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Grasshopper Review

Best Virtual Phone System

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

If you are in the market for a virtual phone system, your needs are different than those who are looking for a traditional phone system. Instead of worrying about factors like where the system will be hosted and what its uptime is, you are more focused on call routing tools and mobile apps. You don't need a high-priced unified communication system that serves an entire office of employees.

Businesses in need of a virtual system are typically very small businesses that are comfortable having employees make and receive calls on their mobile devices, or businesses with an entire remote workforce. A virtual phone system allows these employers to provide their employees with a business phone line for a fraction of the cost of a traditional phone system.

Among the features businesses should be looking for in a virtual phone system are extensive call forwarding options, voicemail, voicemail-to-email and a mobile app that allows employees to make and receive calls from their business line.

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Grasshopper as our 2018 pick for the best virtual phone system for businesses with a mobile workforce. Grasshopper allows businesses with a remote workforce to present a professional image at all times. Employees can set call forwarding options that route calls to their business line to any other phone, such as their mobile or home phone. The system is available in three service plans that all include unlimited talking minutes. The plans differ in the number of phone numbers and extensions included. The virtual system also includes valuable features, including a robust mobile app and an automated attendant.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology, as well as a comprehensive list of business phone systems, on our best picks page.

Part of what makes Grasshopper such an appealing option for businesses with a remote workforce is that it requires no equipment and is simple to use.

Since Grasshopper is a virtual phone system, there is absolutely no hardware, equipment or wiring needed to run it. It basically works as an extensive call-forwarding system. When a customer calls your business's main number, the calls are answered by an automated attendant and then forwarded to the appropriate employee or department. The call then rings on the employee's preferred phone.  Employees have the option of answering the call immediately, asking for caller information, or transferring the call to voicemail.

After signing up for the service, the first step is to choose a phone number. Grasshopper provides users with a local, toll-free or vanity number, as well as virtual extensions for each employee. If you already have a phone number you want to use, Grasshopper allows you to transfer it into the system. The porting process can take anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks to complete. There is a one-time $30 fee to transfer an established number into the Grasshopper system.

Once you have signed up for the service and selected your number, you can control the entire system via the Grasshopper online portal. You use the portal to configure the system for your needs. Administrators can add users and extensions, create departments, listen to and organize voicemails, update your plan, change your phone number, and view call reports all from the portal.

Employees can also access the system via the online portal, desktop app or mobile app to create their own individual ring trees. Employees can choose the numbers the want their calls forwarded to, the order in which those numbers ring and whether they want their calls forwarded to them during certain hours, such as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Grasshopper has an extensive set of features that allows businesses with a remote workforce to present itself in a professional manner at all times.

The most important feature is the call forwarding options. Employees can pick the phone numbers they want their calls forwarded to, as well as the order in which those numbers are rung. For example, you can have the call initially transferred to your mobile device. But, if after a pre-determined number of rings no one answers, you can have the call forwarded on to the next number in your ring tree. In addition to having the numbers ring in sequential order, you can have all your numbers ring at one time. You can also customize the ring tree based on the time of day. You can create any type of schedule for your call forwarding that you like.

Another critical feature is the automated attendant. This is what greets every caller who dials your main business line. The automated attendant greets the callers and then forwards them to the person or department they are trying to reach. The service allows you to create your own custom greeting or, for a one-time $75 fee, have a professional greeting recorded using Grasshopper's voice studio.

Available on both iOS and Android devices, the Grasshopper mobile app allows you to make a receive calls from your business line. Unlike with some other virtual services, when you make a call using the Grasshopper app, your business line number shows up on the caller ID of the person you are calling.

With the app, you can also make calls using VoIP and Wi-Fi. This allows you to make and receive calls over the internet, instead of using your cell reception. This is not only valuable if you are having poor cell reception, but can also save your mobile data and minutes.

The app also lets employees check voicemail messages, review faxes and call history, set up push notifications for missed calls and messages, and change call-forwarding options. 

Among some of the other valuable features all Grasshopper users have access to include:

  • Voicemail
  • Voicemail-to-email
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Hold music
  • Dial-by-name directory
  • Conference calling for up to 10 participants
  • Call screening
  • Online faxing
  • Fax-to-email

Grasshopper is available in three different service plans. Each plan includes unlimited minutes, every Grasshopper feature, a 30-day money-back guarantee and doesn't require a contract. You can upgrade your plan at any time.

  • Solo: The Solo plan costs $24 per month. It includes one number and three extensions.
  • Partner: The Partner plan costs $49 per month and includes three numbers and six extensions.
  • Small Business: The Small Business plan costs $89 per month and comes with five numbers and unlimited extensions.

There are a few other costs that you may incur. There is a one-time activation fee of $25. However, Grasshopper regularly runs promotions that waive that fee. If you want additional phone numbers, it costs $10 per number, per month. Professional voice greetings are $75 each and there is a one-time $30 cost for porting phone numbers into the system.

Customer service: We were impressed with the level of customer service Grasshopper provided. To test the support, we contacted the company multiple times posing as a new business owner. Each time we reached out, our calls were immediately answered by representatives who provided clear and detailed answers to all our questions. At no time did they try to pressure us into signing up for the service. We were also pleased to see that the company offers 24/7 support to all customers. 

Texting: Texting capabilities is a feature that many of the other virtual systems we looked into don't offer. Grasshopper's SMS lets users send unlimited texts from the Grasshopper app.

One downside to Grasshopper is that it doesn't offer the wide array of features and tools that some other virtual services offer, such as call recording or integrations with programs like Microsoft Office. That being said, many other virtual systems don't offer such a robust mobile app that allows users to make calls from their business lines. That's the feature we believe is the most valuable to virtual users.

Another potential negative is that Grasshopper only offers a virtual system. So, if your business were to grow out of a service like this and need a traditional phone system, you would have to find a new provider. Some providers offer both types of services.

We were also disappointed with the number of complaints lodged against Grasshopper's parent company LogMeIn. Over the past three years, 102 complaints have been filed against the company. Of those 50 were resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant. It is important to note, however, that not all of those complaints were related to Grasshopper's service. Despite the complaints, LogMeIn is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.

Ready to choose a business phone system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on business phone systems? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.