No matter if you're a solopreneur or part of a team, getting a dedicated business number through Google Voice can be a difficult process with many ambiguous terms and obstacles you may have already encountered.
Google Voice may be a well-known VoIP app, but many people still don’t know that there are both free individual and paid business versions. You should know the difference before signing up for a new number.
This article goes through all that you need to know about getting a Google phone number for free, as well as the benefits and limitations of Google Voice.
How does Google Voice for Business differ from the Free Plan?
Google Voice offers a free and paid version of its service. The free version is primarily intended for personal use within the US. With the free version, users can make calls and send messages using their internet connection. However, advanced business features such as auto-attendant, call routing, and integration with Google Meet and Google Calendar are not available with the free version.
In contrast, Google Voice for Business is a paid subscription service designed for businesses. With this version, users have access to advanced business features that are not available with the free version. For example, users can customize their greeting message, set up an auto-attendant, create a call menu, and manage their team's phone numbers. Additionally, Google Voice for Business offers integration with other Google apps like Sheets, Docs, and Slides.
Another difference between the free and paid versions of Google Voice is number porting. With the free version, users cannot port their existing phone numbers to Google Voice. However, with Google Voice for Business, users can port their existing business phone number to the service.
International calling is another feature that is only available on the paid version of Google Voice. The free version only allows calling within the US and Canada. Additionally, the level of support differs between the free and paid versions. With the free version, users have access to community forums for support. With Google Voice for Business, users have access to phone and email support from Google.
Finally, the cost is the most apparent difference between the free and paid versions of Google Voice. The free version is free, while Google Voice for Business is a paid subscription service. The cost of the subscription varies depending on the number of users and features selected. Additionally, users have more storage capacity for voicemail messages and call logs with Google Voice for Business than with the free version.
The Benefits of Google Voice
Google Voice offers numerous benefits that can be especially useful for businesses. These features include real-time voicemail checking, access to voicemail transcripts, ring groups, number porting, auto attendant features, and call recording.
Real-Time Voicemail Checking
One of the most notable features of Google Voice is real-time voicemail checking. With the Google Voice app, you can instantly listen to voicemails and screen them for urgency or importance. Additionally, pressing the star key allows you to speak with the person leaving the message, which is a unique feature not offered by many other VoIP services.
Voicemail transcripts are another valuable feature of Google Voice. They can save you time by allowing you to quickly read the transcription of a voicemail sent to your email rather than listening to the whole message. This is particularly helpful when there is a lot of background noise or when you are too busy to check voicemails regularly.
Ring groups are another feature that can help businesses manage their workflow. You can create multiple ring groups and assign each group to a different team, such as customer care or sales. This allows administrators to route calls to qualified users based on availability and priority, which can improve first-call resolution times and reduce agent workload.
Porting your existing phone number to Google Voice is also a popular feature. This allows you to use Google Voice's capabilities while keeping your current phone number. However, there are some restrictions and costs associated with porting, such as a one-time fee of $20 and the possibility of early termination fees from your current phone service provider.
Auto attendant features are another benefit of Google Voice for businesses. This allows incoming calls to be answered and directed to the appropriate extension or person through a pre-recorded message and keypress options.
Lastly, call recording is a useful tool for managing your business. With Google Voice, you can easily record calls by tapping the speaker icon during the call. This feature can be used for training staff and monitoring customer demands.
Although there are many advantages to using Google Voice, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
Limitations of Google Voice
While Google Voice has many advantages, it also has a few drawbacks to consider. Google Voice is free for individual use but you’ll need a Google Workspace subscription to use the business version. So choosing the plan suited to your needs can get costly.
So before using the service for your business consider the following disadvantages:
Limited international calling:
While Google Voice provides free calls within the United States and Canada, international calls are not included in the free service. Users must pay additional fees for international calls, and rates can vary depending on the country. Moreover, some countries may not be available for calling through Google Voice at all.
No emergency services:
Google Voice is not designed for emergency services, and users cannot use it to dial 911. This is because Google Voice is not tied to a physical address, which is crucial for emergency services to locate callers in need of help.
Poor call quality:
Although Google Voice uses VoIP technology to make calls, call quality can be inconsistent, especially when compared to traditional phone systems. Poor internet connectivity, network congestion, and other factors can all affect the call quality, resulting in choppy audio or dropped calls.
While Google Voice offers some customization options, it may not be sufficient for businesses with unique needs. For example, users cannot change the hold music or add custom greetings, which can be a disadvantage for those who want a more personalized experience for their customers.
No integration with some popular apps:
While Google Voice offers integration with several Google services such as Google Meet and Google Calendar, it may not integrate with other popular apps like Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. This can be a disadvantage for businesses that rely on these apps for communication and collaboration.
If you can these drawbacks aren’t a deal-breaker for you, let’s get into how to get a Google Voice number for free.
Five steps to getting a Google Phone Number
Getting a Google phone number for commercial purposes is much more complicated than obtaining one for personal use. Owners of businesses must register, pay for, and handle the numerous restrictions of the Google Voice app in addition to Google Workspace.
Learn how to get a new Google Voice number, as well as the factors you should take into account while selecting this VoIP service provider, in this guide.
1. Create an Account with Google Workspace
You need a Google Workspace account to set up Google Voice for business. All Google Voice business customers must have this premium subscription, which costs $6 per user every month. It grants access to some of the Google suite's business features, such as group calendars and business emails, but your Google Voice plan will still require separate payment.
You must enter the following details during the registration process:
- Your company name
- The size of your organization
- Your location
- Your phone number
- The URL of your website
You'll need to buy a domain name for your business' website and pay an annual fee for it if it doesn't already have one.
Remember: Though you might be able to register for a Google Workspace account, you might not be able to get a free Google phone number. Only the US, Canada, and a few countries in Europe support Google Voice for business.
2. Selecting a Google Voice Business Plan
Following that, you must select one of three Google Voice business price plans:
- Starter: $10 per month per user
- Standard: $20 per month per user
- Premier: $30 per month per user
Again, keep in mind that you must pay this on top of your 6$ Google Workspace subscription fee. So, the starter plan will cost you a total of $16 per user each month.
Your overall cost may be high for the few features you'll receive. Only US subscribers can get unlimited SMS messages. Auto-attendant and call recordings are examples of crucial features that need you to upgrade to higher-tier plans.
Only Google app integrations and a few collaborative tools are available if you choose the most expensive Google Voice subscription. Third-party enterprise apps cannot connect to Google Voice. You might eventually outgrow the service as your small business grows as Google Voice doesn't provide any custom price plans with extra capabilities.
3. Choose a free Google Phone Number for your Organization
As you proceed with setting up your Google Voice account, you will be prompted to select your new free Google phone number. Enter your preferred area code or the city for which you want a local number. Then, select one of the VoIP phone numbers that are available.
Toll-free numbers provide your company with a global footprint and make it free for customers in North America to call your number, but Google Voice doesn't support them.
Additionally, subscribers are only permitted to choose one number per user, so if you require phone numbers for every team member as well as for each department such as sales and support, Google Voice isn’t for you.
4. Verify a Current Phone Number
After choosing your free Google phone number, you must link and validate an existing phone number. It is required that this number be a landline or mobile number.
You'll get a six-digit verification code through text or call, after entering the information the verification is completed. Alternatively, if you have a landline, you can finish your verification over the phone.
5. Log into the Google Voice App
You can get started using your Google phone number for business after setting up Google Voice by logging into the website or mobile app. There isn't a desktop client available from Google.
Not all browsers or Operating Systems are compatible with Google Voice. You will require a Chrome, Mac, or Windows device to use your VoIP phone service on a desktop (current release or two previous major releases only). The most recent major version of one of the following browsers, or both, is also required:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
- Mozilla Firefox (available only on Mac and Windows)
You'll need one of the most recent two iterations of Android or iOS if you're using the Google Voice app on your smartphone.
There are alternatives to Google Voice that are better if you want peace of mind that your business phone can assist your team effectively and reliably.
LimePhone - The most effective way to get a business phone number
Getting a Google phone number for commercial purposes is not an easy task. Setting up a business phone number with LimePhone, on the other hand, is simple - and you can be confident that you're obtaining the phone capabilities your company requires to operate smoothly and scale.
Some of the standout features of LimePhone include:
- HD Quality Calls: Enjoy crystal-clear calls with the nation's premium networks.
- Voicemail: Create voicemail mailboxes for individual users or teams, making it easy to stay organized and never miss an important message.
- Number Transfer: Keep your existing phone number and benefit from lower call rates, allowing you to save money while still maintaining your current contact information.
- No Extra Overhead: LimePhone is fully self-serve and doesn't have any salespeople, meaning we can keep our prices as low as possible.
- Custom Caller ID: Choose the number you want your customers to see when you call, helping you maintain a professional image and brand identity.
- Call Analytics: Our online dashboard allows you to analyze peak times, missed calls, and more across your business, helping you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.
- Web and Android: Our easy-to-use mobile apps for smartphones allow you to stay connected on the go.
- Maximum flexibility: LimePhone is compatible with popular desk phones, mobile apps for smartphones, Windows and Mac, and this-party applications like Slack, Intercom, and Zapier.
LimePhone has all the features that Google Voice offers and more at a more affordable price. Check out Limephone to learn more.
In conclusion, from this article, we understood the differences between the free and paid versions of Google Voice and how the service can be useful for businesses. The free version of Google Voice is intended for personal use, while the paid version offers advanced business features such as auto-attendant, call routing, and integration with other Google apps.
Google Voice offers several benefits, such as real-time voicemail checking, voicemail transcripts, ring groups, number porting, auto-attendant features, and call recording. However, there are also some limitations, including limited international calling, no emergency services, poor call quality, and limited customization options.
For a simple and more effective alternative to Google Voice, try LimePhone. Sign up for a free trial of LimePhone to receive a business phone number right away.