Get a VOIP Number for Your Small Business

Instead of transmitting sound signals through traditional phone networks, a VoIP phone call relies solely on the internet. 

Serving as an “updated” alternative to traditional landlines, VoIP phone systems generally provide increased affordability, flexibility, scalability, and mobility. This means that VoIP phone services are not limited to one device and allow business owners to make and receive calls on multiple devices simultaneously. 

This guide examines what a VoIP number is, how it works, and how you can get one for your business.

Recommended: Sign up with Ooma to get the latest VOIP technology for your business.


What Is a VoIP Phone Number?

A VoIP number works in a very similar way to a traditional landline, with the main difference being that signals are transferred through the internet rather than through wires installed by a phone company and/or a government agency.

This means that, unlike traditional landlines, VoIP phone numbers are not location-specific and thus do not offer any area codes or include any long-distance fees for callers. This can be very beneficial for companies operating all over the US.

VoIP numbers are signed to individual users rather than a specific landline, meaning they are easily portable and can be assigned to more than one device. 

When you call a number using a VoIP phone system, your provider of choice converts the generated analog audio into a digital signal. This is then transmitted over the internet and converted into an audio signal when it reaches its destination (your caller). 

As we delineate below, this means that the quality of VoIP phone calls is subject to different factors than a traditional landline. (E.g., internet connection speed instead of weather or distance location.).

Pros and Cons of Using a VoIP Phone Number for Your Business

Pros

VoIP phone numbers provide many benefits for small business owners. These include:

Low Cost

VoIP phone numbers can be an affordable alternative to the more expensive toll-free numbers. These are usually used by businesses that operate all over the US and want to avoid having a “local” number. 

Similarly, they can serve as an alternative to vanity numbers, which are mostly used for advertising. 

Most VoIP providers offer “basic” or “free” packages with limited features. These can be ideal for small business owners who may not need additional features until they expand in the future.

Increased Scalability

VoIP providers can offer different pricing packages with exclusive features that businesses can use as they grow. These include:

  • Hold music
  • Call recording
  • Instant Messaging
  • Conferencing
  • Voicemail services
  • Video calls (This is only the case with Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) providers.)

This means you will likely be able to stick with your provider for a very long time without having to worry about any potential growth-related limitations. 

Increased Flexibility

A VoIP number offers business owners increased flexibility because it can be incorporated in multiple devices. This means that businesses will not be “tied down” in any way if they need to relocate in the future. 

Moreover, most VoIP providers allow customers to easily and quickly add or remove numbers. This can be very convenient for businesses with changing personnel (e.g., those with employees on temporary or zero-hour contracts.).

High Portability

Portability refers to the process of taking an existing business phone number and transferring it to another provider. 

This is important as it ensures that you will be able to change providers (if need be) without losing the phone number that is:

  • On all of your advertisements
  • Saved by the majority of your clients
  • Listed on Google and/or on your website

All phone number porting (including VoIP) is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

You should note that you may have to incur extra costs as a result of ending your subscription prematurely (subject to your contact with your provider) but no provider will be able to keep your VoIP number (even if you owe them money or refuse to pay your termination fees.). 

This means that VoIP numbers are generally ideal for both small and large businesses.

Cons

Having said that, there are a few disadvantages that you may want to consider when deciding whether to use a VoIP phone number for your business. These include:

Increased Risk of Fraud

Compared to a traditional landline that is used by phone networks, a VoIP telephone system can pose an increased risk to businesses because it is over the internet and may thus be subject to hacking. 

Situational Suitability

Even though VoIP phone providers generally offer several packages, the “basic” or “free” options are usually very limited. On the other hand, the more “premium” packages can offer features that are unnecessary for really small businesses.

Dependant on Internet Speed

Since a VoIP phone call is carried out over the internet, the quality of your call can vary significantly depending on whether you have access to a good internet connection.

You should take this — and the costs that will be required to upgrade your internet connection if necessary — into account if you plan to use your VoIP phone number on multiple devices or with several different employees. 

If you are unable to obtain a fast internet connection for your business, a traditional phone landline may be the best option for you.

How to Get a VoIP Business Phone Number

Getting a VoIP business phone number is simple. You will need to find a VoIP phone provider and choose the best package for your business. 

Generally, most providers offer:

  • Hold music
  • Call queuing
  • Call routing
  • Text messaging
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Caller ID

Some of the top VoIP providers can offer Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) packages. As the name suggests, these involve more “holistic” communication features, including:

  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Video meetings
  • Team collaboration services
  • Integrations with popular apps (e.g., Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, etc.)

Simply put, UCaaS providers offer VoIP phone services that are not limited to communication through voice only. They can include video software capabilities and can consequently provide much more internal communication opportunities for your business. 

Keep in mind that the value of these services can vary significantly depending on the package and provider in question.

Our review of business phone services provides an in-depth analysis of the best VoIP providers for small businesses, including their features, pricing, and packages.

Here are our top choices:

  1. RingCentral: Best choice overall due to its high flexibility and affordable pricing.
  2. Talkroute: Best for small businesses because it offers high scalability. This can allow businesses to stick with Talkroute after they expand.
  3. Phone.com: Best for mobile phone users due to its user-friendly mobile apps for Android and iOS.
  4. eVoice: Best for businesses that need live receptionist support.
  5. Grasshopper: Best for the businesses that require high mobility.
  6. Kixie: A great option for businesses that need to make telecalls as it has an integrated CRM platform in conjunction with its VoIP business phone system.

Should You Use a VoIP Phone Number for Your Business?

A VoIP number is generally recommended for businesses because it provides a “modern-day” alternative to a traditional landline phone system.

As we have seen, VoIP business phone numbers can provide:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased mobility
  • Decreased cost
  • Increased stability

Even still, there are a few different ways that you can go about choosing a VoIP number:

  • Add a business line to your existing cell phone. This can be done by downloading an app and will allow you to obtain two phone numbers using one cell phone. 
  • Add a separate business line through a business phone service.
  • Use Google Voice for business. This requires Google Workspace, which adds extra monthly costs. You will also be limited to one business phone number. 

Check out our How to Get a Business Phone Number guide for more information on finding the ideal type of business phone number for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PBX phone system?

A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system is a private network. Generally, it includes the following features:

  • Business hour settings
  • Caller queues
  • Call conferencing
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Call recording

Even though in the past, PBX phone systems were tangibly managed by telephone operations, modern ones rely heavily on VoIP technology. This is because the phone system’s features (e,g., voicemail transcription, business hour settings, etc.) rely solely on the internet.

How can I list my business phone number on Google?

Listing your business phone number on Google is very simple. It is also entirely free of charge.

You will want to follow these steps:

  • Create a Google My Business Account
  • Set up your business profile
  • Verify your account
  • Optimize your listing

For a step-by-step guide on how to get your business phone number listed on Google, see our How Do I Get my Business Phone Number Listed on Google guide.

Getting your business phone number listed on Google is critical because Google is generally where the vast majority of your consumers will search for your business. 

It will also increase your credibility (especially if you are selling your products or services remotely.).

Can I practice my phone etiquette for business calls?

Yes. This is highly recommended because good phone etiquette can help you:

  • Organizing partnerships
  • Increasing your customers’ satisfaction
  • Improve your brand image

When making a business phone call, you should ensure that you:

  • Know the purpose of the call
  • Send reminders to the other party
  • Start with and maintain a friendly tone
  • Stick to your agreed time
  • Schedule a follow-up call (if appropriate)
  • Practice before the call

You will also want to make sure that you avoid using any slang or showing up late.

If you are interested in developing strong business phone etiquette, check out our best advice to follow when placing a business call.

Do I need a business phone number?

You do not legally need a business phone number, but getting one is highly recommended for several reasons.

These include:

  • Increased access to financing
  • Increased credibility
  • Improved brand image
  • Improved work-life balance
  • Access to exclusive features (e.g., hold music, call routing, voicemail services, etc.)

You can get a traditional phone landline (although this is seldom recommended), add a VoIP phone number to your existing cell phone by downloading an app, or install a new business line with a VoIP phone provider.

Why are vanity phone numbers good for advertising?

Vanity phone numbers include memorable words or phrases. For example, the vanity phone number for a flower shop may be “1-800-356-9377” (i.e., “1-800-FLOWERS”).

This means that vanity numbers are ideal for advertising as they are very easy to remember and write down.

Can I keep my VoIP phone number if I change providers?

Yes, phone portability is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which ensures you will not lose your phone number if you wish to change providers.

You should still read the details of your contract, as this may require you to pay additional fees as a result of ending your subscription prematurely.

Either way, providers are unable to hold your phone number, even if you owe them money or refuse to pay any extra fees that are due.

What Is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a type of phone service that utilizes the internet to make phone calls. When people ask, "What Is VoIP?" they're usually interested in learning about the benefits, like:

  • VoIP's lower cost
  • Clearer call quality
  • Mobility feature
  • Video calling
  • Easy installation