Multiple Phone numbers as it relates to multiple businesses

I have a weird situation here and I was just hoping for some input from the pros here.

I run a business which has 3 different brand names. These brands are (to a customer) completely different. While we do the same activity in the same industry these brands serve different types of clients.

What I’m trying to accomplish is 4 DIDs to the outside world. When someone calls company A, it rings all of our phones but displays which DID was called.

my original plan was 4 extension phones. Each phone gets 4 extensions. 1 for each brand. I then was going to put 1 of each phone into a ring group. So an incoming call would ring the group and looking at the line it comes in on would tell a user which business the call was for and thus which name to use and what type of caller they’d be talking to.

I then noticed that I can prefix the caller ID in FreePBX. So I like this solution as this greatly reduces the number of extensions required.

The only question remaining is outbound calls. I’d like each phone to be able to dial out but display the CID/Phone number of the company associated with the call. So if Lauren is calling a customer of Company A, I’d like Company A’s number to appear on the caller’s phone CID. I’ve looked all over but I’m at a loss for if this is possible or how.

Should I continue with the 4 lines per phone and do it that way or can I control outbound calls and which CID Number is displayed from the phone?

I hope this was clear enough.


Prefix each outbound call with a “route designator”. You can use “02” “03” “04” and “05”. If you dial “021235551212”, your outbound call goes out on the “Company 02” trunk with the caller ID set to whatever you want. Strip off the “02” at the beginning and let the rest of the number pass through.

You could even set it up so that a call without the prefix goes to a local function that says “Hey, use routing codes or look for a new job.”

Almost all of this can be set up in the outbound route.

Awesome… I didn’t think of that.

I’ll look into the docs to figure out how to do exactly that.

Thanks for the idea…

and the humor

“Hey, use routing codes or look for a new job.”

I know this all sounds pretty weird, it’s unfortunately just the way our business is setup. We have 3 different brand names that serve different clients for different purposes.

Thanks again for all the help

Not weird at all - we actually answer a variation on this question about once a month.

If you were actually setting up a multi-tenant system, it would be harder. If you want to set up multiple companies, that’s easy. Heck, I’ve got three companies on my phone system at the house right now. One of my customers has merged with a couple of companies and we did the same thing for him. Neither strange or even unusual.

all I’ve got to say is… wow that was easy…

I couldn’t get *02, *03 to work though but *81 works just fine for me…

If anyone needs any further reading… (cause I did)

Look in the notes under #4

Basically you can alter the dial pattern to act as a gateway or “route designator” to control which CID is shown.

In my case I utilize the single trunk and alter the CID as needed.

Thanks again Dave!

You can also control this via the commercial Caller ID Management module with a bit more functionality:

Thanks everyone for their replies,

I’ve been thinking through this and woundering what others would do in this situation.

We’re a small business with probably 3 to 5 people that will be getting the calls.
Each “user” will get calls for both company A and B (C and D may be added later but those brands aren’t being ported yet until we’re more comfortable)

So in short, everyone gets all of the calls, and using the CID modification I talked about earlier, we’ll know which business brand is being called and thus how to work with the client.

The question in my mind is should I setup multiple extensions for each phone. In my case I have a simple 2 line grandstream. It seems kind of weird to setup 3 extensions for myself (desk for each and a mobile softphone) but would enable me to tie each extensions to the line key and reduce the outbound dialing rules suggested above.

I guess I’m just looking for ideas of how others would accomplish this.

thanks again for all the help

edit: also, voicemail… I need a voicemail on a brand basis not a user basis. So if you call, it rings, no one answers it goes to that business’s voicemail not a user’s voicemail. Should this be setup just as it’s own extension just for the voicemail or is their a way to have a target voicemail everyone can access easily?

You’ve already heard about how hard “multi-tenant” systems are, and things like Parking Lots, DID controls and Voicemail are all places that make this a really hard thing to do right.

Most phones actually allow for several “lines” some of which are actually not on one of the buttons, so setting up multiple extensions based on Company would end up being a workable solution, since then each “group” could drop into a voicemail. Another approach is to use Ring Groups or Queues. This way, if someone picks up, then can answer the phone but if it fails, you can route the call to the “group” voicemail.

The more you add, the harder it’s going to be to keep the various balls in the air. For this small an organization, a single server with different “appearances” for the Caller IDs will be enough, but when your operation get bigger, you might find that splitting the business out into multiple servers might end up being the way to go.

Good luck - the system is capable of lots of things, and you might find a configuration that works well for you in your specific case.

thanks for reply.

fortunately, we’re a very small “team” and most of our use is just going to be inbound customer calls. We don’t need a great deal of advanced features. As you said when we expand things might get more complicated, fortunately, I don’t see us expanding too much.

I’ve been trying for years to nail down a solution that is cost effective to this problem, identifying what business was called and ringing it to multiple users. Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve ever come up with were either unreliable at best, or cost ridiculous amounts of money because pricing was based on a per user basis and because each user took 2 different lines it doubled the cost for our purposes. being rather technical I thought it’d be a good idea to try my hand at a PBX implementation.

thank you again, still not sure which way I’m going to go… need to think this through for a while.