This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
A business phone number enhances a company’s professional image and lets customers communicate directly with the organization. Small businesses seek free business phone numbers to reduce customer service costs. Learn how to get a free business phone number by following these steps: decide which type of number you need, select a provider, sign up for an account, and configure account settings.
Step 1: Decide Which Type of Virtual Number You Need
The first crucial step in how to get a free business phone number is knowing what you need for your operations. Some virtual phone system providers only offer certain types, so it’s important to determine from the get-go what number you need, whether local, toll-free, vanity, or international numbers. When you already know which number you need, choosing a virtual phone system or voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) solution will be easier.
Phone numbers come in different types, namely:
A local phone number starts with a three-digit area code representing a specific region, city, or state. This is ideal for organizations that aim to establish or strengthen local presence. The advantage of getting this type of number is that customers are more likely to reach out to or answer calls from a company because the contact information is familiar.
Moreover, it gives the impression of highly accessible customer service. How to get a free business phone number with a three-digit area code is fairly simple since most phone system providers include this as a standard feature in their subscription plans.
Google Voice, one of our top picks for business phone systems, features a vast catalog of local numbers. Businesses are able to key in their desired location in the search bar to narrow down options. After selecting a local number, you must link your mobile phone number for verification. From then on, all incoming calls to your Google Voice number will be forwarded to your mobile number.
A toll-free phone number starts with a toll-free code: 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888. It allows customers from different locations in the United States (U.S.) and Canada to connect with a business without being charged for long-distance calls. Thus, this business phone number is best for teams wanting to project a national presence.
It’s also suitable for large-scale customer service operations, where you encourage people to reach out to you for technical assistance at no extra cost. Many phone systems like Grasshopper and Phone.com include toll-free numbers in subscription plans, allowing businesses to get a business phone number for free.
Popular virtual phone system CallHippo enables businesses to secure toll-free numbers by clicking the “Add Number” button in the “Numbers” section. On the platform, you’ll be able to label the number with a name for easier reference and assign multiple users for one number. Aside from calls, CallHippo’s toll-free numbers have short messaging service (SMS) capabilities.
A vanity number is a local or toll-free phone number with a custom set of digits spelling out a word, which is often related to the business. A popular example is 1-800-FLOWERS. It’s suitable for companies aiming to establish their brand identity and improve brand recall among audiences.
If you frequently run marketing or advertising campaigns, a vanity number is a great tool for making your contact information memorable. While this custom number seems like a more costly option other than the first two types of phone numbers, many providers, like Grasshopper, have this included in their subscription packages, which helps teams get a business phone number for free.
Grasshopper offers vanity numbers, allowing businesses to key in their preferred letters or numbers into its number lookup tool. Its U.S.-based vanity numbers support calls and texts, while Canadian vanity numbers are limited to calling capabilities. The provider allows vanity number porting at no additional cost.
An international phone number starts with the code for a particular country. The format for international phone numbers is the destination party’s country code + area code + phone number.
For example, an international number in Sydney, Australia, will look like this: +61 2 XXXX XXXX. +61 is Australia’s country code, while the 2 is Sydney’s area code. While you’re able to get a business phone number free of charge for local, toll-free, and vanity, most providers charge an extra fee for an international number.
8×8, a robust VoIP solution, makes it easy for businesses to get international phone numbers as it only involves selecting your preferred country in the platform’s phone number settings. The provider supports phone numbers in over 100 countries, including Australia, China, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico. To learn more about the provider, check out our in-depth 8×8 review.
Step 2: Select a Phone Number Provider
Once you finalized which type of phone number to use, explore different virtual phone systems and VoIP solutions that include free phone numbers in their subscription plans. Most providers offer one phone number per user. Others allow multiple phone numbers shared by several users or unlimited users.
The majority of VoIP system vendors support number porting, or the process of transferring a phone number from one provider to another. Some facilitate porting for free, while others require a fee. It’s important to consider this, as you may want to switch suppliers in the future and retain your existing number for customer service continuity.
To help you find the right provider, we enumerated some of the reliable platforms in the table below. Learn more about them in this list of the best free business phone number apps.
Business Phone Providers
Starting Monthly Subscription Fee
Types of Phone Numbers Offered
$10 per user*
$1.95 for outbound calls; $1.00 for inbound calls
$14.99 per user
$19.99 per user
$31 for unlimited users
*Google Voice offers a forever-free plan, which includes a local phone number.
**FreedomPop features a freemium service that comes with a GSM SIM card.
Step 3: Sign Up for an Account
After choosing a provider, the next step to get a free business phone number is to sign up for the service. Every vendor has different steps for creating an account. But to give you a general idea of how it goes, we take Grasshopper as an example and enumerate the steps for registering an account:
- Choose a number: The available numbers are local, toll-free, and vanity.
- Pick a plan: The provider offers three subscription packages, as well as monthly and annual billing arrangements.
- Register your account: Enter your name, email, and password for account creation. Record your personal cell phone number and put in the verification code sent by the system.
- Sign in to your account: Log in to the platform using the email and password you entered during registration.
Step 4: Configure Account Settings
After logging in, go to the account settings to manage the phone numbers, users, and extensions. Add team members and decide which ones will have dedicated phone numbers. In some phone systems, the extensions are automatically assigned. But admins are able to change this under advanced settings.
If you want to add more numbers, go to the platform’s “Number” settings to see the catalog of available numbers. Do note that additional numbers carry an extra cost on top of the subscription fee. The exact rate depends on your chosen provider.
Top VoIP solution RingCentral lets businesses manage user settings in its Admin Portal. Under the Users tab, you’ll see the list of users in your phone system, along with their respective phone numbers, extensions, and departments. Depending on your subscription plan, you’re able to add more users to the platform and assign a specific extension for each. Learn more about this provider’s features in our comprehensive RingCentral review.
Benefits of Free Business Phone Numbers
Organizations that get a free business number reap many advantages, with reduced communication costs at the top of the list. In the case of landline systems, you must set up physical phone lines to secure a number, but with the rise of internet-based phone systems, you won’t have to worry about the hefty installation and maintenance costs.
Plus, when you get a free business phone number, you gain access to other valuable features, such as unlimited domestic calls and texts—as in the case of a Google Voice number. This contributes further to reduced communication costs. Aside from saving money, these are the benefits of free business phone numbers:
Solopreneurs and small teams starting out in the business will benefit from the professional image a toll-free or vanity phone number lends. Simply put, people associate these numbers with successful companies.
But more than the prestige, the VoIP solution that complements your phone number further improves brand image. When customers dial your number, the call will be automatically picked up, and they won’t hear a busy signal, even if you have multiple calls coming through. Clients are greeted with a professionally recorded message. All of these elements help build an excellent impression among customers.
In the case of toll-free numbers, customers are more likely to reach out to a company when they don’t have to pay for the call. They feel appreciated when a business goes out of its way to make communication simple and hassle-free.
The improved customer service also comes from managing calls more effectively, thanks to the tools offered by your virtual phone system or VoIP platform. These call handling tools include call forwarding, call transfer, auto-attendant, and call recording.
eVoice is a virtual phone system where you can get business phone numbers for free. It comes with various call management capabilities, including auto-attendant. Upload your own phone greetings for business hours and after hours and provide keypress instructions for connecting to different departments. To learn more about this platform’s call management features, refer to our extensive eVoice review.
As customers effortlessly connect with you through your business phone numbers, you get more opportunities to build rapport and upsell products and services. Moreover, the flexibility of virtual phone numbers lets you make and accept calls wherever you are.
You get to address customer inquiries swiftly regardless of your location, as long as you have the assigned call forwarding devices. Timely customer service translates to increased revenue and customer loyalty, giving businesses another compelling reason to learn how to get a business number for free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, Google Voice has a free plan for solopreneurs. It allows one user and unlimited calls and texts within the U.S. If you’re interested in using this free service, signing up involves four steps:
- Create a Google account
- Select a phone number from its catalog
- Connect the number to your mobile phone number
- Download the app
To learn more about the process, read our in-depth discussion on how to get a Google Voice number.
The exact cost depends on the provider. Below are some of the monthly rates offered by top virtual phone systems and VoIP solutions:
- CallCentric: $3.95 ($3.95 for the setup fee)
- Phone.com: $4.99
- CallHippo: $6
- Grasshopper: $10
If you decide that toll-free numbers suit your customer service operations, check out our how-to guide on getting an 800 number in three easy steps. We also featured the best toll-free number providers in the article.
Yes. Virtual numbers using VoIP technology are encrypted, keeping confidential information safe. Many VoIP solutions employ stringent security measures, complying with various data security compliance standards, such as Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), to protect data. Ask your provider about their certifications before signing up for a subscription.
A free business phone number reduces communication costs, helps build a professional brand image, and facilitates efficient customer service. Follow the steps above on how to get a business phone number for free to maximize these advantages.
Grasshopper is an excellent virtual phone system offering various options for free business phone numbers. Sign up for its seven-day free trial today to learn if it suits your needs.