Google Voice: FREE Business Phone Number

Google Voice: FREE Business Phone Number

You might be a freelance artist who is developing his/her own branding or a consultant who is transitioning from helping out a few friends and family to dozens of strangers and even companies.  It is the point where there is a trial period to determine whether starting your own business is a good idea.  (You might be flirting with several elements that position you to display an image of a brand and not just a name or an individual.)  Why not associate yourself with a unique business phone number? One that you can massively distribute separating your clients from people who call your personal line.  You might have thought about the idea and then dismissed it due to the one factor that usually turns most people off: Fees.

Google voice is a free service provided by Google and it gives you a free US phone number to use for calls, text messages, and more.  Google’s voicemail service, which previously required a Google Voice invite code to set up, is now available for free to all Gmail users and there are still millions of people (including business owners) that are don’t know about it.

What Can I Do With Google Voice?

  • Text from your computer: Send text messages to up to five contacts at a time, straight from your computer’s browser.
  • Make voicemail as easy as email: Read transcriptions of your voicemails, add notes, download, and share voicemails.
  • Customize your callers’ experience: Screen calls and create personalized greetings for family, friends, or coworkers.
  • Pick up calls from any phone: Choose to receive calls at home, work, or on your mobile phone, based on who’s calling or when.
  • Talk the way you want to: Make international and conference calls, block unwanted callers, and listen in on voicemails.

Who Can Use Google Voice?

Right now, Google Voice is only available in the U.S. Users outside the U.S. can make phone calls using Hangouts on a computer, Android device, or iOS device.

Setup Google Voice

If you already have a Gmail account set up, then you already have access to Google Voice.  If you don’t have a Gmail account then go through the easy process by visiting gmail.com.  After you have set up your Gmail account and have logged in, visit google.com/voice and follow the instructions.  You will be asked to pick a new US phone number and then verify the number associated with it (usually your cell phone or whichever number you want to forward all calls to).  The process is easy and should only take a couple of minutes.  Keep in mind that if you are using a cell phone then you can only associate one Google Voice phone number to that cell phone.  You will also be asked to select a PIN which can be used to access your Google Voice account from your phone.

Best Settings on Google Voice

There are a few elements I prefer setting up as standard for all Google Voice accounts I create:

  • Text Messages:  I prefer clients call me and not text me through Google Voice. There is a setting on the ‘Phones’ tab that can disable the ability for clients to not text you through your Google Voice number.
  • Custom Greeting:  Google Voice comes with a standard greeting.  Visit the ‘Voicemail’ tab and create as many custom greetings as you want.  You can easily change to any greeting based on the day of the week or time of the year.  I typically create one for the weekdays, weekends, and one for vacation days.
  • Voicemail Notifications:  When you miss a phone call and a user leaves you a voicemail message, Google Voice has the option to send you an email with the transcribed voice message.  Make sure that the right email is associated with the Voicemail Notifications section.
  • Caller ID:  You have the option to choose what displays on your phone when a user is calling you.  You can choose to display the user’s phone number or you can choose to display your own Google Voice number. You would want to use the second option if you are using your own personal phone number to identify where the call is coming from.

Is Google Voice completely Free?

Setting up Google Voice is free, and the Google Voice apps are free, but some features must be paid for, like number porting. Making international calls with Google Voice also costs a certain amount depending on where you are calling.  I’m willing to bet that most of you will not need to paid for a Google Voice account.  I’ve used Google Voice for years and I’ve never needed to extend its free service.  It all depends on the type of business you have and your purpose of getting a Google Voice.

Google Voice App

The Google Voice mobile app is available to download through the iTunes store for iPhones or the Google Play Store for Android. The Google Voice download is free.

Google voice can be a simple yet powerful tool for your business.  When you start experimenting with your own unique branding, consider a unique phone number for your business.  You might have to eventually evolve to a paid service but Google Voice is a great platform which helps your professional image and doesn’t break the bank!

Reference:

Gewirtz, D (2015). Google Voice: The ultimate how to guide. ZD Net. Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-voice-the-ultimate-how-to-guide/

Wordstream (2014). How to set up Google Voice. Retrieved from http://www.wordstream.com/google-voice-for-mobile

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