Phone numbers are cheap to come by these days, and searching for a number you like can be done at no cost.
When I needed a toll-free number for my business, I turned to a service called call8. I was able to search through a list of available numbers without even creating an account.
call8 it even has local numbers throughout the United States, which is useful when a business wants to provide local access to its out-of-town customers.
call8 it’s a hosted service. This means that they run the computer that handles call routing. You have control over settings through a web portal, so you can customize how your number handles calls. I’ll give you a quick review of the features in a moment, but first it’s important to ask if there are any negatives.
Before you decide to use a hosted number, you should make sure you consider anything that could negatively affect it.
Disadvantages of using a hosted number
Always consider the other side before making the decision to use a hosted phone number. Let’s review them.
- You must still have an active phone line from your local phone company if you want to receive incoming calls. Tea call8 number can forward to any other number and this is how you receive your calls.
- If you want to use your office number and transfer it to the hosted service agency, there will no longer be a way to receive the transferred calls. Unless one maintains a line to another number or uses a cell phone.
- Although monthly rates are very low for hosted services, ongoing usage charges can add up. If you have a big business and get calls from, say, TV advertising, you could possibly run up a big bill.
- If you forward your office number to the hosted service, you can’t use that same line to receive calls that can be forwarded back. That would create an infinite loop.
If none of these issues are a problem for you, then call8 could be a very useful service for your home or small business.
What kind of phone numbers can you find?
Vanity and original 800 numbers can be found at no cost to the search. If you find one you like, you can register an account to start using it right away.
Billing is $2 per month for the 888, 877, 866, and 855 area codes, while 800 and vanity numbers are slightly higher.
There are advantages to having a phone number attended by call8. With Online Management, you can set up Custom Call Forwarding to other numbers or even your cell phone. You can set up and maintain your voice mail. You can block unwanted numbers. You can even enable fax detection and direct incoming faxes to go to your email as a PDF file.
All of this is possible because the number is hosted by a service that runs on an automated system. Parameters can be changed as desired for many custom settings.
There is much more that can be done, functions that are not available with ordinary telephone service. It’s perfect for a small business that needs to control costs.