Would you like to have a separate phone number for your business without the expense of having a new phone line installed?
Or what if you’re doing business in an area outside your local area and would like to have a local number in the market you’re targeting?
I recently found a great solution to these problems.
First let me just say that while I’m writing this article with real estate investing as the type of business, this applies equally well to just about any kind of business (especially home-based), or even for personal use.
So here’s the situation: You are starting a new business, such as investing in real estate, and you want to have a dedicated phone number to use in your advertising so you don’t have people calling your home number or your cell phone.
There are several reasons for this. For one thing, you want to handle these calls differently than calls coming into your home or cell phone. You want to answer the phone in a professional manner. You don’t want your kids or other family members answering the phone. And you want your voicemail message to let people know they’ve reached your business.
Here is an additional reason you probably don’t want to use your home or cell phone for this. I know this first hand because it happened to me. If you do some marketing that gets a great response, you may have more calls coming in than you can handle and many of the calls may go to voice mail. Most voice mail boxes have a limit of something like 30 minutes.
So what happens when your voice mail box fills up? It starts automatically deleting the oldest messages – even if you haven’t listened to them yet.
Here’s what happened to me. We made some handmade signs and put them in busy traffic areas one weekend. We literally had hundreds of calls coming in. We tried to answer them all, but there was just no way we could. We’d be on the phone with one person and have several more calls come in while we were talking to that person. Our voice mail box filled up in no time.
Before we could even listen to the messages, they were getting deleted. That means we were losing lots of valuable leads.
Obviously that’s not a good thing.
So here’s the resource I found and why it’s so great. You may have even heard of this service, but didn’t think of using it for your business.
It’s called Magic Jack.
The way it works is you sign up and they send you this little device that plugs into the USB port on your computer. It basically is a phone jack. You can plug any regular phone into it. It uses your internet connection, so you do need to have some type of high speed Internet access like DSL, Cable, etc.
When you sign up, you get a phone number. They have local numbers all over the place. Chances are, you’ll be able to get a local phone number for your area (or any area you choose).
I’ll get into more of the details about how it works in just a second. But first let me talk about the price because that’s one of the best things about it.
Now, the pricing may change so be sure to look at their website for pricing info rather than taking my word for it, but as of this writing, it’s 39.95 + shipping and handling. When I signed up, it ended up being about $46.90, so roughly $47. But here’s the great part. That not only gets you the device, but an entire year of phone service!
You’d probably pay close to that for just one month of regular phone service through your phone company, but with MagicJack you get a whole year of service.
After that, it’s just $19.95 per year! Not per month, per year! At least that’s the current rate. It may go up, but that’s what it is right now. And they’ll let you purchase additional years in advance to be locked in at that rate. Again, their pricing could change so check their site to make sure of their pricing. But that’s what it is right now.
So you just cannot beat the price.
Now let me get into more about the features of this and how you can use it.
They have an option where you can get a vanity number for $10/year. What I mean by that is something like 555-CALL-JOE or 555-SELL-NOW.
That can help you with branding if you can get part of your business name or message in the phone number. That’s not necessary of course, but it can be nice if you find something that works.
Now let me tell you about some other great things about it. It comes with some standard features like voicemail. Remember the issue I was talking about before where I was doing marketing and my voice mailbox filled up and messages started getting deleted? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this.
I think they do have a limit on your voice mail box size, as far as calling in to check your voice mail. But the great thing is when you get a voicemail, you get an e-mail with the voicemail message attached as an audio file.
So you get an e-mail for each voicemail and, as long as your e-mail doesn’t fill up (if you need to, you can always setup a new e-mail account at Gmail.com or something similar which gives you tons of space). So even if the voicemail messages aren’t available when you call in to check your voicemail, you have an e-mail with each message. So nothing is lost.
Here are some other great things about this. You can take your phone line with you wherever you go if you have a laptop. Just get MagicJack set up on your laptop and you can take your local phone line with you wherever you go. In fact, you could even take your laptop and MagicJack with you out of the country and still answer local calls as if you were at home as long as you have high speed internet access.
So you can go on vacation or even operate your business from a foreign country and as far as the person on the other end of the line knows, you’re still in the local area… pretty cool huh?
I’ve been trying out MagicJack for a couple weeks now and it seems to work really well. I don’t notice any difference between using it and a regular phone line.
You could also use this to replace your home phone service. But keep in mind that if your internet access is through the phone company (such as DSL) this may complicate things a little. Often you can still have DSL through your phone company without having a phone line, but it may vary by company. And often they may raise your rate for Internet access if you don’t have a phone line too. So you’ll want to do your research before taking that step.
Anyway, there are many ways you could use this service and I just wanted to let you know about it. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but am just using the service myself and was pretty impressed.
Here’s their site: MagicJack.com
Let me know if you found this helpful!