If you invest in and build a physical building on property that you are only renting, you are putting yourself more and more at the mercy of the owner. That’s because it’s hard to move a physical building. You’re not building up any equity from your rent, and you’re not building up any equity from all of the investment you’re making in the building either. Advertising your business with else’s phone number is the same thing because you’re building your brand name on someone else’s property. So not only the rent goes to them but every dollar of advertising builds up THEIR equity, not yours.
Don’t invest all your advertising to build up someone else’s brand name
If it’s someone in the vanity number business you better believe that they know this too and in many cases have built their business around that with almost a drug dealer like business plan, getting you hooked and then raising up the rent, and/or the usage charges and fees etc. They may tell you that they have a contract so it’s very safe, but who do you think wrote their contract? Do you think they wrote it to limit their power and empower you or do you think it was written to limit your power and empower them?
You went into business to be more in control, so don’t hand control over your business to someone else.
The bottom line is that no matter how good you think a landlord seems or sounds, it’s never a good idea to leave yourself or your business at someone else’s mercy. They may not intend to take advantage of you, but it’s hard for anyone to stay competitive and do a good job when there’s actually a natural incentive to cut corners and raise the rates. If your customers had to use your product or service and couldn’t leave, would you work late and keep the rates the same or would you charge a little extra and leave early?
Some companies may be renting numbers without even telling you
The devious part is that many of the smaller companies you find on the web are masquerading as regular phone companies and trying to lure in customers who don’t realize that the fine print of their contract says that they own the numbers they provide as well. So even if you’re not dealing with someone who talks about shared use and charges a monthly rental fee, if you’re dealing with a small company you’ve never heard of before and haven’t researched thoroughly you can fall into that same trap.
Actually in some ways it’s even use because if you use a company like EasyTel.net, just as an example, you would think they are a very professional looking site and service. But after you spend a lot of money advertising a toll free number you got and use through their service when you try to transfer it away, you’re going to be in for a big surprise when they tell you that you were only renting THEIR number.
So you have to avoid not only the sharks that want to rent you numbers, but the internet based services that let you search for and find a number through them because you can still get surprised in the end. The only way sure to avoid getting stuck like that is to get your number independently and transfer it to them. Some companies like Onebox will still charge you hidden fees if you want to leave, but it’s definitely better than finding out you’re at their mercy and are held hostage by your phone number.