What is a toll-free number?
A toll-free number is a telephone number that allows customers to call you free of charge. The owner of the number (you, the business owner) is billed for incoming and outgoing calls.
Toll-free numbers count as local phone calls in the US and Canada. This makes them very popular among businesses, as it eliminates the need for customers to pay extra charges for calling a business.
Toll-free business phone numbers begin with differentiating three-digit codes called number prefixes. These numbers are usually 800, 888, 877, or 866 and allow customers to contact your company without incurring any long-distance charges.
Toll-free numbers are most often used for customer service needs, facilitating purchases, or providing more information about a company. They can be very beneficial for businesses as they help you create a more professional brand and provide an easy way for customers to reach out.
There are a variety of providers that offer toll-free numbers, and it’s important to do your research before selecting one. Luckily, we’ve done that research for you, so keep reading to see which providers are best to get a toll-free number for your business.
How do the toll-free numbers work?
A toll-free number is a telephone number that allows callers to avoid paying for long-distance calls. You can use toll-free numbers for receiving customer calls only. Still, today many providers offer advanced calling features like call recording, IVR/auto-attendant, call routing, call forwarding, and call queuing.
The service is often referred to as “800” numbers in the United States and “0800” numbers in the United Kingdom because those are the prefixes used for such calls.
You can use a toll-free number for any business, but some of the most common uses are for:
Toll-free numbers are usually purchased through RespOrgs (number providers), and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) does not provide information about the owners or status of a toll-free number.
The purchase process is straightforward and can be completed in minutes. Most number providers will allow you to search for available numbers or port your current phone number over to their service. Toll-Free numbers are also portable, meaning the number provider can legally transfer the number to any other provider they choose. This allows businesses more freedom when selecting a service provider and gives them peace of mind that their customer’s experience will not be disrupted.
Additionally, callers may contact toll-free numbers using SMS messaging if the numbers have been enabled to send and receive messages.
How to obtain a toll-free number
Once you’ve chosen a number provider, you’ll need to check if the toll-free number you are looking for is available by putting it into a searchable numbers database.
If the number is not already in use by another company, you can get it with a plan from one of the providers listed in this article.
If the phone number has been reserved, the supplier will often list the closest alternatives. If you already have a phone number that you wish to keep but with a different carrier, number porting is also an option.
RingCentral, a market leader in Unified Communications as a Service, provides vanity and toll-free business phone numbers. You can choose from a well-known 800 toll-free number or one of the other available prefixes, including 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844. When it comes to obtaining a quick toll-free 800 number, variety is critical.
What makes RingCentral’s service so strong is that if you already have a toll-free number from another provider, you can port it right into RingCentral so that your toll-free number doesn’t change. Minute plans are available in increments of 1,000 to 100,000 to guarantee that all company sizes are covered.
RingCentral is ideal for organizations that want a comprehensive VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system that includes toll-free and vanity phone numbers.
Grasshopper provides toll-free numbers, including 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, 888 prefixes – but only a limited supply of real 800 numbers. It was initially intended to offer just toll-free and vanity numbers but has recently expanded to include local telephone numbers as well.
Grasshopper is remarkable in that every subscription includes the same set of capabilities, including call forwarding, visual voicemail, call blocking, call history, call transfers, and schedule-based call routing. The amount of contact numbers and accessible extensions varies per package.
Grasshopper regularly refreshes its list of accessible toll-free numbers, and you can purchase more numbers for $10 per month per number.
800.com is a leading distributor of dedicated toll-free numbers because it is simple to use, simplifies the process of locating available numbers and number alternatives, and lets you easily purchase a toll-free number with a few clicks directly from their homepage.
You can may pick from 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888 prefixes, and call alerts to desktop and mobile devices provide exceptional flexibility.
What distinguishes 800.com is that it allows you to pick between a plan that includes unlimited toll-free minutes each month and one with unlimited seats but a monthly minute cap (5,000), which provides flexibility for businesses of all sizes.
MightyCall promotes itself as a virtual phone system created exclusively for small teams, and it provides both toll-free and local phone numbers.
This means that when consumers join up, they receive more than a new phone number; they also have access to sophisticated capabilities that landlines cannot provide.
Most importantly, MightyCall provides an infinite number of free users, limitless monthly toll-free mins on its two top packages, and essential integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) facilities that even the largest VoIP providers lack.
As a VoIP provider, its toll-free lines include all of the capabilities associated with a standard corporate VoIP service, including the following:
- Call forwarding
- Call routing
- Call recording
- Mobile app
- Toll-free texting on desktop and mobile
However, MightyCall lacks advanced call routing options, video calling, and integrations, putting it behind competing VoIP services.
Kall8 is a stand-alone toll-free service that provides consumers with an immediate number upon registration. Visitors may also do a pre-registration search for vacant 800 and vanity numbers.
Kall8 introduced its mobile application, which provides an additional degree of freedom for remote and mixed teams. Kall8 charges separate pricing for standard, vanity, premium, (800), and repeating (888-812-1212) numbers, unlike many other carriers. Additionally, users can transfer existing phone numbers.
Along with packaged subscriptions that include messaging, call recording, hunt groups, and call announcement, Kall8 also provides a pay-as-you-go option. There is no need to commit to a package that is much more or significantly less than required. One standout feature of Kall8 is its online administration, which enables customers to monitor specific call stats and call history.
However, pay-as-you-go costs may also mount up rapidly as companies expand, forcing businesses to go elsewhere. While Kall8 is unusual because it provides a range of pricing options and phone numbers, the pricing system is quite complicated to nail down.
How to get your toll-free number approved
As said previously, several suppliers may assist you in obtaining an immediate toll-free 800 number. However, only because they offer straightforward sign-up procedures does not imply your toll-free number will be given immediately.
The FCC imposes stringent restrictions on toll-free and vanity numbers. They are, for example, sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, businesses cannot hoard vanity numbers without intending to use them. With this in mind, we’d like to provide some pointers on how to ensure that the toll-free 800 number you’re looking for gets authorized promptly and with minimal guessing:
- Avoid relying only on a genuine 800 number
- Use the new toll-free prefix 833 and others like 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844
- Use keywords for which your website ranks in your number
- Contrary to popular belief, you are not limited to vanity numbers
- Consider alternative spellings for a vanity number that is already taken
With sufficient research and the willingness to consider alternatives to actual 800 numbers, you can quickly join up with a reputable service and obtain a toll-free number.
Advantages of a toll-free number
Toll-free numbers boost customer recognition and make your business appear much more legitimate than using a personal or standard business telephone number. 58 percent of individuals prefer to phone a toll-free number over a conventional local number.
Many VoIP providers include a variety of local, international, vanity, and toll-free numbers with your existing business phone service plan. However, these platforms usually don’t explain the process of how to get a toll-free phone number, its benefits, or if this number works.
Toll-free phone numbers make your new or small business appear to have the same resources as a well-established, nationwide enterprise — for a fraction of the price. They also offer businesses a number that is not associated with a specific location.
Toll-free numbers are excellent alternatives to regular phone numbers when reaching customers who are on the go or who live in areas with limited cell phone coverage.
Toll-free numbers can also increase business efficiency by allowing companies to communicate with their customers through automated systems instead of having multiple people answer phones simultaneously.
Finally, toll-free numbers provide businesses with the opportunity to build loyal customer bases organically without spending money on advertising or promotional campaigns.
Should you use a toll-free number?
While anybody may obtain and profit from a toll-free business number, small companies and startups seeking to establish themselves and build trust will find them particularly beneficial.
Toll-free lines are also a helpful marketing strategy since they provide consumers and prospects with quick and memorable methods to contact your business.
Remember, 1-800-FLOWERS was so convinced of the value of toll-free lines that they included them in their business strategy. It was an obvious hit, and even if you don’t achieve their level of success, you’ll be astonished at the beneficial effect toll-free numbers have on your company.