Search by keyword, such as: divert, calls, chats …

New Study: Over Three-Quarters of Self Employed People Use Personal Mobiles for Business

Mobile Phone and Laptop

More than three quarters of freelancers and business owners use their personal mobiles for business on an ongoing basis. But could it have a negative impact on perceived professionalism? And might it cost customers?

We surveyed 500 freelancers and business owners around the UK to learn more about their habits when it comes to using a personal mobile or work landline for business purposes.

The study found that an astonishing 77% have always used their personal mobile numbers for their businesses, with another 19% saying they’ve used theirs; but only for the first few months or year of starting up their business.

The survey also revealed that more female business owners use their personal mobile numbers for work than males, with 5% more women than men choosing this option.

Stats on Freelancers Using Mobile Numbers

Only 4% of freelancers and business owners say they set up a work landline.

Are freelancers missing vital business calls?

After all the effort that freelancers and consultants put into driving business, missing business calls can be a really costly problem. So are self-employed people answering calls as often as they should be?

Short answer – no. 93% of those surveyed have found themselves unable to answer a call in the past. For over 40% of business owners and freelancers, this is at least a weekly occurrence. 17% admit they find themselves in such a situation at least twice a week, 13% three times a week and shockingly, 7% more than five times a week.

Whether it’s a new prospective client or an existing customer they miss, being unable to answer important calls as a business owner can really set you back.

Our study found that over half of those who use their personal mobile number for work have been asked to provide a landline number and had to explain that they don’t have one. The data revealed that 3 in every 5 business owners aged between 18 and 44 have experienced this issue, whereas just 1 in 5 of those ages 45 and over have done so.

Stats on Freelancers Answering Business Calls

As well as age, where you live also seems to impact your likelihood of missing vital business calls. In fact, 96% of freelancers and business owners in London have been in a situation where their mobile has rang, yet they’ve been unable to take the call. This is significantly higher than other regions, such as Yorkshire where this has happened to 80% of self-employed people.

Phone answering etiquette

It’s common knowledge in all industries that answering the phone in a professional manner gives a good first impression to any existing or potential clients who try to contact you. However, 31% of freelancers and business owners in the UK admit that they don’t state their business’ name when answering the phone.

The data showed that the younger a self-employed person is, the more likely they are to change the way they answer the phone in order to sound more professional, or set up a voicemail greeting that mentions the name of their business.

Our survey found that 82% of those aged 18 to 24 make a conscious effort to answer the phone in a professional way, whereas just 16% of those aged 45 and over do the same.

Stats on How Many Self-Employed People Miss Phone Calls

The study also revealed surprising data surrounding the number of business owners whose friends or family members have answered their phones for them. A staggering 48% of those who use their personal mobile for work calls have admitted that a friend or family member has answered the phone whilst a customer or potential customer was calling. This appears to be more likely amongst men than women, with 55% of men and just 40% of women admitting to this happening.

The benefits of getting a dedicated landline

So, now we’re aware of some of the consequences of using a personal mobile for work, but what are the benefits of using a business number instead?

One of the biggest advantages of keeping your personal and work phone separate is that it can help you to achieve a better work-life balance, which is something that many freelancers and business owners struggle with. 71% of people in our study who have a landline number agree that having a separate business number creates a healthier barrier between their personal and professional life.

Another benefit of having a separate work phone is that you’ll know immediately which kind of phone call you’re about to receive (particularly if you only ever give your work number out to business contacts). 81% of those who set up a landline believe this made them look much more professional.

On the other hand, if you use just one phone for both personal and work related calls, you won’t know what to expect if an unrecognised number appears on screen.

In a nutshell

It’s entirely down to you whether or not you choose to get a business phone system. But if you decide you’d rather continue using your personal mobile for business calls, here are some of our best tips on how to make sure you manage your calls in an efficient and professional way:

  1. Answer the call with a warm greeting such as “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon”, etc. and provide both your name and the name of your business.
  2. Use a friendly and welcoming tone of voice.
  3. Be sure to answer calls as promptly as possible. If you miss a call, return it as soon as you can.
  4. Make sure your voicemail greeting is professional, and that it states both your name and the name of your business.
  5. Update your voicemail greeting regularly. For instance, if you’re on holiday for a few days and know you won’t get a chance to listen to your voicemails, let callers know when you’ll be able to get back to them.
  6. Take sufficient notes, including the name of the caller, their contact details, the reason for their call and the name of the business they’re calling from.
  7. If there are circumstances where a friend or family member needs to answer the phone on your behalf, make sure they answer the call exactly how you would and that they know what information to obtain from the caller.
  8. Speak clearly at all times.
  9. If you say you’ll call someone back, do it as soon as possible – or at least set their expectations as to when you will.
  10. If you need to put someone on hold, make sure you inform them of this and ask if it’s okay first.

No matter whether you have a separate work phone or not, the above tips can help any freelancer or business owner when answering calls from potential clients or customers. If you struggle to manage your calls or feel you could do with a helping hand when you’re at your busiest, why not try our small business phone system which has been specially designed to provide flexible answering support to small businesses. Or if you want to improve your business presence browse our range of available business telephone numbers.


We give you amazing people and technology:


Your own Moneypenny PA to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

Discover >
Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

Discover >
Pocket Phone System

All the functions and support of an office phone system, minus the hardware.

Discover >