Virtual Phone Systems for Small Businesses

Virtual Phone Systems for Small Businesses


How your phones are answered gives your customers and potential customers a peak into how your business is going to treat them. Having a professional appearance on the phone can go a long way toward helping new small businesses build credibility and make a great first impression. There are a lot of different options available for small business ranging from physical phone lines  to virtual phone systems forwarded to your mobile lines.

For one and two person operations or small mobile businesses there are some great online options that can give you the same functionality and your customers the same impression as a large expensive phone system for a fraction of the price. You can have an 800 number, auto forwarding to mobile phones, hold music, extensions, and receive email transcripts of your voice mails.

There are thousands of companies offering these services and after researching for a few hours we found 4 companies that met all of our criteria:

  1. Under $25/Month in Fees
  2. 800 Number Included
  3. Secure Professional Site
  4. Reviews on Independent Sites
The 4 that we eventually found were PhoneBooth, Grasshopper, RingCentral and eVoice. Below is an outline of what we found as of 11/24/2011 in terms of pricing and plans:
 Company  Plan Name  Cost  Minutes  Add Min Cost  # Extensions  VM to Email  Included Fax
 PhoneBooth  n/a  $20.00  n/a  n/a  Unlimited  No  No
 Grasshopper  Ramp  $24.00  500  $0.600  Unlimited  No  No
 RingCentral  ProPlus  $24.99  1000  $0.044  Unlimited  Yes  Yes
 eVoice  Starter  $12.95  300  $0.059  Unlimited  No  No

Considering the options, our first choice was RingCentral for a couple of different reasons, mostly financial. RingCentral had great reviews online from users and offered more services for a better value. For $24.99 you get more minutes, unlimited extensions and your fax line is included. Separate fax lines run from $9.95/month to $24.99/month on their own making RingCentral a better overall solution for the money.


For the shoe string start-up there is a free solution available through Google that is good for a one-line operation. The solution is called Google Voice and it integrates with most smartphones through Google built apps. Google Voice gives you a new phone number in the area code of your choice (no 800’s yet) and lets you forward it to any number you want. You can even use the line directly through your web browser.

Google Voice has a lot of great features that we will discuss in more detail in another post…