How Do You Get a Fax Number?

​Having the means to receive fax is extremely important in businesses that share documents on a regular basis.

Although there are ways to share documents through instant messaging and other digital channels, faxing is still used in industries that handle sensitive documents such as healthcare, law, banking and even in government thanks to the security that your fax has arrived safely on the hands of the recipient.

You can get a fax number in two ways: by requesting a new phone/fax line to your phone company, or by using a fax to email service.  The first method requires you to have a fax machine, while the seconds lets you simply use your email for faxing.

Option 1: Through your Phone Company

This is the traditional way to get a fax number. This number will communicate with fax machines over a physical line, in the same way as phone numbers. As a matter of fact, there’s no difference between a fax line and phone line other than the purpose it’s used for (a fax line is just a common line used exclusively to fax without interruptions/busy lines).

To work with a physical fax line means that you need the right equipment for the job: a fax machine or a multi-function printer with faxing capabilities.

The price for the installation of a new landline on your home can be between $30 and $45 here in the United States, and in the case of offices the price can be even higher.  After requesting your line, you’ll need to wait at least 4 days until the phone company comes to your home/office and completes the job.

If you don’t want to spend on a new landline for faxing, you can use your current phone line, but keep in mind that it will remain busy for fax transmissions if you are using the phone for a call, and if someone picks up the phone during a transmission, it will interrupt it and you’ll need to start over again.

Option 2:  Through a Fax to Email Service

In most cases, we recommend using an online fax service to get a fax number. These services automatically assign you a virtual fax number to receive fax from any fax machine straight on your email, including free ones such as Gmail or Hotmail.

They charge you between $5 and $16 to fax hundreds of pages per month using your virtual fax number, but there are services that let you have a free Google fax number for 30 days like eFax or RingCentral Fax.

The process of getting your fax number works like this:

  1. You create a your Internet fax service account.
  2. During the sign up process, you pick which number you want to use: a local or toll-free fax number.
  3. Now you can start receiving fax to email over a virtual fax line.

There are some advantages of using this method over the traditional one.  For instance, you don’t have to wait for your fax line to be installed.  The activation of a digital fax line only takes a few minutes, and you are ready to fax the same day if you want to.  

Another huge benefit of using a virtual fax number is that it is automatic.  You don’t need to accept incoming faxes or even be next to your computer; instead, they are automatically converted to an Adobe PDF file and forwarded to your email.

Finally, being web-based, these lines let you fax from anywhere.  90% of online fax services in the market have developed their own mobile fax apps (some better than others), so you can take care of basic functions right on your phone, even if you are in the middle of a flight to the other side of the World.  This is a huge game changer for those of us who used to be chained to fax machine.

Which Option is Best for You?

Honestly, we believe that no matter your situation, having a virtual fax number is the best option.  Even if you are currently planning on using a fax machine, it would be a good idea to move to digital faxing.  It doesn’t require any upfront cost if you sign up for a free trial and in the end is faster and more cost-effective.