Business Phone Line Options of Today

Cell phones are a part of our lives, and for better or worse, they are becoming further ingrained into both our personal and business lives.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to look around and not see the majority of individuals with a cell phone in hand, taking care of business or tending to personal matters.

The busy business owner juggling briefcases on the way into the office, cell propped between shoulder and head, glued to ear, is no exception. From personal calls, texting and tweeting, to business calls, networking and emailing, the smart cell phone can do it all.

But are there benefits to having a phone line restricted specifically to business calls? Is a second phone line for your business necessary, or even all that useful?

This and more will be explored below. Read on to find out if shelling out your hard earned dollars for a second phone line is the way to go…

Second Cell phone as Business Line – Benefits

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A separate business line has some obvious benefits.

Professionalism

Firstly, it’s certainly more professional to conduct business on a separate phone line. Not many employers would enjoy having their personal phone number printed on a business card.

With a separate line for work, one need not worry about giving that personal phone number to clients and colleagues, or having a spouse sit through your professional business voicemail prompt before they can leave you a message about what’s for dinner for that matter.

Distinct Separation of Work and Play

With a separate business phone, there is no concern for that awkward and seemingly inevitable text message sent to the wrong person (hopefully not that important client) or the pocket-dialing disaster that occurs at the worst time and leaves your boss a long and inappropriate voicemail.

Using a separate business cell phone eliminates the risk of dealing with personal and unprofessional calls in a professional work environment.

Control and Clear Distinction between your Personal and Professional Hours

Finally, using just one phone will likely result at times in the crossing of boundaries between personal and work time for entrepreneurs and small business owners with autonomy over how they spend both their working and off hours. When you can’t put your business phone down on the weekend because it’s also your personal phone, the odds are you will be answering business calls if they come in, interrupting family time or other obligations. At work, the opposite could become an issue, with personal calls interrupting and negatively affecting work performance.

A second cell phone can easily serve as a business phone and is for obvious reasons preferable over a landline for entrepreneurs on the go. But do you really want to carry a phone in each pocket? And is it really worth it to pay the bill for two cell phones, just to separate work calls and personal calls?

Read on to explore these issues further…

A Second Phone Line on your Cell as Business Line

Iphone screen

Another option is a dedicated phone line on your beloved cell phone.

All work-related calls and texts are sent to the second number, keeping work neatly separated from personal life. Various apps for iPhone and Android devices offer these virtual secondary number services for a monthly cost ranging from free to five and ten dollars. That’s much cheaper than adding another phone line to the monthly cell service bill!

Google Voice offers the service as well, but is known for having a noticeable lack of updates, minimal support and spotty performance.

Another popular app that’s highly supported, and generally receives top ratings and reviews is Hushed. Hushed is privacy-focused and offers a feature-rich, highly supported and performance-minded solution starting at just $1.99. So for less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks you could be well on your way to setting up a second private number for your business or other ventures.

Some apps even allow you to text and make custom voicemail greetings and voicemail forwarding.  Apps also allow for privacy and personal space while remaining available to business connections without physically juggling a second cell phone. For example, Hushed doesn’t even require a credit card to purchase the app.

The applications which provide a second phone line, are not to be confused with Wi-Fi calling. As such, generally standard rates apply according to phone service plan. In reality, this is just a third party that establishes a second phone line for you elsewhere and actually just transfers those calls to your phone when a call comes in. Some service providers include this extra service. For example, Verizon offers “second voice”, which is an extra phone line, for $14 dollars. However, users must also pay additional charges for minutes used on the second line.

Virtual phone systems (VOIP) as business lines

visual description of a phone system

Many small business owners are opting for virtual phone systems, which are essentially call forwarding services set up through a computer (or mobile app on a cell) online. These services offer telephone numbers that can be used to enable long distance service without incurring long distance charges, by routing calls to the user’s actual phone number. Business owners can actually purchase 1 800 numbers from virtual phone companies like Vonage and Grasshopper.

800 Numbers – What’s the deal?

Although most cell phones don’t charge long distance fees anymore, there is still an incentive to having an 800 number. The area code is among the most professional.  It sets your business apart from local companies and indicates your business may be nationwide. The cost for this service can vary, usually between 20$ and 50$.

Vanity Numbers

Vanity 1800 numbers can also be purchased. These numbers are customized to spell words associated with the business, making it easier for potential customers or clients calling to remember the number after seeing it in advertisements.

There are more benefits to that number. Start-up companies and small businesses struggling to make a name for themselves feel more professional to the client if it’s a toll-free number. Virtual phone services can even let you choose local numbers. Customers will picture a professional office setting but you may be working out of a less traditional work environment, at Starbucks on your cell.

Virtual Phone Services Providers

Virtual phone services like Grasshopper and TalkRoute allow for the creation of customizable greetings, sometimes with voice studios to create perfectly professional greetings and pre-recorded messages. Record an informational message with directions, product descriptions, or services offered, for clients who only need basic information about the company. You can set up a company directory to play along with custom “hold” music and commercials. To gather employees together, there are often built-in conference calling features.

Flexibility

Running a business with a virtual phone system and dedicated phone line applications, employee and employees can benefit from the flexibility of schedules and the ability to work just about anywhere because they always have access to business and customer calls.

This system can get to be a little expensive, considering the cost of the forwarding service in addition to the traditional cell phone service bill, assuming you use the service on the cell’s mobile app.

Landline as a business line

Deskphone on a desk

Some businesses still incorporate landlines, but more often desktop phones are no longer used. There is little time to sit and wait for calls when so much can be accomplished with a business cell phone in hand (or pocket). Of course, landlines still can and are used in some office environments, particularly large firms with multiple extensions for transferring. Multiple extensions can easily be set up with the aforementioned virtual phone services as well, however. Business owners can extend lines to employees who can, in turn, record their own greetings and set up call forwarding as needed. No client would guess that you aren’t all sitting at your offices in the same building down the street, balancing rotary desktop phone receivers on your shoulders.

Benefits of a Landline Business Line

If you spend a great deal of time in the office or want to restrict your business calls to your business hours in the office, a landline has its benefits too, however. The signal is typically strong with a landline, and the monthly cost is lower, between $15-30$ for basic service, which generally includes features such as caller ID, call waiting, and voicemail which can be customized easily. Long distance calling is usually higher but if most calls are local, a landline can be a money-saving option. Toll-free numbers can be purchased for landlines too.

There are benefits to keep being a landline installed as a secondary phone in any case. Building security systems usually require a landline connection to monitor fire and Burglar Alarm sensors. Finally, a phone with a corded base can work during a power outage, as long as it’s connected to a conventional land line. You never have to worry about a dead battery either.

Closing Thoughts

If it’s time your business began using its own phone line, or your business is ready to make a change, consider the options presented in this guide.

In addition to buying a second cell phone and using a desktop landline, adding a second, separate number to your cell can be a cheap and convenient solution. Purchasing 1 800 numbers from virtual routing services is also an excellent method for quite easily starting up your own business line at little cost.

Think about the needs of your company and choose an option that works for your business. And if you’re looking for a full-featured app with additional privacy and data protection built in, consider checking out Hushed, a top rated stand along app that is compatible with both iOS and Android-operated smartphones and tablets.