How To Get a Business Phone Number

A business phone number is key for communicating with your customers. It enables you to place calls from a recognizable number and makes your business appear more professional. It also ensures your customers can get in touch if they have questions.

Plus, getting phone service for your business doesn’t have to be a major expense. The best VoIP phone providers in the UK offer business numbers starting at less than £10 per month.

In this guide, we’ll explain what a business phone number is, how to get one, and the reasons it can help your business succeed.

What Is a Business Phone Number?

A business phone number is a dedicated line that allows you and your employees to place and receive calls, avoiding the use of personal numbers.

Your business phone number can be provided by either a landline or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service. However, with the UK’s landline phone network being permanently retired at the end of 2025, all business phone numbers in the UK will have to transition to VoIP. So, to future-proof your business or prospective venture, we’d recommend choosing a VoIP business phone number.

For increased flexibility, a growing number of businesses in the UK use non-fixed VoIP, which means they aren’t restricted to a single landline or physical address. You can place and receive calls on a business phone number from any device that supports your phone provider’s software. This includes your computer, smartphone, and even some smart devices.

How To Get a Business Phone Number

Getting a business phone number is simple, and if you choose VoIP you can have your new phone system up and running within a few hours.

Here are the steps to take to get a VoIP business phone number:

Step 1: Decide What Type of Business Phone Number You Need

The first step to getting a VoIP business phone number is to decide on the type of number your business requires. You can choose from local, freephone, international, and other phone numbers. We’ll cover the different types of business phone numbers in more detail in the next section.

Step 2: Choose a Phone Provider

Select a VoIP phone provider that offers the type of number you want. Keep in mind that different companies offer different pricing and features for your phone system, so choosing the right provider is an important step. Check out our guide to the 8 best small business phone systems to help you find the provider that suits you.

Step 3: Select Your Phone Number

Most VoIP phone providers let you choose your phone number. You can search for a specific number to see if it’s available. If you’re happy with any number, you can have your provider simply assign you one.

Step 4: Assign Extensions to Your Employees

Using your VoIP provider’s software, you can assign extensions to each of your employees. Dialling one of these extensions after your business’ primary phone number will connect you to a specific employee instead of your company’s main line. You can also use extensions to transfer calls within your business.

When you inform employees of their new extension, remind them to record a voicemail greeting. This helps your business look professional when customers need to leave a message.

Step 5: Route Incoming Calls

Finally, set up an auto-attendant to route incoming calls. You can configure this so that customers press “1” for customer service and “2” for sales, for example. Record a greeting that describes these menu options when customers call your business.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to start making and receiving calls with your new business phone number.

Types of VoIP Business Phone Numbers

There are several types of VoIP business phone numbers to choose from, each with its advantages for different businesses.

Local

Local VoIP numbers are UK numbers that include an area-specific dialling code. You can get a local number for the area where your business is situated, which is great for small businesses with a primarily local client base. Customers will recognize your dialling code and know that you’re in the same city or region.

Notably, with a non-fixed VoIP phone system, you can also get local numbers for other parts of the UK even if your business doesn’t have an office there. This is a great way to cater to customers in different parts of the country. For example, you could have a business number with an ‘020’ dialling code for customers in London and another number with an ‘0121’ dialling code for customers in Birmingham.

International

International VoIP numbers are phone numbers for a country other than the UK. You can use an international business phone number to establish a local presence in, say, the US or Germany. It’s a great way to cater to customers around the world without necessarily having offices outside the UK.

Freephone

Freephone numbers are free to call when dialled within the UK and typically start with ‘0800’. Your business will pay any charges that the caller would normally pay.

Large companies have used freephone numbers for decades, so they can make your business appear more professional in the eyes of customers. However, note that you may pay calling fees for a freephone number that you wouldn’t for a local number.

Vanity

Vanity numbers are custom phone numbers designed to be easy to remember or spell out certain words. For example, 0800-5555-555 is a memorable vanity number.

Vanity numbers that spell words are rarely used in the UK. So, beware that while they can be easy to remember, they can also confuse customers. Still, vanity numbers are an option for businesses but usually cost more than regular local or freephone numbers.

4 Reasons To Get a Business Phone Number

If you’re still on the fence about getting a VoIP business phone number, here are four reasons why it’s a great idea for every UK business.

1. Get Ahead of the Big Switch Off

The Big Switch Off is the wind-down of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), currently scheduled for 2025. The PSTN is the network of copper landlines that’s been in use in the UK since the 1800s. Once the Big Switch Off happens, you won’t be able to rely on a landline phone system to make or receive calls anymore.

Investing in a VoIP business phone system now allows you to get ahead of the Big Switch Off. That way, you won’t have to worry about scrambling to find a new provider just before your phone service is shut down.

2. Give Your Business a Professional Appearance

Having a dedicated business phone number allows you to separate your personal and business communications and appear more professional to customers.

When a customer calls your business number, you can greet them with your company name and be ready to answer questions. If they’re directed to your business voicemail, they’ll hear a message that represents your organisation instead of receiving your provider’s generic voicemail instructions.

In addition, when you call a customer, they’ll see your company name on their caller ID instead of your name. Making a good first impression on the phone can be the difference between landing a new customer or not.

3. Streamline Calling for Your Employees

With a VoIP business phone number, you can give your employees the ability to place calls from any of their devices using your business phone number. You can also give them extensions, allowing them to call one another and receive incoming calls from customers. Each employee can also have their own voicemail inbox, call log, call recordings, and more.

This is a lot smoother than having employees call each other or customers with their personal phone numbers. It also ensures that all employees have access to the same VoIP calling features to enable them to work effectively.

4. Take Advantage of Advanced Calling Features

Many VoIP providers offer advanced calling features that can make your business more productive. These include:

  • Call recording
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Auto-attendants
  • Ring groups
  • Spam prevention

You can also get data about your calls to see how much time your employees are spending on the phone, what percentage of calls to your business are answered, and more. This data can help you identify ways to improve your customer service.

How To Get a Free Business Phone Number

If your business is on a tight budget, you might be wondering how to get a business phone number for free. Several VoIP phone providers offer free business phone numbers in the UK, including Number People and CallHippo.

However, before you sign up for a free VoIP phone number, make sure you read the fine print. Some free business phone numbers come with unusually high fees for services like call-forwarding or international calling. Others don’t offer access to features like auto-attendants, extensions, or call recording, which can make it more difficult to run your business.

For most businesses, it’s worthwhile to purchase a paid business phone number and get a comprehensive list of calling features. Many of the top VoIP providers in the UK offer free trials, so you can test out their phone service before committing.

▶ Read more: What Is Wi-Fi Calling?

Next Steps

A business phone number can help you connect with customers and maintain your company’s professionalism as it grows. You can make and receive calls from your dedicated business number, route calls to employees, and benefit from features like call recording and voicemail transcription.

It’s easy and inexpensive to get a VoIP business phone number. Simply decide on the type of number you want, select a provider, and choose your number. You can finish setting up your phone system in as little as a few hours.

For more help with getting started, check out our guide to transitioning your workforce to VoIP phones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep my business phone number if I change providers?
Yes, you can keep your business phone number if you decide to change providers. Contact your new provider to authorise them to port your number from your old provider. However, don’t cancel your existing service until your number has been ported.
Do I need a separate phone number for my business?
You’re not required to have a separate phone number for your business, but it’s a good idea. Having a dedicated business phone number makes your business appear more professional. It also enables you to easily route calls to employees.
Can I get multiple business phone numbers?
Yes, you can get multiple phone numbers for your business. Having multiple numbers can help cater to different markets around the world. For example, with non-fixed VoIP, you could have a UK phone number for UK clients and a US phone number for customers in the US.
Written by:
Michael is a prolific business and B2B tech writer whose articles have been published on many well-known sites, including TechRadar Pro, Business Insider and Tom's Guide. Over the past six years, he has kept readers up-to-date with the latest business technology, corporate finance matters and emerging business trends. A successful small business owner and entrepreneur, Michael has his finger firmly on the pulse of B2B tech, finance and business.
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James thinks all businesses can improve if they use the right technology. At Expert Market, he utilises his 4+ years experience as a researcher to offer specialised advice on a wide range of categories from CRM to Fleet Management.