• David Rowe

How To Secure Your New Business Phone Number

Updated: May 17, 2019

Your new business phone number is important for several reasons. Firstly, even in the heyday of the digital economy, many people prefer to discuss services over the phone, rather than depend on email, Facebook, WhatsApp etc. It is far quicker for one thing, and it helps build the personal rapport essential for developing long-term business relationships. You may also need a new business phone number for internal communication: getting in touch with suppliers, arranging meetings with employees and colleagues, and so on.

Securing your new business phone number should therefore not be left to chance, as it isn’t something you will want to change too often. A catchy phone number becomes as much a part of your business identity as your URL and email address. People remember the number and subliminally associate it with your business. More practically, once your business number is saved in a contact’s mobile, do you want to put them through the irritation of having to change it, and can you rely on them to actually do it?

No, you’re better off taking some time to sort out your new business phone number from the word go – even before your start-up is officially incorporated.

You can choose a business phone number through three avenues:

· Virtual phone number provider

· Serviced office

· Telecoms service provider

Some providers, including most serviced offices, will simply assign your phone number. There will be a greater level of choice with a virtual phone number provider, and most telecoms providers give you some degree of flexibility, although you may have to ask.

The question is, what type of new business phone number do you need? Let’s look at the main types of phone number used in the UK - some of these are better for new businesses than others in our opinion.

Geographic Numbers (Area Codes)

The familiar business phone numbers starting with 01 or 02 are a good choice for start-ups conducting business locally. Customers and suppliers in the same area as you will immediately recognise you as a local business by your phone number, which is a positive thing in many eyes. By the same virtue, your phone number may put off potential customers in another part of the country. If you work over a wide area you may wish to consider more than one geographic number, or a national phone number in addition to your local one.

Local Rate Numbers

Phone numbers beginning in 0844 and 0845 charge callers at a fixed local rate from landlines, regardless of the caller’s point of origin. Fees vary on the time of day and can be expensive for mobile phones. Many businesses use a local rate number for their customer service or sales desk, but not as their sole business phone number.

National Rate Numbers

The 0870, 0871, and 0872 prefixes denote national rate numbers. Whenever a call is made, the caller pays an access charge to their phone company. In addition, you are charged a service fee by your phone provider of up to 13p per minute. The calls cost a fixed national rate, wherever in the UK the call is being made from.

Calls to 08 local or national rate numbers are charged exclusive to the caller’s phone plan minutes and discount schemes, which means they can be expensive.

03 and 030 phone prefixes are cheaper national rate alternatives to the 087 numbers. Calls are deducted from the caller’s contractual inclusive minutes, and include calls from both mobiles and landlines.

Freephone Numbers

0800 numbers and the former 0500 (withdrawn in July 2017) numbers are free to use for callers using landlines. Mobile callers, however, may face additional fees of up to 50p per minute. Line rental on Freephone numbers is also expensive, so while they are useful for some sales campaigns, many people are wary of using them.

Premium Numbers

The family of 09 premium numbers charge callers up to £3.60 per minute for calls, plus a connection charge of up to £6. These numbers are only really used for competition entries, professional services and adult chat lines.

Personal Numbers

A phone number beginning with 070 is a personal number, not to be confused with the 07 mobile prefix. Calls to a personal number are diverted to a landline or mobile of the owner’s choice, making it easy for small businesses to keep track of phone calls when on the move. The service is free to use for the owner, but high costs of up to £3.40 per minute are applied to callers – so use with caution.

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