June 28, 2007

877-LETS-FAX: New Prepaid Online Faxing Service

Update 5/2/09 - This service has been closed down. 

Haven’t posted to my blog for a while. Too busy making money! :-)

I have just finished the development of a new, very unique, online faxing service. It allows you to pre pay for incoming faxes, without having to pay a monthly fee for your own fax number. It’s really cool. Here’s how it works.

Everyone uses the same toll free number to receive faxes. It’s 877-LETS-FAX. The only thing you have to do is make sure the person faxing you puts your email address somewhere on the fax cover sheet. It can be hand written or typed…whatever.

When the document(s) is faxed to 877-LETS-FAX, the system will sort and forward the fax via email to whoever’s email address is noted on the cover sheet. It arrives as a PDF attachment.

The system keeps track of your prepaid balance and the cost is a flat 25 cents per fax AND 20 cents per page received (remember, this is a toll free call to the sender, too!) Compare this to Kinkos or any other publicly accessible fax machine and you can see how inexpensive and convenient this service is.

If you get a fax and you haven’t deposited any money into your prepaid account or you don’t have enough to cover the incoming fax, you’ll get an email from the service telling you that you need to add money to your account in order to receive the incoming fax. You can also check your balance anytime you want by clicking on the "Balance" link on the front page of the site. 

This system isn’t for everyone, of course. You can get a toll free number that can be used to call you AND act as a 24 hour fax line as well, for as little as $2 a month plus per minute usage charges. Many people would do that before using LetsFax.net. But for those that don’t want any monthly financial commitment and only receive 3 or 4 faxes a year, or less, LetsFax.net is a great deal.

It’s also a great way for businesses to be able to fax something to a customer without the customer having to figure out how to gain access to a fax, since they can use one prepaid account to fax something to a multitude of customers over time. The customer just receives the fax as an attachment to their email. Nice and simple. Customer doesn’t have to do anything.

It also allows you to use your fax machine as a scanner to scan documents into a PDF format. Just fax it to 877-LETS-FAX and have your own email address on the cover sheet and it’ll show up in your email as a PDF attachment.

Again, this isn’t for everyone. But it’s a good little niche’ product for those that need it.

Covert Calling Card - Select Your Own Caller ID Number

Update to this post below.

I just recently came across a very cool calling card that entrepreneurs like me could definitely use. In my example, I have several businesses, all of which have their own toll free numbers so I can know what business is being called before answering the phone. Each has their own voicemail…etc. I use this toll free phone service. You can choose your own vanity toll free number and each can have their own voicemail. Among so many other options. I even have all my calls recorded so I can take an order while I’m on the golf course and then when I get back to the office, listen to the call again and transcribe the call.

My problem is when I call a customer back, their caller ID sees my cell or home phone (whatever phone I’m using to call them back on) instead of my toll free number associated with that particular business. With this very unique calling card, I can choose what number they see on their caller ID. That way, if they use the number on their caller ID to call me back, I will be able to answer the right way, enabling me to answer with the name of the business…etc. If I call back a customer on my home phone, which I do a LOT, they could be calling me back on that phone number and my wife could be answering and just saying "Hello"…etc. This way, I keep all my businesses and customers on the right lines and I don’t have to worry about mixing things up.

It also allows you to choose a female voice for your listener to hear when you talk, disguising your voice. (Or a male voice, if you are a female.) I have no use for that, but it is a COVERT calling card, so I guess that’s one of the covert features. It also will record your call for later playback, if you wish.

Anyway, check it out if you have multiple businesses, or just a need to disguise the number you are calling from. It’s a pretty nifty thing to have around when you need it. (Oh, and they have an affiliate program! This could be a door to door sales item, easily!)

Update June 2007

There’s a better way to mask your outgoing phone number than covert call, mentioned above, now. The best way to make a call to someone now, and have their caller ID show a different number than the phone you’re actually calling from, is to get a toll free number (for your business, of course) from this service and then do the following. When you want to call someone and have your toll free number show up on the caller ID of the party you’re calling, dial the following: 18004889999 then dial your toll free number without the "1". So, if your toll free number is 888-555-5555, then dial that. Then enter your PIN. Then dial 5 and then the number you are calling.

To make it easier, I have the following put into a speed dial on my phone. The "P"s are hardcoded pauses that most address books allow you to use when inputting speed dialed numbers. The "X"s should be your own toll free number and the "pin" is your 4 digit PIN that you have set up in your toll free number service control panel.

18004889999PPXXXXXXXXXXPpinPPP5

After the "5" at the end you enter the number you are calling. One thing nice about this service is you can dial ** at the end of your conversation and then just dial another number without having to hang up and do the whole thing over again. So, you can group your call backs in one session and save some time.