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Ask DN: Personal or Dedicated Phone number for Client Work?

over 5 years ago from , Web Designer @ lauriejones.me

I am just making the transition to freelance work and am in two minds about whether to use my current phone for both business and personal calls or to get a second dedicated phone.

I am concerned using my personal number could result in some unwanted calls at all hours of the day. Carrying two phones around all the time doesn't sound great to me either though.

Ideally having two numbers on the one phone would be perfect, but I haven't come across a viable solution for that.

So freelancers, what do you do?

12 comments

  • Maurice CherryMaurice Cherry, over 5 years ago

    I have a Google Voice number that goes straight to voicemail. I'm often in meetings or other calls, and phone calls from clients who need things done ASAP always throw me off. If they leave a message, I can get back to them.

    On the other hand, I rarely get calls.

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  • Asko NõmmAsko Nõmm, over 5 years ago

    I would not recommend a personal number. Clients often call even after work day, I personally don't take calls from clients after 5pm and new clients understand that pretty quickly, but if I could do it all over again I would get a separate phone for work.

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    • Laurie JonesLaurie Jones, over 5 years ago

      Yeah, this is what I feared. I'm just not really enthused by the idea of carrying two phones during business hours either.

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  • EJ FoxEJ Fox, over 5 years ago

    All of my clients, and frankly most of my acquaintances know my Google Voice number, which rings my iPhone, and google voice allows me to set times that my phone won't ring, or lets me block specific numbers, or not ring for them, etc.

    Only really close friends get the direct number to my iPhone.

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    • Laurie Jones, over 5 years ago

      Interesting approach. A quick search seems to indicate that Google Voice is not available here is Australia, but perhaps Skype or another alternative could work.

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  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago

    If you’re using iOS, VIP and Do Not Disturb should work well enough? VIP will let your family and friends through, and Do Not Disturb (set at ~6PM) will lessen annoyances.

    What’s your main concern? If done a lot of freelance and contract work in the past, and haven’t had any issues with clients calling late. Maybe I was lucky, but most respected weekends and nights.

    If a client does call at an unreasonable hour, a quick click of the wake/sleep button will send them to voicemail.

    Ideally having two numbers on the one phone would be perfect, but I haven't come across a viable solution for that.

    Maybe Skype or similar could be used?

    I think there’s a lot of negatives for carrying two phones, and not many plusses.

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    • Laurie JonesLaurie Jones, over 5 years ago

      Thanks Marc, that's true. My main concern is having my personal phone number listed on my website could cause issues with spam or international calls.

      Would business cards with a skype handle rather than a phone number be warmly received by the average business owner? I'm not so sure...

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      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago

        Oh, gotcha. That’s a fair point. I don’t think I’d ever want my mobile number shown on a website. Why have your phone number shown at all? Do you think someone interested won’t fill out a contact form? A contact form might also be able to ensure you get some other valuable info?

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      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

        Another option: Cheap prepaid sim, cheap phone, and set it to redirect to your real mobile. Shouldn’t cost too much, as you’d only need the minimum value 12 month prepaid to keep it alive.

        That’ll give you a second phone number, and you won’t need to take the second phone out with you. It would mean you’re calling clients back from your main mobile, but at least you have something different to list on your website.

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  • Paul JarvisPaul Jarvis, over 5 years ago

    People call you? I've freelanced for 16+ years and got maybe a handful of calls. I use email + skype for clients.

    Clients don't need to be able to get in touch 24/7 - there are no design emergencies. :)

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    • Laurie JonesLaurie Jones, over 5 years ago

      I naturally tend towards those options too, but a quick conversation can sometimes be the most effective way to communicate, I've unfortunately found.

      Do you work with local clients? Do you have business cards? What do you put on those?

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      • Paul JarvisPaul Jarvis, over 5 years ago

        Zero local clients (I live in the woods on an island) and I've not had business cards in about 15 years. So nothing to put on those since they don't exist :)

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