How to Get a Business Phone Number (Everything You Need To Know)

April 12, 2024 17 min read

Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn

Get a Business Phone Number - Easy Guide from Nextiva

If you’ve just started a new business or plan to expand yours, one of the first steps you’ll take is to get a business phone number. 

Those 10 digits help you close sales, talk to customers, and chat with your team. You’ll soon discover everything about getting a business phone number, its types, and the top features for your small business

But first, why even get a business phone number? 

Business Phone Number Benefits 

A dedicated business phone number offers several advantages for small business owners. 

  • Build a professional image – Maintain your brand’s trusted, professional appearance. You can provide a big business look without the complexity of one.
  • Increase privacy – Using a business phone number keeps your personal phone number private and separate from work-related phone calls.
  • Anticipate who’s calling – Answer the phone professionally instead of sending callers to your voicemail for incoming business calls. (“Hey, it’s Bob. You know what to do at the beep … [beep]”)
  • Enhance work-life balance – Keep your personal and business communications separate. This ultimately helps you prevent burnout in your personal and professional lives.
  • Improve brand recall – Some phone numbers are just easier to recognize. Look for repeating digits or numbers. A simple number is best if you advertise on TV, radio, or outdoor advertising. 
  • Customize your caller ID – Project a consistent brand when you place calls. Instead of just your name that appears (or Unknown Caller), you can have your business name appear instead.

Claim your business phone number. And it's free.

Get your business phone, messages, video meetings, contact management and notes–integrated in ONE powerful app. FREE.

Types of Business Phone Numbers 

There are a handful of business phone numbers for different needs. Popular numbers include local, toll-free, vanity, and international numbers.

Local Phone Numbers 

Local phone numbers are specific to a particular geographic location, making it easy for customers in the area to recognize and trust the number. These numbers help establish a local presence and may be more affordable than other options.

However, the drawback is that local numbers may not suit businesses targeting a nationwide audience. Also, people reject calls from unfamiliar locations, so choosing popular metropolitan areas for your business is wise. 

Does the area code of my phone number have to match my business address?

No, the area code of your phone number does not have to match your business address. It is entirely up to you to choose the area code for your business phone number.

Toll-Free Phone Numbers 

Toll-free phone numbers allow customers to call your business without being charged. These numbers are an excellent option for companies aiming to build a trustworthy national brand.

Fact: Toll-free phone numbers start with 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888, per the FCC. 

The downside is that they can be more expensive than local numbers and may be harder to secure due to their popularity. While the number could be free, you are charged a reverse toll per minute. Nextiva includes 1,500+ toll-free minutes per month with its business phone plans. 

Vanity Phone Numbers 

Vanity phone numbers might be the perfect solution for those looking to make a lasting impression on their customers. These personalized and easy-to-remember numbers allow businesses to stand out and strengthen their brand identity.

Examples:

  • 1-877-KARS4KIDS
  • 1-877-CASH-NOW
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK
  • 1-800-LAWYERS

A study by NumberBarn discovered that 85% of people remember a vanity number when mentioned in an ad. I bet you heard the jingle for these numbers playback in your head.

Virtual Phone Numbers 

Virtual phone numbers operate entirely online, making them a flexible and cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes. They can be set up to forward calls to any device, providing increased mobility and accessibility for employees.

On the downside, virtual numbers will likely be reassigned to someone else if you don’t pay for them (like from a VoIP provider). 

International Phone Numbers 

International phone numbers allow your business to establish a presence in global markets by providing customers with a local number to call. This builds trust and credibility with international customers while saving them money on international long-distance calls.

The main drawback is the potential for higher costs associated with additional resources to manage international calls.

Signs You’re Ready for a Business Phone Number

Business phone number for a small business

Not sure if you need a business line? As a small business owner, here are nine signs you’re ready for a dedicated telephone number for your company:

  1. Send business calls to your mobile phone’s voicemail
  2. Worry about the purpose of an incoming call
  3. Missed calls when your free business phone number was reassigned
  4. Answer incoming customer calls unexpectedly
  5. Need more integrations than what Google Voice offers
  6. Unable to exchange text messages over your business landline
  7. Want to route calls to your business line to other team members
  8. No longer a solopreneur and now operate a small business
  9. Don’t want customers to know your personal cell phone

The good news is you don’t need to change your phone number.

Our guide to transferring your business number explains everything you should know about porting your number to a new provider. 

To get a new phone number, follow the steps below.

How to Get a Business Phone Number (3 Steps) 

Let’s break down how to get a phone number for your business in three simple steps: 

  1. Choose a business phone number provider
  2. Purchase your telephone number for your company
  3. Assign your phone extension and set up optional features

1) Choose a Business Phone Provider 

First and foremost, it’s crucial to find a phone service provider that understands the unique needs of small businesses. Look no further than Nextiva, the top business VoIP provider since 2006, trusted by over 100,000 companies. 

With Nextiva, you’ll receive a dedicated business phone number and reliable service powered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In simpler terms, you can make calls using your internet connection! 

Tip: When you sign up for a line of service with Nextiva, you’ll get a free local phone number. Plus, each account comes with a complimentary toll-free phone number as well.

2) Pick Your Phone Number 

After choosing a provider, you can select a local area code, toll-free number, or a vanity phone number for your business. (We’ll describe these in detail below!)

A good place to start is to obtain a local phone number where your company operates. You can port your existing numbers to the new provider without interruption if you already have business phone numbers. If your small business is growing, purchasing multiple phone numbers with the same prefix is helpful. 

What are some popular area codes that I can choose from for my business phone number?

Some popular area codes that you can choose from for your business phone number include 202, 213, 267, 281, 302, 310, 330, 347, 404, 425, 510, 512, 630, 646, 703, 732, 805, 817, 818, 916, 925, and 949. These are just a few examples of the many area codes available for selection. You can also have multiple team members using a shared phone number.

Tip: If you’re already using a free business phone number from the likes of Google Voice or another service provider, you’re entitled to transfer the number to your new business phone system. 

3) Assign Phone Extensions 

With phone extensions, you can direct where incoming phone calls go. In most cases, phone extensions are for other users, such as employees — but not always.

For instance, a solopreneur could set up different departments like sales or support in their virtual phone system. This way, they’ll know the intent behind incoming calls and can serve them better.

Add or change extensions for different team members or departments when your business scales. This helps route incoming calls efficiently and ensures customers can quickly reach the right person or department.

Tip: Did you know that an individual phone number that can be dialed is known as a Direct Inward Dialing (DID) number? These DIDs are how people can call employees on their office phone lines. 

Top Phone Features for Your Business

The best part of using a business phone service is the impressive number of features that come with it. Here are the top phone features Nextiva customers use for their businesses.

Call forwarding

Not in the office? No problem. Nextiva’s call forwarding makes it possible to receive your calls from the comfort of your home or cell phone. 

Forward calls based on your business needs. Direct calls to any destination, including an extension, group, answering service, or simply a voicemail box. And do so automatically based on team availability, business hours, or holidays. 

Custom greetings

Create your personalized greeting or ask Nextiva to set you up with a pre-recorded message. No need to hire additional voiceover talent — Nextiva has it.

A custom greeting on a VoIP phone system can enhance your business’s professional image, allowing you to establish a brand identity and provide essential information to callers before directing them to the appropriate department or individual.

Auto attendants

Let your customers choose an auto attendant who they want to speak to. This business phone system feature provides incoming callers with a menu of departments or instructions. 

Businesses use auto attendants to level up their customer experience from when they call. And you can even connect them together, known as a multi-level auto attendant. 

Desktop and mobile apps

One major feature is the free softphone to use your business phone number. Your team can place calls from any location, offering unparalleled flexibility and mobility for your business. 

NextivaONE provides a wealth of advanced business features, such as team messaging, text messages, and video calls, that can significantly improve your company’s efficiency and productivity. It’s free on iOS and Android — and you can also download its desktop app! 

Related: Best Business Text Messaging Apps for 2024 [Free & Paid]

Business text messaging

Connect with customers and partners with the convenience of SMS text messaging. Send and receive messages and pictures to communicate what words can’t. Send a quick reminder to appointments, order updates, and answer customer questions in mere seconds. 

Yes, you can exchange text messages using your VoIP number with Nextiva.

Unlike traditional phone service, you can do more than phone calls with Nextiva. Communicate with customers on your terms rather than your technology’s. And you won’t need a separate third-party texting app to do it. 

Video conferencing

In addition to your business phone number, you get access to a robust video meeting platform. Your team can collaborate with HD video quality along with seamless screen sharing.

Not feeling video ready? No problem. Hop on a quick audio conference call with your team, partners, and customers. 

Call recording

Did you know you can record phone calls with your business phone number? Call recording lets you track conversations, monitor customer interactions, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

With Nextiva, you can trigger automatic call recording or let your team start and stop a recorded call based on demand, depending on the nature of your business and customer conversations. There’s no extra equipment to worry about since it’s included with your cloud phone system.

Free online faxing 

Online faxing eliminates the need for a physical fax machine, reducing costs and saving space. Many industries still rely on faxing — but you don’t need a costly analog phone line to send and receive faxes.

Nextiva provides a free online faxing service, allowing businesses to send and receive faxes without hardware or special equipment. This perk saves local businesses at least $20 monthly.

Voicemail transcription 

Voicemail transcription lets you receive voicemail messages in your email or SMS text message. This way, you can check messages without having to listen to them.

This feature saves time, improves efficiency, and better manages messages. In addition, Nextiva attaches the audio message so you can listen to them without dialing into a voicemail box.

Virtual business phone numbers 

A virtual business number allows businesses to establish a local or toll-free presence without a physical phone line. These VoIP numbers can be routed to any existing phone line, providing flexibility and cost savings.

Virtual business phone numbers can be easily changed or reassigned, making them a practical solution for growing businesses or those with a remote workforce. Expanding your local business in a new area? Setting up local phone numbers takes just minutes with Nextiva. 

Anonymous call rejection 

Anonymous call rejection allows businesses to block incoming calls from unknown or hidden numbers. This reduces unwanted phone calls and potential scams, increasing productivity and providing a more secure communication environment.

Screening anonymous calls also ensures you can focus on legitimate customers and uphold your brand. Plus, you won’t get annoying telemarketers ringing your desk phone or mobile phone.

Business call routing 

Call routing streamlines the handling of incoming calls by directing them to the appropriate department or individual based on predefined criteria. This ensures that calls are answered promptly and efficiently, improving customer satisfaction.

Advanced call routing options can also be set up depending on your VoIP provider to handle after-hours or high-call volume situations, ensuring no call goes unanswered. You can also ring multiple team members at once.

International dialing 

International dialing functionality is essential to serve a global audience. You can place outbound calls to anyone worldwide, and you’ll just pay for nominal usage.

Business VoIP service provider Nextiva offers exceptionally low pricing for international calls, reducing calling costs to a fraction of traditional phone providers. You get unlimited calling between the United States and Canada included. But you can limit international calling if it doesn’t fit your business needs. 

How to Choose the Right Type of Phone Number for Your Business

Selecting the right type of phone number is crucial for setting the tone of your business communications and can impact your brand’s perception. 

Here are detailed considerations and steps to ensure you make the best choice for your business needs. 

1. Assess Your Business Needs

Business Scale and Scope:

  • Small Businesses and Local Shops. For this type of business, it’s preferable to get a local number. This reflects the community you serve and can enhance trust and relatability. 
  • Expanding Businesses. Consider if you’re expanding beyond local borders. A toll-free number might better serve a growing national presence.
  • International Businesses. An international number or country-specific numbers can help establish a local presence in foreign markets, making your business more accessible to global customers. 

Industry and Customer Interaction:

  • Customer Support Heavy Industries. Industries such as retail, services, or technology, where high volumes of customer interactions occur, may benefit from toll-free numbers to encourage customer calls without cost to them.
  • Professional Services. Law firms, consultancy services, and other professional service providers might prefer local numbers to emphasize their community presence and availability. 

2. Understand Your Customer Base Location

  • Local Customers. If the majority of your customers are local, having a local number reduces their cost to contact you and can increase their likelihood of reaching out. 
  • National Presence. If your marketing and service provision target a national audience, a toll-free number facilitates easier access for customers across the country, potentially increasing engagement and customer satisfaction.
  • Global Reach. For businesses targeting international markets, consider the implications of using international numbers, including the legal and operational requirements of different countries. 

3. Analyze Your Marketing Needs

  • Vanity Numbers. These are ideal for businesses looking to enhance brand recall (e.g., 1-800-APPLES). Vanity numbers should be memorable and align with your brand message.
  • Campaign Tracking. Utilize different phone numbers for tracking the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns. For instance, use specific numbers on different advertising channels to track which ones generate more calls.

4. Considering Long-Term Flexibility

  • Scalability. Assess if the phone number will scale with your business. For example, starting with a local number but having the option to add a toll-free or international number as the business grows. 
  • Portability. Check if you can retain your number when changing service providers or relocating. VoIP numbers often offer excellent portability compared to traditional landline numbers. 

5. Cost Implications

When choosing the right type of business phone number, it’s essential to understand both the initial setup costs and the ongoing expenses involved. This will help you budget effectively and avoid any unexpected charges that could impact your business finances. 

Initial Costs:

  • Setup Fees. Many providers charge a one-time setup fee for registering a new number. This fee can vary widely based on the type of number and the provider. For example, toll-free numbers often have higher setup fees due to their national presence and increased demand.
  • Purchasing Specific Numbers. If you’re considering a vanity number, the costs can increase significantly, especially if the desired number sequence is in high demand.
  • Equipment Costs. Depending on whether your system is VoIP-based or requires traditional landline setup, you may need to purchase additional hardware, such as VoIP adapters, routers, or traditional telephone systems. 

Ongoing Costs:

  • Monthly Fees. Most phone services charge a monthly fee based on the type of number and the features included in your plan. Local numbers generally have lower monthly fees compared to toll-free numbers, which may also include per-minute charges for incoming calls.
  • Per-Minute Charges. Particularly relevant for toll-free numbers, where the business bears the cost of incoming calls. This can vary from provider to provider and usually depends on the call volume and the origin of the calls.
  • International Numbers. If you’re operating with international numbers, be prepared for potentially higher monthly fees and call charges, which will vary greatly depending on the country. 
  • Additional Features. Features like call forwarding, voicemail, automated answering services, and advanced call management features may incur additional costs. Some providers bundle these features into their basic plans, while others charge a la carte. 

6. Legal and Compliance Considerations

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Local Regulations. Each country, and often regions within countries, have specific telecommunications regulations that businesses must adhere to. These regulations can dictate the types of numbers you can use, how you can use them, and what obligations you must fulfill.
    • For example, in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates area codes and number portability.
  • International Compliance. If your business operates across borders, you must comply with the telecommunications regulations of each country you operate in. This can include restrictions on number ownership, usage, and data handling practices.
    • For instance, some countries require businesses to have a physical presence within the country to own and operate a certain type of phone number.
  • Special Licenses or Permissions. Depending on your business type and location, you may need to obtain special licenses or permissions to use specific kinds of numbers, such as toll-free numbers or those that provide premium services. 

Privacy Laws:

  • Data Protection. Different numbers have different implications for data protection. For example, calls involving toll-free numbers might traverse international borders, potentially exposing call data to jurisdictions with varying privacy laws.
    • You must ensure that all call data is handled in compliance with relevant laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S.
  • Customer Consent. It is often necessary to obtain consent from customers before collecting or using their data in certain ways. This includes recording calls or tracking call origins for marketing purposes. Clear, explicit consent is required in many jurisdictions, and how you obtain and record this consent is subject to regulatory scrutiny. 
  • Security Requirements. Maintaining the security of the communication data you collect, such as call logs, recordings, and customer information, is not just a best practice but a legal requirement in many areas. Implement robust security measures to protect this data from unauthorized access or breaches.

Industry-Specific Regulations:

  • Healthcare. In sectors like healthcare, where sensitive personal data is frequently exchanged over the phone, additional compliance standards such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in the U.S. may dictate how you handle and protect patient information. 
  • Financial Services. Similarly, the financial sector is governed by regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which may impact how call data is managed and audited.

Audit and Compliance Documentation:

  • Record-Keeping. Maintaining accurate records of how you use and manage business phone numbers is vital for compliance. This includes logs of customer interactions, consents, data handling practices, and any compliance audits or checks.
  • Regular Reviews. Regular reviews of your compliance status, particularly when changing providers or expanding into new markets, help ensure ongoing adherence to all applicable laws and regulations.

Get the Phone System That Works As Hard As You Do

Choosing the right phone service is as important as getting a business phone number. A reliable and feature-rich phone system can make all the difference in your workflow, keeping employees and customers happy.

We recommend you get both a local and a toll-free business phone number. Why? Use your local one for everyday sales and customer calls. And the toll-free phone number is what to add to your website and business cards. And when you scale, add phone extensions that share the same prefix. 

Nextiva is the perfect VoIP phone system for startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all sizes, offering various benefits and features that cater to their unique needs.

Business Phone Number FAQs

What types of business phone numbers exist? 

Primarily, there are three types of business phone numbers: ocal numbers, toll-free numbers, and vanity numbers.

Local Numbers: These are tied to a specific geographical area via an area code, which helps businesses establish a local presence in the community they serve.

Toll-Free Numbers: These numbers allow customers to call a business without being charged for the call, regardless of their location. They typically start with prefixes like 800, 888, 877, and are often used to project a national presence.

Vanity Numbers: These are toll-free or local numbers that spell out a word or name using the telephone keypad, like 1-800-APPLES, making them easy to remember.

How much does a business phone number cost? 

The price for a business phone number depends on the type of number and the provider. Generally, local and toll-free numbers cost between $10 and $30 monthly, while vanity numbers cost around $50 or more. Additional features, services, and taxes, such as call recording or a virtual receptionist, increase the overall cost. 

Get a free business phone number with every line from Nextiva. Plus, you can get a coveted toll-free phone number at no extra cost, with thousands of incoming minutes free.

What is the difference between a local and a toll-free number? 

A local number has a specific area code. It’s associated with a particular geographic region, while a toll-free number allows callers to reach your business without incurring any charges.

Toll-free numbers are often associated with larger, established businesses and can help increase customer trust.

How can I set up a virtual phone system for my business? 

Setting up a virtual phone system involves choosing a provider, selecting a business phone number, and configuring your needed features. Popular providers include NextivaGrasshopper, and RingCentral.

According to GetVoIP, 61% of businesses have switched to a cloud-based phone system, making it an increasingly popular choice for solopreneurs, startups, and small businesses.

What can I do with a business phone number?

A dedicated business phone number is now an essential tool for any company, especially startups. It conveys trust and credibility that customers value. It is also the difference between a side gig moonlighting and full-time, serious business.

A business phone number makes it easy for customers to contact you. More inbound calls translate directly into increased sales opportunities and revenue generation. With current VoIP systems, intelligent call routing organizes different departments and queues to optimize efficiency.

Integrating your business phone line with your other tools is a must. Connecting the phone service with CRM software, voicemail transcriptions, and embedded analytics provides a unified communications hub. And for the rest of your team, you’ll all be talking and texting from one streamlined communications platform.

What is a business Phone number?

A business phone number is a dedicated contact number that is specifically registered and used for business communications, rather than personal use. This number can be set up to manage all types of business calls, including customer inquiries, sales calls, and internal communications.

Can I use my personal phone number as my business phone number?

While you can use your personal number for business, it’s not recommended. Using a dedicated business phone number enhances professionalism, helps separate personal and business communications, and provides privacy and advanced telephony features beneficial for business operations.

Can I transfer my business phone number if I change providers?

Yes, most business phone numbers can be ported to different providers. Number portability allows businesses to keep their existing phone numbers when switching services, minimizing disruptions. However, it’s essential to verify portability with both the current and new provider before making a switch.

What is the best business phone number for international operations?

For international operations, consider getting international phone numbers in the countries where your customers are located. These numbers make it easier and more cost-effective for customers to contact your business. Also, ensure your phone system can handle multiple time zones and languages if necessary.

Are there any legal considerations when choosing a business phone number?

Yes, you must comply with telecommunications regulations in your area and any other regions where you do business. This includes adhering to privacy laws, securing proper licenses, and ensuring that your use of the phone number follows all local and international rules.

How can I use my business phone number for marketing?

You can use your business phone number on all marketing materials, including websites, business cards, and advertisements. Vanity numbers can be particularly effective for marketing purposes as they are easier for potential customers to remember. Additionally, tracking different phone numbers used in various campaigns can help you analyze the effectiveness of each marketing strategy.

What features should I look for when choosing a business phone service?

Key features to look for include call forwarding, voicemail, conference calling, auto-attendant, interactive voice response (IVR), call queuing, and CRM integration. Additionally, look for providers that offer good customer support, reliable service uptime, and scalable solutions as your business grows.

Can I use a business phone number for text messages?

Yes, many business phone numbers, especially those set up through VoIP services, can handle both voice calls and SMS text messages. This can be particularly useful for marketing and customer service, allowing customers to choose their preferred method of communication.

What happens to my business phone number if I move my business?

If your business relocates, you can generally keep your VoIP or toll-free phone number, as they are not tied to a specific geographic location. However, if you have a traditional landline number, the ability to retain it may depend on the new location’s proximity to the original location and the policies of your phone service provider.

How long does it take to set up a business phone number?

The time to set up a business phone number can vary. VoIP numbers can often be activated within a few hours or days, whereas traditional landlines might take longer to set up, depending on physical installation requirements. Toll-free numbers may also take some time to register and activate, particularly if a specific number is requested.

Can I have multiple business phone numbers?

Yes, you can have multiple business phone numbers. This can be useful for managing different departments or regional offices under the same business umbrella. Many phone systems allow you to manage multiple numbers through a single account, providing flexibility in how you handle communications.

Chris Reaburn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Reaburn

Chris Reaburn is the Chief of Strategic Execution at Nextiva. Known as "Reaburn" by friends/family, he is responsible for championing Nextiva's brand and products into the market in support of the company's vision to change the way businesses around the world work and serve their customers. With his previous leadership roles in the communications industry…

Posts from this author
Call badge icon