My wife and I will both be working from home. What phone set-up is best?
April 30, 2010 2:53 PM   Subscribe

Starting in about a month, my wife and I will both be working from home a fair amount. We are both on the phone a lot. We want to pay as little as possible and are trying to figure out how to deal with the phone situation. I currently use Google Voice and make and receive most of my calls on the home phone, which works well for me. I'm not sure how to deal with the apparent need for 2 phones. Both of us have cell-phones, but we're on the phone so much that we'd rather not be on the cell phones all day. We could obviously just get a 2nd Google Voice number for incoming calls, but I'm not sure how to deal with receiving or making calls while the other person is on the home phone. Thoughts? Should we get a Skype or Vonage number? Just get a 2nd landline? Any good free/cheap options that I'm missing? We're in Portland, OR if that matters. Thanks!
posted by stewieandthedude to Technology (9 answers total)
if you're doing it for business, i'd recommend against VOIP. go for the second line.
posted by nadawi at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've had good luck with a skype number for phone interviews and other important calls. I pay about 3 dollars/month However, your experience will depend on the stability of your internet connection. If the connection drops, you're hosed.
posted by theDrizzle at 3:12 PM on April 30, 2010

posted by special-k at 3:13 PM on April 30, 2010

I work from home full time. I have a mobile, Skype and a VOIP. There are problems with all of them.

Skype and VOIP are both reliant on a reliable connection. Depending on just what it is you do your definition of reliable may be different than mine. I've had calls on both of these services die or deteriorate to the point that I had to call the person back from my mobile.

I *hate* talking on my mobile, whether held to my head or on speaker or with a head phone. I just really don't care for the voice quality, the delay, etc.

For voice quality I find that Skype is the best bet for me. There are times when the VOIP line is quite good as well, but I don't currently have a headphone to use with it and I believe that's what tips me over into the Skype camp.

I haven't had a land line since the last time I worked from home in 2006. I don't know that I would bother going back to a land line, but I am *very* cautious about which phone I choose to use when I'm about to hop on a call.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2010

If you use two Google Voice lines, you'll need two different phones to assign to; GV won't assign two GV numbers to the same non-GV number.
posted by anadem at 3:22 PM on April 30, 2010

You might want to look into an Ooma system. I have one and have no complaints. The quality of the call is virtually the same as a landline (for me at least) and for about 10 bucks a month, you can subscribe to the Premium service and have a second line.
posted by gfrobe at 3:33 PM on April 30, 2010

anadem: i've actually had success with this - it complains about the other number being already associated, but i just go back in and turn it on on the original GV account and it seems to stick. no idea if it works properly now though; this was a while ago.

by any stroke of luck, would you happen to have a Gizmo account? Google Voice, back when it was called Grand Central, lets you plug your Gizmo account in as a phone to ring, and (afaik - I don't use it much myself) it ends up being free to use. Gizmo works like Skype - you have an app on your computer and you talk through that. unfortunately, Google bought Gizmo as well and they've turned off new signups for now.

Vonage costs $15/mo for the first 6 months right now ($26/mo after). Skype is $2.95/mo plus $0.021/min for US/Canada calling. Vonage gives you an adapter to plug a normal phone into, where Skype does not (but such products are available for it). an additional voice line on AT&T U-Verse is $15. you might want to check and see how expensive a second phone line would be - it may actually be the cheapest option, since you already have regular phone service.
posted by mrg at 4:25 PM on April 30, 2010

I work from home and use Skype extensively. To make outgoing calls to other land lines/mobiles (i.e. anything with an actual phone number), I paid $30 for a 12 month subscription which was unlimited/unmetered (i.e. no additional charges). To receive incoming phone calls (getting assigned an actual phone number that people can call) cost $30 for 12 months (which was a 50% discount). Total cost was $60 for the year.
posted by skwm at 5:24 PM on April 30, 2010

I work from home, and in addition to my mobile, I have a Vonage Business line (phone and fax). Both are connected to a wired network in my home office. Quality is great - you can't tell I'm on a Vonage line.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:05 AM on May 1, 2010

« Older Can hypnotherapy help me?   |   Pantry cupboard aroud Toronto/Hamilton/Niagara Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.