Bring order to your work life with OpenPhone

If you’re in the market for a toll-free or business number, I highly recommend OpenPhone. I found them because of a Facebook ad, of all things, and I’ve been enormously impressed.

For several years I’ve used my personal cell phone number as my business number, which works well enough since it’s always with me. But I carry a lot of varied, unrelated responsibilities, and so I’m never sure what kind of call I’m receiving each time the phone rings. Maybe it’s a client. Maybe it’s a youth group parent. Maybe it’s a plumber.

In my role as youth minister in my church, most people call me “LJ”. This is highly functional when I’m on a walk with my kids and some person a football field away shouts hello. If they call, “Hey LJ!”, I know immediately what kind of relationship I have with that person (i.e., how exuberantly to wave back), even when it’s too far away to recognize a face.

As a freelancer or sole proprietor, a business number can function like that. As my circle of clients has grown, I’ve felt the need to make my phone more of a butler and less of a haphazard goose orchestra. And for me, OpenPhone is the answer.

Here’s why:

It’s simple. Download the app on your phone, and choose a number — a local number in any region in Canada or the US, or a toll-free one. And that’s it, really. Now you can make and receive calls, and send and receive texts through the app right away. Setting up your voice mail and call forwarding is straightforward, too.

It’s affordable. Right now OpenPhone has a single “Unlimited” plan at $12.49 CAD per month. On iOS your subscription is handled through iTunes so you can activate or cancel at will along with all your other subscriptions. In my search for a toll-free provider, it seems many of the other options focus on enterprise-level organizations, which means more complex setups and higher monthly prices. But OpenPhone makes a business line accessible to smaller companies.

It’s friendly. Their support is top-notch. Each time I’ve reached out with a question, I get an answer from a real human within minutes or even seconds. And since the service is still evolving, it’s been fun to give user experience feedback as they continue to sharpen the app and its features.

It’s Canadian. OpenPhone is a Canadian startup from Kitchener, Ontario. And on Twitter, their home base is noted as Toronto. I’m always glad to see a Canadian company doing something innovative.

It’s growing. The development roadmap for OpenPhone is ambitious and is aimed at work-life-simplification. They want to loop in Facebook and email so that you can handle the lion share of your business communication in one place, and even collaborate with team members to share the load. They recently added an Android app, and have plans for a web version down the road. Music to my ears.

So if you’re wishing to defrazzle your life’s lines of communication, maybe it’s time to open a new one.