26 Sep Turn Your Smartphone Into a Business Phone
Get a second number to turn your smartphone into a business phone
When you own a small business, the temptation to hand over a business card with your personal cell number plastered on it is natural. You’re merely offering a direct line to the person who can make decisions. Accessibility is a key selling point when touting the advantages of your business over larger corporations.
But you can oversell your accessibility—and the end result is interrupted dinners, missed birthday parties, and alarming calls at 2 in the morning. Customers want what they want, when they want it. These interruptions might be good for business, but they’re bad for personal health and relationships.
Carrying around a second phone to separate business from work is inconvenient and expensive—what about taking advantage of the devices you’re already carrying? The proliferation of apps offering virtual phone numbers has made it entirely possible to manage a secondary business line from your device. Google Voice and Skype are respectable choices, but they aren’t the only options—I found three other services that might fit your own use case a little better.
Line2’s key feature is that it’s cross-platform: the company offers an app for iOS and Mac, in addition to Android and Windows. Line2’s Personal service, for $10 a month, is geared towards someone who doesn’t need an unlimited voice plan or extra features like auto-attendant or a toll-free number. In addition to its allotment of 5,000 outbound minute allotment, you also get unlimited text messaging and inbound calls, and access via any Line2 app.
For $15 a month, the Business plan gives you those same features along with auto-attendant, after-hours call handling, call forwarding, and a few other extras. (Both plans have a free 7-day trial.) The iPhone app you use with either plan is great—since it doesn’t connect to your phone’s Messages and Phone apps, it truly keeps your work conversations separate from your personal life.
I’ve yet to find a single solution that’s as seamless to use as the phone number already attached to my iPhone, but some of them are very close—and I appreciate how they all eliminate the need for a second device. If you’re looking to experiment with a second phone number—even just temporarily, like a throwaway number for selling your couch on Craiglist—you can always try Burner, which offers pay-as-you-go credits.
Another great option is a new mobile app called FLEX, available at myflexapp.com. It provides some great features the others don’t. Firstly the user can add up to five new numbers to their existing device. Secondly, all FLEX numbers are real phone numbers, not virtual ones. Thirdly the call quality is superior as all your calls are made over your cellular network, so you can say goodbye to the spotty Wi-Fi or VoIP call quality employed by the previously mentioned options.
Available for iOS or Android smartphones, with FLEX you can add up to five different phone numbers on a single smartphone. Cost starts as low as $6.99/month for the first phone number, but you can also add an additional four at a cost as low as of $6 per month for each additional number – or at a yearly discounted price of $249.99 for the FLEX5 package, which includes five new numbers.
FLEX is especially useful for professionals with more than a few irons in the fire, FLEX provides you an easy solution to juggle your numerous endeavors without getting your lines crossed. Numbers can be used for any mix-and-match variety of purposes, like a general business line for standard inquiries and a separate number for work associates to call you directly.
In addition to separate phone numbers, the FLEX app also manages voicemail, texts and other notifications. FLEX also offers you the ability to set up custom area codes for each individual number, which can make it easier for contacts in certain parts of the country to reach you without having to dial long distance and provides you with a local presence.