Sideline and Google Voice are virtual phone number providers that give you a business number on your personal phone. Sideline costs $9.99 per month and is ideal for established teams needing SMS marketing and team reporting features, while Google Voice is a free service and better for solo entrepreneurs wanting a separate business number.
When to Use Sideline
Teams looking for a second local number as well as functionality like business texting, auto-reply, and team reporting features should consider Sideline. The service, which costs $9.99 per month, has an incredibly easy to use mobile app, and is an ideal solution for growing teams that want everyone to have access to the same company number on their own device.
When to Use Google Voice
Google Voice is an effective free option for solo workers and freelancers who only need one basic business phone line with basic call management. Google Voice provides a free local phone number for customers to use on either mobile devices or landlines for calls and voicemail, and also includes features like call forwarding and text messaging.
When to Use an Alternative: Grasshopper
Businesses that need a more robust virtual phone service should consider Grasshopper. Grasshopper is for businesses that want things like a local or toll-free number, a voice menu for callers, multiple phone extension support, and a strong core set of phone system features. The service starts at $26 per user, per month, and comes with unlimited calling, texting, and voicemail. Unlike Google Voice or Sideline, this service provides much of the advanced functionality found in more complete phone services. Try Grasshopper’s free 7-day trial to see if the service is right for your business.
Sideline vs Google Voice at a Glance
|Works on Desktop & Landline Devices|
|Voicemail Text Conversations|
|Live Customer Support|
How We Evaluated Sideline & Google Voice
Sideline and Google Voice both provide business owners with a local business phone number and a tool set to manage calls and voicemail messages on their personal devices. We find that for most established small businesses, Sideline is the best virtual phone service because it offers more team-oriented features and more robust customer service than Google Voice, but comes at a higher price, making Google Voice a better choice for teams on a budget.
We evaluated Sideline and Google Voice based on the following criteria:
- Price: We compared the price of each provider for the service offered.
- Ease of use: Phone services should be easy enough to use by people of all skill levels.
- Call management: Management features like call forwarding, screening, and voicemail that each service provides were also considered.
- Text messaging: Modern phone systems should allow for SMS functionality as well as voice calling.
- Auto-reply: A business phone service can benefit from having an auto-reply feature that can help customers without user interference.
- Number Sharing: It can be helpful if all team members can answer one unified phone number across different devices.
When comparing Sideline and Google Voice, Sideline’s feature set makes it a more ideal choice for established organizations that can afford to pay for features like auto-reply, number sharing, and media-rich texting. However, the fact that Google Voice is completely free makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs on a budget who want a separate phone number for work use.
Sideline vs Google Voice: Pricing & Features
Sideline and Google Voice both offer customers a basic set of features such as a local phone number, call management options, and voicemail functionality. Sideline offers more features than Google Voice but comes with a monthly cost. Google Voice is free except for fees that apply for international calls and select locations in the U.S.
Sideline has very straightforward pricing. After a seven-day free trial, the service costs just $9.99 per month, which makes it one of the more affordable paid systems on the market (considering one account can be used by your entire team).
Sideline’s features include call handling, call forwarding, unlimited domestic calls, and Wi-Fi calling. It does not have the full-blown VoIP communications functionality of a system like GoToConnect (formerly known as Jive) or Nextiva, but its unique team management options make it great for small organizations looking for a professional phone presence.
Sideline features include:
Sideline’s call management features include basic functions like voicemail transfer, call forwarding, and call blocking. It also allows you to set up auto-replies that can either let your callers know that your business is closed for the day or tell them about your current promotions. Google Voice, on the other hand, only offers voicemail, call screening, and call forwarding. Sideline is a better Google Voice alternative for those who want a professional phone presence.
Device compatibility is one area where Sideline comes up short. The service is only available as an iOS or Android app and can only be used on a smartphone. Google Voice, on the other hand, can be used on a mobile device, landline phone, or desktop app. As such, Sideline is best for those who plan on doing all of their calling on a smartphone.
Marketing Text Features
Sideline has powerful, modern marketing features. When a customer calls your number, you can choose to have the system automatically reply via a text message. You can also add images, links, logos, and coupons to your auto-replies so that you have a branded, professional presence when dealing with customers. Google Voice has no such functionality. Sideline is great for companies that want a modern, SMS-based approach to marketing their business.
Sideline allows you to share one number on as many phones as you want. It also lets your entire team share an inbox, and the system tracks all of your account activity so you can see who’s reading and responding to the most customer calls or texts. This makes Sideline great for environments where all members of an organization might be in charge of support and sales tasks. Google Voice offers number sharing, but no ability to track account activity.
Google Voice Pricing
Google Voice is a virtual phone number system that is free to use. It offers free calling to almost the entirety of the U.S. and Canada. You only have to pay when calling select U.S. and international locations. Rates start at one cent per minute.
Google Voice Features
Google Voice includes a small set of very basic features like call blocking, forwarding, and voicemail. Calls are essentially forwarded from your existing mobile or landline number, but your Google Voice number is what the other party calls and sees on their caller ID. It lacks many of Sideline’s business-centric features such as auto-replies and activity tracking.
Google Voice features include:
Google Voice offers features like call blocking and screening. You can configure personalized voicemail greetings for recognized callers and search for voicemail contents. However, Google Voice has fewer call management features than Sideline, which allows you to not only set up auto-replies for callers but offers the ability to send text messages to those callers as well. Google Voice is best for solo workers who want a separate business number and little more.
Google Voice can be used on a mobile phone, a tablet, a desktop app, or even a landline phone. This makes it a great choice for users who want to use their work number on all of their devices. Sideline, on the other hand, is only supported on smartphones.
Marketing Text Features
Google Voice allows you to send unlimited texts to most of the U.S. and Canada. The texting module works in an identical fashion to how you view and send messages on your phone’s default texting app. With that in mind, you cannot set up text auto-replies like Sideline. That system lets you even add images and other media to your auto-replies. Google Voice is recommended only for those with limited telephony needs.
Google Voice offers the ability to share one number across multiple devices so your entire team can be connected to the number and pick up the phone when someone calls. However, there is no way to track who is answering calls and responding to text messages like with Sideline. Google Voice is best for those who do not need to track customer interaction activity over their virtual phone system.
Sideline vs Google Voice: Ease of Use
Sideline and Google Voice are both designed to make talking on the phone more efficient. The setup process for a virtual phone number service should be smooth, and each provider’s features should be easy to understand. We looked at how easy both services are to set up and use. We found that both services were evenly matched when it comes to usability.
Sideline Ease of Use
Sideline takes just a few minutes to set up. The app has a very clean user interface, and I had no trouble setting up auto-replies and tracking app activity. Using Sideline in your daily business operations shouldn’t cause any headaches.
Google Voice Ease of Use
If you have a Google account, you can start sending and receiving calls with a new Google Voice number right away. I have personally used Google Voice many times over the years and have never had a problem using it. The service offers a plain, simplistic interface that people of all skill levels should be able to take advantage of.
Sideline vs Google Voice: Customer Service
Sideline and Google Voice both offer help to customers when they need to troubleshoot minor issues and get clarification on things they find confusing. However, when comparing the two, Sideline is the only one that offers live human support, making it the superior option in this case.
Sideline Customer Service
If you run into a problem while using Sideline, you can go to their support page and chat with a human Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time. You can also text them for help at the same hours. The company offers an online knowledge base and an email address to ask questions. While it’s disappointing that there is no phone line for support, it’s still nice that the company offers so many other service channels.
Google Voice Customer Service
Google Voice provides customers with an online knowledge base and user manuals. Beyond that, the company also provides a Google Voice forum to discuss issues as well as a Google Product Experts Program, where users can ask a question to Google’s top contributors and customers. It’s helpful, but it’s unfortunate that there is no dedicated human support.
Sideline vs Google Voice: Customer Reviews
It can be useful to hear what customers think of Sideline or Google Voice before investing in them for your own business needs. We looked at user reviews for each solution to get a sense of how users feel about these systems.
Sideline Customer Reviews
Business users find that Sideline’s automatic reply tools and the collaboration features are extremely helpful. They also find that the app is exceptionally easy to use. With that said, some readers have complained about frequent bugs. In some cases, the system also fails to save contact information. For more information, visit our Sideline User Reviews page.
Google Voice Customer Reviews
Our readers rate Google Voice very highly, giving it a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. They particularly like the fact that the platform is so intuitive and reliable. However, some customers are dissatisfied with the lack of live customer support. They also say that they wish there were more integrations with Google’s other solutions. For more impressions, visit our Google Voice user review page.
“My wife and I own a small business and have been using Google Voice for about three years. We chose it because we run the business out of our home, needed it to go through our cell phones, and needed it cheap. While we have grown quite a bit over the years, Google Voice still provides everything we need to be successful. Google Voice was perfect for all these reasons.” – Jeff Moriarty, Founder of Dog Christmas Stockings.
Bottom Line: Google Voice vs Sideline
In the match-up between Google Voice vs Sideline, both offer internet-based phone features such as a local phone number and allow you to make calls and receive voicemail. However, they differ in terms of their approach to team management functionality and auto-reply features, which can help make these solutions even more useful.
If you want light marketing and collaboration features as well as call management functionality, you should check out Sideline. While the service does cost money, it offers more for your business than the simplistic Google Voice.