You might be wondering if you need a second phone number. And if so, whether or not you'll need to purchase a separate phone. If you're wondering the best way to get a separate business line, you’re in good hands because we will cover your questions in this article!
Imagine yourself as Bob. He is the owner of a growing home service business. Every day, he has over 30 clients calling him about quote requests. As the father of two girls, Bob is expected to drive his kids to school and pick them up afterwards. With commitments from both sides, Bob is bombarded with incoming calls on a daily basis. If you're in a similar situation, what options do you have to better separate your work from your personal life?
In many cases you'll find yourself needing to purchase a separate business phone and business number. This solution has quite a few downsides:
- Leads to confusion: With two separate phone numbers and phones, it’s easy to mix up who you’re getting calls from -- which phone am I using again?
- Highly Inconvenient: You have to carry two phones wherever you go
- Very expensive: It’s pricey to purchase a brand new phone
A better solution would be to get two phone numbers on one phone.
Benefits of Having Two Phone Numbers on One Phone
Instead of spending $800+ on a new phone with additional monthly fees, you will only have to spend around $20 - $30 a month. Some services are even free if you only use a certain amount of minutes per month.
Faster Response to Both Parties:
If you have two phones, you will miss calls easily and your delayed response may end up in loss deals or family conflict. With the same phone, it will provide more convenience to access any calls or texts at the touch of a button.
Better Time Management:
You may notice that you are frequently going back and forth between your two phones. This not only wastes a lot of your time but adds further confusion to who you are answering to. When you use one phone instead, all your information is centralized, thus more time is saved.
Don’t Need to Carry an Extra Phone:
Do you ever experience the burden -- both physically and psychologically -- of carrying two phones? You always have to remember to take both phones everywhere you go and it’s not light in your pockets as well. By only using one phone, you will free up your hands and your mind.
Keep Work and Personal Life Separated:
We all have our boundaries when it comes to work and personal life. Nobody likes picking up an urgent work call at a family event or vice versa. This is why it’s crucial for you to know which calls are for which purposes. You will find yourself much more “present” when spending time with your family and enjoying your time off.
Nobody likes having their personal information easily acceptable to spammers and telemarketers. With you're personal line separated from business, you'll keep your personal number private from potential spammers.
How to Get Two Numbers on One Phone?
Here are four common options that allow you to access two numbers on one phone.
A sim card is a portable memory chip that will store all your digital information ranging from your personal contact information to your phone settings.
If you have a phone on hand with a SIM card, you can freely transfer it to another phone. However, you have to make sure that the new phone’s SIM is compatible with your existing phone. This is where you need to contact your current phone carrier for more information.
It might be more convenient to also set up a SIM card manager, which organizes your address, dialing numbers, and other data before any transfer. Note, this is only available on android devices.
Some phone carriers do provide the option to “forward your calls” by transferring calls to another phone. You can set this up manually using two ways. 1) routing calls immediately from one number to another 2) routing calls to the other number only if you miss the call from the first number.
Mobile Voip Solutions
There are multiple third-party mobile solutions that will allow you to register for a new phone number while using your existing device. You can use this new number to make/take calls on your phone and other connected devices (ex. tablets and computers).
A handful of mobile carriers do allow users to link multiple phone numbers to the same phone. We've shared a few of their services below.
Verizon One - Talk is a multi-line telephone solution connecting your office phone to your mobile devices, providing business telephone features on any of your common devices.
- Easy to bill: existing Verizon customers can just add this expense directly to their phone statement invoice
- Industry-standard pricing: $25/user/month
- Easy to switch: Since it’s a cloud based service, there’s no need to purchase additional hardware
- Brand awareness issues: new product to market
- Lack of desktop support
- IP phones (Yealink) aren’t compatible with other providers except for Verizon
AT&T Number Sync allows users to sync their AT&T smartphone number with an Android tablet to make and receive calls on their personal cell phone.
- Works with a wide variety of devices ranging from iPad, Alexa, and smartwatches
- Decent pricing: $10 a month per device
- Easy to bill: existing AT&T customers can just add this expense directly to their phone statement invoice
- Lots of disconnection issues based on customer feedback
- Fraud issue -- hackers stealing data
T-Mobile DIGITS is a T-Mobile service that lets users use one phone numbers across various devices (directing multiple phone numbers to a single phone or to a desktop)
- Price-effective bundle: If you already pay for one of T-Mobile’s unlimited plans then you’re eligible for DIGITS for free
- Easy to bill: existing T-Mobile customers can just add this expense directly to their phone statement invoice
- More expensive option: $10 - $15/month to sign up for additional number and another $10/month for smartphone pairing
Best Mobile VOIP Solutions
While there are many options to get two numbers on one phone, mobile VOIP solutions remain one of the best options due to how easy they are to setup and the extra built in features they include. Below are some of the most popular options on the market.
ProPhone is a business phone for service pros. By using ProPhone, all of your texts and phone calls will be centralized within a mobile app. You will be able to share the line with multiple users and the app has build in auto reply text messages so you never need to worry about missing another call from a customer.
- Custom local phone number, automated text messages to missed calls, multiple users on one line, do not disturb mode, contact notifications and reminders
- Affordable pricing
- Ability to share one line with multiple team members
- Modern UI/UX that easy to navigate and learn
- Brand recognition -- we hope to build a larger customer base and get our name out there!
- Available only for Apple IOS
Download the app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1554260570
Check out the demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htJV2pHam1Y&t=36s
Sideline is a virtual phone number provider for small business owners. All of its services are within a communication app that provides you and your business with a second phone line
- $9.99/month, $49.99/6 month, $99.99/year for Standard Plan
- $14.99/month, $39.99/3 month, $69.99/6 month, $129.99/year for Pro Plan
- Contact Sideline for Team and Enterprise Plan (with inclusion of auto-attendant)
- International calling (as an add-on for $14.99/line), voicemail transcription and greetings, auto-reply text messages
- Affordable pricing on lowest tier
- Suitable with very small teams who focus on SMS- branded text messages
- No toll free number option
- Expensive international calling option
- No desktop support (only mobile)
Google Voice for Business is a cloud-based virtual calling app that provides free and unlimited calling service. Through the Google voice app, users can combine multiple phone numbers into a single phone number. All users need to do is to set up a Google voice number account via their desktops or mobile devices. After an account is registered, users can immediately begin texting and calling from any of their existing devices.
- $10 for Starter: Up to 10 users, up to 10 domestic locations, with all basic services
- $20 for Standard: Unlimited number of users, unlimited domestic locations, with all features of the Starter Plan
- additional services include multi-level auto attendant, ring groups, desk phone support, and eDiscovery
- $30 for Premier: Unlimited number of users, unlimited domestic and international locations, with all features of the Standard Plan
- additional services include advanced reporting (big query) and data regions
- Voicemail, Voice - To - Text Transcription, Call Recording, Conferencing, Visual Voicemail
- Supports both IOS and Android devices
- Free service provides added accessibility for all users
- Additional features (refer to Services) included in registration at no additional costs
- Porting does require an additional fee (one - time)
- Can’t port any landline phones to Google Voice
- No call recording can take place for outgoing calls
Grasshopper is a virtual internet phone service for small businesses that provides users a virtual PBX via a softphone (thus, Grasshopper is a hosted pbx provider) via a softphone. Users also have the ability to directly transfer their phone numbers to the Grasshopper platform through porting.
What is a virtual PBX? Phone system that uses IP communication hosted by a service or cloud provider. No hardware or additional phone line installations are required.
What is a softphone? An application that replicates a phone interface (ex. telephone keypad). Users are able to use this application and make any calls over any broadband connection.
- $26 for Solo plan : 1 toll-free number with up to 3 extension (with all the services)
- $44 for Partner plan: 3 toll-free number up to 6 extensions (with all the services)
- $80 for Small business plan: 5 toll-free number with unlimited extensions (with all the services)
- Domestic voice minutes, Text messaging, Read your voicemail messages
- Supports both IOS and Android devices
- Unlimited access to services (from voice minutes to text messaging)
- Added option to forward voicemails to email addresses
- Lack of advanced VOIP features
- Inability to filter spam messages/calls
PhoneBooth is a cloud-based virtual telephone provider offered in the US only. It’s main service, PhoneBooth On-Demand offers unlimited local and long-distance calls with a HD voice capability. When you register for the service, you get immediate access to two phone lines -- local numbers in the area.
- $20 a month/user with all the additional services
Services (all unlimited):
- Access to auto-attendants, sales/support groups, voicemail transcriptions, group conferences
- Affordable pricing
- No contract required -- no long-term commitment and ability to cancel anytime
- Focus on customer service
- User interface is not as easy to use
- Can only receive 200 minutes of calls per month
RingCentral is a cloud-based VOIP. It’s main service, MVP, offers voice, fax, text, online meetings, conferencing, and collaboration services.
- $19.99 a month/user for Essentials
- $27.99 a month/user for Standard
- $34.99 a month/user for Premium
- $49.99 a month/user for Ultimate
- Some examples include extensions, call screening, call delegation, vanity/toll-free numbers, call forwarding, voice-mail to email, visual voicemail, paging, one-touch calling (ringout), call from any device (call flip), call holds, internet fax
- Access to a plethora of features
- Different plan options -- easy to pick and switch
- Data-driven -- live reports, QoS reports and have a dedicated analytics portal
- UI improvements -- hard to navigate for new users and can be clunky
- Choice paralysis -- too much services offered that users don’t really need
What Type of of Business Number Should You Get?
The 1-800 is a nationwide toll-free number used for business purposes. Utilizing this number improves the customer call rate because all incoming charges go to the owner of the number (thus the business itself).
The 1-800 number provides an added credibility to the business. Because customers are more willing to call, businesses are able to reach more customers and improve lead generation. Additionally, it’s easier for customers to contact the business for any questions or concerns.
A business number that reaches a customer base within a certain locale (by area code number).
Unlike the 1-800 number that serves nation-wide, local business numbers only pertain to a set location. This may work better for certain businesses that want to provide the “neighborly” feel and garner trust from local audiences.
A phone number that starts with a “09” and is in operation when certain services are provided by the business. It will cost money for the caller (up to $4.18 per minute).
As a business, you’re able to earn extra money with each incoming call. It’s smart to opt into this if your business is running competition or providing customer extra incentives to call.
What to consider before getting a second number?
Question to ask: Is there a business need to obtain a second number number?
A lot of the time, if you’re just starting out as a small business, there is limited customer bandwidth. It might not make financial sense to purchase one. On the other hand, if you’re a fast-growing business with 50+ recurring and new customers every week, adding a second line will help offload a lot of the burden and better communication.
Question to ask: What product features on my phone would be useful to my business?
There are many features offered in the market. Some are free given you already pay for the basic service while others aren’t. It’s important for you and your business to do in-depth market research comparing all the features and its selected pricing. For instance, if you’re very busy with answering client calls, it might be wise to set up an unlimited voicemail service. This way, you can get back to potential customers when time frees up.
Ease to setup:
Question to ask: How easy is it to set up an additional number on my phone?
Setting up a new phone is no easy feat. Not only does it cost additional money, you need to make sure it doesn’t disturb your current communication outlets. Any delays in transitioning services or getting set up could lead to lost sales.
Question to ask: Could I contact customer support easily if I have an immediate/ongoing problem?
If you’re opting to a new service, you want to make sure the team is reachable and can make set adjustments.
Question to ask: Should I go with the porting option?
To port means to permanently move a phone number to another provider (the old account will be closed off). If you decide to port, you run the risk of having your phone number go offline for a period of time. It's important before porting to do research and check with your carrier on all the potential risks. This will help you plan out the best way to transition a number to a new carrier.
Is it illegal to have two phone numbers?
No, it’s not illegal to have two phone numbers. However, we do recommend you to do some market research to evaluate your best options. For instance, if you’re already a part of a certain mobile carrier, see if they have a service that can provide you two numbers. Many times, they carriers run special deals and discounts for their existing customers. If this isn’t the case, you can look for virtual phone services.
Can I get multiple numbers for landlines?
Yes, there are multi-line phone systems such as 2 - line business phone systems and 4- line phone systems. Multiple people can be the dialer at the same time. You can also forward landlines to cell phones.
There are many factors to consider before you decide the best solution for getting two phone lines. Two questions to ask yourself 1) What problems do I hope to resolve by getting two phone numbers? 2) What solution/package will make the most sense for my needs? After finding that sweet-spot, here are some further considerations that you can keep in mind:
- Don't go with an option just because it's easy to do: Here, we covered the likes of call forwarding and SIM card transfers. Both options take less effort and time to set up compared to VOIP options. Nevertheless, the amount of features offered is limited. For instance, there are no auto attendants or advanced voicemail transcriptions. Both could prove to be difference makers when it comes to customer care and efficiency.
- Research and evaluate the long-term impact of each option: Sometimes, a certain option seems better than others from the get-go. For instance, it might be free until you hit a certain maximum quota or be complimentary to your existing infrastructure. However, it's crucial to think beyond the immediate -- your business might be scaling rapidly and another, more expensive option will cut you the better deal.
- It's okay to change: We know this process of selection can be grueling and difficult since there's so many options. Make sure to take your time before any decision by using internet resources (like our blog post:) or asking the likes of previous business owners. Keep in mind, you can always go back on your choices, if needed.
We hope this post was helpful in guiding what services you'll choose!