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workdog
08-06-2010, 12:14 AM
What do you use for a business phone? I thought about one of those Magic Jacks but I dont like that I potential customers cant get a hold of me. I currently have a personal cell, but when my contracts up (in a year), Im switching to a different provider and dont want my customers too think I deserted them. Im thinking about maybe a business cell phone (cheap plan) and a Magic Jack.

What do you all think?

Thanks for putting up with all my noob questions!

ExpoAware
08-06-2010, 12:46 AM
Well I went through this recently. First off, I think MagicJack is just a hands free device using FM Modulation and your car radio. Moving on...

Cell phone service was the least expensive and most portable for obvious reasons.

I had two options:

Since I have a family plan on my ATT account, I thought about adding another line for $10 a month and sharing the minutes. We have plenty but I did not like the idea of locking in for another 2 years on another line.

The second option was a pay as you go service. I narrowed that down to TracFone because they give you more time to use your minutes. They also have the largest call area since they use most all towers. With promo codes, you can get lots of bonus minutes. And if it does not work out, you can port your number to a traditional service.

I decided to start with the tracfone and I picked the most simple phone they had on the shelf. A little review searching was useful for choosing the phone. Initial outlay was around $30 and I got 110 minutes with a promo code.

I am quick on the phone so minutes are not THAT big of an issue. However if I find myself burning through them, I can drop the TracFone service and port the number to my family plan.

Also, most of my clients use email to maintain communication or use my website contact forms. But really only new or potential clients even call. My established accounts rarely have a need to contact me based on my level of service.

The downsides are:
Minutes are more costly than traditional cell plans
You have to put up with nagging tracfone spam (there are workarounds)
You have to be "minute conscious" when on the phone. (worst part)
Carrying around two phones.

The ups:
Cheap
Reliable
NO CONTRACTS
Simple
Bonus minutes

Also, there is a third option I could not use that may be available to you.

Google Voice offers a free number service. You can get a local number and have that number forward to ANY other phone(s) when it is called. Your current numbers (home/cell) are invisible to the caller. I have been using this service since before Google bought out GrandCentral (who created the service) for a non profit corp we run. I would have used Google Voice again, but you can only assign one cell number to a google voice number.

This might be your best bet. I would definitely have went that route again if I had the choice

YMMV

Hope this helps.
Phil


What do you use for a business phone? I thought about one of those Magic Jacks but I dont like that I potential customers cant get a hold of me. I currently have a personal cell, but when my contracts up (in a year), Im switching to a different provider and dont want my customers too think I deserted them. Im thinking about maybe a business cell phone (cheap plan) and a Magic Jack.

What do you all think?

Thanks for putting up with all my noob questions!

DillonB92
08-06-2010, 01:05 AM
I like the idea of the trac fone. I had one of those a few years ago for personal use. Since i used my house phone mostly, i didn't have to really worry about minutes. The service with trac fone is crazy! You have reception even ATT doesn't. I would recommend that or that google service

workdog
08-06-2010, 11:58 AM
I have a old Trac Fone from a few years back. I think Ill go with that!

Thanks!

swstout
08-06-2010, 02:31 PM
I use Vonage ($29.95 per month) and call foreward to my cell (Verizon - the only reliable service here). Both have call waiting so I miss very few calls.

Steve

picframer
08-06-2010, 05:56 PM
I use a blackberry, I think it is critical to setting the bar higher than the other guys to be able to not only answer calls promptly but to be able to respond to emails anywhere anytime, I can't tell you how much business this has brought in and to raise the bar even higher, we sometimes email images of the job in progress to clients at work, guess what they show their college's and we have received work from their co-workers.

mark123
08-06-2010, 07:16 PM
I use a Magic Jack. Currently I have it forwarded to my cell phone number. Had Google Voice been around when I started I would have used that instead.

No matter what my cell phone number is or changes to, I can still have my Magic Jack number forward to it. When I don't want my cell to ring I'll just let the Magic Jack handle the calls and I'll get the voice mail in my email inbox.

ExpoAware
08-07-2010, 12:46 AM
PicFramer, I agree with your thoughts. I use my personal phone to keep track of email accounts since it already has that functionality (iphone).

Mark, can you tell me how the Magic Jack works? I thought that was the FM Modulator the "TV Guy" sold for hands free talking. This sounds like an option I could have considered. Nice website by the way. Well done.

mark123
08-07-2010, 12:56 AM
... Mark, can you tell me how the Magic Jack works? I thought that was the FM Modulator the "TV Guy" sold for hands free talking. This sounds like an option I could have considered. ...

You're thinking of "Jupiter Jack" or something like that. Magic Jack is a phone jack that plugs into the USB port of your computer allowing you to make or receive calls using a regular phone plugged into it.

... Nice website by the way. Well done. Thanks. The fun part is the backend that no one ever sees. ;)

douglasmcintosh
08-07-2010, 02:34 AM
If you are just starting out and trying to watch the bottom line I would get a pay as you go cell phone. If you decide you can get the number changed to a full plan.

If your not trying to watch the budget then you have the right idea with magic jack and a cell phone. I know business plans here in Canada cost more then personal plans for the same service. Good luck let me know what happens

mark123
08-07-2010, 10:06 AM
... If your not trying to watch the budget then you have the right idea with magic jack and a cell phone. I know business plans here in Canada cost more then personal plans for the same service. Good luck let me know what happens
Watching my budget is exactly why I went with the Magic Jack. It's a whole lot less than adding a business line.

ExpoAware
08-09-2010, 02:46 PM
You're thinking of "Jupiter Jack" or something like that. Magic Jack is a phone jack that plugs into the USB port of your computer allowing you to make or receive calls using a regular phone plugged into it.

Thanks. The fun part is the backend that no one ever sees. ;)

Yep... I was thinking of Jupiter Jack. I am straight now.

I here ya... I was thinking Joomla when it first popped up but then when I clicked around a bit, I figure mvc?

Either way, it is well done.

mark123
08-09-2010, 03:21 PM
I here ya... I was thinking Joomla when it first popped up but then when I clicked around a bit, I figure mvc?

Either way, it is well done.Yes, I am an ASP.NET MVC convert. I built the CMS, I call it "mvCms", from the ground up.

Thanks for the compliment. Being #1 in the local search has got me a lot of calls from people out of the area that own property in town.

MAKLawnCutter
08-12-2010, 11:04 PM
I have a business account through Sprint.

1500 Data Family Plan, one business line that is business dedicated and one that is a personal line, I also have my one employee(as of today) and my fiancee on it.

Total i am paying 175$ a month, and i use my business line as a wireless modem for my laptop :D

Matt

workdog
08-12-2010, 11:54 PM
I found my old dinosaur TracPhone today. Going to get a card for it this weekend.
And Ive been also thinking about Virgin Mobile. I had a account with them for my shop phone when I was doing small engine repair. I keep getting emails from them saying we want you back and we will add more minutes on if I buy a card.
Any one else ever used Virgin Mobile?

Steve
08-13-2010, 05:07 AM
Any one else ever used Virgin Mobile?

I had a phone with them for a while and everything worked out fine. They rent space on the Sprint network I think?