Do You Need an 800 Number? Or a Separate Fax Line?

If you’re a small business owner (or otherwise) and are trying to cut costs of doing business, let the toll-free number go. And unless you have to send a lot of faxes, get rid of the dedicated line for that too.

Incoming calls on your toll-free line or a dedicated fax line that’s not used a lot can be a big waste of money. What else could you do with that money you’re spending every month? Are you still hanging on to these thinking you’ll get more business? Do you think this is helping you appear bigger than you are? You can accomplish more if you put that money into a more professional Web presence.

Here is why I got rid of my toll-free number years ago.

  • Phone companies offer unlimited long distance. For $20 a month, I get unlimited long distance from AT&T. I don’t think anything about making a call and staying on the line until I’ve finished my business.
  • Cell phones make it economical to call long distance. I don’t give out my cell phone number and always have minutes to roll over to the next month. If I need to make a call away from my office, it’s no problem, no cost.
  • Google could work better than a vanity number. Getting a phone number that spells your company name, etc., is a cute way for people to remember you. But the perfect vanity number is hard to come by. If someone hears me on the radio, etc., they can Google various terms they heard me say, my name, etc., and find me right away. If I had a vanity number to give out, would they remember? I don’t think so.

Here is why I got rid of my dedicated fax line years ago.

  • Combo copier/fax/printer/scanner with a splitter makes it easy to fax. On the rare occasion that I have to fax something, I fax from this unit using my regular phone line. I have DSL (it uses a different signal from the analog phone) and the splitter on the phone jack eliminates the need to unplug or switch any wires.
  • efax for incoming faxes. Since I rarely have to receive a fax, I use the free service from I don’t publicize the fax number, and only give it out as needed. As long as I don’t receive more than 20 pages a month, the service is free.
  • Mail it instead of fax. If they can’t email it, and it’s too many pages to fax, use snail mail. We often forget about the option of mailing something. It still works.

Peggy Duncan Personal Productivity Expert