Getting a business phone number eliminates the need to use your personal number for your customers. This is particularly useful for establishing a work/life balance, and it also makes your business look more professional. Receiving a business phone number is straightforward, especially when you use a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) provider.
Your first step is to decide whether to get a local, toll-free, vanity, or international number and sign up with a provider. Prices depend on which you pick and the number’s availability, so it’s critical to understand what’s on offer. Below, we explain each step in detail, including the types of business phone numbers, the benefits, and the top VoIP providers delivering these numbers.
Here’s a breakdown of the steps you need to take to find the right numbers for your business:
Step 1: Select a Provider
Finding the right provider is the first step in learning how to get a business phone number. Most providers refer to additional business phone numbers as virtual numbers, but some refer to these numbers as direct inward dialing (DID) numbers. To narrow down the list of available options, you should consider:
- Your budget
- Phone number types
- Feature inclusions
- Calling features for VoIP providers
- Monthly costs associated with numbers
Take a look at some of our top recommended providers. Not every provider has every type of phone number, but most include local, toll-free, and vanity numbers.
Virtual Phone Number Providers
Monthly Starting Price*
Types of Virtual Numbers
$30 per user
$30.95 per user
$17 flat rate
$19 for one user
$19.99 per user
$23 per user
$29 per user
*Many providers offer volume and annual discounts to help reduce the monthly cost of their services. For example, RingCentral can be as low as $20 per user, per month.
Here’s a breakdown of the available provider options you’ll have to choose from:
- VoIP providers: The best VoIP systems have far more features than other communications services as they completely replace your current phone system. They deliver a host of call management features and digital collaboration tools.
- Virtual number providers: A virtual phone system is similar to VoIP, as it relies on the internet to transmit calls and comes with a phone number. However, it tends to have fewer call handling features, making it ideal for businesses with low call volumes.
- Standalone business numbers: Many providers sell toll-free and vanity numbers for a one-time fee. Forward the number to your phone or port it into your phone system, but it’s better to check with the carrier first to ensure that the number is portable.
- Business phone number apps: These platforms don’t include basic calling capabilities but serve as an excellent alternative for solopreneurs needing a second phone number. If you’re looking for budget-friendly phone numbers, check out our guide on how to get a free business phone number.
Step 2: Sign Up for an Account
Once you’ve selected a phone number provider, it’s time to visit the website to see pricing options. Fortunately, most VoIP providers include a free number when you sign up for the service. Some, like Google Voice, limit this to a local phone number, while others let you choose between local, toll-free, and vanity numbers. While not every provider has international numbers, these types of numbers are particularly valuable if you’re trying to reach overseas customers. These are often purchased as an add-on feature after signing up.
VoIP providers require customers to contact their sales team or provide their contact information. Others use a self-service approach, where you simply pick a plan and provide your payment details, allowing you to set up your account within minutes.
If you need multiple phone numbers, most providers require you to pay your subscription first, then log in using the admin portal to order additional numbers and pay a one-time fee. Others let you pick one or more phone numbers using a number picker tool and add them to your cart.
Step 3: Set Up Your Phone System
Setting up your business phone system depends on the provider you choose to go with. This includes your extensions, caller ID, business hours, and voicemail greetings. Utilizing all these features is a huge game-changer in improving team productivity and customer satisfaction. Visit your provider’s help center to learn how to set up a business phone number.
Types of Business Phone Numbers
Not every type of company phone number will be advantageous for your business. For example, a local phone number would be problematic when you have customers who live across state lines. Similarly, a toll-free number isn’t as useful when your business is limited to a small geographic area.
Here’s a breakdown of the types as well as some of the costs associated with using that type of phone number for your business. We’ve also included video explanations of each type of number.
Free or starting at $4.99 to $9.99
99 cents to $15.99
$4.99 to more than $50
$4.99 to $15.99
Click on each item below to learn more about the different types of business phone numbers:
Local phone numbers include an area code tied to a specific location. Customers are more likely to answer a call from a number with a familiar area code, believing that it’s coming from a nearby business. This is best for small teams that don’t have a physical office in a specific locality but want to establish a trusted local presence.
Any business can get a local phone number from a virtual number provider or a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service. They offer a selection of phone numbers based on your business address, but you can also request a different area code. A phone number purchase typically includes unlimited local calls and a host of calling features.
Toll-free numbers, also called 800 numbers, start with three-digit prefixes like 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. These numbers work for businesses wanting to create an image of a larger company with an established national presence. Typically, they are often used for customer service hotlines, allowing U.S. customers to contact a business for free.
Companies will shoulder the per-minute fees for incoming calls to a toll-free number. VoIP services like RingCentral and Nextiva offer toll-free minutes with paid subscriptions, but calls will remain metered. Check out our guide on how to get an 800 number for your company.
Vanity phone numbers are customizable numbers that let you spell words or phrases. These numbers boost not only your brand recognition but also number memorability. You can also combine vanity numbers with 800 numbers like 1-800-FLOWERS and 1-888-BEST-BUY.
Creating a vanity number for your business can be tricky because most good ones have already been claimed. They are also slightly expensive as most VoIP providers charge a setup fee aside from the monthly charge. However, vanity numbers are a great way to reinforce your brand and help customers remember your business when looking for a specific product or service.
International numbers enable businesses to expand worldwide by having their own local number in another country. These numbers save customers from the hassle of entering international dialing codes and the cost of overseas long-distance calls.
Getting an international phone number doesn’t require a physical office or employee in a specific region because VoIP providers like RingCentral offer international numbers for select countries. When a customer calls, your provider routes the call to your domestic phone number, which you can pick up on your business phone in a completely different geographic region. Effectively, this greatly broadens the reach of your business—your customers in Italy reach your agents in Georgia, and customers are easily handled as if they were in-country.
Reasons to Get a Phone Number for Business
Whether you’re starting a new business or expanding your current one, you’ll likely need a phone number to allow customers to reach you by phone. Here are more reasons why you need to get a business number.
- Separate work and personal calls: These numbers provide a dedicated point of contact for your customers, which prevents your work calls from being mixed in with your personal ones. Additionally, business phone numbers tend to have more features than private ones. This includes call handling features that let you control when a customer can actually reach you. It provides augmented work/life balance compared to just using a private number.
- Enhance business credibility: Credibility drives business. Your customers are more likely to answer calls from numbers associated with business lines, especially if you’re using a toll-free or vanity number. These lend an image of professionalism to your company.
- Advanced calling features: Dedicated phone features like call screening, SMS texting, and voicemail are offered by VoIP providers. Additional advanced features like call analytics, call queues, interactive voice response (IVR), and integrations also help streamline voice interactions and empower your employees to work from anywhere without losing functionality.
- Access from multi-devices: VoIP and virtual phone number providers deliver the capability to operate your business communications almost entirely from the cloud. This means your number is usable on any device, including VoIP phones, adapted landline phones, smartphones, and your desktop.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Get a business phone number when you start your business, regardless of size. A study by RingCentral shows that voice calling is still the preferred communication method of most companies, so your business needs to be reachable via phone. Doing so will also make your business look more established, even when you’re just starting out.
Yes. VoIP providers let you port your existing number into their services for free or reduced price. The process varies by service, but typically, you must ask your VoIP provider to port your number so you can prepare the requirements. You should keep your landline service active during this process until your new VoIP provider says the transfer is complete.
Google Voice provides a free phone number once you sign up for a personal plan using your Google account. Once you sign in, you can select a list of telephone numbers based on the area code. For more information, check out our step-by-step guide to getting a Google Voice number.
Business needs vary, so the answer is not necessarily. Most providers typically have at least three types of business phone numbers: local, toll-free, and vanity. Many businesses not looking to enter international markets will find these easily serve company needs. With these types, you can reach local jurisdictions throughout the U.S. and make dialing your company very easy for your customers.
Learning how to get a business number may be simple, but knowing the process is important so you don’t end up overspending for features you don’t need. Start by choosing the type of number that best fits your calling needs, and then take an in-depth look at each provider. If you want a basic, cheap, and local number, we suggest Google Voice. This solution provides one for free for any Google Workspace user. If you want something more fully featured, consider a system like RingCentral, which has four business number types and full-fledged VoIP functionality.