It’s always good practice to separate your business from your personal life as much as possible. Getting a second phone line is an easy and effective way to accomplish this. In this post, I’ll show you the benefits of using a Google Voice phone number for your business and how to set it up. It’s easy, free, and well worth the effort.
Google Voice is a service that allows you to have two phone numbers that call the same phone. Anytime somebody calls your business number, it goes directly to your personal phone or whatever phone you have it forward calls to.
The obvious benefit of using Google Voice is you only need to carry one phone. With the price of smart-phones, who wants to deal with two? As a handyman, you already have enough tools and equipment to worry about. By using this free service, you get most of the benefits of having two completely separate phones, without your pockets bulging with electronics.
Filtering Incoming Calls
For me, the ability to filter incoming calls is an absolute must. Depending on who is calling me, I answer the phone differently, or maybe not at all. With Google Voice you can set it up so that your caller ID displays your Google Voice number anytime somebody is calling your business line. This will allow you to immediately recognize that it’s a business call before you even answer the phone. You can then prepare your professional self for a phone call.
Without this ability, I’d tend to answer every phone call as if it were a business call. If my friends called from a number I didn’t recognize, they’d get my handyman phone greeting. Not ideal.
Separate Voicemail Greetings
Google Voice also allows you to setup a separate voicemail greeting for your Google Voice number. This is an awesome feature for obvious reasons. This will allow you to make your business greeting as cheesy as you want without having your friends make fun of you every time they leave a voicemail on your personal line.
Separate voicemail greetings also keep customers from hearing a personal voicemail greeting. Allowing your customers to hear your personal voicemail greeting is about as unprofessional as it gets. This will turn a lot of customers off or diminish your value as a service provider. Essentially it will make it more difficult for you to charge a premium for your services.
You Choose Your Phone Number
One of the coolest features of Google Voice is the ability to choose your own number so you can get one that is easily memorable. However, many of the good numbers have already been taken so it may take some time to choose one that you want.
As a new business owner it’s hard to find anything business related that doesn’t come at a premium. At the moment, Google Voice is completely free. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Nothing’s perfect and Google Voice is no exception. Here are a couple of the service’s limitations:
- Outgoing calls to your customers will show your primary cell phone number on the customers caller ID. If you call a customer to follow up, they will tend to call you back on your personal number. This isn’t all that bad, however, because they will usually only call you on that number once. The next time they call they’ll reference your card or website for your phone number.
- It’s harder to leave your business behind you when you go on vacation. I personally don’t like to think about business while on vacation, but when a customer calls I can’t help but to answer. After all, who wants to lose business? The only problem is that business calls can spoil a good time.
How to Get It
It’s pretty simple to setup. If you already have a Gmail account, simply click here and follow the instructions. If you don’t use Gmail, you’ll need to create an account first. I recommend getting a Gmail account anyway for all of the amazing features and capabilities it offers for free.
Once you have signed up for a number, your going to want to mess with the settings a bit. Tweak the settings and ask your friends to call until you get the desired result.
I currently have mine set up so that when somebody calls my google voice number, it displays their phone number on the caller ID, but I have a voice prompt telling me that somebody is calling my google number. I can then either press “1” to answer or “2” to send to voicemail once I’ve answered. I always press “1”, but this just gives me a heads up that it is a business call.
Calls to my primary or personal phone number are handled as usual.
When I first set up Google Voice I had a couple of issues that I had to work through and it was a little frustrating. I’d like to save you the agony. If you have any questions regarding how to setup a Google Voice number for your handyman business, please ask in the comment section below.
For more tips on running a successful handyman business, be sure to follow me on twitter @bigDhandyman.