Ways to Get an Affordable Business Phone Line at Home

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Several startups, entrepreneurs, home-based and small businesses are making use of their old landlines to make their business calls. With landlines becoming outdated, many businesses are using their personal mobile phone for business or work-related phone calls. However, if you want to give your business a more professional image and also a competitive edge, then there are many other ways in which you can get an affordable business phone line.

Today, there are several phone service companies that offer inexpensive and sometimes even free services, which allow you to use toll-free numbers, access your voicemail via email or text messages and let you make conference calls. The services allow you to use your internet connection and enable you to save time, money and effort with the infrastructure required for communications.


Summary – 2 Best Providers To Use To Get A Business Phone Line At Home

  • RingCentral – great if you want to have an office desk phone
  • Grasshopper – perfect if all you need is a second business line on your cell phone

Get a Different Line

The traditional way in which you can get a separate phone number is to keep your business phone separate from your personal one. This essentially means that you have to contact your phone company and ask them to install a new line to your home. This usually attracts a fee for the setup and then you will also incur an extra cost of say around $20-$30 for a residential line and around $60 or more for a business phone line.

While this is a good option for a home-based business, you can only answer your phone if you’re physically present there. And, even if you are able to get a landline that is really cheap, this option is not very convenient, as it means that you will be shackled to your desk all day long.

Mobile Phones

Today, several people have mobile phones and do not own a landline at all. The other option you have is to get a 2nd cell phone and carry it with you wherever you go. This is a good option and allows you to move around and answer all your business calls from wherever you are; however, this option is not very cheap.

Though, this option is definitely more inexpensive compared to a landline and convenient too. With a mobile phone, you can use apps to receive and send faxes via your computer. And, if you have employees working for you, then they can work from anywhere, whether they are on the move or are working from a remote location, they can be in touch constantly. While mobile phone costs can vary according to the provider and the plan, they are a great way to improve productivity and efficiency.

Pros and Cons of Mobile Phones

Pros

  • Mobile phones enhance the availability and ease of contacting others – customers, suppliers, colleagues, etc.
  • It helps to improve customer service.
  • Enhances mobility and productivity.
  • Enables you to work away from your home or office and offers greater flexibility.

 

Cons

  • A constant flow of work-related and personal phone calls can disturb your workflow and reduce productivity.
  • The availability at “all hours” can interrupt and compromise your “work-life balance” if you receive work-related calls outside your working hours.
  • When the work phone is used for purposes besides work, then it can become a distraction. Personal call during the office hours, text messages to family and friends, playing games etc. disrupts normal work.
  • Mobile phones can be quite expensive, especially if you are providing them to your employees. However, you can restrict the costs by choosing a tariff that is right for your company, restrict the use of the phone only for business purposes, etc.
  • If you’re traveling abroad, then you need to keep a close check on the costs.

Toll-Free Numbers

Toll-free numbers are a great option if you want to set up a home-based business in order to increase the credibility of your business among your customers. These numbers are usually provided by toll-free service providers and other Responsible Organizations, who are also known as RespOrgs and these organizations may or may not really be phone companies.

 

You can get toll-free numbers, which are available in 5 different formats i.e. 1-800, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877 and 1-888. All these toll-free formats work in the same way. You can also customize the toll-free number that reflects the name of your business by opting for a vanity number.

 

The cost of toll-free numbers is much lower than the regular phone services. If your business is a home-based setup, then you can convert your existing phone number to a toll-free number. The installation costs for a toll-free number are minimal and the service providers offer other services such as voicemail, call block, message center, etc.

 

All you need to do is pay a service fee on a monthly basis to the issuing company. A toll-free number has many benefits such as portability, one single number for all the branches of your company irrespective of their location and they make it extremely easy for your customers to call you by giving you an easy-to-dial number.

 

Pros and Cons of Toll-Free Numbers

Pros

  • The toll-free number acts as a point of contact where your customers can contact you about their queries regarding your product or service.
  • Customers can contact you via your toll-free number to get information about the product such as pricing, discounts, shipping charges, etc. or to place orders and so, toll-free numbers can also be considered a marketing tool.
  • Toll-free numbers are an excellent way to provide customer service.
  • Toll-free numbers help to eliminate any uncertainty in the consumer’s mind who may be hesitant to call the company for any query. Also, being “free” encourages more customer calls for orders, inquiries, etc.
  • The round-the-clock support aspect of toll-free numbers offers customers the convenience to reach out to you at any time at all.

 

Cons

  • Compared to a traditional phone system, the hardware for toll-free numbers is expensive.
  • The “free” nature of toll-free numbers can result in you getting a large number of unsolicited and unnecessary calls.
  • You cannot just make use of toll-free numbers to boost your sales.

 

 

Google Voice

Provided by Google, Google Voice is an integrated phone system that is available online. You need to get an email account with Google’s Gmail service in order to get a dedicated Google Voice phone line and you must then request for a free phone number, which will be assigned to you. Google Voice assigns you a local number that will route all your phone calls to any existing phone lines you have already – your mobile phone or landline. Google Voice also provides a voicemail program, which you can download and you can then receive your voicemail or text that is transcribed via your email.

 

Pros and Cons of Google Voice

Pros

  • With Google Voice, you can route all your devices to a single phone number. You can link the number assigned to you to your house phone, work phone, mobile phone, etc. When you receive a call on your Google Voice number all devices linked to the account will ring. And, whichever device you make a call from, the receiver will see only your Google Voice number.
  • You can send and receive free text messages, access your call history, voicemails, receive and make video calls, etc.
  • Voicemail to text transcription.
  • You can port your existing phone number to Google Voice.
  • Audio caller ID and call screening.
  • You can switch devices mid-call without any interruption, for example, you can switch your call from your mobile phone to your computer or desk phone to continue your conversation.

 

Cons

  • You cannot make any emergency calls to 911 via Google Voice.
  • In case of any issues with your service, phone numbers or your line, there is no personalized customer support to help you. You can get answers to your queries on the Google Voice FAQs page or post your queries on the Google Voice Help Forum.
  • Porting your number from another platform to Google Voice incurs a cost of $20 and you cannot transfer landline or VoIP numbers.
  • While sending and receiving text messages via Google Voice is flexible and seamless, it is difficult to send and receive more advanced forms of messages such as photos, images, videos and even group messages with many recipients. In order to send or receive MMS messages, you need to integrate Google Voice with Hangouts or some other tool.

 

VoIP

Another very affordable way to make business calls in by using VoIP. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol essentially makes use of your broadband internet connection to make calls. These systems are extremely easy to install and you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment and it also does not occupy a lot of space. The technology used by VoIP removes the requirement for separate services as it combines both voice and data.

 

All you need are phone handsets and the voice lines will be provided by the VoIP service provider through an internet connection. You also have access to a website which allows you to manage all the features of your phone such as call transfer, forwarding, etc. The use of VoIP can help to reduce the cost of calls – local, long distance and international calls significantly.

 

Pros and Cons of VoIP

Pros

  • VoIP is much cheaper compared to the regular phone service and VoIP also offers a wider range of plans and pay-as-you-go features which allows you to pay for only the service when you require it.
  • To get the VoIP phone up and running, all you need is an internet connection and if you are moving, you can take your VoIP phone with you and reconnect it very quickly wherever you want.
  • You can access your VoIP phone via the internet using your mobile app or on the web.
  • VoIP services offer a whole range of features at no extra charge such as call waiting, caller ID, conferencing and call forwarding.
  • You do not require any new hardware to switch to a VoIP phone system.

 

Cons

  • Since VoIP works on the internet, if your bandwidth is not sufficient, then the voice quality may suffer or you may have trouble with the connection. So, if you plan to use a VoIP service, then you should have a stable and reliable high-speed internet connection.
  • It may be a problem to call emergency services with VoIP.
  • To remain operational, VoIP phone systems need a continuous power supply and if there is a power outage and you don’t have a power backup, then your phone will not work. Also, if there is power, but your internet fails, then your VoIP phone system will not work.
  • You may face some call quality issues in the case of VoIP phones such as a drop in the voice quality, delay during the calls, call drops, etc.

 

There are many ways by which you can get an affordable business phone line for your home-based business. However, you must evaluate the various options and their pros and cons before deciding on the right phone line for you.

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