Friday, February 25, 2011

Business Phone and FAX

For business purposes I need a contact phone and FAX number, but I don't want to have the cost and equipment requirements of a separate phone line.  Given that I'm creating a virtual office, I figured there must be inexpensive and flexible ways of setting up a business phone system.

Google to the rescue, again!

Actually there are lots and lots of options available with different pricing schemes and features, but given that I'm using Google for business e-mail and document sharing, and Google Voice is free, it's a natural fit:

It's a little awkward to call from - it requires you to enter the number you want to call and which phone you want to call from and then it calls both and connects the two, but it's freakin' awesome as an incoming voice message system.  You can route your virtual number to any phone you want, and if it goes to voice-mail, Google will take a message, transcribe it to text, and send the message to you via SMS and e-mail.

So, now that voice is taken care of, I need a solution for FAX. Again, there are lots of options available, but given that I plan to use e-mail for most outbound communication and FAX only for receiving signed license documents, OneSuite turns out to be a good option:

You have to create an account and "charge" it with $10, but once you do that, you can activate a FAX number for unlimited incoming transmissions for $1/month.  If you want outgoing FAX capability, or want the incoming FAX messages to go to multiple e-mail addresses, you can upgrade to $2.95/month + 2.5c/page for outgoing transmissions.

Business phone and FAX solution implemented.  Total cost?  $1/month.  Pure win?  Priceless.


  1. When things seem too good (or cheap) to be true, they usually are. At least, I wouldn't be surprised if one of these two good deals come back to bite you, or ask for more money.

  2. If you have an Android phone you can make calls directly from your phone via Google Voice without any extra steps. It's as natural as making any other phone call.

    My Google Voice number is my phone number for all intents and purposes. I make and receive calls on my android through my Google Voice account.

    I believe the iPhone also has a Google Voice app, but I have no idea how good or how seamless the user experience is for the phone.

    It's definitely a great deal. The call forwarding options are also quite useful especially if you use the single phone number for both business and personal contacts. You can manage your contacts easily in gmail and setup Google Voice to ring specific phones (or go straight to voice mail) based on whose calling.

  3. If you ever need more that what Google voice offers it may help to look into something like FreePBX/Elastix on a VPS system. Of course running one yourself is simple and "free" but kind of blurs the lines of the whole "virtual office" idea.

  4. Wow that is a cool enough I also wanted to start my business but I was stopping myself for this due to the fear of extra expenses that I could not bear at this stage.

  5. Virtual offices in all major business cities all over the US at his Virtual Office Phone System website. His virtual office system includes world class business address, mail forwarding, secretarial and administrative support, conference rooms, video conferencing and other office support services.