Confused in CakeLand: Do I need a local phone number?


Confused in Cakeland is the feature where I answer reader questions – so if you’ve got something you want to know, just send me an email and I’ll get it answered here. Chances are if you are asking, someone else has wondered the same thing.


Dear Michelle,

How important is it for my business to have a local phone number? Since I don’t have a storefront, I use my cell phone for both personal and business calls. I previously lived in a different state, so I have an out-of-state phone number. Recently, someone suggested that I get a local number as it looks better to local clients, and not like I’m taking business (or money) out is state. Is he right?

Locally Confused


Hi Locally Confused,

I definitely think you need a local number, and here’s why: although YOU know you’re local, if they see an out of state area code, that might make them doubt that you are actually local. Basically, we don’t want to confuse them and we want to gain their trust,too. Trust is really important with potential clients, so we don’t want to give them any reason to doubt that you are where you say you are and where they want you to be. Plus if for some reason they pay a higher rate for out of state calls, that’s a reason for them not to even try to call you, too. Definitely get a local number if you can afford to.

I also usually suggest having a second, separate phone number for your business – so an easy way to solve this might be just that, to keep your personal number personal and get a new local one for the business. Change your voicemail to say, “Thanks for calling me, our business number is now ####” and don’t forget to change your phone number everywhere it appears – online listings, your business card, your email signature and so on.

Locally Yours,



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