How To Get A Toll Free 800 Number Through Google Voice

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I see a lot of misinformation out there about getting free toll-free 1-800 numbers for business lines. A lot of people are recommending to just get a phone number through Google voice and use it like a one 800 number. I have to say most of these people are super inexperienced, and don’t realize you don’t actually own or control that number. In my opinion, this is very dangerous to put your business revenue streams in jeopardy via one of the primary content communication methods all businesses use.


perfect-business-number-grasshopper

The Limitations Of Google Voice For Business Lines

As of right now, Google does not offer 1-800 numbers when you select a number in Google Voice. This could change in the near future, but as of now it’s only local area code based numbers. There are couple of other ways to still use Google Voice if you’re on a tight budget though, and I want talk about them so you don’t get stuck in a situation where you lose a valuable phone number for your business.

The first is to buy your own number, and simply route it (port it over) through Google Voice for tracking. You can read about that in this Google Support doc here. You can also add a line to your Google Voice account if you’d like to do that as well to get your toll free 800 number elsewhere. There are two downsides to this in my opinion though, and the first is outbound calls… You won’t be able to do SMS and outbound calls on your business line like you would if you were using the Grasshopper app. The second is to just use a toll free forwarding number to your cell phone, but of course you wouldn’t be able to make this a true office line later on if your business takes off.


Related resources:


grasshopper-signup

How To Get A Toll Free 800 Number Through Google Voice

Like we mentioned above, if you’re looking to get toll-free 800 number that you can use with Google voice, it’s a pretty simple process to setup, but may not work out like you’d hoped. First you’ll want to pick out and purchase your toll free 1-800 number, and I’ll give some good inexpensive options for that below. Next you want to follow Google Voice instructions which are linked to below, which will show you how to set up your toll-free 800 number within the Google voice control panel itself.

The Best Places To Buy Your Toll Free 800 Number


grasshopper800#


I’ve written other articles covering similar parts of business phone services you might be interested in:


How To Setup Your Toll Free Number In Google Voice

Technically the only way you can use an outside toll free number with Google Voice, is by adding your 800 number as an activated number in the phones tab. You won’t be able to have a separate voicemail for this line with it set up this way, but you will be able to choose where it rings based on your forwarding settings.

See here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/voice/z_SnhYyVuBA

In the end, this isn’t going to work out like I’d hoped. I personally wouldn’t use this setup because it’s kind of a waste of money, and it’s a lot more flexible to just use an affordable 800 service like Grasshopper or Ring Central.


Other Google Voice Limitations For Small Business Use

I love Google Voice, and it’s an awesome service they provide for free that helps a lot of people. But when it comes to fully featured voip phone systems for business, there’s a few things it won’t let me do. For one call tracking isn’t as robust as say, Phone.com, and I also will never be able to record my calls if we’re doing targeted advertisements and whatnot.


Porting Your Number From Google Voice To Another Provider

I personally wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I put work into building a side business or something, and then had a hassle to unlock and port my number out of Google Voice. This is why I recommend providers like Grasshopper instead of Google Voice for small business use… I know a lot of people don’t like it when I say that all the time, but $10 bucks a month is a small price to pay to own your number and do whatever you want with it. (not to mention, be able to choose between a custom vanity number, or a toll free 1-800 number which you can’t currently get through Google Voice)

The instructions to unlock and forward your number do seem straightforward, and this Google Voice Help Forum article may be exactly what you need if you want to try that:

Porting a phone number out of Google Voice involves several steps that must be performed in order; performing them out of order is one cause of this condition.

  1. The Google Voice user follows the instructions to unlock their number.  This means, you are giving Google your permission to let another telephone service provider (the “gaining carrier”) take away your number.  After you do this, the porting status changes to “Unlocked”.

  2. You then ask your new service provider to go get the number from GV (this is your port request to your current cell carrier).

  3. The new service provider submits a port request via the national phone number porting system, NPAC

  4. Google approves their request.  After this happens, the porting status changes to “Unlocked(Approved)”.

  5. Now, it is entirely up to the gaining carrier to complete the process with NPAC.  There is absolutely no involvement by Google after step 4 above.

If your carrier claims that Google isn’t releasing the number, then things may have happened out-of-order.  Tell them to cancel your port request.  Wait a day.  Re-check your GV porting status page.  It should still say “Unlocked(Approved)”.  Now, start a new port request with the carrier.  It should go through with no errors.

src : https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/voice/PNTkirBpmXQ


Google Voice Landline Adapter

For those that really want to save money and sacrifice pre-configured SIP phones from a company like Phone.com, OBi makes a voip adapter that will let you connect up to four devices to your google voice account. I can’t comment on how well this works, because I haven’t tested it myself and probably never will. With voip providers pricing coming in at around $10 bucks a month for their all in one solutions, I doubt I would ever mess with one of these phone adapters for landline like service. But if you are looking for one, I’d recommend checking out the Obi202 since it supports multiple devices across two phone ports.


OBi200 1-Port VoIP Phone Adapter with Google Voice and Fax Support for Home and SOHO Phone Service

See It On Amazon

Quick Specs:

  • Works With Google Voice
  • Easy to Set-Up Using OBiTALK.com
  • Also Supports T.38 Fax and SIP Bring Your Own Device Services like Anveo, Callcentric, Voip.ms, etc.
  • Works with Up to Four (4) VoIP Services Across One (1) Phone Port
  • 1x USB for Obihai Accessories OBiWiFi and OBiBT
  • Easy to Set-Up Using OBiTALK.com
  • Also Supports T.38 Fax and SIP Bring Your Own Device Services like Anveo Callcentric, Voip.ms, etc.
  • Works with Up to Four (4) VoIP Services Across One (1) Phone Port
  • 1x USB for Obihai Accessories OBiWiFi and OBiBT

Google Voice Pros And Cons

My biggest gripe with using Google Voice for business, and what would deter me simply because I haven’t had a good experience getting customer support from Google for other services in the past, is the lack of a dedicated support department with a customer support phone number so I can call them. I’d even be happy to pay for this, but relying on the Google Product forums to get answers at leisure, is simply not an option if business revenue is on the line. (not to mention the lack of certain area codes being available, and no 911 calls)

I know when I call Grasshopper Phone Service customer support line, I get someone right away that can access my account and fix things for me in real time. That to me, is the biggest selling point for using a a paid number forwarding service over a free provider. We all know the pros of Google Voice, and they’re still a great fit for a lot of people…. it’s just that when you start doing business activities day to day, another solution is probably a better fit.


You Can’t Buy A Google Voice Number And Do Whatever You Want With It

A lot of people would like to start out using a free Google Voice number, and then port it out of the GV platform to switch to a paid provider once they’re making money or their needs change. But there limitations to this, and many people get caught using a number for a year or so like I mentioned above, and then are stuck when they want to add an 800 number to their account, or switch to a custom vanity number for their business advertisements.

There are several service like Google Voice that will let you do all of the above, and all of the no contract providers I recommend have the same good smartphone app just like Google Voice does… making them super easy to use.


Other resource that might be helpful: http://blogs.findlaw.com/technologist/2015/01/this-is-how-i-got-a-free-vanity-phone-line-for-my-law-firm.html

Call forwarding instructions for major carriers:

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13 Comments

    • Hi Caroline,

      I would hardly call them a scam, many people use Ring Central services and love them, and they work very well for video conferencing compared to most providers. But I did take a look at your review on BBB… and it does indeed look like you had to jump through some unnecessary hoops to cancel. I’ll ask my account rep about that and see what can be done to make that process smoother in the future. Although from what I can tell, it seems like you’re outraged over cancelling a $10/mo fax service? Seems a bit amiss…

      • They might not be a SCAM but I worked for them and they are Russian based and that is fine in itself except the owner is/was very cheap and the reliability was so so… they are expensive, but choose them if you want to, they have lost a LOT of their appeal for most since 2012 when I worked for them and I hardly see them advertised anywhere anymore… Your Choice! but definitely get some other choices…

        • Hi Thomas,

          I’m assuming you’re talking about Ring Central? It isn’t 100% clear in your comment, just curious since I haven’t heard this before. (and want to make sure this isn’t another case of “creative” competitor sabotage going on like before)

  1. John Veridet on

    Matt this has helped a lot, thanks for this. I could not figure out why I kept getting the google voice error when searching for a number. I did not realize you cannot get a 1-800 toll free line through them until I started poking around and found you site. now I see all kinds of people talking about how it is not ringing right for them, and it is not working 100% of the time. I can’t take a chance on not getting my customers calls, have you had any of these problems with them too? What about these phone adapters like an obi have you used those with good success? Sorry for so many questions, I just do not see them anywhere else. Do you think I should just go with another provider altogether besides google voice so I can go toll free? thanks heaps!

    • Hey John,

      Glad it helped. I don’t personally use Google Voice anymore for business, simply because some of the functionality I require for some projects (like call tracking) isn’t available on their platform. I’ve heard of people liking the Obi adapters, but you’re still in the same boat on all the other fronts. If you want a toll free number, you’d be better offer to start with out with one of these Google Voice alternatives. Yes I think you should go with either phone.com or grasshopper… You’ll be much happier later on if you decide you want to add a line, phones, a softphone, etc… And you won’t have to fool with any number porting. Check out this guide here to see which is right for you.

    • Hi Nabee,

      Got your message and replied… I’m going to remove your phone number from public view, I don’t want spammers to get a hold of it and send you a bunch of nonsense!

  2. Matt, I’m using FreedomVoice, which recently stopped forwarding client calls. After multi-convos with Support the problem was fixed, but I’ve begun to doubt their longevity, stability and their background provider. They are inexpensive, so far. Grasshopper is 3 times as much for the same services, same with RingCentral, so I’m reluctant to pay more for services & don’t need (I use HelloFax). Did you try other carrier before Grasshopper? If so, why do they get your recommendation over others?

    • Hi Colin,

      Yep I’ve heard of this happening more and more with other forwarding services as well. How many minutes do you use on average? There are cheaper options if you don’t burn through large amounts…

      I’ve tried a lot of services over the years, the cheapest being Twilio at $1/mo + .013/min, but the call quality is horrible over time. (not something you want to use for a main business line, and I don’t use them at all, for anything, which is why I don’t recommend them anymore.)

      They get my recommendation because they’re backed by Cisco, so what’s happening to you right now, is the least likely to happen with them over other forwarding services. You also have to keep in mind that I’ve been at this for several years… When Grasshopper first started, it was only $10-12 bucks a month, with minutes included. It’s only been in the last year or so that they switched to all plans having unlimited minutes. That’s what drove the price up, but for most users, you actually save money if you use more than 300 minutes/mo.

      Without having more details about your usage, it’s kinda hard to make a different recommendation. You might take a look at Phone.com, I like them a lot, and plans start at $9.99/mo. Here’s a 20% off code they sent me for this month, might help ya a bit.

      • Matt, Sounds likely, then, that FreedomVoice will follow with rate increases if they add subscribers. The FV corporate photo shows a happy clan, which did much to sell me on them; however, because they are downline from another, larger internet entity which they had to consult to correct my problem, I’m less convinced of their viability. Do you use phone.com? If so, have you had to deal with their support crew?

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