Despite the rise of email, video conferencing, and chatbots, the phone remains the king of business communication. A 2021 study found 12,000 consumers and nearly 2,000 businesses ranked the phone above all other forms of communication.
If you’re looking to find out how to get a business phone number — one you can use exclusively for work — your choices may seem clear on paper. But what you might not know is some options allow you to operate your business more smoothly and make customers a lot happier than others.
In this article, we’ll share all the key benefits of getting a business phone system, the best phone technology you can use, and how to get a business number today. Let’s dive in!
How to get a business phone number today in 3 easy steps
The simplest method to get a business phone number is through a VoIP phone service like OpenPhone.
The exact process for getting a business phone number will depend on the provider you select. However, you can typically get started with your business phone system in three easy steps.
1. Sign up for an account
Some providers may require you to call, go in-store, or fill out an application to sign up for a phone plan. However, if you go with a virtual number provider like OpenPhone, completing the signup process is a lot like signing up for your favorite app.
You can sign up here (and get a free seven-day trial) to get started with OpenPhone.
During the signup process, you’ll be asked to provide a credit card and a $1 temporary hold will be placed on the card for identify verification purposes. However, you can cancel your free trial at any time and will even receive a heads up via email when your trial is set to expire.
2. Pick or port your number
Next, choose your new business phone number or port an existing number instead. With OpenPhone, during the signup process you can pick between local US, Canadian, or North American toll-free numbers.
If you already have a business number and are switching to a new provider, phone number porting means you keep the same number, so your clients get a seamless customer experience.
On average, the porting process takes five to seven business days for US numbers (or seven to 10 business days for Canadian numbers), but you can keep using your previous provider until your port is complete. VoIP services like OpenPhone also provide a temporary virtual phone number for you to use until your phone number porting is complete — and so you can confirm OpenPhone is a great fit for your business.
3. Customize your new phone system
Finally, take some time to customize your new business phone number. This includes your voicemail greeting, caller ID, and business hours.
With OpenPhone, you can use this checklist — complete with step-by-step instructions — to get up and running and take full advantage of your phone functionality.
What exactly is business phone number?
A business phone number is a telephone number that isn’t tied to any particular phone system. This lets companies access their phone number from multiple devices including computers, tablets, and smartphones. With the best business phone options, all you need to access your phone number is the provider’s app and an internet connection.
Do you really need a business phone number? Signs point to yes
If you’ve been using your personal phone number for work up until now, you’re missing out on greater peace of mind. Here are four ways getting a business phone number can set you up for success.
1. Get more work/life balance
When you’ve clocked out for the day, the last thing you want is a personal cell phone that won’t stop ringing with business calls and texts. A dedicated phone number for company use lets you set business hours to control when clients can reach you. After hours, anyone trying to reach your business phone line will instantly hear an away voicemail greeting — no need to manually deny calls.
Getting a business phone number also allows you to send calls to voicemail with “Do Not Disturb” mode whenever you’re busy without affecting your personal calls.
2. Keep your personal number private
Tired of getting spam calls on your personal telephone number? Small business owners and solopreneurs can protect their privacy by sharing a business number on their website, social media pages, and other marketing channels instead of their personal numbers. As your team grows, you can assign business phone numbers to your team members, so they can contact clients without sharing their private contact information.
3. Always know when incoming calls are for work
By using the right business phone solution, you don’t have to worry about your team accidentally answering a call unprofessionally because they thought someone was calling their cell number. They can see whether an incoming call is for work or business in a split second and always start conversations the right way.
4. Take advantage of more powerful phone features
Most providers that offer phone numbers for companies support more powerful features than those on your mobile phone. If you get your business phone number through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider, you can set up phone menus, professional voicemail greetings, and integrations to help you deliver a professional phone presence and save your team time. Keep reading to learn more about VoIP phone systems and why you should choose one when getting your business number.
Call me maybe — 3 types of business phone numbers to choose from
Before you learn how to get a business phone number, you need to decide what type of number you need. Business phone service providers offer three types of numbers that can each support different business needs.
1. Local business phone number
Local phone numbers have area codes tied to specific cities or regions. These numbers allow you to build a local presence in specific markets you serve. When prospects and customers don’t have your phone number saved, they’re more likely to answer your calls if they recognize the area code associated with the local number.
While traditional phone plans only allow you to get phone numbers with your local area code, VoIP services let you choose area codes from any supported region, often including those in other countries like Canada.
Typical cost: $13-$25 per month (pricing varies by provider)
2. Toll-free business phone number
Toll-free numbers allow the call recipient to foot the bill on behalf of their callers. This lets current and potential customers reach out to your business without worrying about the cost of international calls.
Toll-free phone numbers can also help you build a global presence and attract customers who live abroad. Plus, since businesses typically use toll-free numbers, they can appear more professional and boost trust in your brand fast.
With North American toll-free numbers — which have dedicated area codes like 800, 888, and 844 — you can let customers in 20 countries across the continent call you for free.
Typical cost: $13-$25 per month (pricing varies by provider)
3. Vanity business phone number
Vanity phone numbers are phone numbers spelling out a word or phrase. For example, your vanity number can be 1-800-CALL-SAM, which dials into a keypad as 1-800-225-5726.
Vanity numbers serve as marketing tools that make it easy for people to remember your number — even if they scroll past your ad in seconds — and call or text your business.
Typical cost: $13-$50 per month (pricing varies by provider)
5 key reasons why VoIP phone services are better than landlines
VoIP phone services let you call and text using an internet connection. With these services, you can get a VoIP number — also known as virtual phone numbers — that you can use from anywhere just by hopping on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
So what are the big differences between VoIP and landline phones? Here are five reasons why VoIP is the obvious choice.
1. Work from anywhere
VoIP phones let you use your business phone number anywhere you go as long as you have a solid internet connection. All you need to do is download your VoIP provider’s app on whatever device you’re using, and you’re all set to make and receive phone calls and text messages.
When you use a landline, your phone number is tied to that device only — and your device is a desk phone stuck in your office at all times. Your number being tied to a desk phone can lead to many missed calls while you’re on the go (unless you set up call forwarding, but text forwarding or texting from that number likely won’t be possible).
2. Use your existing devices
Brand-new devices can be a costly investment and a hassle to set up. When you sign up for a VoIP phone service, your team members can access their business phone numbers from any existing device, including a company laptop or their own iOS or Android phone. There’s no learning curve required to get started with the right phone system.
The best VoIP services offer desktop, browser, and mobile apps compatible with a wide range of devices for maximum flexibility. On the other hand, you’ll always need new, dedicated hardware to set up a landline number — and it can take time to familiarize yourself with desk phones.
3. Get a more cost-effective solution
With VoIP phones, you won’t just save on upfront costs. Virtual number plans are typically more affordable than mobile phone plans, which cost an average of over $127 per month. Plus, subscribers can get software updates just by updating their app. If you ever want features your current plan doesn’t support, you can simply upgrade your plan instead of purchasing brand-new phones.
While landlines often require ongoing maintenance by IT professionals, VoIP service providers take care of all the maintenance for you — and if you experience any issues with your business phone number, many offer free customer support to subscribers.
4. Send business texts from your computer or smartphone
Texting isn’t possible from landline phones. However, VoIP phones allow you to send texts from your computer, smartphone, or tablet — whichever device is most convenient for you. This way, you can build relationships through text and save time while communicating with customers via SMS or MMS.
5. Set up in one day
Landlines have complex setup procedures that often require the help of an IT professional. With a virtual phone service, you can easily sign up for an account online and get your business phone system up and running the same day.
Whether you choose a VoIP service or another phone provider, read on to learn the basic process involved to get a business phone number.
6 ways OpenPhone helps your business run smoother and makes your customers happier
Great service providers can give you far more than a phone number for company calls and texts. They can also help your business grow and scale.
Here are six reasons why you should choose OpenPhone as your virtual business phone number provider.
1. Easily scale your phone system
OpenPhone makes it easy to grow your business and your team. You can get as many US, Canadian, or North American toll-free numbers as your team needs.
Each user on your OpenPhone plan comes with one free number. You can get additional phone numbers for $5 per month each.
2. Work together
If you have a team and want to work together from a shared inbox, you can do that too.
OpenPhone allows you to share business phone numbers with your team and help each other answer calls and texts. You can also comment in threads (visible only to your team) to collaborate on conversations and assign tasks to teammates. That way, you can ensure you’re providing a great customer experience.
3. Save both your time and your customers’ time
If you want to work efficiently, help more clients, and create the best customer experience possible, you need a business phone system that lets you automate texts. OpenPhone lets you set up auto-replies so your current and potential customers always get a fast response. For example, if you want to make sure your clients aren’t left hanging when you miss a call, you can automate texts for callers who don’t leave voice messages.
Customize your auto-replies with content that makes sense for your customer base. For instance, if most of your calls are appointment-booking requests, you can include a calendar link in your auto-reply to save time for your customer and your team. You can also set up Zaps based on specific triggers, like an appointment confirmation when a customer books a meeting.
When you’re available to respond to your clients, you can continue saving time by using snippets — which are text message templates you can create and save — so you can simply fill in the blanks instead of typing out the same messages over and over again.
Check our guide to business text message templates for specific examples you can use.
4. Schedule texts based on your contact’s time zone
When you want to schedule a text to a specific client, it’s always best to reach them during the business day. However, calculating time zones can get complicated when you’re working with customers across the country or around the world. With OpenPhone, you can schedule a text in your contact’s time zone without doing any math. OpenPhone shows you their local time zone based on their number’s area code by default, so you can quickly queue up your message.
Plus, if you’re sending a follow-up message you can add a scheduling condition that deletes your message if your client texts you first. That way, you can avoid any confusion.
5. Follow up faster
OpenPhone’s inbox displays all phone communication with a contact in a single view, so you can catch up on conversations and follow up faster. You won’t have to jump between inboxes to see all your call recordings, voice messages, and texts, which makes it easier to keep up with all your communications and harder for conversations to slip through the cracks.
6. Continually improve your customer experience
Improving the customer experience is easy with every OpenPhone plan. Using our free call recording feature, you can save and replay unlimited calls to ensure you’re delivering a great experience and identify where you can improve. Or, you can use call recordings to train new team members with examples of quality support.
OpenPhone also supports MMS messages, allowing you to send photos, videos, and GIFs to sprinkle in delight and provide personalized service to every client.
Get a business phone number today with OpenPhone
A dedicated business phone number can help you protect your and your team’s privacy, maintain a work-life balance, and operate more smoothly than ever. However, choosing the right phone service provider is key if you want to save time and give customers the best experience possible.
Compared to landlines, VoIP services are more cost-effective solutions that allow you to work from anywhere, on any device. And OpenPhone is the business phone system that can scale with your company. With every OpenPhone plan, you can access features like:
- Free unlimited calls, SMS, and MMS in the US and Canada
- Unlimited US, Canadian, toll-free, and vanity numbers
- Free phone number porting
- Shared phone numbers
- Auto-replies, snippets, and scheduled texts
- Call recordings
- Voicemail transcriptions
- Custom business hours, voicemail greetings, and phone menus (auto-attendant)
With upgrades, you can unlock features like call transfer, CRM integrations, and call analytics to further improve your business communication.
See for yourself why thousands of businesses use OpenPhone — and get a business number in minutes. Sign up for a free, seven-day trial of OpenPhone.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.