You can get distinctive ring. It's an option you can get for a one line household. I had it when I started but now I have a dedicated line. I still have it though, the kids have their own number and the phone will do a double ring when they call it, a single ring for all others. Have this feature put on your phone and in all your advertisements use the new number they give you. Easy to know then when it's a customer or someone that would normally call.
I believe the best way to handle your situation is by getting a special digital answering machine that allows for multiple "mail boxes" , one you can use for personal and one for business calls.
Another option is to always answer your phone with your business name.This will become a hassle after a while.
Look into getting caller ID.At least you will recognize when friends and family call.
I understand that this is your first year and money is tight but i strongly believe you should have a dedicated line. An extra personal line is cheaper than putting in a business line but then you will not be listed in the business directory of the Yellow Pages.
In a year when you have more
money, you will get a new line anyway so you will be kicking yourself because you are going to have to get new cards and stationary printed which can be expensive.
I had two lines put in the spare room, which is the office, one as the business line and one is the fax. Both lines cost me $60 bucks a month, so even if you just got one, it should onlt be about half that. The business line is about $8 more than just another line in the house, but like 1st impressions said, it gets you in the yellow pages.
Wow, that's quite a difference Skookum. I was even a little pi$$ed when I had to pay more for the business lines than the home line. To me it's just another line but maybe there are things involved that make it a few bucks more, anyway, I didn't think it was too bad, I guess that's why it doesn't bother me having them. Weird how different areas are priced so much differently.
Jim, I would just stay with the one line. Once you get your clientel built up, you're not going to need or not going to be able take that much extra work anyway. What are you doing, mostly landscape installations or mostly maintenance? If it's mostly maintenance, then you don't need it, because once your clientelle is established, it's a regular thing-they're there to stay. If you were just doing one time installations for example, then it is a hit and miss thing. You want NEW work coming in continuously. Believe me, you advertise in the yellow pages, then you're spending a WHOLE LOT of money to be constantly answering a phone to hear "How much do you charge to mow a lawn?" This gets OLD and FAST! Most are false leads anyway. That's the beauty of this business. If you're good, word of mouth will give you all you need.