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Having a separate phone number for your business adds a level of credibility to your side hustle. Maybe your personal phone number currently doubles as your business number because you don’t think you can afford a separate line.
In reality, you can actually get a free business phone number for any business. Business phones can be a large expense for businesses, and these tips make it possible to make unlimited business calls for free.
For example, a business number can be essential to your personal concierge business. Your business phone number can be a local phone number or toll-free number to establish a local or national presence. Or, you might want to offer two different numbers to give your customers a choice.
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Free Business Phone Number? What’s the Catch?
Besides not having to pay for a second phone number, you also don’t have to buy another cell phone. Your calls can be forwarded to your current cell phone so you don’t need a second cell phone or a desk phone.
Even though you have a free phone number, you might have to pay for additional services including:
- Auto Attendant
- Live Receptionist
- Voicemail to Email
- Multiple extensions or phone numbers
- Additional minutes
Most free business phone numbers only come with a limited amount of minutes. For example, you might only be able to have 300 to 500 free minutes per month. That’s about 25 minutes a day you can use on a free plan. If you need to share those minutes with other associates, you may need to upgrade to a paid plan to avoid any overage charges.
For some of the recommendations, your phone number might only be free during a free trial period. In these instances, you usually have 30 days to decide which subscription plan is best for you.
Where to Get Your Free Business Phone Number
There are several places you can find a free business phone number. You will have the opportunity to get a local number or a toll-free number. Depending on the service provider, you can either have the incoming calls forwarded to your personal cell phone. Or, you can also use your computer or desk phone to receive calls or make outbound calls too.
A few years ago, the idea of free cell phone service seemed impossible. Today, FreedomPop is a leader in the free cell phone movement. You can get started with their Basic Free plan that includes the following perks when you’re not connected to a wifi network:
- 200 minutes
- 500 text messages
- 500MB LTE data
There is a one-time activation fee $19.99 activation fee, FreedomPop’s plan can be completely free for every month going forward. Because this is technically a “personal” cell phone plan, you will only get a local phone number and a separate cell phone.
FreedomPop uses the Sprint carrier network for voice, text, and LTE data. What makes it possible for FreedomPop to offer free service every single month is that your phone calls are made on your public wifi network instead of the cellular towers.
Even though you might have 200 minutes each month, you can technically make unlimited calls, texts, and internet surfing if you remain connected to a public wifi network.
If you need additional business phone services, FreedomPop offers add-on business services too. When you simply want to give your side hustle or small business a more professional appearance and you don’t need a toll-free 1-800 number, their Basic Free plan is a great starting point.
With eVoice, you can get a free local number and 1-800 for 30 days. After this time, the eVoice Lite plan offers the following perks for $12.99 a month:
- 300 minutes
- 2 extensions
- 6 numbers
There are more luxurious plans you can upgrade to if you need more minutes or phone numbers.
It’s also possible to have a live receptionist answer your phone calls from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. During the off-hours, the eVoice auto attendant will field any phone calls you receive.
You get a 30-day free trial with FreedomVoice but you have the option of getting a vanity business phone number instead of a randomly assigned toll-free or local phone number. For a vanity number, you will need to pay a one-time $30 activation fee.
So, if you want to tell your clients a phone number they won’t forget, FreedomVoice can be an attractive option.
With every plan, you can also enjoy these concierge features:
- Virtual auto attendant
- Auto-phone forwarding
- Unlimited voicemail boxes
- iPhone and Android app calling capability
4. Google Voice
You might already use a Gmail account for your business email, so why not get a free business phone number too! You can use the Google Voice app to make free phone calls and texts on the following devices:
The app can transcribe your voicemail and you can filter spam phone calls too. It’s also possible to filter spam phone calls and forward your messages to any device. As long as you have the Google Voice app, you can access your business phone number from anywhere.
Google Voice only lets you get a free local phone number. You will need to use another recommendation if you need a toll-free number.
For free international business calls, you can give iNum a whirl. You will be assigned a phone number with an (883) global country code for voice and SMS communication. Right now, your iNum can be called for free with several networks including Phone.com and several other free international phone call apps.
Eventually, your iNum can be reached for free from any phone in the world. Until then, iNum can still be one of the most affordable ways to contact international clients.
You might be able to get a free business phone number from CallCentric. The only downside is that you can only receive phone calls for free and need to pay to make outbound calls. Regarding inbound calls, you can receive unlimited inbound calls.
It’s also possible to make free outgoing calls to other CallCentric customers and VoIP networks. For non-CallCentric phone calls, you can pay by the minute or monthly plans start at $1.95 for 120 minutes for outbound calls to Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico.
One reason why CallCentric is so affordable is that they use voice-over-internet technology. By using the CallCentric mobile app, you can use your Apple or Android device. You can also use a regular business desk phone if it has IP-capability to connect to your local internet network.
Another VoIP app offering free business phone numbers is Phonebooth. This service isn’t completely free as you pay $20 per month for each user. You get two free phone numbers and the monthly fee pays for the following unlimited amenities:
- Nationwide local and long distance
- Auto attendants
- Voicemail transcriptions
- Group conferences (Two free bridges)
Other apps charge an additional monthly fee for some of these features and you only have a finite amount of minutes. Even though you pay $20 upfront each month, you can be spending significantly less than with other business phone number providers.
You also don’t have a contract so you can pay month-by-month for additional flexibility. And, Phonebooth doesn’t charge setup fees and other hidden fees that you might not know about during the enrollment process either.
How to Maximize Your Free Business Phone Number
Keeping costs to a minimum is essential for businesses of every size. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company or you’re self-employed with zero employees, spending less money means more profit.
You have several different options to get a free business phone number, but each option is a better option for different businesses.
Local Phone Number or Toll-Free Number?
Depending on your business, you may only cater to local customers or you might perform work for customers all over the country. If you only need a local number, it’s easier to get a business number that’s 100% free.
To get a toll-free number, you can usually pick a randomly assigned number for free. If you want a vanity number, like 123-FAST, you will probably have to pay a one-time activation fee.
Cell Phone or Desk Phone?
You also need to decide if you want to use your cell phone or desk phone for business calls. The most affordable option will be using your current cell phone to field your personal and business calls. You can download an app to make outbound business calls from your phone too.
For more advanced capabilities, you can also get a desk phone. Or, you can have a separate business-only cell phone if you use a service like FreedomPop which gives you a free cell phone along with a 100% free monthly cell phone plan.
Unlimited Minutes or Limited Minutes?
Business phone numbers might only be free if you sparingly make phone calls. You might only have up to 300 free minutes each month. If you have multiple employees with company phones or you make several calls a day, you can burn through the 300 minutes quickly. If you need to pay for minutes, you should compare the business phone plan that offers the best rate.
VoIP apps are flexible and let you make calls on any desk phone, cell phone, or computer. These apps can be your best option if you need unlimited minutes.
Do You Need Additional Business Concierge Services?
Several apps offer free voicemail transcription that you can read in the app or online. Other apps offer free text messages and free incoming calls. But, you may need additional services that don’t give your customers the impression that they’re calling somebody’s cell phone.
You may have to pay extra for these features, but some business phone number plans might offer them for free:
- Live Receptionist
- Auto Attendant
- Multiple Extensions
- Conference Calls
Every free business phone number service prices these additional amenities differently, so you’ll need to price shop to find the best deal.
Instead of calling your local phone company to get a business phone number, these alternatives can give you a number for free. And, you can also get some additional services like live receptionists and auto attendants that you might not find from a traditional landline or wireless phone company either. If you want to save some cash in monthly phone bills so you have more money to grow your business, this is a great place to start!
Do you use a cell phone or desk phone for business phone calls? Will a free business phone number help you connect with customers better?