Entrepreneurship & Small Business

New small business - phone advise

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 2nd, 2017 7:03 am
Oct 31, 2017
2 posts

New small business - phone advise

Hi all!

I am new here so I hope I chose the right place to post. Well, actually I've been reading RFD for a while but only created an account now...

Anyways, here is my situation, I would like some advice... I'm starting a new small business and I was trying to think of a cheap way to get my phone going. Basically trying not to pay $35/month + $5/day roaming in the USA (could be up to 8 days/month, so up to $35 + 8*$5 = $85)

What I need:
(A) To be reachable/make calls Monday-Friday during business hours, whether I'm home with wifi or elsewhere without wifi.
-> I need a new phone number for clients to call (not my personal one) that I could possibly port-out to another company one day if my needs change.
-> I need provincial calling (Canada-wide not necessary), unsure how many minutes, probably unlimited for peace of mind.
(B) To have calls routed to voicemail Monday-Friday outside business hours.
(C) Sometimes, to be reachable/make calls Saturday-Sunday, outside business hours, whether I'm in my province without wifi or in the USA without wifi.
(D) Be able to get someone else than me to receive/make the calls, whether in situation (A) or in situation (C).

-> Ideally, I would have two different numbers, one for (A) & (B), and another one to give only to clients who can reach me on the weekend (C).
-> Even better, I would have only one number to give to my clients, and if business is open, calls are routed normally to my business phone (A). If business is closed, an auto-attendant (activated/deactivated automatically according to business hours) would offer 2 options: press 1 to leave a message (B), press 2 to reach me (C).

FYI, I currently have
- a personal unlocked Moto G5 plus with unlimited provincial talk + unlimited world texting (no data).
- an older unlocked iPhone 4S with no service.

What I though I could do:
1) Open a free Fongo account with a Canadian #, and set up the app on my iPhone.
2) Order a Freedompop SIM with a US # (priced $0.01 + $5 to downgrade to free account, includes 200 US minutes + 200mb US data + 100 international minutes, free every month) for the iPhone.

How it would work:
- If business is closed (B), calls go to the Fongo app on my iPhone, I don't answer, and calls end up in Fongo voicemail.
- If business is open (A) and I am home with wifi, calls go to the Fongo app on my iPhone and I either answer or voicemail kicks in.
- If business is open (A) and I am NOT home (without wifi), I set up call forwarding from Fongo to my personal phone (PM account).
- If business is open (A) and I want someone else to take the calls, I set up call forwarding from Fongo to their personal phone (or give them my Fongo password).
- If it's Saturday/Sunday (C), I bring both phones with me and I set up "call forwarding when unavailable" from Fongo to my personal phone:
-> If I am in Canada without wifi, calls are forwarded from Fongo (unavailable) to my personal phone. I make calls from my personal phone.
-> If I am in the USA without wifi, calls ring on the iPhone's Fongo app, using my free Freedompop data. I make Canadian calls from my free Freedompop 100 monthly minutes.
-> If I want someone else to be on duty, I give them the iPhone and I set up "call forwarding when unavailable" from Fongo to their personal phone.
-> Main problem: regular business calls (A) are not filtered from Saturday/Sunday (C) calls; I would end up answering regular business calls (A) on the weekend, which I ideally don't want.

Other ideas and feedback:
I hope I was able to be clear explaining my ideas... Anybody have better ones?
Other options include:
- Using Google hangout for free outgoing calls while in the USA using Freedompop free data.
- Getting a Knowroaming SIM sticker (priced $15 with promo code + usage) for extra flexibility/security when needed.
- Using a VOIP as primary business number, with an auto-attendant system that I could program as described before, and that would forward calls to either (A) business fixed phone/my personal cellphone; (B) voicemail; and (C) Fongo number, which would itself has "call forwarding when unavailable" set up from Fongo to my personal phone. However I am not sure about which system to use in this case that would have these possibilities without being too expensive.

Thank you in advance for your ideas :)
5 replies
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
10941 posts
voip.ms with some DID's calls forwarded to your smartphone is your answer. That's what I do with 4 lines (2 toll-free and 2 local) and it works insanely well. I know it's a business call by the call display.
Oct 31, 2017
2 posts
I know it's a business call by the call display.
So the same person calling your personal number and then calling your business number end up ringing on the same phone and is showed differently on your call display?
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2010
10941 posts
Yes. I set up voip.ms to replace the incoming call # with the # of the line, then my iPhone has that line # as a contact in my address book and associated with the business name, ie Biz US, Biz Canada, Biz Buffalo, Biz Toronto so when the line rings the name of the line is displayed. Works like a friggin charm.
Oct 25, 2017
5 posts
OK Its seem to be effective idea anyway thanks for this We will sure take this advice
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2004
1116 posts
+1 for voip.ms in this scenario. You can also set up time conditions so that any calls on weekend go straight to voicemail rather than even ringing your phone at all