This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
An 800 number is an excellent way to build a national presence and encourages more customers to call your business. The best way to obtain a toll-free number for business use is to subscribe to a business phone service that includes a free 800 number. Many voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) providers offer a single number for free or options to add one as a paid upgrade, but another way to get 800 numbers is to purchase them through a standalone 800 number provider or virtual phone number service.
We’ll discuss each of the ways to get an 800 phone number further:
Option 1: Get an 800 Phone Number Free With VoIP
Several of the best business phone systems include a free 800 number as part of your monthly subscription and let you purchase additional phone numbers as well. When setting up your VoIP service, you’ll have the option to choose a new phone number or port an existing one. Providers like Ooma populate a list of available 800 numbers, whereas RingCentral lets you edit your number by picking a prefix and typing your chosen digits to see if they’re available.
Learn how to get an 800 number from the top three business VoIP services:
All RingCentral plans come with one free 800 or local number. You can select toll-free numbers in more than 80 countries and route them to your business. In addition, all RingCentral subscriptions include toll-free minutes, ranging from 100 on the Essentials package to 10,000 on the top-tier Ultimate plan. Once you use your allotted minutes, it’s 3.9 cents per minute.
RingCentral also offers 800 number minute bundles starting at $29.99 for 1,000 minutes, but that’s double the cost of 1,000 bundled minutes from Ooma. However, RingCentral charges $4.99 per month for an extra toll-free number compared to $9.99 from Ooma.
RingCentral provides international 800 numbers for $14.99 per month plus a one-time fee of $25. Check out our RingCentral review to learn about the features that make this provider stand out.
Your Nextiva subscription comes with a local, fax, and an 800 number for a base user, and one number for additional employees. Nextiva also provides the highest number of toll-free minutes on calling plans, ranging from 1,500 on the X plan to 12,500 on the top two packages.
Unlike Ooma and RingCentral, Nextiva doesn’t offer additional minute bundles. But, the fee per minute is less than other providers, costing 2.5 cents versus 3.9 cents with RingCentral and 3.4 cents with Ooma.
If you need more than one phone number per user, speak with a Nextiva representative as they offer extra 800 numbers for as low as 95 cents each. Check out more features in our Nextiva review.
Ooma business and enterprise packages include a local or 800 number. Every toll-free number provided by Ooma comes with 500 minutes per month, and overages cost 3.4 cents per minute afterward. You can also choose from two toll-free calling plans: 1,000 extra minutes for $15 a month or 2,500 minutes for $30. You can discover more VoIP features in our Ooma review.
Ooma’s entry-tier plans cost less than Nextiva and RingCentral, making it a great choice for a solopreneur or small business. If you expect a high volume of inbound calls to your 800 numbers, you may want to consider an Ooma alternative.
With most providers, you can also add additional toll-free calling numbers to your new or existing VoIP account. Log into your service through the administrator portal and look at a list of your current numbers. From there, you can use the menu to add a new phone number, select the number type, and assign it to an extension. Most services add the new phone charges to your next billing statement.
Option 2: Get a Toll-free Number From a Standalone Service
If you would prefer to not purchase a toll-free number from your existing service provider, another option is to add a toll-free number from a virtual phone number provider. Virtual phone numbers act as a call forwarding service and often come with additional benefits, such as the ability to add texting campaigns. You can learn more about this option in our guide on the best virtual phone number providers.
Option 3: Get a Toll-free Number From a Non-VoIP Provider
Before looking for another service, ask your current service provider if they offer toll-free numbers. If not, in addition to checking out the options VoIP providers offer, you can secure an 800 number from a standalone toll-free phone number provider, usually for a flat, one-time fee. If you go with a third-party provider, you can port the number to your existing phone service.
Who an 800 Number Is Right For
An 800 number is a good fit for any business wanting to build a national presence or add their phone number to marketing materials. If you use a business phone system like Nextiva, which includes a complimentary toll-free number, you essentially have two numbers to use for your company communications.
Benefits of Having an 800 Number
Using an 800 number for incoming customer calls offers competitive advantages. Plus, it’s an affordable way to increase your return on marketing campaigns or provide an accessible number for customers needing support.
Some of the benefits of an 800 number include:
- Expand your business: Go from being perceived as a local brand to a nationally recognized company with an 800 number. Anyone across the U.S. can call your business number without paying long-distance charges. Likewise, RingCentral offers international toll-free numbers enabling customers worldwide to connect to your staff.
- Unify your brand: You may have several phone numbers for different departments in your company, which can confuse clients. In contrast, an 800 number can be used on all business and marketing collateral, and calls to this number can be forwarded to your main number for call routing or even to specific extensions.
- Improve ad performance: A memorable toll-free phone number used for marketing and advertising such as billboards, brochures, mailers, and digital ads can increase calls to your business. Potential customers use the click-to-call feature on your online ad, scan a Quick Response (QR) code linked to your phone number, or easily recall your toll-free vanity number from a billboard.
Advantages for Small Businesses
While local numbers can endear your brand to your community, an 800 number portrays a national presence. Most consumers are familiar with various toll-free prefixes, including 800, 888, 855, and 833. An 800 number gives the impression of a large, established brand and instills a sense of confidence in your potential customers.
A small business will often use a local business phone number for everyday communications and put their 800 number on marketing assets. You can also connect your toll-free number to a specific campaign. This lets you create targeted greetings for callers and track responses to your advertisements. By setting aside the 800 number for promotions, you can achieve benefits similar to call tracking software on a smaller scale.
A toll-free vanity number is another effective way to promote your brand. You can customize the last seven digits of the phone number to make it memorable. This works especially well for out-of-home advertising like billboards. For example, it’s much easier to remember 1-800-WINNERS or 1-800-FLOWERS than to recall the specific digits.
Downsides of Having a Toll-free Number
Although toll-free numbers provide many benefits, in some cases, using only local numbers may be better for your business. Fortunately, you can start with a local phone number and add an 800 number to your service at a later time.
Potential downsides of having an 800 number are:
- Increased expense: Many VoIP services come with free, unlimited inbound calls. However, toll-free minutes aren’t free or you may have a limited number of minutes, and then overage charges can add up quickly.
- Not for global use: People living internationally incur fees when calling a U.S.-based 800 number, or the phone call may not go through. This requires your business to incur additional expenses to buy more phone numbers for use by international clients.
- More spam calls: You may get unwanted solicitation and spam calls to your publicly posted toll-free number. Additionally, if the number was previously used by another business, you might get callers looking for that company. Spam, solicitation, and errant calls waste your team’s time, and they all count toward your allotted minutes, so they may increase your expenses.
Alternatives to 800 Numbers
A toll-free number combined with a small business VoIP service boosts your brand reputation and increases calls to your business. However, local, vanity, and international numbers also get the job done. Before picking a new phone number, research your target market and decide where it’s best to invest your time and money.
Local Phone Numbers
A local phone number is typically included free with your VoIP service. You choose a phone number with a local prefix from the region where your business is located. If you live in a small or rural area, you may prefer to pick a business phone number in a larger city. Likewise, it’s possible to expand to other sites by selecting local phone numbers in states where you want to reach a new market.
Vanity phone numbers may be local or toll-free in any combination of digits you choose. They can spell out a word or be an acronym. You pick seven digits for a vanity 800 number, whereas a local number consists of four digits (preceded by the local prefix). Vanity numbers are more memorable, such as 1-800-CONTACTS vs a local vanity number like 217-632-8888.
If you’re expanding your business worldwide, international numbers help you establish a presence in other countries. Many providers, including RingCentral, offer local numbers in dozens of countries or you may have the option to select an international 800 number. This encourages foreign clients to call your business without worrying about expensive international charges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I get an 800 number on my cell phone?
Yes. VoIP services work on cell phones, and you can forward incoming calls to an 800 number to your mobile phone or any other connected device. Simply assign a number or extension to your toll-free number, and it automatically forwards them to your cell phone.
Where are 800 numbers from?
Toll-free phone numbers with a prefix of 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833 are country-specific, allowing users within a country to call the number for free. The international toll-free service (ITFS) lets you forward incoming calls to another country, so consumers calling a toll-free number in their country can be routed to a call center anywhere in the world.
How much does a toll-free number cost?
The cost of an 800 number varies among providers, and many VoIP services include a free 800 number with your calling plan. Toll-free 800 numbers range from $4.99 to $14.99 per number, per month. But, you may be able to get a lower fee by speaking with your VoIP sales representative.
An 800 number is an excellent way to establish your national or global presence. Vanity toll-free numbers, in particular, are memorable, and using them potentially increases phone calls to your business. As a result, you may be able to improve your brand reputation and capture more sales.
Although many VoIP services offer 800 numbers, our top recommendation is RingCentral. It provides domestic and international toll-free numbers in more than 80 countries along with plenty of business-friendly features, including an automated attendant and video conferencing. Check out your 800 number options and get started with a 30-day free trial.