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second phone line

How to Have 2 Phone Numbers with 1 Phone

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.

It’s Free!

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.

Disadvantages

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.

Questions?

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.

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  • Belinda July 5, 2012

    Actually if you have an android or iPhone you can specify which number you’d like to call from rather it be your google number or personal cell number. I’ve been utilizing their services for over 2 years. Also, you can set it up on line for your google voice site to specify groups for your contacts and have various voice mail settings for your callers. I’m in business also to help other small businesses and I teach this information to my clients as well as create marketing kits that include but not limited to: creating a website, business cards, marketing via social media.

    Perhaps there’s an opportunity for us to do business in the future.

    • Big D July 6, 2012

      Thanks for the tip Belinda. So how do you set up google voice to choose which phone to call through? I attempted to, but it said “this feature coming soon.” Maybe I missed something?

      • Tom November 15, 2012

        Big D, you probably already figured this out but you can download the Google Voice app for your iphone and use it to make calls from your business.

        • Big D November 15, 2012

          I actually didn’t know that. Now I do! Thanks!

        • Rolly June 14, 2013

          This is too cool! I downloaded GV to my Android and set it up so that I can make calls from my personal number or my GV number.

      • Francesca May 3, 2016

        I’ve been considering using Google Voice now that my contract has finally run out. Here’s my question: sometimes I can’t answer the phone and don’t want it to go to Voice Mail so I have an answering service that will take my business calls. Is there a way to use one phone (iPhone 6) and then easily forward calls to the answering service if they’re coming into one phone? How easy is it to change the call forwarding onto the Answering Service? For example if I’m at Costco and shopping and can’t get into my reservation system while shopping to make a reservation over the phone, my Answering Service can take the call, but I don’t always use the Answering Service to take calls because they’re expensive. Thanks!

  • Sheila May 27, 2013

    Sounds like some good advice-
    Any chance of getting a
    hold of Belinda for some small business advice.

    • Big D May 27, 2013

      Hi Sheila,

      If you click on her name it will take you to her website.

      Big D

  • Troy Smith October 23, 2013

    How did you do this?

    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.

    • Dan Perry October 23, 2013

      What are you trying to do, Troy?

  • Brandon November 10, 2013

    please just save us the time and explain how you did this in detail. I own a business and when a client calls me I want it to show as my business line through google voice like you stated. Then when my friend or brother calls me it shows as my regular verizon number.

    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.

    I want it setup like that.

    • Dan Perry November 11, 2013

      Brandon,

      If you want it to show your google voice phone number when somebody calls, here is how you do it.

      Got to google.com/voice and then go to the settings (right side of page and looks like a gear) Then go to the calls tab. From there you will see an option to change your caller ID.

      Dan

  • Margaret August 26, 2014

    I would like to set up a message that people who want to leave a personal message can press 1 or for my business press 2. Can I do that and if so, how?

    • Dan Perry August 27, 2014

      I’m not sure if that’s possible with google voice.

  • Kiwi June 22, 2015

    How do you set up Separate Voicemail Greetings?
    I have 2 businesses and 1 cell phone. I would like to keep it that way. My phone is really a business phone so I have always had a professional greeting. Now that I have started a new business I need a separate message for the people calling that number. Let’s make this simple and call my first business X and second business Y. If a person calls my original number (X) I would like them to hear greeting X, If a person calls gv number (Y) I would like them to hear greeting Y. I don’t want to use groups because most the people calling will not be contacts.

    • Dan Perry June 22, 2015

      You will have a voicemail for your original phone number (whatever number you got with the phone) and then record a seperate voicemail for your google voice phone number. Your original voicemail will be recorded where you normally do. Your Google voice voicemail is recorded online.

  • JEB July 16, 2015

    I have Google Voice on my iphone for business calls and when someone calls my GV# they get the voice mail I set up for my business. I then set up GV in my daughters phone so she can take my business calss while I am away and when someone calls the GV# they get her personal greeting. She does not have an iphone, is there something I am missing?

  • Harold September 3, 2015

    I have more than one question. I have two cell phones one for personal and one for business. 1) I’d like to keep my two numbers but transfer one as a GV#. Can I do that? Then 2) I will be purchasing another new phone in the near future. How would I transfer both numbers to my new phone when I get it?

    • Dan Perry September 4, 2015

      HI Harold,

      Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to those questions. It’s going to take some reading on Google Voice and potentially talking to your phone company.

    • Bruce December 12, 2015

      You can port an existing number to Google Voice for a cost of $20, which you’ll need Google Wallet to pay. All phone service providers charge for porting. Search “port number to Google Voice” and you should find out how it works. I’ll be doing this for my wife soon.

  • Cindy October 30, 2015

    If I have GV can also send and receive separate text messages and/or emails in this feature?

  • SN November 7, 2015

    Is this a feature only available in the US? I’m in the UK and no matter what link I click on, it just gives more blurb rather than an option set set up a google voice number. I already have gmail accounts. ?????

  • Rich November 11, 2015

    Hi Dan,

    Great info. Thanks! Question.. I have a personal number and a business number. I currently have two phones but want to get rid of one and have both numbers ring to pne phone with separate voicemail greetings. Seems simple enough but I’m confused about the potential third number, the Google Voice number. Do I have to have/use a Google Voice number? In other words, I don’t want to have to change one of my current phone numbers.

    • Jamie May 6, 2016

      Rich, read a few comments above; it looks like to keep your existing number for you business, you would need to port it over to GV. That way you would still have your personal number like always and GV would be your same business number, no third line. It’s the same thing I’m thinking about doing.

  • Joel December 22, 2015

    Can you also receive text messages on this new Google service?

  • Mitch December 29, 2015

    Hi,

    I recently moved from Ohio to California for a new job. My new job provided us with cell phones that we can use for personal use as well. I’m actually getting rid of my Verizon account which means my Ohio number would be gone. I would like to still keep my Ohio number since I’ve had it for so long but I don’t know what to do. I called AT&T and they said it’s possible to change my work number completely to my Ohio number but it would be some work/i don’t know if my company would allow that. I tried Google Voice but they can’t port my number at this time from my area in Ohio. I have Google Lite now but I didn’t know that once my Ohio Verizon account is cancelled, my Ohio number won’t work on there anymore. If you can help, that would be great! I know there’s probably not many more options hah. Thanks

  • Jaclynn January 5, 2016

    Is there a way to have Call Screening ask for a persons name every time even from a familiar number? Where I work, no matter what building you call from, it is always the same number calling so unfortunately every time someone calls me from my job it now only says the recording name of the first person who has ever called me from that number it is horribly annoying. I would like Call Screening to ask for a persons name every single call, familiar number or not. Please help me!!

    • Dan Perry January 7, 2016

      Yes, I’m 90% sure you can do that.

  • dirk February 2, 2016

    I just moved to Canada. Can I get a Google second number that’s Canadian, while keeping my old American phone number on the same phone?

  • Janine Hoffman Reyes February 24, 2016

    Can I have a Google call go to a separate greeting for business and if my primary number calls go directly to my personal greeting? I need a special long greeting for all business calls and automatic personal greeting for personal calls depending on which number is dialed the

  • Mallory March 14, 2016

    Hello, I have been logging too much time trying to figure out how to set up a voicemail greeting for people calling my google number, and a separate greeting for when people call my cell phone number… I don’t understand!
    I understand how to create a greeting for certain contacts or groups or circles, but obviously I don’t know the phone numbers of the customers calling my google number, so I can’t add them to a certain group.
    Also, I have another side hustle of customers/strangers who would be calling my personal cell phone number, so they need to hear a different greeting than my google number greeting. Help!?
    I also tried activated and deactivated voicemail for my personal number, that doesn’t work because then when people call my google number they get my personal greeting, not my professional greeting. and when it is activated all calls get my google voice greeting instead of my personal number getting a personal greeting.

    • Mallory March 14, 2016

      I also tried to create my second side hustle business voicemail greeting as the greeting on my cell phone, not through google voice, but it didnt work after i activated the google voicemail, then even personal calls got my google voice mail greeting instead of my cell phones greeting. and without activating google voicemail then my google number went to my personal cell phones greeting.

  • Julie April 7, 2016

    Can I set up Google Voice to press 1 to go to one phone number and press 2 for another number?

  • Ephy April 19, 2016

    Most of my business is done via text, as opposed to voice calls. Would this work the same way?
    My business phone is such a brick, it would be great not to have to carry it around!

  • Randy May 6, 2016

    Is it possible to set up a GV number that goes to voicemail and multiple people can pick up the voicemail?

  • Brian - onoff May 19, 2016

    Hi Dan,

    I just came across your blog post and figured I could address some of the disadvantages of this setup and in the process tell you about a new service we just launched in the UK that could solve many of them. Google voice is a great free setup especially as a means of replacing a fixed line but as you point out it’s still very hard to become completely independent of your original number when people can see your personal number.

    Basically at onoff app we have created an app that lets you have multiple real mobile phone numbers on one device and with calls routed through your sim card over GSM you don’t suffer any of the usual constraints that come with VOIP services like google voice, Each new number is a separate independent entity, with independent voicemail, caller ID, phonebook and you can even turn off calls or sms when you don’t wish to be contacted (for example after hours you can route all calls to voicemail by the flick of a switch)

    Just this week we have launched our product in the UK so I’d very much welcome if you wish to try the product out for yourself, you can fund us at http://www.onoffapp.com/

  • Rhonda smith July 10, 2016

    Have question on GV I am an assistant to a manger -loan officer. She has been in business 30 years. We are trying to grow business. Most of our business is Referal. Problem is agents give her personal cell number because she has used for years. And she is usually with someone. So I was wanting to know if we get GV can it be used on multiple phone lines. Such as they call and if she don’t answer after 2 rings will go to my phone and if I am on the phone it will forward to main front office desk. If no answer there will forward to vm and message can be left. And it will text us both the message plus email? Also can GV be used for text. And if so can it be used by multiple people. Meaning me and her use so we know where one left off on last conversation.

  • Greg July 25, 2016

    Hey Dan,

    Came across your website and i read in your small bio that you escaped the 9-5! which is great. and which is something that im trying to do as well. and hopefully do. I would love some great tips if possible! thanks/

    • Dan Perry July 25, 2016

      Ya, working a 9-5 is something I will never go back to. It’s just not for some people.

      If you want to escape, by best advice is this: If you have enough money saved to support yourself for year, just quit. You’ll be able to figure something out by then and you’ll make a lot more progress learning business.

      If you don’t, then you could build a business part time doing something like handyman services until you feel a little more confident and have some income coming in.

      I’ve actually written a blog post on this topic – http://www.handymanstartup.com/how-to-start-and-grow-a-business-while-working-a-full-time-job/

  • john September 9, 2016

    Hi, found this chat thread online trying to figure out google voice. Thanks everyone for their input… Couple of questions:

    Is there a way that I can see the number that is calling in, but know that it’s calling my google voice #? Seems like the only option is to set it up to either display my google # when a call comes in, which helps to identify what # is being called, (so I can answer the phone appropriately), but then I miss having access to that persons phone # if I need it. It seems pretty old school to have to ask someone for their phone #.

    The other option is to set it to display the callers number, but then I have no idea which number they are calling, so then I have no idea how I’m supposed to answer the phone. This seems like a pretty big oversight. Am I missing something?

    Or can I set a separate ring tone for google voice calls?

    Thanks!

  • Heather McGuirk September 20, 2016

    I am attempting to set up this service prior to printing business cards, etc. My phone number is assigned but when I called it to check how it answers it says Google Voice will attempt to contact, then my name. This is not what I want. I prefer the line to answer directly to my voice message greeting or to see which line to call is coming in on. Help?? TY

  • Steve September 25, 2016

    I spent quite a bit of time experimenting with GV but then discovered that you can buy mobile phones with two sim card slots. Only on android but for me at least it turned out to be a superb solution.

  • Amanda November 11, 2016

    GV does not have the zip code/area for the phone number I need 🙁

  • Mary Cooper December 4, 2016

    Can we down load a record of all calls?
    Thank you

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