A few decades ago, offices and office workers mainly communicated through fax machines and telephones. These two were connected via the same line. Back in the 90s, in order to be able to send a fax, you had to have access to a fax machine, deal with the installation of it and have the landline opened at the time of sending. All that just for a simple fax and most of the time a lot of people are using one single machine, which creates lines of people waiting. Not to mention paper jams and other issues. In fact, most people are still going through all this in order to send faxes. What if we told you that you can get your own email fax number and send/receive your faxes from the comfort of your desktop computer?
Usually, when we sign up for something or want to install something new, things don’t really happen as fast as we want them to. That isn’t the case with getting your online fax number, though. In this case, you are all set before the 5-minute mark. The progress of today’s technology has made it possible for everyday workers to send and receive faxes from their Gmail accounts (or other mail clients for that matter). The greatest thing about all this is that you won’t be needing a landline, a fax machine, nor any paper. It all gets done in your mailbox on the device you work on.
In this article, we will address the online fax number as “google fax number”, as it is predominantly used with Gmail. Let’s check out how you can get started with all this.
Basically, all you need to do to get an online fax number is to sign up to one of the many providers out there on the internet. They will give you a dedicated number (or link your already existing physical fax number to the online service). When you get it, you will be able to share it with your co-workers and when they send faxes to it, you will receive them as emails. The whole online provider thing is there just to convert the physical faxes to pdf files and attach them to incoming emails (which arrive in your inbox).
When choosing your number you will be able to choose from these types of numbers:
Make sure you select the one that works best for your business as it will affect the rates of the incoming and outgoing faxes in the future. Once again, if you already have a number you can have it propagated to the actual online service you pay for. Make sure to contact the provider if that is the case.
Besides from getting the number, everything else is done automatically for you. The thing with free online fax numbers, though, is that the providers that let you send free faxes do not offer any type of options for fax receiving. In that case, your best options are some of the bigger names on the market, such as eFax, HelloFax, and RingCentral. You can check out our review of them here.
These providers are great as they work amazingly well with Gmail and they offer free 30 day trials, so you can wanna give them a test-drive before you commit fully. Usually, the rates start from around 5 dollars per month (depending on the total pool of sent/received pages). You can cancel your plan at any time if something doesn’t fit your agenda, so don’t worry.
Some people ask whether there is a way to get a free fully functional online fax number. Well, technically no, but these trials are the closest you will get to that. For 30 uninterrupted days, you will enjoy the full service (both receiving and sending) of an online fax.
Now, let’s get into the details around the actual number.
How Does The Google Fax Number Actually Work?
It all starts with a person sending you a fax from a machine (or another computer). This fax is then automatically converted into a TIFF image and sent to the server of your provider. In there it gets converted once more, but this time into a PDF. Lastly, after all this, it arrives in your inbox as an attachment to an email. The sender is marked with the number of the fax or the email if the sender is online. This is literally everything that is going on behind the curtains. What you see every time you get a “fax” is an email with an attachment. If you wanna find out more about receiving faxes in your Gmail, check our article on that topic.
Pro Tip: In case your customers are mostly from the US, get a toll-free number to avoid charges to both parties.
Either way, getting a Google fax number is something that will surely help your business grow in the right direction. You will reduce fax machine maintenance costs, paper costs and save a lot of time in the process. You can also create shared inboxes in Gmail for you and your colleagues, not to mention forward faxes between all of you.
How Exactly To Keep Your Current Number?
As we mentioned, if your business already has its own fax number you can transition it over to the online faxing service easily. Nowadays it is important to keep your business open to customers constantly and avoid any delays in communications. The whole transition usually takes up to a week, but you will get a temporary number in the meantime. We find that doing this during holidays is the best period, as there is less traffic then, and it generally happens faster.
The whole process is called “number porting”. It takes your fax number and transforms it into a digital line, allowing it to fax (send/receive) on the internet. Our advice here is to select a reputable provider since this isn’t a small transition and you better have someone who knows what they are doing behind your back at all times. The providers we mentioned have constant online and phone support, which is crucial for most businesses.
Some Advantages Of Owning A Google Fax Number
Lastly, let’s share some curious information about faxes with you. It might even make you more certain about the transition from fax machines to online fax services. One major downside of the fax machine is that you can’t unplug it, so it keeps running all the time. That makes it the most energy consuming office machine. But, let’s not bash on something that has been around for longer than we’ve been. Let’s give you some amazing advantages of owning an online fax number and using online fax services:
- They are lightning fast which anyone who has worked with a regular fax machine knows how important it is when you’re dealing with that on a daily basis.
- You can send and receive faxes right from your Gmail inbox
- No need for any landlines. It all happens on the internet.
- You can send faxes from your Google Drive or Dropbox with Chrome Browser extensions.
- You can store the received faxes both online or on your device
If you are constantly on-the-go, rest assure that you will never miss a fax since you can check them on your mobile device. More on that here.
Forget about worrying about complicated telephone line issues and paper jams and running out of toner ink. Faxing will never be the same to you once you get your email fax number. You and your business will benefit significantly by becoming more mobile, more flexible, and more time efficient. It all narrows down to who is willing to adapt to the constant changes in our world and who wants to keep progressing towards an easier life. Having an online fax service alleviates most of the current offices’ issues by simply digitizing a stone-age era technology. Who knows what other office machines will soon be replaced by an online service.