Getting a business phone number for your cleaning business is kind of exciting. It means you are ready to get the whole adventure started.
At least that was how I felt when first starting out. I couldn’t wait to get my own number and hear that first call come in. I was pumped!
Anyway… there are a few different ways to go about the process, and each has some pros and cons associated with it. With that said, you’ll have to ultimately decide which is best for your given situation.
I’ll make the assumption that most of you will be starting from home, but with that said, this info is worth reading even if you plan on getting a small office somewhere.
The main choices for getting a business phone line are…
- Using your own home number.
- Getting a second home phone number.
- Getting a dedicated business line installed.
- Dedicated cell phone.
- Online service provider.
Option 1 is the one I would try to avoid if at all possible. The cost may be free in a sense, but the downsides are many. For starters, one of the hurdles newcomers to the cleaning business must tackle is appearing professional. This is hard to do when one phone serves two masters.
Another factor to consider is that if you do have any type of success and need to move to an office setting, moving that line becomes costly. This is because you’ll need to keep the original line THEN transfer all calls to the new number.
This means you have the cost of the getting a new line installed PLUS the cost to transfer all calls from the other number. Then you’ll be left with the problem of not having a home phone! As you can see this approach is a bit messy, and for that reason it’s not recommended.
Option 2 involves getting a second line in your home. The pros to this method is that the monthly cost will probably be rather inexpensive. The downside is that the cost of getting the line installed could run a few hundred bucks.
And again, just like in option 1, moving this line to an office means keeping the original line, transferring all calls plus having a new line installed. This option may work for some, but it didn’t for me. I know firsthand because this is what I did when starting out.
I doubled my mistake by also having a fax line installed. So this meant when I upgraded to an office I had to keep BOTH LINES, transfer the calls PLUS get new lines installed. This is a price I pay to this day because I didn’t want to give up the main phone number that so many people became familiar with.
Option 3 is a bit more expensive than the first two. This is because you’ll not only have the normal installation costs of a new line, you will also have to pay a higher monthly price in all likelihood for a dedicated business line.
I know… that’s not fair, but in general businesses pay much more than residential customers. Then on top of that business customers usually get rooked into making a one year (or more) commitment to that dedicated business line.
A few years back I took my residential lines that I was using as business lines and turned them into “real” business lines. I’m sure I had a good reason when I did it, though I can’t seem to remember it now! All I know is that I PAY WAY TOO MUCH for phone service.
Option 4 is a low-cost option in most respects. You don’t have a large initial investment and your monthly price is something that most can afford. A possible downside may be the amount of minutes you are able to use for a given billing period plus the fact that this option is not scalable in the traditional sense.
When I first started my cleaning business cell phone coverage wasn’t as good as it is today. Far too many areas had very “spotty” reception. Needless to say I didn’t want to drop calls in the middle of a conversation with a potential client. I also was concerned with it not being scalable (not a true solution if my company grew as I expected it to), and that’s why I didn’t choose this option.
Option 5 involves an online provider such as RingCentral. With this type arrangement you get a your own unique local toll-free or 800 phone number plus a full featured “cloud based” phone system that allows you to use an existing phone (such as your cell phone) as your business line.
Depending on the plan, you’ll get great features like auto-attendant, voicemail, internet fax service, advanced call forwarding, dial by name directory plus countless more options.
Plans start at about 10 bucks per month for a basic set-up to 40 bucks for a complete office environment (other features are available for an additional fee). This is a great approach if you are looking for an ultra professional appearance from day one. I also like that they offer a free trial.
Whats nice about this approach is that if you ever upgrade to an office, you’ll have no fees tied up in forwarding calls or in having traditional land lines installed PLUS no long-term contracts to worry about (all the stuff I had to worry about).
It’s kind of funny that years go I almost signed up with them, but sadly I stuck it out with my current set-up. The Internet was more Wild West back then and I was worried about getting in bed with a company that may not be around in a few years.
My worries about longevity turned out to be incorrect as RingCentral was named a 2010 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. According to this group “RingCentral has radically changed the cost structure for business phone systems from tens of thousands of dollars to as low as US$ 10 a month”.
Needless to say I’m a big fan of any company that radically changes prices FOR THE BETTER. Anyway… my goal for you in writing this post is to think through your choice of phone provider because your choice STAYS with you for the life of your company in many respects.
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