Table of Contents
- The Top 3 Rated Inexpensive Toll Free Number Services
- Number Forwarding Services VS. VoIP Business Phone System
- Conclusion: What Provider Works Well For Most People?
- Grasshopper – the #1 rated best cheap 800 number forwarding service (you can even add a toll free business line to your cell phone with their free app)
- Phone.com – the least expensive business VoIP phone system provider with good available 1-800 number selection (and you can add office desk phone later if you need them)
- RingCentral – the place to purchase or lease premium 800 vanity numbers for business (think 1-800-FLOWERS)
The Top 3 Rated Inexpensive Toll Free Number Services
Grasshopper – The #1 Affordable 800 Number Forwarding Service
- Super cheap (starts at around $12 bucks/mo), easy to setup for non-techies, and you can be up and running receiving calls within the hour on your cell phone
- Great for contractors, service businesses, traveling salespeople, mobile business owners, and any other business where you service your customers at their location and primarily use your cell phone for business
- Excellent professional voicemail greeting studio now available right inside your control panel, so you don’t have to hire a voice-over actor to record your custom greeting for your business line anymore
Grasshopper virtual phone service lets you forward calls anywhere you like. If you’re away on weekends, simply log in to your control panel online, and with a couple clicks of your mouse, you can change where calls are routed to have someone else answer your calls for you. This is touted as being the most affordable virtual phone solution for entrepreneurs and service business owners, and allows you to search the available toll free vanity numbers, which is something you can’t get with Google Voice. The pricing and plan options for this toll free solution are hard to beat, and you can always upgrade or cancel your plan at any time… No contracts. For additional plan details, check out the full Grasshopper phone service review here.
Phone.com – The Cheap VoIP 800 Number Provider For Business (with phone system)
- Great for businesses that may want to add an office desk phone in the future, or be able to buy voip hardware that can connect to their business phone system
- Phone.com also has a free cell phone app that lets you integrate your business line on your personal cell phone, and support business sms text messaging
- Good affordable virtual phone system for businesses that want to do advanced things like call recording, complex virtual voicemail forwards to email, etc…
Phone.com is the perfect choice for those who are starting a business that will likely have a retail location right away. You can take and make calls by forwarding your business line to your cell phone for the time being, and whenever you sign your lease for your physical location or office, you can order an office desk phone directly through Phone.com that will already be pre-programmed for a no hassle setup. It’s a little bit more expensive than Grasshopper by the time you add extra features and whatnot, but if you know you’re going to need offices phones it’s the best way to go.
RingCentral – The Best Place To Purchase A Custom Toll Free Number That Matches Your Business Name
- Awesome premium pool of vanity numbers that you can get to match your business name instead of using random digit numbers
- Perfect for securing a custom 800 number before running billboard ads, branded media, etc…
I had a lengthy conversation with Paul from RingBoost last month, and they have some cool things coming on board in 2017… Maybe even a phone.com integration, whereby you’ll have access to leasing custom vanity numbers from the premium pool, but be able to get the advanced phone system features that phone.com offers right in one dashboard… which would be killer.
Number Forwarding Services VS. VoIP Business Phone System
What’s The Difference?
The difference between a phone number forwarding service, and a VoIP provider, is the number forwarding services require you to bring your own device. Meaning, you can get a business number through them, and route it wherever you’d like, but you need an existing office phone or cell phone to use their mobile app or forward your calls to your location. Most everyone has a cell phone these days, that’s why number forwarders are so common and most people are happy with them… But mistakenly call them a “toll free business phone service” since it’s so easy to get an 800 number for your business, which technically they are not a phone system at all.
On the flip side, a VoIP business phone system is much more than a business forwarding service, and typically offers a much more robust feature-set that lets you do advanced voice over ip configurations (like multiple receiver call routing, whereby if one person doesn’t answer, it forwards on to the next employee in line). Additionally, most number forwarding services don’t do things like call recording, advanced call tracking, or offer unlimited toll free minutes on a lot of their entry level plans. A VoIP provider is normally a complete virtual phone system solution for small business, and you can add physical ip phones for your office, use computer integrated softphone apps to let employees take and make calls while traveling, and many more receptionist style features.
Do I Really Need A Complete Virtual Phone System?
Most people are usually just looking to acquire a toll free 1-800 number for their business, and be able to receive calls on whatever device they’re using already. In this case, a virtual phone system is a bit overkill on both price and learning curve, unless you plan on a large expansion in the near future and need to support multiple locations or offices. You’ll pay about double for the same thing from a VOIP provider as a forwarding service, but we’re still talking about plans that are less than $50 a month which is negligible.
Which Option Should I Choose?
The best choice for you is going to depend on how you want to use your 800 line. Below you’ll see a few choices that describe the situations in which you’d want to choose a particular solution for your needs, and a recommended company to go with for each. You can’t go wrong with any of these, and they’re all no contract providers unless you choose to take advantage of a 12 month discount or coupon code, so you can always switch providers down the road and port your number wherever you’d like for a small fee. But my goal is to help you pick out the best option for your needs now, so you won’t have to do that in the future.
800 Number Forwarding To Cell Phone
If you just want a toll free number to forward to your cell phone, Grasshopper is the cheapest option for that. A close second is Phone.com, but if you want to add a couple features like transcription, grasshopper is the more affordable choice and it’s included in their plans.
Both of these services offer number forwarding, and have free smartphone apps that let you use your business line on your cell phone from anywhere in the world. Business SMS text messaging is supported and included.
The most affordable of the two is Grasshopper, and it’s the easiest to setup. You can add unlimited custom extensions for that “press 1 for sales” “2 for customer support” big company feel if that’s what you’re going for… Very professional, easy to use, and super cheap.
Softphone – Answer Calls On Your Laptop
Most people don’t know that you can use your computer to receive and make calls on your business line, but a lot of the VOIP companies these days have a free softphone application that runs on your laptop or desktop that let’s you do just that.
This is where there starts to be a gap between number forwarding services and virtual phone system providers… A company like Grasshopper does not support this, and you would want to go with a fully featured virtual business phone solution like Phone.com. You’re going to pay a bit more, but if these features are something that would make your life easier, it’s well worth it.
Related Reading: RingCentral VS Grasshopper Phone System Review
Office Desk Phone System
This is what really separates the men from the boys if you will… You can get toll free 800 numbers from any of the providers, but what’s under the hood is going to be drastically different, and also come with a drastically different price tag.The purpose of breaking this down for you like this, is so you’re not signing up for a more expensive service than you really need, and can save as much money as possible.
All of the forwarding services I list do not support physical hardware, and are strictly a BOYD service. (bring your own device) Just like the name implies, you must have an existing location/device/number/something in order to receive your number forwards. With a voip business phone system, you’ll have access to voip phones, phone adapters if you want to use old devices with a voip connection, and backend features that let you do advanced auto attendant setups for custom call routing based on department selections.
Which Solution Is The Most Affordable
The most affordable 800 number solution for most people, is Grasshopper at $12/mo. If you need more minutes, they have more expensive plans you can upgrade to later, but most people won’t use a ton of inbound toll free minutes on their 800 lines to start. They have a good selection of available toll free numbers to choose from, and you can usually get a good custom vanity number as well if that’s what you’re looking for. Use the number search feature here
For most business owners, this is all they need to add an 800 number line for their business. It’s only when you get into more complex call routing or phone call recording, that you need to upgrade to a more full featured provider like the other listed above. Starting at $25 – $50/mo though, it’s an unnecessary expense unless you really need it. And with tons of good reviews, many people I know personally have been extremely happy with Grasshopper, and are still customers today.
Conclusion: What Provider Works Well For Most People?
It’s 2017, and most brick and mortar and retail businesses are changing. With ecommerce becoming more and more popular, and mobile service based businesses being more prevalent year after year, most people really only need a business number forwarding service. Since almost everyone these days has a reliable cell phone, most small business owners will rarely use the functionality of a full blown virtual phone system unless they have a large office with multiple lines and secretaries. That said, for most people either Grasshopper or Phone.com work the best and are the most affordable solutions with great flexibility, and no contracts.
I Just Want Cheap Toll Free Number Forwarding With No Bells And Whistles… Which Service Should I Go With?
Same as above, as both companies give you a free smartphone app to use on your work or personal cell phone…. That way you can forward calls, control when and how it rings, etc… All without any hassle or waiting on the phone company to change settings for you, not to mention call tracking stats and analytics if you like monthly reporting.