Virtual phone number

Need a business phone number that isn’t tied to physical phone lines? Get a virtual phone number with Dialpad in minutes. Sign up for a 14-day free trial and see how it works.

These days, businesses need to be super flexible. Many are moving to a remote or hybrid work environment, and whether you need a phone number for your business or your employees who are now working from home, it isn’t always possible (or even desirable) to get phone numbers with the local telecom companies.

Plus, if you have employees who want to work in more remote places, there might not even always be landlines there.

So how can your business go remote—while still being accessible to your customers and prospects (and each other) over the phone? Virtual phone numbers, of course. And yes, you can get these with local area codes.

In this post, we’ll walk you through what virtual phone numbers are, how they work, and how to get one for your business or for work in literally just a few minutes. But first...

What is a virtual phone number?

A virtual phone number—sometimes called a softphone or virtual landline—is a number linked to an online account with a provider, as opposed to a specific location.

Old school telephony systems tend to use an analog setup with desk phones, and numbers are linked to local PBX exchanges / phone lines.

On the other hand, you can get virtual business phone numbers from a VoIP provider (Voice over Internet Protocol, which is essentially a technology that lets you make phone calls over your data or Wi-Fi—basically some kind of Internet connection) and use those numbers to make and receive calls.

People calling you on a virtual number won’t be able to tell the difference—to them, it’ll be as if they’re just calling a regular ol’ telephone number.

You can also get these virtual phone numbers on your desk phone or cell phone line, which makes them very flexible and ideal for employees (like salespeople) who need to make a lot of business calls from their personal cell phones.

How to get a virtual phone number for your business with Dialpad in 2 easy steps

1. Sign up for a free 14-day trial on dialpad.com/signup. (Fun fact: Dialpad was built by the folks who built Google Voice.) You can sign up with your Google or Microsoft 365 account to speed things up even more, but it takes just a few minutes.

2. That’s pretty much it. You can pick a virtual business phone number in step 2. Signing up for Dialpad also gives you a virtual phone system—definitely take it for a spin over your 14-day trial and try it out. If it’s not for you, you can close your account at the end of the trial.

Why get a virtual business phone number with Dialpad?

Dialpad’s Talk plan does start at $15 per user per month, but even the most inexpensive version comes with:

  • The virtual phone number, and

  • A virtual business phone system, and

  • Unlimited calling within your home country, plus to the US and Canada, and

  • Unlimited call recordings, and

  • Other business essentials like custom voicemail greetings, an auto-attendant, video conferencing, call forwarding, custom outside-of-business-hours call routing, and more

Better call pickup rates for outbound efforts

One of the major benefits of a virtual phone number is that it can give your business a local presence—without the need for having a physical one. You’ll be able to register a local number on third-party company directory websites like Google My Business, even if you don’t technically have an office in the area that relates to the local area code.

If your business makes a fair amount of outbound business calls to prospects, you or your reps usually have a much better chance of people picking up your call if the caller ID shows a local phone number.

You can use it across different devices

With traditional phone numbers, you usually have one number per phone. With virtual phone numbers and more modern business phone systems (like Dialpad), you can make and receive calls on a virtual phone number using your mobile phone, deskphone, or even computer.

No more being stuck to your desk to have phone calls. Need to run errands in the middle of the workday or pick up your kids? Dialpad’s app lets you make sure that anyone dialing your virtual business number will ring your cell phone.

You don’t need two phones anymore

With the mobile (or “softphone”) app, what that also means is you can have your virtual phone number on your personal cell phone. For example, if you run a plumbing or home services business, you can have your virtual business phone number on your personal cell phone so that your clients can reach you throughout the day—without you having to carry two phones, and without calling your personal number.

It’s cheaper

Physical landlines require an initial fee for all of your equipment because you’re basically building a mini telephone exchange in your office. You’ll also likely have to pay rental fees, maintenance fees, and fees for extra lines when your business is ready to expand. Ouch.

With Dialpad, you don’t have to pay any of these fees, and there aren’t really any costs beyond the price of your monthly or annual plan. If you need to add more (or remove) users, you can easily do that in your online account, which means you’re only paying for what you need.

How much does getting a virtual phone number with Dialpad cost?

If you’re looking for a virtual business phone number, you can get that with any of the three pricing plans for Dialpad Talk (Dialpad’s business communications product):


Standard

Pro

Enterprise

Price?

Starts at $15 per user per month

Starts at $25 per user per month

Custom pricing for larger businesses and more complicated needs

Virtual number?

✅ - Includes 1 local virtual phone number per user

✅ - Includes 1 local virtual phone number per user

✅ - Includes 1 local virtual phone number per user

Additional numbers?

✅ - Local or international virtual numbers

✅ - Local or international virtual numbers

Porting numbers?

✅ - Local and toll-free porting if you need it

✅ - Local and toll-free porting if you need it

✅ - Local and toll-free porting if you need it

Unlimited inbound and outbound calls within your home country, the US, and Canada?

Unlimited SMS/MMS in the US and Canada



FAQs about virtual phone numbers

Are virtual phone numbers safe?

Yes, virtual phone numbers can be safer than analog telephone lines, but as a rule, make sure to check your provider’s security certificates before you invest.

For example, Dialpad uses encryption to protect data and is a member of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and the Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR). Our software is also HIPAA-compliant (if your organization is in the healthcare industry) and GDPR-compliant (for companies working within the European Union).

Can you have toll-free virtual phone numbers?

Virtual phone numbers can be toll-free for sure, it just depends on your provider. With Dialpad, it’s easy to get a toll-free number or vanity number. That way, customers can phone you from anywhere, completely free of charge.

You can go a step beyond toll free numbers with Dialpad by choosing a vanity number instead. These numbers usually include a word that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you run a cake-baking company, your vanity number might be 1-800-CAKES4U.

How can I get voicemail with a virtual phone number?

If you can’t answer every phone call, then you’ll need a voicemail feature. Because virtual phone numbers use the Internet, any connected voicemail system naturally does the same. Different providers may set up their virtual voicemail systems in different ways, but with Dialpad it’s easy.

In Dialpad, you can listen to voicemails, record custom greetings, and do everything in the app.

Can my business have multiple virtual phone numbers?

Most providers will let you have multiple virtual phone numbers. Dialpad lets each user in your company have a local virtual number. If someone needs more than one virtual number, then usually there’s a charge for that.

Are local calls free with virtual phone numbers?

This depends on your provider. With Dialpad, all local calls are free, with charges only applied to international calls and messages.

How do I set call forwarding with a virtual phone number?

In Dialpad, your virtual phone number can be set up to forward calls to five other numbers. (These can be either personal phones or mobile devices.)

Your provider should have an option to do this in your online account. With Dialpad you can do this right in your account settings.

How do you route calls from a virtual phone number?

Call routing and call transfers should work with your virtual number the same way it would for a regular phone number. If you’re using Dialpad, again you just have to log into your account online.

From there, you’ll see a few call routing options if someone calls your business’ virtual phone number:

  • Direct to voicemail

  • To a message: A custom recorded message

  • To another department

  • To a specific team member, room phone, or other phone number

  • To an automated response menu

How should I choose a virtual phone number provider?

There’s a ton of virtual phone service providers to choose from, so shop around. What works for a locally-based small business with two locations may not work for an international organization that might need toll-free numbers (and vice versa).

Here are a few business needs to consider when you’re drawing up your shortlist:

  • What is your budget?

  • Do you want to be able to upgrade easily? (How much flexibility do you want?)

  • How many phone numbers do you need?

  • Do you have to port any numbers?

  • Do you need a local, toll-free, or vanity number?

Some business phone system providers will also have robust features beyond simply being able to make and answer calls, and many will offer a virtual number as part of a unified communications or VoIP platform. Dialpad, for instance, comes with a desktop and mobile app, and also gives you unlimited text messages (SMS), MMS, and group messaging in addition to online meetings. If your business relies heavily on communications, look for these kinds of extras and assess what you need from your virtual phone system.