Using mobile phones for office phones
February 20, 2015 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I have a VERY small company. We are moving locations. We are going to switch from our PBX system -- as we've shrunk to a point where that makes no sense any more -- to each of us having direct lines on dedicated mobile phones. Can you lend me your ideas? Specific questions inside.

This seems like a no-brainer to me when I weigh the cost of moving our current system and continuing our current service against some new mobile phones and contracts.

However, I have a few questions. We're going to port some of our landlines to new mobile phones. We expect to let one of the ported numbers wither, and for that, we want to port it to a mobile company with no contract and minimal monthly minutes. We'd probably want a dumb phone rather than smart phone for that number. Does the hive mind have any experience with the economical way to port a landline to a really cheap phone?
posted by starkraven to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered a cloud-based VOIP PBX like RingCentral? I'm sure there are others but that's what we use at my office. Their softphone (computer application) is actually really great, and you can also use regular phones. You can also forward to mobile, or use their mobile app.
posted by radioamy at 11:52 AM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wonder whether Google Voice numbers might make more sense, so that people can retain their personal cellphones and have the work number forwarded to them?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:27 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

We use Grasshopper and love it.
posted by gregvr at 12:30 PM on February 20, 2015

Not your lawyer, don't want to be: make sure if you've got FLSA employees (i.e., not salaried, exempt employees) and you're giving them phones, you figure out some way not to have them working overtime by answering phones outside their scheduled hours. (Hint: they can't just agree not to work overtime. Maybe have them leave the phone at work?)
posted by resurrexit at 12:33 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

You could port the number that will have minimal usage to RingTo. They work well for my low-volume number.
posted by fireoyster at 12:41 PM on February 20, 2015

Make sure to have at least one landline for 911 purposes. It wouldn't do for all the cell phones to be out of the office when a medical emergency turns up.

I do think you'd be better served by a VoIP service of some description. is stupid cheap and can be made to work in a quasi-PBX way with internal extensions, call transfers, voicemail, and all that jazz. It's very handy to be able to transfer calls around rather than handing off phones when customers call. Not to mention the benefit of having a single published number.

Centrex service is another option if your particular phone company doesn't charge an arm and a leg. Some do, some don't.
posted by wierdo at 12:44 PM on February 20, 2015

I worked for a well-financed (but cheap) Palo Alto startup that took this further and had people use only their personal cell phones, even printing those numbers on business cards.
posted by w0mbat at 2:17 PM on February 20, 2015

I have run my business on iPhone only and recently got a VOIP desk phone.
Its a HUGE difference in audio quality. If you need to make any kind of serious / lengthy phone calls. do yourself a favor and spend the $25 - $30 month for unlimited calls in the US.
posted by Mac-Expert at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2015

Truly Wireless seems to do what you're looking for.
posted by the jam at 5:07 PM on February 20, 2015

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