This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
Google Voice is a virtual phone system that provides users with local phone numbers. Business users can purchase a pro plan or use the free Google Voice plan, which has slightly more limited features. All plans enable you to separate business and personal calls while using the same device. To get a Google Voice number for your business, first create a Google account. Then choose a phone number, connect it to your existing phone number, and download the Google Voice app to use all of its business-friendly features.
The system is a cinch to set up and has some useful calling and call management features for businesses that don’t need a full-fledged voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business phone system. Here are the four easy steps showing how to get a Google Voice phone number to use for your business:
1. Create a Google Account
To begin the process of getting a Google Voice number, you need an active Google account. This is the account you use to sign in to other Google tools and apps, such as the Chrome browser or Google Workspace suite.
If you don’t have an account already, creating one is simple and takes just a few minutes to complete. Go to the Google Account sign-in page and click on “Create account.” Choose whether you need an account for yourself, your child, or “To manage my business” from the pop-out form. From there, you’ll be taken to a form where you will type your first and last name into the provided boxes.
Next, select a new email/username for the account, or you can use an existing email if you prefer. If you choose to create a new email, Google will let you know whether the email address is available for use or not. If you decide to use a pre-existing email, you will have to verify that it is your email account before linking it to your Google account.
You will then create a password for your account. The password must be at least eight characters long and have upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. Make sure to choose a strong, unique password not used on other accounts. Once you are satisfied with your password, click “next” to go to a page where you can assign security settings.
The security step is optional, but it’s a good idea to complete this section. To enhance the security of your Google account, enter a phone number and another email address in case you need to recover your account. The form also asks for your date of birth and gender. Once all of this information is filled out, click “next” to activate the account.
2. Select Your Google Voice Number
Once your Google Account is set up, head over to the Google Voice website. There you will be prompted to select whether the account is going to be used for personal use or for business.
If you select “For personal use,” a drop-down menu gives you three options: Android, iOS, or Web. Selecting either phone option (Android or iOS) will take you to the corresponding app store download page. Selecting the “Web” option will prompt you to put in your credentials and agree to the terms of service before continuing.
If you choose “For business,” you will then select an option from three professional plans. Plan pricing ranges from $10 to $30 a month, and you will also be required to have a Google Workspace account, which costs from $6 to $18 per month. Select the plan that works best based on your business’ needs. Once you choose a plan, you can select a business phone number to use with Google Voice.
First, type in an area code so that Google can find available phone numbers in your preferred area code. Search through the list of available numbers to find one that is easy to remember, especially if it’s being used for your business. If you don’t like any of the numbers displayed, the “show more” button will give you more options. Click “Select” once you find a Google Voice number that will work for your business.
3 Link & Verify Your Existing Phone Number
Once you complete the steps to get a Google Voice number, you will need to link an existing phone number for calls to be forwarded to, such as the current number of your mobile phone. The existing number needs to be either a cell phone or a landline based in the United States.
Google will ask you to verify your existing number. To do this, they will send a six-digit code via text message. Or, if the number is to a landline phone, you will be able to click an option to verify the number by receiving a phone call. Once you receive the code, type it in the space provided, and click “finish” to complete your account setup.
4. Download the App on Your Devices
Google Voice is a great on-the-go communication option for small businesses, so it’s important to be able to use your new number wherever you are. To do this, you need access to the mobile app, which can be found in either the Apple app store and the Android app store.
Once you locate the app, click the “download” button to begin the installation process. You will be prompted to enter your Google account username and password to make calls once the app is installed. If you don’t have a mobile phone to use with your account, your internet browser can also be used to make and receive calls.
Top Google Voice Features
The value of Google Voice lies in its low-cost or even free access to a virtual number customers can use to reach your business. The service can be used on your smartphone without using your personal phone number, separating calls and messages received for business vs pleasure. In addition to this very useful functionality, the service also has several other key features that make it beneficial.
Here are some Google Voice features to consider when deciding whether it’s the right provider for a second phone number to use for your small business:
Unlimited Calling & Multi-device Access
As a virtual phone system, Google Voice provides free and unlimited calling and short message service (SMS) texting throughout the United States and Canada. You can also make and receive calls on desktop computers, Android or iOS smartphones, or tablets. Like other virtual phone providers, all you need is an internet connection—all calls are made over your cellular plan or Wi-Fi.
Support for Desk Phones
Unlike some other virtual phone providers, including Grasshopper, Google Voice supports some models of IP (internet protocol, or internet-based) desk phones. While available only on the Standard and Premier plan tiers, this feature is useful for businesses with older VoIP phones from a prior provider. Examples of supported desk phones include the Polycom Obi2182 Wi-Fi VoIP phone, the Motorola ML25260, and the Polycom VVX 450.
In addition to audio phone screening, Google Voice’s spam filter will block unwanted calls. This feature is available by default and automatically sends any messages from known spam numbers to your spam folder. You’re also able to add callers to this list, and Google will continue to automatically assign known spammers to this list as well. Similar to email spam, you should check your Google Voice spam folder from time to time to ensure none of your callers has been incorrectly routed.
An auto-attendant is a call routing software feature that provides menus to help callers navigate to the right extension. While not as complex or self-service-oriented as an interactive voice response (IVR) system, Google Voice’s auto-attendant feature significantly reduces the number of misrouted calls.
Google Voice has a text-to-speech (TTS) feature that automatically converts typed text into spoken word to create menus for your customers to navigate your system. You are also able to record audio if you want your auto-attendant system to have a more natural-sounding feel for callers.
Pros & Cons of Google Voice
Overall, Google Voice is best for small businesses and solopreneurs who need a simple business call management system but don’t need a lot of extra features or unified communications (UC) functionality. The available calling and call routing features, such as ring groups, an auto-attendant, and device compatibility, are all phone system features that might make Google Voice a good choice for your business.
However, if your business needs extended integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions or international calling, toll-free 800 numbers, or vanity numbers, another service may better serve its needs. If you need more detailed accounting, check out our comprehensive Google Voice review.
For a quick overview, here’s a breakdown of some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a Google Voice number for business:
|Free if you only need a personal account||Desk phone support is only available at the Standard tier and above|
|Integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace||No service level agreement (SLA) for uptime on free plans, and with free plans, uptime is only guaranteed up to 99.9%|
|Available on multiple device types||No way to get international numbers|
|Pricing is very competitive for a virtual phone service|
Google Voice Business Plans & Pricing
$10 per user, per month
$20 per user, per month
$30 per user, per month
Number of Users
Google Voice has three distinct business-level plans that include features like unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada, call forwarding, integration with Google Workspace, and 24/7 support. For more advanced features like a multi-level auto-attendant and ring groups, you’ll have to upgrade to the Standard tier.
Desk phone support is available only on the Standard plan and above. For those who need analytics, Google Voice does have this feature in the Premier tier using BigQuery.
As a virtual phone system, Google Voice is fairly feature-rich, but if you need more advanced features like built-in analytics, unified communications features, and extensive international calling, then a full-featured VoIP business phone system like RingCentral will serve your business better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I screen incoming calls with Google Voice?
Yes, with Google Voice you can screen incoming calls by caller ID. You can also set up your system to automatically ask callers to state their names for the purpose of screening calls when trying to reach you. To do so, take these steps:
- Navigate to voice.google.com, and click “Settings.” On the left side of the page, click “Calls” and turn call screening on.
- Incoming callers will be prompted to identify themselves
- Before answering, listen to the caller’s name; you have the option to press 1 to accept the call or 2 to send the caller to your voicemail inbox.
Known callers on your contact list won’t be asked to say their name or the name of their organization. Instead, Google Voice will announce this information to you by default. Similarly, businesses that are known to Google will also have their name announced to you through Voice.
Are Google Voice numbers free?
Getting a free Google Voice number for personal use doesn’t cost anything. For those needing a business-level account, plan costs start at $10 per user, per month.
How many Google Voice numbers can I have?
This depends on your plan. For those on the Starter plan, which is the base-level business offering, it’s $10 per user, per month and includes up to a maximum of 10 domestic locations (numbers). This increases to unlimited numbers for both Standard, which is $20 per user, per month and Premier, which costs $30 per user, per month.
Does Google Voice provide international numbers?
While Premier plan subscribers can make international calls on Google Voice, the service doesn’t currently offer international phone numbers.
Learning how to get a Google number for free or professional use is a simple process that provides you with a second line to use exclusively for business. The entire process should only take about 15 to 30 minutes. When the process of getting your Google Voice number is complete, you’ll have a second phone number for your business with some truly useful features like spam filters, call screening, and voicemail transcription.
The ability to use the service on so many VoIP endpoints is also a major benefit for small businesses with employees using different mobile platforms. Overall, it serves as a solid option for quick and easy VoIP. Visit Google Voice today to sign up for a free or business-level account.