The fax machine was invented in the 1800’s but it wasn’t until the 1970’s when it gained more popularity. Only a few years ago, business that wanted to fax where required to buy a fax machine, install a dedicated phone line and pay not-so cheap phone fees for each fax page. On top of that you also had to spend money on paper and toner supplies.
Fast forward to recent years, faxing technology has improved and online fax services began to emerge. These online services now let you use your email to send and receive faxes in a just a few seconds; without the need of a land line or a fax machine and you also get an online fax number.
What is a Google fax number?
Although it is not a number supplied directly from the Google gods, it does integrate with their awesome web mail, Gmail.
The virtual fax number is supplied by the online fax service and they automatically make sure all your faxes are sent and received through this number and delivered to your Gmail inbox. Making it a hassle free process for you to fax from your computer.
How to Get Started
There are two uncomplicated requirements you will need; first is a Gmail account and second an email fax service. The service will automatically forward your received faxes to your email and will also quickly send your faxes through your email. All this is done without having to worry about configurations or technical installations.
During the sign up process with a service, you will be given the choice to pick your free fax number. The number can be a local, toll-free or even a vanity number. There may be an extra charge for the latter, but it’s usually only a one-time fee. Other than that there are no other fees for your number. There are no maintenance fees or technical installations.
This is the only way to get an online fax number.
While there are sites that let you send a free fax through their website, that’s all you can do with them. You cannot receive any faxes and much less get your own number. This may work if you only need to send a casual document, but if you run a business then it’s more secure and affordable to use an online service.
What are the prices?
While most business communication tools can come with a hefty price, online faxing is very affordable. In fact, it is so affordable that any type of business could use it, even someone with a home office. Yet it is powerful enough to provide a complete solution for a large company. This is because the services offer different types of plans, which allows each user to find and pick one within their price range.
All plans include a free number, the price varies on how many fax pages you are given each month to send and receive. But on average most plans start as low as $5 a month!
Ok, but is there a secret method to getting it for free?
Yes and no. You can get the number and use a service for free but it’s not a secret method. Currently online fax providers are offering free trials which last up to 30 days.
That’s an entire month for you to use the service at no cost and dig in to see how it works and helps your business. Your trial account will work the same as a regular account and you will also be able to pick out your own number.
You will need to provide a credit card but you won’t be charged anything. If you don’t like the service then simply remember to cancel your trial before your 30 days are over.
Can I Use My Current Fax Number?
Yes, you can use your current number so that you can continue doing business without having to worry about updating all your information. This is called “number porting” and what it basically does is digitalize your fax number so that your incoming and outgoing faxes can go through your email.
The entire process could take up to 10 days, but this gives your number time to propagate and make sure that it is working properly. In the meantime most online fax providers will give you a temporary fax number. Be sure to sign up with a trusted provider that has experience in number porting.
Can I Use My Google Voice Number?
Yes. There has been a lot of methods and suggestions on how to use a Google Voice number for faxing but unfortunately Google does not offer a fax service. We contacted several of the top providers and asked if i was possible to transfer a GV number to their service and they gave us the thumbs up. Doing this will allow you to receive/send faxes and also make and take calls without having to worry about having a busy line. (Note, you have to use RingCentral Office for this feature).
Can My Number Be Linked to Several Emails?
Yes, because most providers will let you forward your faxes to more than one email if needed. This can come in very handy if you need faxes your faxes are automatically sent to other contacts in your business, which saves you time from having to manually forward it to them.
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