What Are The Different Types of Phone Numbers?
Among the first questions a new business owner will ask is: “how do I get a phone number for my business?” The same question will apply to a company who adds new employees and wants to assign them each a phone number. Virtually all VoIP providers can assign a business telephone number to their customers as needed. Not all business phone numbers are the same. Let’s take a look at the different kinds phone numbers a business may need.
Traditional Business Line
Almost never purchased anymore, traditional phone lines, known also as land lines, are typically expensive ($30-$50 per month) and require a technician to physically install them. They are literally copper lines delivered directly to a business. These types of phone lines are what you’ll see in most residential environments, but even in most homes today land lines are not seen. These are also the same types of lines used with fax machines.
One BIG exception are fire and security lines. These are traditional lines that connect directly to fire and security companies and are essential. Unlike all other types of business phone lines, land lines provide their own power. If power is cut to your business for what ever reason, these lines will most likely continue to work.
VoIP Phone Numbers
As the name implies, these phone numbers are delivered to a business using a virtual connection over the internet. For that reason alone VoIP phone numbers are ideal for any business.
- They’re mobile friendly (they work wherever there is an internet connection).
- VoIP business phone numbers can be routed to an app on your smart phone.
- They’re cheap, usually $0-$5 per month.
- They work with traditional and cloud based phone systems.
- They require no on site installation.
- VoIP numbers can be re-routed in real time to another destination like a virtual phone system or a voicemail box.
Both traditional and VoIP business phone lines support direct inward dial, toll free, virtual numbers, and vanity numbers.
- Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers – these are publishable phone numbers that ring directly into your business and are typically programmed to ring a specific person. These are often given out to people you want to be able to get to you directly without an automated attendant or having to be transferred from a live receptionist. Usually, if that specific person doesn’t answer the call, the caller gets that person’s voicemail, or the call will forward the number to a cell phone number.
- Virtual Numbers – just what they sound like, virtual numbers are not full featured phone lines. While they have a 10 digit phone number, virtual phones don’t connect the caller to a live call. The call only goes to a user voicemail or has a call forward on it to go to another live phone number. Because of this limitation, price for a virtual number is less than the other numbers.
- Toll Free (800) numbers – not as widely used today since most long distance calls are billed at a per minute rate, toll free numbers allow callers to call your business long distance, but the company pays for the price of the call.
- Vanity Numbers – very popular with retail businesses who use the letters associated with the number on a phone’s keypad to associate with their business, therefore making the phone number easy to remember. An example is 1-800-GOT-JUNK.
Line Number Portability
When the long distance telephone service monopoly was deregulated in the second half of the 20th century, businesses could move their long distance service provider to another carrier. To accommodate that, providers could ‘port’ a business’ phone numbers to another provider. This is now true not only for VoIP and traditional phone lines, but also for cellular numbers. If you wanted your cell number to become the main number for your business, the process is very simple. The best part about business phone number set up, or porting, is that it is all done by your carrier.
Evolve’s support team is here for you whether you’re a new business just getting started, or an established company that is growing and could use expert advice and support.
Let us help!