How to Get a Business Phone Number

Getting a business phone number is critical. If done correctly, it can go a long way in ensuring that your business is viewed as professional, trustworthy, and legitimate. 

A business phone service can also ensure that you do not run into any complications down the line as a result of being unable to answer more than one call simultaneously.

This guide goes over the benefits of getting a professional phone number for your business, the types of business numbers that exist, and the differences between them.


Should I Get a Business Phone Number?

Getting a professional business phone number can provide you with several benefits, such as:

  • Improved work-life balance
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased practicality
  • Improved credibility

Improved Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential from a productivity standpoint, as it can ensure that you and your employees do not experience “burnout.” 

It can also help you tackle chronic stress — one of the most common health issues that arise in the workplace. 

This means that you need to find the perfect “balance” between working hard and overworking at the cost of your own personal health. 

A professional phone number can help you with this in the following ways:

  • It keeps your personal phone number private
  • It allows you to distinguish between work and home-related calls

Depending on the specificities of your business, you can choose to “take” work calls on certain days (e.g., Monday through Friday) or only during certain times (e.g., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.). 

Any calls or messages that arrive after your designated business hours will be forwarded to a professional business voicemail (instead of your personal one).

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Having a designating business phone number can mean that your aspiring clients have easy access to your business. 

You want to avoid any situation where your customers cannot contact your business (e.g., if you lose your personal phone), as this can damage your brand’s credibility. 

When you obtain a business phone number, you are indirectly letting your customers know that you value their comfort and are actively taking steps to ensure that you can maintain an effective line of communication with them and tackle any problems or queries that they may have.

Increased Practicality

If you are not the only person answering your business’s phone calls, then obtaining a business phone number can be practically beneficial because it means that you will not need to give out more than one cell phone number — either on your advertisements or on your website. 

Your customers will have a business phone number that they can consistently rely on, and you will be able to easily configure your professional phone line so that it connects to several different phone devices if need be.

Improved Credibility

A business phone number ultimately improves your business’s credibility and makes you seem more trustworthy. 

This is done through the following ways:

  • Presumed national presence through a non-localized phone number
  • Improved brand image through a professional voicemail service
  • Improved brand image through consistent branding

All in all, your brand’s credibility is pivotal, especially if you are a small business owner selling the majority of your products or services remotely. Getting a professional business number is very easy and affordable, and it can go a long way in making you look like a legitimate business to potential customers.

Setting Up a Business Phone Number

The process of setting up a business phone number can vary depending on what you choose to do.

Generally, you can:

  • Add a business phone line to your cell phone through an app
  • Add a separate business line for you and your employees through a business phone service (e.g., RingCentral, Talkroute, Nextiva, etc.)
  • Purchase a separate cell phone and use a private line as a business phone number

Keep in mind that no matter what approach you choose to adopt, the benefits can vary significantly depending on the provider of your choice. 

You should consider your personal and business needs, as well as your budget, and determine what package deal is best suited for you.

Types of Business Phone Numbers

There are several different types of business phone numbers that you can choose from. The “best” one for you will depend on what you are trying to achieve, whether you are selling your products and/or services locally or nationally, and on your budget. 

Vanity Phone Numbers

Vanity numbers are phone numbers that contain certain phrases or words. These usually relate to:

  • Your business’s customers
  • Your business’s brand image
  • Your business name

For example, the vanity phone number of a flower shop may be “1-800-356-9377” (i.e., “1-800-FLOWERS”).

Toll-Free

Toll-free vanity numbers were originally designed to allow businesses to accept calls without requiring their customers or clients to incur extra costs as a result of any potential long-distance rates that were in place.

Nowadays, with unlimited call plans being the “norm,” toll-free vanity numbers are not really about that anymore. They are mainly used because:

  • They allow your customers to reach you easily and quickly
  • They are universally recognized
  • They provide numerous safety features

Share Use Toll-Free

Alternatively, you can get a share use toll-free number for your business. This will allow you to obtain some of the benefits of a vanity phone number (e.g., increased memorability, etc.) at a much more affordable price.

This is done by:

  • Choosing a number that makes sense for your specific business model
  • Choosing the geographic area that you would like to license exclusively: This could be a metro area, a part of a state, or even an entire state.
  • Promoting your new number on all of your advertisements, social media accounts, and website(s)

This way, more than one business can rely on the same memorable phone number. Any calls carried out within your exclusive geographic location will be routed directly to you. 

Local Vanity

Local vanity numbers can be desirable if you are exclusively operating in one state or location. This is because it can make your customers feel like your business is directly connected with their community, which can make you stand out from other nationwide competitors.

After you purchase a local vanity number, you can have it routed to a phone company of your choice.

Easy Dial Phone Numbers

If you do not want to rely on a word or phrase through a vanity business phone number — or cannot find an available one that is suitable to your business’s brand — there are a few other options that you can use to make your phone number memorable.

For example, you can choose a specific numerical pattern. This can be very appealing if you advertise your products through videos, TV advertising, or the radio — where verbal communication measures are used.

Easy dial phone numbers can be both local or toll-free. While these numbers are often affordable, pricing can depend on the rarity and demand of the numerical pattern in question. 

These may have repeating digits (e.g., 555-4444, etc.) or a certain series of numbers that is memorable (e.g., 555-4321).

Landline vs. VoIP Systems

VoIP Phone System

A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system handles all of your phone calls through your IP address rather than through a traditional phone line.

Simply put, this means that your business’s calls are made exclusively through the internet. 

This is usually much cheaper for businesses because a VoIP phone system allows them to avoid several of the more “conventional” business communications costs. Businesses are also not required to pay for multiple phone lines or for any expensive hardware. 

Other benefits of a VoIP system include:

  • Call forwarding to all of your devices: This is very convenient, especially because it allows you to receive calls on more than one device at once. You are also able to set rules that relate to when calls will be forwarded to your devices (e.g., during certain business hours).
  • Call recording on all inbound and outbound calls: This can be very helpful when settling customer disputes and can also be used to train new employees.
  • Phone extensions: These mean that your customers or employees will be able to use a single phone number to reach everyone within your business. At the same time, each person will be able to keep their direct line.
  • Internet faxing and voicemail services: This can be handy if you ever need to communicate with a government agency directly or if you find yourself in a legal dispute. Voicemails can be sent to your personal email in verbal or written form.

The only real downside of relying on a VoIP phone system is that your business will be less flexible. This is because it will solely rely on its internet connection in order to communicate with its clients.

For instance, if your internet connection goes down, you will be unable to send or receive emails and make or accept phone calls.

Landline Phone System

A landline phone system is the more “traditional” phone system that transmits calls through wires. This means that landline systems can be limited because they can only exist where the wires have been installed. What’s more, the value of the calls can consequently vary significantly depending on:

  • The weather
  • The distance of the calls
  • The phone provider in question

Plus, even though landlines have been in use for many years, their pricing plans are typically more expensive than their internet counterparts — especially if you need to add more special features specific to your business.

That all being said, landline connections provide more consistent, stable call quality compared to VoIP systems (even if the sound quality is not as good), as they are not dictated by the strength of your internet connection. For businesses with less reliable connections, landlines may prove superior.

Do I Need a Business Phone Number?

Ultimately, whether you need a business phone number or not will depend on your business’s size. If you are just starting out with a relatively tight budget and have very few to no clients, you may be able to delay setting up a business phone line until you grow. 

If you can afford it, however, you should get a business phone number. Aside from separating your personal and business life, getting a professional phone number for your business is important because it can increase your external financing opportunities. 

Most “conventional” banks or lenders tend to inadvertently see businesses without a designated phone line as less: trustworthy, credible, and safe. 

This means that a business phone number works in a similar way to your business name, business website, or business structure, and consequently, you will need to follow the necessary steps so that your business seems holistically legitimate.

More Business Phone Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a business phone service?

A business phone service provides business owners with several different features, such as:

  • Call queuing
  • Hold music
  • Call routing
  • Caller ID
  • Unlimited teleconference calls
  • Video conferencing
  • Integration with popular apps

Working with a business phone service provider can allow you to automate a very large part of your calls with your clients and improve your customer satisfaction.

What is the best business phone service for small businesses?

Determining what the best phone service is for your business depends on:

  • Your business’s industry and specificities
  • The needs of your business
  • The additional features and services that you may desire for your business

For a list of the best options, check out our Best Small Business Phone Services review.

How can I make my business seem credible?

There are several ways that you can make your business more credible. These include:

  • Choosing a marketing-friendly business name
  • Choosing a “trustworthy” business structure (e.g., LLC, corporation, etc.)
  • Getting a designated business address
  • Getting a business phone number or service
  • Opening a business bank account

To learn more about making your business credible, read our How to Make Your Business Legitimate guide.

Is my business considered ‘small’?

Generally, small businesses are defined based on two factors. These include:

  • The number of persons employed over the last 12 months
  • The average profits generated over the last 12 months

According to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) “size standards,” small businesses are defined differently based on their category. These categories include:

  • Agricultural production
  • Communications
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Transportation and warehousing
  • Wholesale

This means that whether your business is considered small or not will depend on its industry. For contextual purposes, a mining firm will stop being small when it has more than 500 employees. 

Alternatively, a business selling computer software under NAICS code 541511 (custom computer programming services) would need to have generated a profit that is less than $21 million over the last three years in order for it to be considered “small.”

Can I use a second cell phone as my business’s phone line?

Yes, but this is unlikely to be a good choice. Using a second cell phone is generally much more expensive than purchasing a designated phone line when considering the limited value that you get out of it. This is because you will need to purchase an additional phone and a presumably unlimited phone plan. 

Relying on a second cell phone can also be problematic if you are not the only person that your customers will be trying to contact in your business.