receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure
World's Best Boss

Do you have the world's best boss?Enter them to win two tickets to Sandals!

BDC Hamburger Icon


BDC Logo
Search Icon
Updated Dec 21, 2023

Need a Business Phone Number, but Not a Business Phone?

author image
Max Freedman, Contributing Writer

Table of Contents

Open row

Let’s be honest: A phone is no longer necessary for some businesses. And even if it is, a traditional business phone system (or even just a landline, as we once knew them) is no longer the only option. 

If you are looking for a business phone number but are on the go — or perhaps you don’t make enough calls to warrant an actual office phone system — then you need a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) mobile app or call-forwarding service.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right business phone system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Why you need a business phone number

A business phone number helps your company appear more professional than it would if you listed your personal cell phone number as your only point of contact. Plus, using your personal number for business jeopardizes your privacy, and it certainly doesn’t help you avoid business calls outside your work hours.

If you want to set up a business phone number but do not want to install tangible business phones, a VoIP system can help you do that while offering additional helpful features. Some VoIP platforms include video conferencing tools, call queuing, and even the ability to use your tablet or laptop as a phone. Plus, the overall cost of VoIP systems is substantially lower than that of actual phones.

5 types of business phone numbers

There are various options for small business owners who wish to implement one or more new business phone numbers. Phone number options have expanded with the availability of new technologies.

>> Learn more: See the types of business phone systems.

1. Local business phone numbers

Local business phones are arranged through telephone service providers. The number will start with your local area code, with calls made directly to your place of business. Vanity numbers — preselected digits that make your phone number easy to recall, such as spelling out a word associated with your product or service — may be available through your provider.

2. Toll-free business phone numbers

Toll-free business numbers typically start with the 800 area code. These numbers allow clients to call you without paying any phone charges. Vanity numbers are also available for toll-free lines.

>> Learn more: Our picks for the best business phone systems

3. Cell phone business numbers

A cell phone business number is assigned to a mobile device, like your personal phone. A business call can be made directly to the cell number, or you can forward your local business calls directly to your cell.

4. Virtual business phone numbers

A virtual business phone number is one that’s not tied to a single location or device. It allows you to make secure calls from anywhere with an internet connection, and you are not charged for long-distance calls. 

Virtual phone numbers don’t require additional equipment, and they offer clear, reliable communication.

5. VoIP business phone numbers

VoIP is the most popular choice for implementing new business phone numbers. Simply put, VoIP numbers are assigned to users instead of to phone lines. VoIP systems convert your voice into a digital signal that is transmitted over the internet.

VoIP systems have more features than traditional landlines do, including voicemail-to-email transcription, automatic call forwarding and virtual receptionists.

Bottom LineBottom line

There are five types of business telephone numbers: local phone numbers, toll-free numbers, cell phone numbers, virtual numbers and VoIP numbers.

Below, we look at five popular options and give you the info you need to decide which one is right for your business.

Best vendors for business phone numbers

Google Voice: Best for a single user

Cost: Free

Like most of Google’s products, Google Voice is helpful and free. You set up a Google Voice number and connect it to your other numbers (mobile, home, etc.). You can use your computer or mobile phone, meaning you do not need a dedicated business phone line or device.

Features of Google Voice include custom forwarding options, voicemail-to-text transcription, a block-caller option and text-to-email transcription. With the Google Voice app, you can receive and make calls using your Google Voice number.

>> Learn more: Do You Need an IVR for Your Business?

The main drawback of Google Voice is that it’s only for one user; there is no way to connect multiple users to one account. If you just need a free way to get a business number for yourself, and not for a whole staff, Google Voice may be just the ticket. Best value and features for multiple users

Cost: $14.99 to $31.99 per user per month (Plus and Pro users receive unlimited minutes) is a great middle-of-the-road option for multiple users. It provides a good VoIP solution without breaking the bank, all via a mobile phone or computer, so no traditional phone is required. The basic mobile phone features allow you to make and receive calls with your business number and view call logs. Additional phone numbers cost $4.99 per month. website

Source: lets you perform many functions from your computer. For example, you can set up an auto-receptionist, schedule calls, queue calls, set up a find-me/follow-me feature, make conference calls, transcribe voicemails to emails, and send and receive faxes.

>> Learn more: Multi-Line Phone Systems

Grasshopper: Best mobile VoIP option for multiple users

Cost: $17 to $92 per user per month (minutes sometimes cost extra)

Grasshopper is a business VoIP service that uses your existing mobile phone instead of an office VoIP setup. You can set up a business number, receive calls from that number using your phone, and have as many users as you want with custom extension options.

Because Grasshopper is entirely mobile, its features are more extensive than those of VoIP systems that provide only mobile options in a companion app. For example, you get an auto-assistant/call-routing system, call queuing, find/follow me, call scheduling, conference calls and voicemail-to-email transcription.

However, there are two potential drawbacks to Grasshopper. First, some users have reported poor call quality, although plenty are pleased with the service. Second, Grasshopper and your mobile carrier charge you for the minutes you use, which is the case for most VoIP mobile apps.

On conference calls, however, you are charged for the total number of call minutes multiplied by the number of conference call participants. For example, if you hold a five-minute call with five callers, you’ll pay for 25 minutes for each caller. This differs from other carriers; for instance, gives you a conference call bridge that charges a conference as only one call.

>> Learn more: Business Softphones

If you make a lot of conference calls, Grasshopper might not be for you. However, it can be a cheap option if you don’t anticipate many conference calls or minutes but still need multiple users, especially considering its features.

RingCentral: Best VoIP platform for collaboration

Cost: $30 to $45 per user per month

RingCentral gives you far more than a business phone number; it is also a tool for instant messaging, video conferencing and document sharing. These tools can function as your team’s primary communication channels within your office and for customer-facing purposes. RingCentral’s service also includes conference calls for up to 1,000 participants. [Read our RingCentral review to learn more.]

With the RingCentral app, your desktop or tablet can function seamlessly as your business phone. As long as your wireless network has adequate bandwidth for RingCentral’s platform, any mobile or desktop device connected can double as a business phone. Plus, with RingCentral’s 99.999 percent uptime, your business phone number will always be reachable.

Did You Know?Did you know

In spring 2023, RingCentral restructured its plan features. Now, the Core (lowest-tier) plan lets you host integrated video meetings for up to 100 participants for free.

Nextiva: Best VoIP with CRM

Cost: $25.95 to $40.95 per user per month

Nextiva’s VoIP solution is comprehensive, with HD voice and video services, unlimited calling, voice-to-text and online faxing. Its conference calls can host up to 250 people, and even when your team isn’t on calls, Nextiva enables team messaging and unlimited SMS messages. Like RingCentral, Nextiva guarantees an uptime of 99.999 percent. [Learn more in our Nextiva review.]

>> Learn more: Landline vs. VoIP

Unlike most VoIP systems, Nextiva has built-in customer relationship management (CRM) software. Through your CRM, you’ll get tools for customer experience scoring, customer account management, customer journey mapping, and integrated business and trend analytics. You’ll also get call histories and pops, instant click-to-dial and abundant real-time data. [Read about the best CRM software.]

If you already have CRM software, you can still use Nextiva, which likely integrates with your CRM. Like most VoIP offerings, it’s a smart solution for companies that need an easy, flexible business phone number setup. 

Julie Thompson contributed to this article.

author image
Max Freedman, Contributing Writer
Max Freedman is a content writer who has written hundreds of articles about small business strategy and operations, with a focus on finance and HR topics. He's also published articles on payroll, small business funding, and content marketing. In addition to covering these business fundamentals, Max also writes about improving company culture, optimizing business social media pages, and choosing appropriate organizational structures for small businesses.
BDC Logo

Get Weekly 5-Minute Business Advice

B. newsletter is your digest of bite-sized news, thought & brand leadership, and entertainment. All in one email.

Back to top