024 numbers are allocated for use in the Coventry area of the UK, but this sign is in Chelmsford in the South East. The address on the sign clearly reads “Great Baddow” which is a well known suburb of Chelmsford making me feel that this is a local business to Chelmsford, so why is there a Coventry number on the sign?
Another thing which was puzzling me, was the length of the telephone number - it's only 9 digits long! That's when it hit me, this sign is over 20 years old! Previous to April 1995, the majority of Geographic Telephone numbers in the UK which now start 01 did not used to have that 1. Chelmsford (01245) used to be 0245. Additionally in some areas, in order to increase the amount of numbers available to use, people's telephone numbers had an additional number added to the start of their existing number, for Chelmsford this was generally a 2, but sometimes a 3.
So, assume that "Hull & Company" are still running, you should probably be able to contact them on 01245 276464 or 01245 276464, rather than 0245 76464 which we can see on this sign.
To be honest, I can't think of anything worse than this happening to a business. They've spent hundreds of pounds on this sign, and probably even more on goodness knows how many other permanent signs. Granted, we are talking about 20 years on, but we hear about problems like this every week.
For example; Harold L. Eaky is a plumber, and has been advertising his home landline number for 10 years and has a large and loyal customer base, all with his number stored somewhere safe.
The problem for Harold, is that business has been too good and he's buying a new swankier house for himself! What a terrible predicament to be in! No? Well Harold didn't think so either, until he phoned up his landline provider "English Telecom" to tell them that he was moving house and that he wanted his account, and number transferred to the line at the new house. English Telecom unfortunately had to inform him that this was not possible, as the new address was so far across town, it was on a different exchange, meaning he had to choose between his lovely new house, or his main source of business, his phone number...
This happens significantly more often than you can imagine - people moving house, businesses moving premises and losing their number which they've had for years. Loosing that number can mean loosing a significant amount of your customers. Unfortunately, this is all down to the old archaic network that English Telecomm run, and are stuck with. A newer, and different approach to telephone numbers, would be what we do; Virtual Numbers. These numbers are not fixed to any physical location or exchange, and can be forwarded to any UK Landline, UK Mobile and most International destinations. This flexibility allows your number to move with you.
But what hope is there for poor old Harold? Well thankfully, it is actually possible to convert a Fixed Line number into a Virtual Number! All you need to do is Port the number to a company that offers Virtual numbers, and they can convert it to be used as a Virtual Number with them. We can port in Telephone Numbers for the majority of the major phone companies in the UK, so if you ever find yourself stuck, or just want to protect yourself from this issue in the future, ask us about porting your number to us!
If Harold were real, I'm sure he'd be really happy with what we could do for him!