Everything You Need To Know About Buying And Using 800 Number Services (all in one place)

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Ready to buy an 800 number for a new business venture, or add a toll free line to your existing business? Find out which 800 number service will work best for you, no matter if you want to have a simple business line added to your smartphone, or have 5-15 lines with dual office support and office desk phones for multiple employees for under $200/mo.

In this article, well cover:

  • Who’s the cheapest toll free service
  • Which providers have unlimited minutes
  • Learn what the best 800 providers are for certain situations (not all of them have softphone or smartphone apps)
  • Landline telephone services Vs VoIP
  • Where to purchase your 800 numbers
  • Which providers require a phone adapter to use your toll free number with an office phone
  • The cheapest way to get a business phone system setup without a landline contract
  • Why landline providers don’t want you to learn how to save thousands of dollars per year on your business phone bill

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide which toll free 800 service is right for you. If you have any questions, there’s a comment system at the end of this article for you to ask and get help from support.


Grasshopper Business VOIP Phone Service


Quick Summary

If you don’t have a lot of time, and just want a quick review and recommendation on which 800 provider is best for your situation, here’s a synopsis to help you pick the best solution quickly and easily:

  • Grasshopper – the most affordable virtual phone service provider that gives you access to vanity numbers, local numbers, and toll free 1-800 numbers. With their base plan costing $12/mo and no contract service, and free smartphone app for seamless cell phone integration, this is the perfect solution for most small businesses.
  • Phone.com – virtual phone system with inexpensive base pricing, and add on service to get what you need and nothing more.
  • Ring Central – all in one business phone system, complete with hardware leasing and phone adapters if you want to add office desk phones, smartphone app integration, and a softphone app included.
  • Virtual PBX – an enterprise level PBX provider, with fail-over support for mission critical call center businesses, businesses who need to connect multiple locations, 20+ lines, etc…
  • RingBOOST – the place to get custom/premium local and national custom toll free vanity numbers. If you’ve ever wanted to get a memorable number to better market your business just like 1-800-FLOWERS, RingBoost has the largest pool of premium numbers available for license on a geo level.

RingBoost Vanity Number Search


Top 3 Best Inexpensive VOIP 800 Number Service Providers – Unlimited Ext, $12/mo, No Contract, Pay As You Grow


1) Grasshopper Virtual Phone Service (mobile office perfect for entrepreneurs)

See All Plans & Pricing

  • grasshopper-mobile-officeNo expensive hardware to purchase or install
  • Works with any smartphone (free Iphone & Android apps)
  • Get voicemails and faxes delivered via email
  • Custom greetings with voice studio services
  • Business sms text messaging
  • Toll free, local, or keep your existing number
  • Conference calling
  • Hold music
  • Name directory
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Call forwarding
  • Call screening
  • Store hours and directions



grasshopper-signup


2) Ring Central All-In-One VOIP Business Office Service

ringcentral-byod-readySee All Plans & Pricing

  • Plans starting at $24/mo
  • Connect all devices (mobile, office voip, softphone)
  • Online meetings & conferencing
  • Seamlessly integrate with Dropbox
  • BYOD ready (bring your own device)
  • Huge cost savings compared to on-premise virtual PBX systems
  • Toll free minutes, huge selection of available 800 numbers
  • Unlimited calling, conferencing, fax, and business SMS texting


ringcentral-office


3) Phone.com Flexible Cloud Provider

phonecom-callcenterSee All Plans & Pricing

  • Virtual and hosted pbx phone systems for business
  • Use any traditional phone (analog phone adapter)
  • Connect with ring ready ip phones, mobile phones, or sotfphones
  • Email call notifications
  • Bulk number porting
  • Call recording
  • Complex call transfer
  • Virtual voicemail
  • Call Waiting
  • Click to call


phone-com-service

 


What Is An 800 Number

Toll free numbers are telephone numbers that begin with a certain prefix, and allow callers to make inbound calls to that business or person who owns the toll free 800 number without being charged. In the old days, you may have to call long distance if you tried to call a company for customer support that was out of state or overseas. With businesses that offer a toll free sales or support line, anyone can call them at anytime, free of charge, no matter how long the call lasts.

With its infuriatingly catchy TV jingle and your expanding waistline, it’s only a matter of time before you pick up the phone and punch in 1-800-ULOSEIT. Faster than you can say “éclair,” you’re speaking with a weight-loss consultant in Virginia Beach from your home in Boise, at no cost to you. What happened between dialing the number and being connected to the weight-loss consultant?

Once you dial the number, the Service Switch Point (SSP) in the telephone network recognizes it as toll-free by its 800 prefix, prompting it to query the Service Control Point (SCP) that has the routing instructions the weight-loss center (the toll-free subscriber) requested. In the example above, the instructions were to route all calls to the Virginia Beach office and charge that number for the call. Just like that, the call is completed. – HSW

Toll free numbers usually begin with 1-800, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888. 800 numbers are assigned on a first come first serve basis by companies called RespOrgs. The responsible organizations manage a master database pool of all the available and assigned toll free numbers, that supplies all of the toll free number providers in the industry with their own pool of toll free numbers still available for sale.


Types Of Toll Free 1-800 Numbers

There a two types of toll free 800 numbers, and it’s important to note that there is not any overlap in prefixes or extensions at any time. For example, 1-800-FLOWERS will not mirror the destination of 1-888-FLOWERS, and both are independent of each other, and may be owned by separate companies. (obviously that’s a poor example for trademark, but you get the idea)

Standard Prefix (800, 844, 855, 866, 877, 888)

There are six standard prefixes for toll free numbers, and they all work the same. The diversity in prefix extensions available is intended to offer some flexibility in the market. For instance, if there’s a company in Florida who has 1-800-FLOWERS, but there’s a florist in California that wants to service their local market in the same way, 1-888-FLOWERS might be availabhttp://cleverleverage.com/5-best-800-number-small-business-phone-services/le and good alternative solution for both businesses in different parts of the world.

Get A Vanity Number

Custom 800 Numbers (Vanity 800 Numbers)

While most large corporation customer service numbers are just a series of random numbers, there are cases where custom vanity numbers can work to your advantage. For instance, Dell the computer manufacturer, has a sales line called 1-800-GOT-DELL so customers can easily remember how to contact them without having to look it up.

Other examples of custom 1-800 vanity numbers:

  • 1-800-GP-FEDEX
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK
  • 1-800-BEACHES
  • 1-800-HURT-NOW
  • 1-800-WE-PLUMB

Grasshopper Vanity Number Search


How To Pick A Vanity Number For My Business?

Grasshopper has a great guide for selecting the perfect vanity number for your business:

– Make it easy to remember.
– It is all about the letters, so avoiding numbers at all costs is your best bet.
– Example: 1-800-Flowers.
– Communicate what your business does.
– They are an extension of your brand. Use your number to tell people what you do like 1-800-Contacts does. There’s no confusion over what they sell there!
– Avoid unique spellings.
– One of the big benefits is that it’s easy to remember. Don’t make it hard to remember by getting creative using a “Z” instead of an “S.” For example: Using “catz” when “cats” isn’t available.
– Avoid hybrid numbers.
– It’s a lot easier to remember 1-800-GoFedEx than 1-800-876-Ship because people still have to remember the 876. – Grasshopper Vanity Guide

RingBoost Memorable Business Vanity Phone Number SearchIf you’re looking for a custom branded vanity number that’s not a random digit number from the available number pool, you’ll want to take a look at the inventory at RingBoost. They have premium 800 numbers, local toll free numbers that match your business name, and much much more. I just recently became aware of RingBoost, and the opportunity to get a more marketable phone number that matches your business name, is much higher when dealing with a company that specializes in memorable vanity phone numbers. And that’s exactly what RingBoost provides: Premium, more memorable business phone numbers!

I had a quick call with Paul, the CFO of RingBoost, and I really like his analogy that I relate to and deal with everyday… “Business owners spend so much time picking out the perfect business name, and domain name for their website, but then settle for 7 random digits that people use everyday to communicate with you. Why not make them match, make them more memorable, and convert better in your marketing campaigns”?


Do I Even Need A Toll Free Number For My Business?

There are a lot of opinions on this, but the bottom line is it depends on what type of marketing you’re planning on doing for your business, and who your customers are.

For example, are your primary customers part of an older demographic that’s not tech savvy? If there’s a chance they still use a landline telephone, they’d have to pay to call you long distance since they may not be used to using a cell phone for everything.

Another good example of where a toll free vanity number comes in very handy, is for advertisements you  do. If you can acquire a custom vanity number that’;s easy to remember, people are more likely to be able to dial it from memory when passing by, even if they don’t have time to write it down. There are also entire companies that are built off of 800 number branding, like 1-800-FLOWERS and 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

If you’re customers frequently contact you for support, it’s also a good idea to provide a toll free number, so it’s never at their expense.


What’s The Difference Between And Landline Toll Free Provider, And A VoIP 800 Provider?

The biggest difference between landline providers and VOIP providers, is in the actual physical service itself. Old fashioned landline telephone companies like AT&T, use physical dedicated phone lines on local networks within cities that require switches to route calls to their desired destinations. Whereas, VOIP services convert all signals to digital, that way they can be transmitted over the internet, and customers only need an existing internet connection (something most everyone has these days, which is why it’s so much more affordable) and a softphone or phone adapter to receive calls. It’s now 2016, and most landline telephone companies are also switching over to providing all in one internet, phone and security through one package. The only downside to this, is 911 not being always available during power outages. But for most businesses, this is not a huge issue because they’re closed during events that this would likely occur, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters.

Contracts

Because of the easy installation and low or no cost setup, VOIP companies are able to offer no contract phone services to businesses anywhere in the world. Compare that to the local telephone company who services landlines, and there’s a huge difference in the effort required to onboard a new customer.

For example, they have to schedule a service tech to come out to your location when you move into a new location, install or reroute wiring suitable to your buildout, and route calls accordingly from any numbers you may have ported over. With VOIP services, that same setup would take about 30 minutes, much of it you can control on your own from your online control panel. This makes it super easy to forward calls to your cell at any time, should you go on vacation or be out for a considerable amount of time for a family emergency or what have you.

The cost savings alone for switching from landline to voip, is enough to turn some small startups profitable in their first year. Think about it… thousands of dollars for a complex 5 lines phone system in your office, several hundred dollars per month, all shaved down to less than $200/mo with a company like Ring Central, and no startup costs at all since they let you lease your hardware built right into your plan. Sure there can be diminished call quality for ultra long distance calls with some cheaper providers or international calling where the call destination has a poor network, but most local areas are well supported nowadays even during peak usage hours where you might experience congestion on the network.

PTSN (Landline) VS VOIP Comparison

PSTNVoIP
  • Dedicated Lines
  • Each line is 64kbps (in each direction)
  • Features such as call waiting, Caller ID and so on are usually available at an extra cost
  • Can be upgraded or expanded with new equipment and line provisioning
  • Long distance is usually per minute or bundled minute subscription
  • Hardwired landline phones (those without an adapter) usually remain active during power outage
  • When placing a 911 call it can be traced to your location
  • All channels carried over one Internet connection
  • Compression can result in 10kbps (in each direction)
  • Features such as call waiting, Caller ID and so on are usually included free with service
  • Upgrades usually requires only bandwidth and software upgrades
  • Long distance is often included in regular monthly price
  • Lose power, lose phone service without power backup in place
  • 911 emergency calls cannot always be traced to a specific geographic location

Source – Webopedia

Physical Equipment

While there might actually be more visible physical equipment with a VOIP system in an office (you may have phone adapters to work with an existing phone system, multiple office device support, etc…), the costs are much much lower on an annual basis.

The bare-bones of a VOIP phone system is simply an internet connection, and either a softphone application on your computer with a microphone, or a VOIP desk phone. With less hardlines running through your building, and no on site switches or networks needed, the overall hardware needs and costs of a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone system are much less resource intense.

Installation Costs

There really are no installation costs when it comes to VOIP, unless you want to port existing numbers into a new provider. Most voip providers charge a very affordable fee of less than $50, and the process can be completed in less than a week. Other than that, there are free training videos online that will show you how to manage your own phone system, and most companies have free customer support to help you with the initial setup.

Hardware Costs

One of the most expensive things for a new business office other than the building or buildout itself, can be the office phone system. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on a 5-10 lines setup, and keep in mind those devices will go out of date usually within a few year period, which is a depreciating investment of course. VOIP systems are mostly virtual, and software and firmware can be updated usually for free or little to no cost at all. If you do have multiple offices and need a ton of devices, VOIP systems still have much lower hardware costs, and like I’ve said many times, leasing is the best way to go if you’re looking to buy a new phone system.

Flexibility & Features

For me, this is hands down the most important reason why I can’t go back to using a traditional landline phone system. The flexibility that I’ve been able to achieve for clients and myself, especially for things like call tracking advertisements, is second to none. We can log in, and with a couple clicks, change where calls are routed, turn on call recording, add auto attendant or make changes to the employee directory on the fly, and much much more.

I’ve gotten so used to being to manage this, I can’t imagine having to call the phone company and ask for support techs to make these changes… and wait on hold for god knows how long! With all of the VOIP providers I recommend, you can easily:

  • control your own phone without waiting on the phone company
  • be virtually maintenance free
  • not waste any money on setup or installation, and invest in other areas of your business
  • do advanced things like call tracking, auto attendant, custom call transfering with softphone support, and conference calling, all on one system
  • you can take it with you anywhere and use on any device

Reliability

In the early days, this was a big issue with VOIP because the internet infrastructure wasn’t as commonplace and well developed as it is today. Calls would drop, calls would be staticky, and systems would be unreliable because the software they were built upon hadn’t gone through enough revisions yet.

Today, many of the worlds largest corporations in the world rely on VOIP systems to run the complex network of manufacturing facilities, support call centers, and sales offices all around the world. They would spend a fortune syncing everything internally if it weren’t for the VOIP evolution.

For small business owners and residential uses, VOIP systems are almost seamless now to the point where on any given day, you’ll never be able to tell whether or not a customer or company is on a landline or VOIP phone.

Security Systems

There are always pros and cons to using an alarm system with a VOIP or landline phone system, but it really boils down to this: business and residential uses are not created equal.

If you have a retail shop, or your business location includes a warehouse where high dollar equipment is stored, you’ll need to acquire what’s called an “alarm only phone line” from a local provider (for insurance purposes), in addition to your VOIP phone system. These only run about $10/mo, and the cost savings from using a voip virtual phone system will more than cover the annual cost of your alarm phone line many times over.

Most residential alarm companies like ADT will work with some VOIP providers, and don’t always require a dedicated hardwired telephone line. You can also use a SIP ATA adapter to plug in any regular telephone to your system as well, to get the most bang for your buck. Keep in mind that older fax machines won’t always work well with this more modern setup. Cellular alarm systems are also an option that is getting better and better every year as connectivity improves.


How To Buy An 800 Number For Your Business

Buying an 800 number for your business is much more simple than it used to be, and only takes about a half hour from picking your number, to setting up your virtual phone system and integrating it with how you’d like to receive your calls. You probably have a good idea of which 800 provider you want to go with from the above company mentions, but let’s assume you want to use our most popular choice of Grasshopper’s phone service and follow the steps below:

Step 1) Available Toll Free Number Search

Use Grasshopper’s available 800 number search below, to find the best toll free number for your application. Keep in mind you want to choose a number that’s easy to say, spell, and remember if possible…

Grasshopper Available 800 Number Search

Step 2) Setting Up Your Virtual Phone System

Once you’ve decided on a number, it’s time to pick the settings for your main greeting and call routing. You can easily just forward your business line to your cell phone or another existing line if that’s how you want it setup, or you can select your custom greeting, employee menu, and add as many extensions for departments if you want that big company feel…

Grasshopper Custom Greeting Options

Step 3) Adding Employees Or Extensions If Needed & Test

If you want to list employees, or add department extensions for a large company feel, you can easily select those on the next screen. This creates a nice menu when a customer calls in, and they can select the desired reason for their call, even if you have it programmed to reach the same destination… Creates a nice professional feel for inbound callers. The only thing left to do after this step is test out your new phone setup!

grasshopper-add-extensions


Which 800 Service Provider Is Best For Your Business?

Choosing the best 800 solution for your business is a bit of an art, but I think we have it down to a science! Below, I will break down which toll free provider works best for different situations, including whether or not you primarily want to use your lines with office phones, cell phones, or softphones. (for those of you who aren’t familiar with what a softphone is… It’s an application that you can run on any laptop or desktop computer, both Mac or PC, that will hook up to your business phone system, and allow anyone you choose to take or make calls with nothing more than a microphone.)

A lot of times when comparing toll free number providers, price can distract you from the true annual costs. Some companies give you what seems like a cheap base plan, but by the time you add on all the options you want, you’re paying more with the seemingly “most affordable” provider when you could be paying less with another. All in all, most all VOIP companies will save you thousands of dollars over landline providers, so we’re talking chump change here in the grand scheme of things.

Here are the most common choices of 800 number service providers that work well for the specific applications:

  • Grasshopper – best for startups, traveling entrepreneurs, adding a business line to your cell phone, etc…
  • Ring Central – the best all in one virtual business phone system solution. Perfect for office phones, cell phones, and soft-phone technology integration for use with laptops and computers…
  • Phone.com – best for advanced phone system tracking and setup techniques. Call recording, virtual voicemail upon no live answer, with emailed transcription available for really good advertising tracking implementation…
  • Virtual PBX – the best enterprise level provider that offers backups, system mirroring, and fully redundant uptime services with their Parachute technology. Perfect for calls centers, or high volume ad companies that can’t afford for their system to be down at any time…

What’s The Best VoIP Provider For 800 Numbers To Use With Office Phones?

A lot of cheap voip providers require you to use phone adapters in order to use an digital analog telephone with their system. Most of the time, this isn’t practical at all, so I single out this use, and recommend you go with a specific voip 800 provider if you know up front that you want to have office phones.

Ring Central makes it very easy to setup your virtual business phone system in any fashion you’d like. They also lease good quality VOIP phone hardware, and they let you add it to your monthly plan starting at around $10 bucks per month. This will save you big time when it comes to setup costs, and if the hardware ever goes out of date, you can exchange it for newer spec technology later on down the road.

The combination technology Ring Central offers, makes it the most flexible virtual business phone system I know of, and will work well for any entrepreneur, sales agent, or business owner no matter how you want to setup your phone system. They have a smartphone app that integrates your system into your mobile device, a softphone application that will run on any Mac or PC laptop or desktop computer, and allow you to take and make calls from anywhere in the world (but your customers will never know!). And finally, like I mentioned already, they have a ton of microphones and devices that are well supported with their VOIP office system, and you can lease or purchase them outright any time you’d like to add a device to your account.

With no contract service, you can’t go wrong here. They will literally work for every situation imaginable, call quality is very good, and support is excellent. Video conferencing is supported, teleconferencing is included, and much much more.

>> Check out the Ring Central demo here

Which Is The Best 800 Provider For Cell Phones And Mobile Devices?

You can save a bit of money if you happen to be looking for a smartphone integration only provider. Grasshopper is commonly referred to as “the entrepreneurs phones system you can take with you anywhere.” They’re the cheapest 800 number provider that will work with any smartphone, and have an online control panel that lets you setup your 800 number for your business in less than 30 minutes.

The biggest benefit to Grasshopper, is the ease in which you can use your cell phone or mobile device to effectively have a business phone system with at all times. The niceties include being able to differentiate between business and personal calls, decide how to handle calls after hours, and customers will never get your personal caller id or phone number since everything is routed through your business phone system… Even though you can use it on your cell.

With plans starting at just $12/mo and no contract, they are the best lowest cost voip toll free 800 number provider that I know of. With their Voice Studio, you have access to voiceover actors who can read your script or record a custom greeting for you, all within your control panel. This is a game changer feature, and not offered by a lot of providers out there. Normally to get a professionally recorded greeting, you’d have to go elsewhere and have it outsourced, and then import it into your phone system. With Grasshopper, there’s a settings page where you can order your custom greeting, download it once it comes in, and then select different recordings for different stages of your call routing.

>> Check out the Grasshopper demo here

Who Are The Best Toll Free 800 Providers For Enterprise Business Class Virtual Phone Systems? (Multiple lines, multiple offices, call centers, etc…)

When you get into enterprise level solutions, or multiple office connectivity with a ton of lines and offices, requirements begin to change and reliability becomes the utmost importance in my opinion. With so many moving parts (virtual parts, of course), you’re very dealing with businesses who can’t afford for their phone system to be down, ever.

Your also usually going to have as mixture of device needs, as office employees will need ot be using desk phones, sales agents will need mobile device support, and any employees that work remotely will want softphone apps so they can work from anywhere with just their laptop.

This eliminates Grasshopper from the mix, which is why I broke these recommendations out into different sections… What works well for one application, is not the best choice for another. Grasshopper is excellent at going virtual on a mobile, but beyond that it gets cumbersome once you start adding physical hardware and softphones.

The best choices for these business phone system solutions are:

  • Ring Central – the best all in one solution for most small to medium sized businesses
  • Virtual PBX – enterprise level service, with support for 100 + lines
  • Phone.com – a good middle of the road choice, that’s a little cheaper if you don’t need their addon features, but still offers the robust functionality equivalent to call center needs

Below, we’ll talk more about which providers might work best for you base don how many lines you need to support…

1-5 Lines

Any of the three will work well in this case, and is hardly taxing on any of the systems and or hardware options.

5-15 Lines

Phone.com or Ring Central will probably be the most affordable here. If you check the links above or the price comparison on this page, you can easily compare which is the best choice for your needs.

15-50 Lines

At this level, we’re starting to get into what I’d consider true enterprise level service needs. A company of this size if most likely going to heavily rely on communications for revenue, and it won’t be limited to just a couple employees either. At this point, I’d heavily consider checking out Virtual PBX.

50 Lines +

At over 50 lines, most small to medium sized businesses can’t afford to have any issues with their phone system, at any time. You’ll want to start considering what’s called fail-over redundancy, for continued uptime in the event that a catastrophic failure happens. Most providers offer system backups and whatnot, but not system cloning and mirroring in the cloud, which will essentially mimic your entire phone system on the fly so if one goes down, the other will kick in seamlessly.

Call Center Fail-over Support With Cloud Redundancy (backups & system cloning)

Virtual PBX is the only enterprise level provider I know of that offer their Parachute service for disaster recovery and business continuity. Like I described above, it can stand idle as a “hot standby” even for companies who utilize on site hosted pbx systems, and instantly take over should proactive monitoring return unfavorable response times.


800 Provider Pricing & Feature Comparison

I recommend several 800 number providers quite frequently for different purposes, and here is a comparison of the most common features and pricing plans:

Plan DetailsGrasshopperVirtual PBX.comRing CentralPhone.comCallfire
Monthly Price$12$15.99$24.99$9.99$99
Unlimited Minutes Optionyesyesyesyesno
Cloud Basedyesyesyesyesyes
Toll Free Minutespay as you go or monthly packagesunlimited1,0001002500
Local / Toll Free Numbers Included1-3111none
30 Day Money Back Guaranteeyesyesyesyesno
Call Recording Capabilitynoyesyesyesyes
Call Log Reportsyesyesyesyesyes
Mobile / Cell / Smartphone Compatibleyesyesyesyesno
Conference Callsyesyesyesyesno

What’s Best Toll Free Number Service For Small Business Startups On A Budget

This guide is fairly comprehensive at this point, and you probably already have a good idea of the right toll free provider for you. However, there a couple specific instances I want to touch on specifically, so you don’t get into a situation in the future where you have to switch providers and port numbers elsewhere. Below are the most common scenarios you want to look out for, and select the right service from the get go by forecasting your growing needs as best you can.

Lowest Cost

What’s the lowest cost provider now, may not be a year from now if you add a ton of lines. Let’s say you start out with Grasshopper, and then decide you want to add 5 lines with unlimited minutes because two of your emplyees talk a ton… You’re going to need to switch providers since Grasshopper doesn’t offer unlimited minute plans, and they also don’t sell phone adapters or offer a softphone application. Ring Central would have been the better choice for you in this case, had you know about this in the beginning.

Now for a self employed small business owner like me, who starts a side business and just needs a dedicated toll free business line, I’ll never outgrow Grasshopper or use that many minutes. Most of my communications are done via email, and it’s the perfect affordable solutions for my business phone system needs.

Just by reading this example, it should help paint your picture of service requirements, and help you make the most educated purchase decision possible at this point and time. If you do go with a company like Grasshopper (what I would choose for myself), and you outgrow the system capabilities, it’s not the end of the world. Normally a sub $50 fee ensues for transferring (porting) your number to another provider, and the whole process is 100% complete in less than a week.

Future Flexibility

To expand on my point above, if you start a construction business today, and it’s just you and a buddy but you expect to take on employees as soon as possible, you can save yourself a lot of headache by planning for it now based on your business goals.

You’d want to choose a virtual phone system like what Ring Central offers in their Office Plan. This will cost you a bit more per month in the beginning (around $25/mo), but you’ll be able to add an office phone anytime you need it. You’ll have access to their smartphone app and softphone software, which will allow you to add cell phone integration or laptop/computer phone system integration anytime you need it. This is especially handy if you think you may get office space or a retail location, and you can have an employee handling inbound calls from the moment you sign the lease with nothing more than an internet connection and computer. There’s no waiting on the phone company to get up and running, no complicated phone system to wire in the building or setup, and your costs don’t increase much at all.

Most Reliable Service

All of the best toll free 1-800 number service providers I recommend have been vetted thoroughly. With network stability and technology improving all the time, I doubt you’ll ever encounter any noticeable issues that would affect your communications. Gone are the days of limited load handling and poor call quality… Some of the most prominent companies in the world entrust their phone systems and customer service departments to these providers, such as Gold’s Gym, Remax, Coldwell Banker, Thumbtack, ALS Association, Virginia Tech, BarkBox, Trello, etc… So there number one priority is always going to be good quality.


How To Get A Cheap 1800 Number On A Cell Phone (easily add a toll free business line to your smartphone)

This question comes up a lot, so I want to add a dedicated section to it since we don’t have a specific cell phone guide just yet. A lot of people that work a 9-5 job that are trying to escape the rat race, want to start hyper local service businesses or a side business of some kind to begin earning extra money. Things like creating a website with a company phone number, posting craigslist ads to test the waters on service offerings, and even just communicating with potential customers or general sales… No one wants to use their personal cell phone number this day and age for these types of listings, and prefer to keep their personal information private to avoid the weirdos out there. And I don’t blame them one bit!

So how do you solve this problem, and get an affordable business line you can use for your side business without buying any additional hardware or signing up for some crazy contract?

Easy, you use Grasshopper.

Grasshopper is specifically designed to help you in 3 ways:

  1. Sound more professional
  2. Run your business form anywhere
  3. Separate your personal and business life without buying another phone

Instead of just being a “guy with a truck” or a “guy with a phone” you can easily setup a custom greeting business line that forwards straight to your cell phone. But best of all, their free smartphone app will never let customers be able to tell you’re not in an office! They won’t get your personal caller id or phone number, and you can use the smartphone app to make outbound calls right from your personal cell. Business SMS text messaging is also fully supported. When a business call comes in, you know for certain it’s a business call and can answer accordingly.

Common business example Grasshopper will and won’t work well in are: won’t work well for restaurants or main street retail, but would be a great solution for food trucks. (see the complete Grasshopper review)

Why not just use a free Google Voice account? Google Voice won’t display any kind of alert for which line the incoming call is coming in on, and it’ll be quite cumbersome to setup after hours calls, outgoing calls with business caller id, and texting on your business number. For $12/mo, Grasshopper will make your life much much easier for.


FAQ

What’s The Best Toll Free Number Service With Unlimited Minutes?

Phone.com, Ring Central, or Virtual PBX have unlimited minute plans. Ring Central doesn’t offer it on their base plans, but you can upgrade to unlimited minutes anytime you need it, and save money in the meantime. Virtual PBX has unlimited minutes on all plans at all times no matter which tier you’re on at the time of this publication.

Can I Get A Toll Free Number For My Business On My Mobile Phone Without Clients Being Able To Tell?

Yes easily. I added a guide above if you scroll up a bit that will show you how to add a toll free business line to any cell phone for around $10/mo.

What Are The Advantages Of An 800 Service Over Just An 800 Number Forwarding To Cell Phone?

I recommend Grasshopper all the time for this, and if you look around on this page, you’ll find exact scenarios where their system will let you do certain things a cheap 800 forwarding service won’t let you do. But the biggest thing that most people don’t touch on, and why I would never use an 800 forwarding service, is the fact that you don’t own that number in a lot of cases. You can’t port it to another provider should you dcide you want to keep it, and if you put any effort at all into marketing the business you’re using the number for, that would be a detrimental loss of sweat equity. For a few bucks a month, you’d be silly not to use a good quality service provider  in case your business takes off… You’ll already be setup for success, at a nominal fee.


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Join the conversation on Matt's case studies at CleverLeverage.com as he discovers and tests new ways to earn more income, learn alternative investment strategies to net >10%, maintain good health, and turn passions into online businesses.

1 Comment

  1. Extremely detailed and well written article about toll free service. It is great to see writers talking about different types of telecom service as voice will always be an important part of a businesses marketing mix.

    I’d like to add a few comments if I may. In terms of vanity numbers…many of the usual telecom and VOIP companies will only offer numbers that are currently available in the spare pool. Most don’t have access to great numbers that are already subscribed to. There are companies (like mine in full disclosure) that can assist business owners in getting numbers…often better ones…which they can license on a market by market basis or national basis. There are a number of things to consider and I would be glad to assist any of your readers with any questions they may have even if they have no interest in doing business with my company.

    In terms of just regular toll free service another thing to keep in mind is that many companies don’t have True 800 numbers to offer. They may have 888, 877, 866, 844 or shortly 833 numbers. If you do some digging you can find an 800 number.

    I can also tell you (as I just got back from a conference) that the toll free industry is actively working to expand the capabilities of toll free service and continue to make these type numbers more effective with added services. For example….while just really starting out….most toll free numbers can be text enabled so now business owners can say..”call or text 1-800-XXX-XXXX”. This gives customers more choices in how they communicate with your business. This is just one of the many new/expanding things in toll free.

    I would love to see more dialogue, questions, thoughts and opinions on this topic and can certainly assist anyone who has questions.

    Thank you Matt for posting this.

    Paul Faust
    http://www.ringboost.com

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