By Joe Stoddard. As a builder, the last thing you need hung around your neck is the label of hard to get reach or unreliable, but when you're in the heat of battle important calls and messages can fall through the cracks. If you're sick and tired of juggling multiple phone numbers, maintaining multiple voice-mailboxes, and still missing important calls and faxes, you need a unified messaging system. might be just the ticket.

The Web-based service is available in several plan levels, starting with free, which gives users a universal uReach e-mail address, and an online in-box that will notify you when messages show up by e-mail, pager, or instant messaging, and a way to manage appointments online. For $2.99 per month you get the ability to synchronize with ACT! or Outlook; for $4.99 per month you also get a toll-free number where users leave voice messages. You can play the messages back on the Web or from any telephone.

The above low-priced features are good, but the uReach Executive Plan is where it gets interesting for builders. For $6.99 per month (plus a per-minute access fee of roughly $0.07 to $0.08), you get your own toll-free number (called uReachMe) that will follow you anywhere you tell it to. For example, a call to your toll-free could be programmed to ring your office in the morning, your cell phone in the afternoon, and your home phone on weekends and holidays. If you don't answer at any of the forwarded locations, the caller is prompted to leave a voicemail message, and the uReach notification system can then send an alert to your pager, telephone, e-mail, or instant messaging service. Voice messages can be retrieved from any Web browser, delivered to your conventional e-mail client, or played back over the telephone.

Incoming faxes work the same way--using the same toll-free number. The system is smart enough to "hear" the fax tone and respond accordingly. Additionally, you can set up a system of folders in your uReach message center to manage all the incoming fax, e-mail, and voice traffic. All the configuration options can be changed from any device with Internet access via your uReach Web page or from any telephone using voice recognition technology.

Other useful uReach features include the ability to create multi-person conference calls from any telephone, to send outgoing faxes directly from most common Windows applications, and to set up Web-based private and public "rooms" for sharing schedules and files with clients and trading partners. If you route your conventional e-mail to the uReach message center, uReach will read it to you over the telephone. It's ingenious to say the least.