bucks, but it’s not a big deal)
Getting A Business Line On Your Personal Cell Phone (or your employees Phone)
What we’re getting at by being a service business, is that almost always, you handle customer communications from a cell phone. So instead of having to buy cell phones to expand your business, you can simply add another business line to your existing plan, and install the providers free smartphone app on whatever cell phone you choose. Then you’ll be able to manage your business calls, separate work and personal life all on one device, and appear much more professional when you do take customer calls after hours, since your business caller id will show up even if you’re on your personal cell phone.
With unlimited extensions, and the ability to add as many virtual numbers as you’d like, you have the ultimate in flexibility with a Voip system, and will be able to make your business sound as professional or as large as you wish. (example: “press 1 for sales, 2 for billing, 3 for our service rep directory, etc….”)
When Is A Number Forwarding Service A Bad Idea And You Need A More Robust Phone System?
The one caveat to what I would consider nothing more than a number forwarding service, is when you may have an office or a warehouse and want to have a physical office desk phone on site. In this particular case, you would want to go with a Voip provider like Phone.com, since they allow you to add a physical phone at any time, and cam even lease it for less than $20/mo if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on phones at that time.
Phone.com will still have the smartphone app to integrate your business line on your cell phone, just like the Grasshopper phone system, the only difference is that Grasshopper does not support physical devices even with a phone adapter. (you don’t want to use an adapter anyways, they’re a pain in the ass)
For most small businesses, and business owners just starting their business, the most affordable solutions are Grasshopper and Phone.com. Ring Central is a little more expensive, but generally the extra expense is only needed if you know in advance you want to connect multiple offices and have a bunch of employees/business lines working remotely.
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Examples Of Service Businesses That Are A Good Fit For VoIP Phone Systems & Number Forwarding Services
- plumbing companies
- for contractors
- pressure washing businesses
- roofing business owners
- pet sitting & grooming
- what phone service should I use for my pet grooming business?
- mobile locksmith
- mobile massage therapist
- mobile mechanic
- wedding consultant
- mobile detailing business
- windshield repair
- computer repair and IT services
- limo service
- window cleaning business
- commercial cleaning business
- handyman services
- home theater installation
- lawn care business
- pool cleaning company
- home inspection services
- house painting
- daycare or child care
- real estate agents
- air duct cleaning
- animal removal
- appliance repair
- landscape lighting business
- builders and home repair
- cabinet makers and carpenters
- window tinting
- gutter cleaning
- solar panels and systems
- tree removal service
How do I know about all these industries? Well I’ve done local lead gen for a lot of them, and the rest the same general phone system needs are the same.[/column] [/columns]
The 2 Best Cheap VOIP Business Phone Service Providers I Recommend To All Small Businesses
My two go-to phone companies for low cost voip numbers for websites and businesses, are phone.com and Grasshopper. I’m sure you’ve seen them both now, since I added a section above for those of you who are in a hurry and just want to get your business number setup.
Here are a couple of additional guides for that as well:
- How To Get A Toll Free 1-800 Number For Your Business In Less Than A Half Hour (for $12 bucks!)
- How To Setup Your Business Phone Line With Grasshopper (and be able to take and make calls within a few minutes)
Why these two providers? Well Grasshopper has always been a highly reliable source for cheap toll free forwarding numbers, and let business owners sound professional when they’re just starting their first business without spending a ton of time and money setting up a complex phone system.
Phone.com also lets you do that, but with more advanced options should you need them. You might pay a bit more once you start adding premium features with Phone.com, but in some situations I need to be able to record calls so I can spot check secretaries and sales personnel. I can’t do that with Grasshopper, and Phone.com is an affordable way to get those more robust features in a similar easy to use system.
So as I mentioned in the summary above, I recommended most businesses go with Phone.com if they ever want to have a physical office desk phone. For most service based businesses, which is who this article is for specifically since I see a lot of questions from tradesman and whatnot, 99% of the time Grasshopper is the better choice for those… simply because they’ll never be in an office, and are always out in the field. Not to mention the huge cost savings over other providers, in which case they normally don’t really ever need a landline or complex call routing features.
Which Provider Makes It Easier To Get A Local Vanity Number Or A Toll Free 1-800 Business Line?
In this day and age, they all have an available number search feature built right in to your control panel. All the providers I recommend have plenty of available 800 and local vanity numbers to choose from, and all of them are drop dead simple now to add a toll free line to your plan any time you want.
There is one thing I recommend you do though before purchasing your custom number… and that is Google’ing the number in quotes (example: “1-800-flowers” and “1-(800) Flowers”) before you checkout. What you’re looking for, is no listings of shady people using this number in the past, or that the number has been listed under “Sharie’s Escort Service” on 100 different platforms. That would cause confusion with the telephone number directories and search engines, and you’d spend too much time and energy cleaning that up so it didn’t interfere with your legitimate business.
Typically a number may have been used once before, and it’s no big deal if you find a listing here or there with the same number combination… Just nothing excessive or explicit.
When Might You Want Something More In A Business Phone Solution, And Which Provider Is Best For Multi-Line Solutions With Multiple Offices?
There are cases where the two phone services I recommended above are not the best fit for your business phone system needs. Most commonly, it will we a situation where you’d want to connect two offices together on the same multi-line phone system, or when you might have employees who want to work remotely.
The best system for those type of needs, is RingCentral’s Office. That will give you access to a more robust softphone app, which will allow employees to take and make calls right from their laptop on your business line from anywhere in the world… with nothing more than a usb microphone.
Additionally, connecting multiple offices together, and requiring several voice over ip telephones for both, you’d most likely want to lease that hardware instead of paying outright for it… Something RingCentral let’s you do with their Office plans. They also have a variety of headsets and mic devices for your employees using the softphone app, and will come pre-programmed with your phone system so they’re easy for you to setup.