How To Get A Custom Vanity Number For Your Business (local 1-800 & toll free)

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Looking to get a custom vanity number for your business or personal use? In this article, we’ll go over the basics of what features matter from vanity number service providers, and which services will be best for you depending on what your needs are. I’ll include things like call flow, extensions, costs, automated greetings, and even which services lend themselves better to integrated cell phone and land line system use. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to decide which custom vanity number service provider is best for you!

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What Is A Custom Vanity Number?

A custom vanity phone number is normally a local or toll free secondary line that your business has, that either spells an abbreviation of the company, or is an acronym for the service a business provides. Most business names are far too long to have a vanity number that’s the exact business name however… The other way businesses can use vanity number services, is to pick something that rhymes or is easy to remember if you hear it. Customers are more likely to remember these numbers instead of the generic numbers the phone company generally gives you when you setup your business line.

Advantages Of A Custom Phone Number

While you may not be able to get a branded number for your business (most business names are way too long anyway) like 1-800-got-junk, what you can do is get a better number than you’d normally get delegated to you by the phone company. (for example, 800-670-3000 is way better than 800-384-9145 for customers dialing!) I have spent hours searching for a vanity number before to try and find the right “feel” for a business line before, and it’s well worth it!


Where To Buy Vanity 800 Numbers?

The best place for most businesses to buy a local or 1-800 vanity number is Grasshopper. Grasshopper phone service is the #1 choice for entrepreneurs and small businesses, because of the flexibility to use it with either your cell phone, multiple employee cell phones (for forwarding different extensions), and even integrate it into landline phone systems if that’s what you need.

To get a vanity number through Grasshopper, it’s 4 easy steps:

  1. Pick a number for your business (you can search through the available vanity numbers here)
  2. Record your custom main greeting
  3. Add departments and employees
  4. Specify where you receive your calls, voicemail, and faxes anywhere you want (cell phones, land lines, email, text, etc…)

Awesome Grasshoper features include the ability to read your transcribed voicemails via email if you’re busy, but still want to check in on your calls. In just a couple of clicks, you can also add professional hold music with unlimited extensions, for the ultimate in fortune 500 company call flow capabilities.

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What About Free 800 Numbers?

Personally I wouldn’t use any free service provider for anything business related in case you lose control of the number, or worse, invest money into marketing that company/phone number and then can’t port the number to a paid service with better features. You can use Google Voice and things like that, but most don’t offer business lines or vanity numbers… They’re more for personal and cell phone use. (nothing wrong with that, but what happens to a lot of small business owners that used one of those services when they started their business, is they get 1 or 2 years down the road and find themselves in a pickle. They you’re kinda screwed because you’ve got your Google Maps / Google My Business tied to the Google Voice line which is a non no these days)

One of the drawbacks to using Google Voice or Verizon, is the lack of the ability to choose a vanity number. Sure, they let you pick from a pool of numbers available for that day, but they don’t allow you to a vanity number search like Grasshopper or Phone.com for instance.


Vanity Numbers For Sale

Vanity number availability is getting more and more sparse by the day. The trouble with buying previously used vanity numbers on the secondary market, whether local or 800 doesn’t matter, is you need to know how to do a reverse lookup or at the very least, do a bunch of google searching to make sure that line isn’t associated with a previously defunct business… Or worse, something unethical or illegal in nature.

Vanity Phone Number Availability

Most of the larger vanity number providers these days have much deeper inventory than they used to. It’s relatively easy to do a simple vanity number search, and come up with a good combination of your personal or business line needs.

Try This Vanity Number Search To Check Both Local & 800 Available Numbers <<

Where To Buy Cheap Vanity Numbers For Advertising

The best place to buy cheap vanity numbers for advertising campaigns, is going to be one of these 4 inexpensive service providers below. They’re affordable, easy to setup, and great low cost alternatives to local phone companies like Verizon, Century Link, and AT&T

  1. Grasshopper
  2. Phone.com
  3. Ring Central
  4. Callfire

Local & 800 Vanity Number Search

Use Grasshopper’s built in vanity number search feature to find a number for free before you even sign up for their service. I like how their phone number availability checker lets you type in letters and numbers as opposed to other companies who limit you to numbers only…. Makes it much easier not to have to look at the keypad for reference!

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Vanity Number Generators


Business Phone Service FAQ

Most people have many of the same questions regarding which service is best for them, and how to set it up. We put a bunch of these below in one easy to find location:

Update – some people have been asking if it matters if you use Grasshopper or RingCentral to buy your custom phone number. No not really, they both have an available number pool that you search from, much like buying a domain name for your website (they’re either taken or they’re not!). Most people just want cheap vanity numbers to use for their business ads, and not everyone keeps them for a long time. For those business owners looking for long term use that matches the business name exactly (like 1-800-FLOWERS or something), I recommend you chat with a premium leasing provider like RingBoost.

What’s The Cost To Setup 1 800 Numbers?

The average cost to setup 800 numbers is between $3.00/mo – $12/mo for the phone numbers, and either a flat monthly minutes charge ranging between $24/mo to $199/mo if you’re a high volume user.

Some of the cheapest services to get started with are Grasshoppers $12/mo plan that includes your first line, and $.06/cents a minute thereafter. Next is Ring Central’s $24/mo plan, with minutes billed at $.039 cents per minute.

If you don’t need fancy call routing, or just want an 800 number for an advertising campaign, a cheaper way to go would be through Callfire which charges $3/mo for each line, and a flat $.05 cents per minute with no monthly fee.

Along the same pricing structure is Phone.com which has a base plan for $9.99/mo that includes your first 100 minutes for free, and then $24.95/mo to upgrade any user to unlimited minutes at any time. Keep in mind there are extra costs for some of their features like: international dialing, call recording, caller analytics, premium hold music, human transcription, automated transcription, and professional recordings.

Do I Need An 800 Number For My Business?

if you’re a local service business and you’re not going to expand into larger service areas, there’s really no direct need to have one. However, if you’re going to do any type of billboard advertisements, and test any marketing campaigns, you might want to look into some of the 800 number service providers specifically for call tracking. That will help you make sure you can decipher if you’re generating a positive ROI or not based on the number of calls that come in, and it doesn’t affect anything on your main business line either. Cheap to setup, easy to track… Win Win!

How Do I Get An 800 Number For Business?

The easiest way is to do a number search for an available line, and register it through the preferred phone service provider of your choice. We recommend you go with Grasshopper’s phone service for the flexibility and ease of expansion later on down the road.

How To Get A Free 800 Number For Business?

Google Voice is going to be the easiest way to use a free number, but they don’t offer vanity numbers or 800 numbers. If you go with a local number through Google Voice for your business, don’t use it for anything super important… you might have trouble porting it anywhere else, should the need arise to integrate it into your land line phone systems. Not to mention, you will have to pay to do that.

How To Find A Good Short 800 Number For A Business?

You can do a number search through Grasshopper’s vanity search, or check one of the other large VOIP phone service providers like Phone.com.

How To Get A 1 800 Number For My Business?

I talk extensively in more detail this in this article about getting an 800 number for your business, and considering call tracking for various purposes like screening your sales staff and monitoring ad campaigns.

Quick steps:

  1. Decide if you want a vanity number or local number
  2. Search available phone numbers with your area code or 800 prefix
  3. Reserve that line through a phone service provider (Grasshopper, Phone.com, or Ring Central)
  4. Setup your greeting
  5. Specify your call routing and extension flow
  6. Set live answering or voicemail delivery

How Much Does An Expandable 800 Number Business Phone Service Cost?

800 number services start at around $3/mo for the individual numbers (lines), and $12/mo and up for the phone service, sometimes with a base package of monthly minutes included. For instance, Phone.com will let you upgrade any extension to unlimited minutes for $23.99/mo here. Ring Central is $03.9 cents per minute on the other hand, with Grasshopper being around $24/mo with 500 minutes. Check both though, they often have different pricing specials or coupons during certain times of the year, and will be a different price than what I just told you.

How To Buy A 1-800 Number For My Personal And Business Use? (I want cell phone calls when not at the office)

This is probably the number one reason I keep recommending Grasshopper as the best phone service provider for business and personal/mall business use. Their system allows you to easily forward the calls wherever you want, and even use the smartphone app to make professional outgoing calls from your cell phone… and the customer on the other end will have no idea whether you’re calling from your office phone or your cell phone. Caller id, call routing and alerts, everything is the same. You simply log into their system and change your desired call flow, and add or remove extensions as desired if you have employees handling certain types of calls instead of going directly to you. (this is REALLY handy for small businesses… you can have press 1 for sales, 2 for repairs, 3 for billing, etc… and each one will forward to a different employees cell phone if you happen to be a mobile based home services company for example. SUPER HANDY!)

You CAN do this with other phone service companies, just not as easily. Grasshopper is setup to give you the ultimate in flexibility, and it won’t be a pain in the ass like a lot of local provides like Comcast or Verizon.

What Are The Best Toll Free Number Service Providers?

My top 3 are:

  1. Grasshopper
  2. Phone.com
  3. Callfire

I talk about each in more detail here:

The 5 Best 800 Number Phone Services For Small Businesses (especially for advertising!)

How Hard Is To Set Up A Toll Free Number For My Business?

Super simple, in fact you can be up and running in a matter of minutes. When I setup a new line for a client on one my preferred providers listed above, you can be receiving calls and texts in less than 10 minutes. Usually the hardest part is typing out your credit card number to register a phone number and signup for the service!

Setting up the call flow is just a few clicks, and recording a custom voicemail greeting if you want one only takes a few minutes to add.

How To Get An 800 Number For Your Business If You Already Have A Local Land Line?

This is where I’d recommend Grasshopper the most… For a lot of what I do, Phone.com or Callfire is cheaper, but for a business owner that wants the ability to integrate a toll free 800 number with their existing land line system Grasshopper is better suited for that. They also have the smartphone app for even more added flexibility if you have a newer VOIP phone system that supports that integration as well.

What’s The Cheapest Toll Free VOIP Number Service With Automated Greetings And Multiple Lines/Extensions?

The cheapest number provider is Callfire, but they don’t have some of the nice features that Phone.com and Grasshopper have. There’s also Ring Central, which many business owners like a lot. For the money, your best bet is Grasshopper or Phone.com. For 99% of users, Grasshopper is the way to go.

Click Here To See The #1 Choice Of Top Entrepreneurs

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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.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for making these phone guides. I found the small business one most helpful. Question for you: do I really need a vanity number for local advertising? I mean it would be great if we can look like a large operation, but won’t people get our numbers confused if we’re not going to keep it? I saw you talking about billboard advertisements in another article. Do you only advise using one of these vanity numbers for that? I guess I’m not really sure if it’s worth the hassle to set one up for us. My husband has a small plumbing business and we just trying to drum up some more service calls. Any tips would be much appreciated. Thank You

    • Hello Sherie? (sorry if that’s not your name!)

      This is kind of complicated to answer in a short comment, and similar to another question by another business owner that just came up as well: http://cleverleverage.com/5-best-800-number-small-business-phone-services/#comments

      I’m going to write a couple more guides specific to local advertising, since I didn’t make it very clear in the call tracking post, and hopefully that will help.

      For local advertising, in my opinion the most important thing is to have a local prefix phone number, all things being equal. I wouldn’t really worry too much about a vanity number just yet unless you’re specifically trying to spread brand awareness. Without a decent budget for that, your efforts would be better spent elsewhere for sure, unless you can easily secure an available vanity number through a vanity search like Grasshopper’s here.

      Now on the other hand, you can still have a call tracking number to measure advertising effectiveness, without it being an actually “vanity” number. (example: 1-800-Got-Junk) I’ll put together a specific guide on how to do this, but drumming up business is a whole other topic altogether.

      Separate from phone systems, there are all kinds of ways local businesses can leverage the internet to bring in more business. If you let me know if you’re specifically asking about in regards to local marketing, maybe I can put together a guide for you if it’s internet related. (my background)

      P.S. – I’ll edit this comment later when the new guides are published, that way you’ll get the update notification and they’ll be easy to find.

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