Finding the Right VoIP Provider for Your Remote Business
Looking for the Right VoIP Provider?
Three years ago, I embarked the journey of a lifetime when I turned my home-based business Buzz Promotions to remote-based. Since then, I am fortunate enough to have travelled across three continents and numerous new countries. However, my experience could not have been possible without modern communication technology granting me the freedom to expand my scope.
Believe it or not, the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of running a remote business was finding the right VoIP provider. It took the better part of eight months, hundreds of hours of research and dozens of calls to find a company that could meet my very specific requirements. While there is an abundance of great VoIP services in North America, each one comes with its own unique set of obstacles, especially in Canada.
Line2 was able to accommodate all my business and personal needs. Not only did Line 2 port over my existing number, it also hooked me up a toll-free Canadian number. In other words, I can call anywhere in North America, from anywhere in the world, on any internet connection. While local long-distance charges still apply as before with my Vancouver number, anyone in Canada can call Buzz Promotions’ business line toll-free. Moreover, if I miss a call, all of my voice mails instantly go to my e-mail inbox which has made it easy to return calls right away. Text messages, although not 100% reliable, are also free to and from other national numbers. Needless to say, for Buzz Promotions, Line2 is as a vital asset when I connect with promo staffing opportunities Canada-wide.
Line2 is a VoIP app that allows you to make and receive calls over Wifi and 3/4G. Unlike their few Canadian competitors, Line2 also enables texting to/from your number. It’s a small fraction of what we pay for our regular cell phone plans. Personally I chose to pay for a year upfront which came to $150. I ported in my cell number which means I transferred it from my old provider, Telus, to Line2. Since my cell number is now simply a Canadian number instead of a BC/Vancouver specific number (despite keeping the same area code) I can send and receive calls across Canada without long distance fees. I have no need for international calling since I use local sim cards in each country I visit (3G) and I rarely call outside of North America. That said, Line2 offers long distance credit at minimal rates.
One of the main problems I ran into with other Canadian VoIP apps is that even though they worked identically in Canada, they admitted to either horrible call quality or no capability at all while overseas. I was pretty thorough with my questions before I ported my number but ultimately it was a gamble once I stepped foot in Asia. I should mention that I also paid for a 1-800 number for my business. It was the same price ($150/year) plus a one-time $15 fee for the number. I have the line2 app both on my iPhone and on my desktop. Unfortunately you can only have one number connected at a time. It was a no-brainer that my cell needed to be connected to my cell number. I ended up forwarding the 1-800 number to my cell so now all calls come to my iPhone. I have my desktop app linked directly to my business line so when my laptop is open and someone calls my business line it rings on both my cell and my computer.
Besides the functionalities mentioned above, Line2 has all kinds of useful features including a virtual assistant/operator, conference calling, choosing which number shows up on a receiving party’s caller ID, linking other non-line2 numbers to your directory, groups (friends, work) which you can have separate settings and greetings for plus all voicemails are visual and you’ll be e-mailed a sound-clip as well.
However, although Line2 offered great convenience, inevitably there are some downsides as well. For one, the app goes offline if you don’t use it for a certain period of time and if there is a disruption in Internet connection. This is a bit frustrating for two reasons: you have to re-open the app several times a day and will not always receive your calls/texts in real time. By doing so multiple times daily, the app drains iPhone battery. However, personally speaking, these challenges are a small price to pay to be able to make a living from a tropical paradise. I’ve easily adapted by carrying a couple extra battery cases and making it clear that if you don’t leave me a voicemail there’s a slight chance I might miss your call.
For a remote business owner like myself, Line2 is a necessity for the success of my company. For everyone else, if you’re willing to deal with a few minor inconveniences (although you’ll gain several benefits) you can save yourself hundreds or thousands a year.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I’ve done enough research for a lifetime. If you are interested in switching to Line2 and list Buzz Promotions as your reference, both of us will receive a $10.00 credit!
For more information…
• Please e-mail Andrea@buzzpromotions.ca with your full name and e-mail address with the subject line “Line2 invite”.
• You will be sent an URL and MUST sign up for paid service via this URL to qualify.
• You will receive your $10 credit on your 2nd month of service.