How to get a virtual business phone number?

How to get a virtual business phone number?
With the number of processes you have to go through, and the hassles you have to endure when you embark on the great journey that is starting your own business, things can often become unbearable. Even more important than that, however, there is a huge amount of investment that is tied into every step along the way.

There are many ways to make it all a tad easier on yourself though, and one of them is to find a virtual business phone number service. How do I do that, you ask? Well, the most straightforward way is to download one of the many available applications from Apple’s App Store, or Google’s Play Store.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of these apps are much more suitable for business purposes than others. But don’t worry! You won’t have to sift through and research on your own. In this article, we have listed what we think are the best free and paid virtual business phone number apps currently available.

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Of course, new apps come out all the time and old ones sometimes die out or get surpassed, so we will be regularly updating our picks in this list. Now, let’s check out what options you have for getting your very own virtual business number.

Why do I need a virtual business phone number?


There are several ways in which a virtual business phone number can be of use. Pricing is usually one area where applications offering a virtual second phone number can be beneficial, as they usually cost less than other alternatives. Some of which even come for free! In other words, this is one area where you can save some precious resources that can be used elsewhere.

Of course, low prices usually mean that you don’t get some of the more special features that the application offers, but all you need in the beginning is the basics to get your business going. Most of these services usually have a paid premium plan that you can sign up for later down the line, which would get you some useful new features to help support your growing business.

Another more or less obvious example of a dedicated business number being useful is for separating your work contacts and calls from those that are personal. Plus, it can be helpful to have a line where your customers and clients can call you, as it is a much quicker way to communicate, and can boost trust toward your business.

Apps for a free virtual business phone number at a glance:

Best apps for a free virtual business phone number


All of the apps you will find below are available on both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, so don’t worry about having an Android or iPhone. The only thing to keep in mind is that some of these apps might not work on your phone if it is more than 4-5 years old, or is not updated to a more recent software version of the operating system.

Nextiva



Features:
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Recorded greetings
  • Unlimited conference calling
  • Automatic customer feedback
  • Auto dialer
  • Customer information when receiving calls
  • Voicemail to email conversion
  • Call forwarding and call transfer
  • Vanity phone numbers
  • App integration with Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, etc.

It’s hard to beat Nextiva when it comes to virtual business phone number service providers. It is arguably the best option you have, especially if you are a small business or working your solo hustle.

The app offers you the ability to choose local area code phone numbers, which is perfect if you want to spread your business’ presence in different locations. One of Nextiva’s strongest suits, however, is its customer relationship management (CRM) framework, which puts it one step ahead of its competitors. The company also offers constant customer service (which has a good reputation), great call quality, and a stable system.

Pricing:

The pricing for each of Nextiva's plans depends on the number of people that are going to be using its services. The different groups go as follows: 1-4, 5-19, 20-99, and 100+ users. Of course, the price goes down with each increase in the number of users.

Essential: $26.95/$25.95/$21.95/$20.95
  • Unlimited voice calling
  • Video meetings, up to 45 minutes, and 250 participants
  • Team collaboration chat messaging
  • Calendar and meeting scheduling
  • Contact and calendar integrations, Google and Outlook
  • Create notes on contacts and calls
  • Contact management, up to 500 shared contacts
  • Toll-free numbers, unlimited Internet Fax

Professional:
$31.95/$29.95/$26.95/$25.95
  • Unlimited conference calls, up to 40 participants
  • Multi-level auto-attendant
  • Desktop and mobile SMS/MMS, up to 1,000 messages per user
  • Voicemail to SMS notifications
  • Integrations with Salesforce, HubSpot, and more

Enterprise:
$41.95/$39.95/$36.95/$35.95
  • Unlimited participants on conference calls
  • Call recording
  • Microsoft Teams direct routing integration
  • Single sign-on

Ooma



Features:
  • Free toll-free numbers
  • Free local phone numbers
  • Auto-attendant
  • Music-on-hold
  • Call Recording
  • Voicemail Transcription
  • Advanced Call Routing
  • Unlimited calls to the US, Canada, and Mexico

Ooma is another great option that offers you a ton of features and comes with perks like free 1-800 toll-free numbers. Local phone numbers are also free and you have the option to port your existing phone number over. On top of all of that, it is extremely easy to set up and start using immediately. It is worth pointing out, though, that some of the features are locked behind the more expensive plan.

Pricing:

Ooma Office: $19.95 per user per month
  • Free local number
  • Unlimited SMS messaging
  • Unlimited calls to the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico
  • Internet fax
  • Free audio conference bridge for 10 attendees
  • Overhead paging and intercom features
  • Ooma Office Pro: $24.95 per user per month
  • Audio and video conferencing with 25 participants
  • Enhanced call blocking
  • Call recording
  • Voicemail transcription

Ooma Enterprise:
$27.99 per user per month with a contract
  • Support for call barge, monitor, and whisper
  • Instant messaging
  • Shared line appearance
  • Attended transfer
  • CRM integrations

Ooma Enterprise Call Center:
$49.99 per user per month with a contract
  • Queue-based estimated wait times and positions
  • Graphical call flow builder
  • Abandoned-call counter

Grasshopper



Features:
  • Vanity numbers
  • 800 and 833 toll-free numbers
  • Choosing your area code
  • Extensions and call routing
  • Call forwarding, call transfer, and call blocking
  • Auto-attendant
  • Instant response
  • Incoming call control

Grasshopper is intended to work best for small and medium businesses. It is one of the easiest apps to work with and comes with every feature your business might need during its first few years. What makes the app popular is that it offers all of the aforementioned features, and more, for an affordable price.

Pricing:

Solo: $26/month for 1 phone number and 3 extensions
  • Call forwarding
  • Virtual fax
  • Custom greetings
  • Call transfers

Partner:
$44/month for 3 phone numbers and 6 extensions

Small business: $80/month for 5 phone numbers and unlimited extensions

Google Voice



Features:
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Voicemail greeting
  • Auto-attendant
  • Integrations with Google Calendar and Google Meet
  • Unlimited calls to the US and Canada (from the US)
  • Unlimited messages in the US
  • Spam call blocker
  • Call forwarding

If you are looking to be as cost-efficient as possible, but also want a good and reliable service, then Google Voice just might be the best choice for you. It is completely free for personal use and offers you many features that can come in handy, like voicemail transcription, spam call blocker, call forwarding, and more.

Pricing:

Free for personal use:
  • Free phone number
  • Free calls and texts
  • Voicemails
  • Web application

Starter:
$10 per user for up to 10 users
  • Free calls to Europe
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Google Meet and Calendar integration
  • Usage and activity reporting
  • Call forwarding

Standard:
$20 for an unlimited number of users
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Ring groups
  • Desk phone and ATA support
  • e-Discovery for calls, voice mails, and text messaging records
  • Ad-hoc user call recording

Premier: $30

  • Unlimited international locations
  • Advanced reporting (BigQuery)
  • Automatic ad-hoc user call recording

TextFree



Features:
  • Free group texting
  • Voicemail
  • Unlimited texts in the US
  • You can choose your area code
  • You can customize your phone number

TextFree is an app that lives up to its name by offering you a free second US-based phone number, which you can use to make free phone calls and text messages. You will be charged, however, if you are calling someone outside the US and Canada.

Pricing:

Free Plan:
  • Includes custom phone number
  • Free texts
  • Free calls and voicemail

TextFree Plus:
$9.99/month
  • Unlimited Calling
  • Reserve your Number
  • No Ads
  • Change your TextFree number
  • Shortcode/verification code support

How to choose the best virtual business phone number service for you


Your first step should be to determine exactly what you want from a virtual business phone number service, or said differently, what features you absolutely need to have for your business. If you don’t need any special perks, then the free plans of Google Voice and TextFree might be plenty sufficient, at least in the beginning.

However, if you own a small business or require a more advanced service like auto-attendant, voicemail transcription, audio, and video conferencing, etc., you will need to start paying up for the more premium plans.

Of course, you also need to take into account how much you are willing to spend on this service. Check which app gives you what you require for the least amount of money possible. That being said, it is also a good idea to look at the pricier plans so that you have a clear image of whether the service would satisfy your business as it grows.

Lastly, customer service is crucial when it comes to anything that your business depends on, so make sure you check out user reviews before you jump in and sign up. The apps that we have provided in this list, though, should all have at the very least decent, if not great support.

How we picked the apps in this list


There are a ton of apps that offer a virtual business phone number, so we took into consideration several factors while picking the ones for this list. We wanted to give you examples of options that have a decent free plan, for those of you who don’t want to spend a single dime on such a service.

When it comes to the paid options, we looked for the most well-trusted services we could find, that have a reputation for quality and good support. It was also important to consider the different subscription plans for each one and weigh the benefits they offer against the respective price.
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