You want to get a local phone number for your business, but you don't want a landline and you don't want to carry--or pay--for another cell phone plan. We don't blame you. Local phone numbers can be invaluable for businesses looking to gain credibility in a local market, especially with businesses built and run out of a personal home. Getting a dedicated "virtual number" that routes to your mobile is a financially practical and convenient solution for your home-based business.
Virtual numbers work directly with the cell phone you already have, which means you have no equipment to buy, nothing to service, and just one phone to keep track of throughout the day. Getting a local phone number for your business is easy - and inexpensive- if you know where to look. Here's what you need to know before you select a provider:
1. User & Department Extensions
Just because you're a one person (or small) operation working from your home doesn't mean your business phone communications should suffer. Some services that provide virtual numbers may also offer multiple extensions to allow you to either hook up multiple people to the same line or create "departments" to give your company a bigger business feel -- after all, as an entrepreneur you do wear many hats! The number of extensions can impact the price, so be sure to choose what best fits your current needs. Voxox Cloud Phone offers unlimited extensions, with the option to add or remove extensions on the fly as your business changes, without charge.
Some businesses use their calling features all the time and some just don't. Knowing how often you'll be on the phone will help you pick the best plan for your needs, at the best price. From paying per minute to plans of 1,000 to unlimited minutes, it's easy to find a calling plan that's right for you.
3. Text Messages
Clients and customers of days past may not have appreciated a business-related text message, but as people rely more on SMS for everyday communications, business to consumer SMS is on the rise. Imagine being able to text your client a meeting location, or update them on the status of a project with a simple text--and vice versa. It's fast and it's easy. If you're not sure text is right for you, look for a plan with a lower number of monthly messages and move up as you see fit. Or go for unlimited and text your heart out.
4. Number of Lines
The number of lines you can have on your single plans differs from the number of user and department extensions. Lines refer to new numbers. So if you have a home office and want two lines (say one is for clients and one is for your suppliers) you'll need to choose a plan that allows multiple phone numbers. Providers like Voxox Cloud Phone also let you choose between local and toll-free numbers, or a mix of both if you sign on with multiple lines. Read more here on why both types of numbers might be good for your business.
Not all virtual phone numbers are created equal when it comes to features. Some features, like voicemail, come standard, but other conveniences like conference calling and voicemail transcription might come at a premium. Check out the listings of included features before you select a plan, and make sure you're not getting charged extra for those features you really want.
6. Free Trial
Just because you think you need something, doesn't mean you do. By seeking out a provider that offers a free trial period of at least 30 days, you'll have a chance to try the service and see if it fits your needs. If you love it, keep it. And if you don't, look for another provider or communication channel that better fits your business.
Being able to manage your account easily on your own, without having to call a representative and wait on hold, is a life saver for busy business owners. Voxox Cloud Phone, for example, offers a simple and intuitive online management portal where you can add and remove lines and extensions, and pay your bill. You can even track activity to see if your current plan is right for your changing needs. If you find out it's not--go ahead and choose a new plan with the click of a button.
The cost of getting a local phone number via a virtual number is lower than you may think – considering the convenience and much needed features that should come with it. With a basic plan starting at just $12 from Voxox Cloud Phone, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something within your budget. Plus, unlike traditional mobile and landline plans, you don’t need to buy any extra equipment, or pay technician or start up fees.
Is there anything else you may want to consider when looking to get a local phone number for your business? Let us know and we’ll help answer your questions. Check out our plans and features here.