Let’s be honest… when you’re first starting a business it is tempting to do some things as easily as possible so you can focus on the bigger picture and get things moving. Since you most likely already have a cell phone, it can be very tempting to just use your existing phone number as your business number when you’re starting your carpet cleaning business. It’s already set up, and you don’t have to do anything special to start advertising and getting the phone to ring. Unfortunately a lot of people do it, and in an industry like carpet cleaning where your phone is the life-blood of your business, it’s can be a big mistake.
Think ahead into the future where you have some business success – will you ever want to have flexibility in how incoming calls are managed? If you use your cell phone as your business phone, you’re either going to have to lose your personal number or change your business number to get that flexibility – and neither of those options is easy.
Here are a number of scenarios you may run into later where you’ll regret using your personal cell phone number as the business line for your carpet cleaning business:
You want carpet cleaning inquiries and other business phone calls to go to voicemail during “off” hours
If you’re offering emergency water extraction services, you may be “on call” and answering the phone at all hours of the day and night… but if not, it can be good for your mental health for the business phone to be “off” occasionally. If you have a separate business number and voicemail inbox, you can safely switch work calls off when necessary.
You want someone else to answer the business phone temporarily
You’re going on vacation, or have some other obligation or emergency that will prevent you from reliably answering the phone – what are your options? Depending on your carrier it is possible to forward incoming calls to your cell number to someone else temporarily, but then you lose the ability to receive incoming personal calls. If you have a modern business phone solution and a separate number, you can change where calls are forwarded whenever you’d like.
You decide to hire a receptionist, office manager, or virtual assistant to answer incoming calls
If you ever get big enough that answering business calls personally no longer serves you or your business, then you’ll be in a tight spot if everyone is dialing your cell phone directly.
You decide to sell the business (and the phone number really *should* be included as part of the sale)
As a carpet cleaning business, some of your biggest assets are your brand, an established reputation, and a proven marketing strategy. If you have these things, typically your phone number plays an important part in all three! No business should ever change their phone number, if they can help it. Especially with today’s web-focused marketing, it is actually critical in local search engine rankings for your core business attributes (name, address, and phone number) to be consistent across the web. If you ever sell your business, you should plan for the phone number to go with the sale – if they are smart the buyer will insist on it.
So, now you know why you should avoid using your personal number for your new business – but what should you do instead? I recommend you sign up for a virtual phone system designed for small businesses. Fortunately, there are tons of affordable options out there. Companies like Grasshopper offer affordable, separate, flexible, local phone numbers for businesses just like yours. Various companies offer different packages and solutions, but almost all of them will offer a core set of features:
- A nice modern web-based interface for controlling your business phone settings
- The ability to forward incoming calls to any number
- The ability to send and receive texts, or forward texts to another number
- A voicemail inbox
And sometimes they offer really awesome features you didn’t know you wanted like custom greetings, multiple extensions, computer and mobile apps, voicemail transcription, and more.
This might sound a little bit like an ad for business phone services, but I believe strongly that this is something that should be set up correctly from the beginning, with a nice robust solution. No matter your business or future plans, it never hurts to plan for flexibility. By creating a separate business phone number from the beginning, you can avoid complications down the road and keep your personal and business worlds a little more separate when necessary. In my opinion it is well worth a little research and set up time now to avoid issues later.
Here are a few companies that have strong service offerings in 2019:
What do you think? Is it worth $30 or $40 per month to future-proof your phone number? What have you used as a phone solution for your carpet cleaning business?