How To Get A Toll Free 1-800 Number For Your Small Business (easy & cheap)

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Ready to get a toll free number for your business, but don’t know where to buy one or how difficult it’ll be to set it up? In this article, I’m going to go over the top 3 places to get an 800 number for your business, show you my top recommended virtual phone providers for small businesses, and walk you through step by step of setting up your new toll free business line in less than 10 minutes. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make outgoing calls and receive calls on your new 800 number, route them through your cell phone if you don’t have an office phone setup yet, and even have a custom greeting, automated answering virtual receptionist, even even custom extensions with classy hold music if you choose.

This guide and these services are perfect for the small business owner that want to add a toll free 800 number to their cell phone, an existing local business number, and for startups looking to get up and running with a corporate number TODAY without a contract! If you have a deal pending and don’t want to look unprofessional by making outgoing calls from your cell phone, this is the perfect solution for that too… You’ll be able to easily make outgoing calls from our cell phone by routing the call through your new business line with the built in phone app, and your client will never be able to tell the difference.

Getting A Toll Free Number Has Never Been Easier!


try-grasshopper


The Two Best Providers To Get A Toll Free Number From? (No Contract)

One of the things I looks for on my business line checklist, is having a no contract line and the ability to port that number to any service provider I want. That way, if for some reason I need to upgrade to a more advanced VOIP or PBX provider in the future, I can do so and am not locked into some crazy contract like the local phone companies try to con me into.

That said, my favorite places to get 800 numbers for most small businesses is Grasshopper or Phone.com. They offer affordable pricing, are super professional, and the service is reliable and quick/easy to setup. All services are month to month, no contracts which I love!


How To Setup A Toll Free 1-800 Number For Your Business Using The Grasshopper Virtual Phone System (in 3 easy steps)

Getting an 800 number for your business is super simple, and only takes a few minutes with Grasshopper’s number availability search tool, and customer control panel. (quick setup wizard makes setting up your line setting a snap)

Step 1) Search Available 800 Numbers

Use the available 800 number search tool below, and choose between 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 if you need alternate 800 prefixes:

Grasshopper Makes It Easy To Get A Toll Free Number Affordably

Step 2) Register Your New Number

You can  also choose to keep your existing line if you already have one, port a landline over to Grasshopper (takes additional time), or do a number search by state or area code. Premium vanity numbers are also available as well:

Register Your New Toll Free NUmber Or Keep Your Existing Line

Step 3) Setup Your Call Routing Settings

You have several options at the click of your mouse that control how your new line will work. You can choose to forward calls to your cell for the time being, you can upload automated custom greetings to act as an automated attendant if you’d like, and you can easily add extensions for any department or employee you’d like. Most small businesses don’t even need all of these features, but it’s nice to know they’re there in case you do!

Record your main message…

Record A Custom Voicemail For Your Toll Free Line

Add extensions if you want them…

Add Unlimited Extensions To Your Virtual Number

Once you have selected a phone number, set up a custom message, and assigned extensions, you are ready to receive calls, voicemails, and faxes. You can manage your phone calls and voicemails online or directly from your phone. Setting up your virtual system has never been easier. No more waiting for a tech to come and install your systems!

You can easily change all settings with a couple clicks:

  • Custom business greetings
  • Custom hold music
  • Automated answering
  • Call forwarding
  • Voicemail to text or email
  • Fax to email
  • Cell Phone / Smartphone Integration (download the app here)

That’s It! You’re ready to test your line and start receiving calls…


How A Toll Free Vanity 800 Number Can Help Your Business In Your Advertising & Marketing

If you take a look at how much billboard ads cost as an example, you’ll quickly realize all the areas of your business marketing budget that could potentially be leaking dollars from not having an 800 number for certain applications.

In the book E-Marketing: What Went Wrong And How To Fix It, TARP found that “86% of consumers believe 800 numbers on packages connote quality products.” That’s a staggering percentage, and seems to carry over to every aspect of a service business as well. At the core, customers feel like they’re better supported, you’re easier to connect with, and 800 numbers give that “big business feel” of a Fortune 500 even if it’s still a small mom and pop.

e-marketing-what-went-wrong

In another classic business marketing book, Zero-Budget Marketing, there are several principles that small businesses can take away from what their standard was for telemarketing firms. After all, if it works for the big guys, it’ll definitely work for the little guys right?

When discussing the prerequisites for inbound telemarketing, one of the major points was making sure you have an adequate phone system, and in addition to that, they found adding a toll-free number increased inbound inquiries. The same applies to all small businesses… Having the phone answered, or at least having an automated greeting or auto attendant functionality with department extensions, can make the customer feel like they’re not being ignored and boost sales.

zero-budget-marketing


perfect-business-number-grasshopper


Getting A Toll Free Number For Your Cell Phone (The Inexpensive Way)

You can easily get an 800 number for your cell phone by registering a new line through Grasshopper following the steps above, and then you have some options on how you can setup your virtual number to work with your cell.

First, you can forward your toll free 800 number to your cell phone, and it’ll receive calls just as if someone were calling your office. But you also have the option to setup a custom business greeting first, and then add custom extensions for departments, services, or specific employees. Once someone selects the extensions that leads to your cell phone, it automatically connects the call and it’ll ring through.

Next you can choose how your 800 number voicemail works as well, and can get the voicemails emailed to you if there’s no live answer. You can also accept faxes in the same way, and there’s no need to connect a fax machine or anything like that…. Everything will work with your smartphone.

What I would recommend though, is downloading the free smartphone app from Grasshopper, that way you can route outgoing calls through your business line, and customers won’t be able to tell you’re on your cell phone and also won’t reveal your cell phone’s caller id. (it’ll show the business caller id instead, which is much more professional)

You can download the Apple App here, or the Android App here.

There are other providers that offer similar services, but the biggest thing here is you’re going to want to go with a provider that has their own app, otherwise you’ll be able to receive toll free calls, but not make outgoing calls from the same line… can be kind of unprofessional that way. With the grasshopper phone app, you can control what caller id shows to customers and clients very easily, and no one will know you’re using your cell phone. (much more professional, and keeps naggy customers from bothering you after hours)


Do I Still Need An Answering Service For My Toll Free Number?

Grasshopper’s automated greeting system can direct calls however you’d like, and it’s very easy to set it up so you don’t have to pay for a live answer phone service unless you really need it. It’s still professional, and calls can get routed to the right people if you have (or will have in the near future) multiple employees.

I like the ability to have a particular extensions ring me on my cell, while another extensions can be routed to another employee. So for instance, let’s say you’re a small construction business, and you have yourself, an estimator, an office staff member, and a project manager. If someone presses 1 for scheduling, they’ll be directed to the office line. If they press 2 for estimates, they’ll be directed to your project managers cell phone. If they press 3 for whatever else you’d like to have on the menu, it’ll ring your cell phone if you choose.

With that kind of flexibility, it takes a lot of the need for a live answer service away, and isn’t an always necessary expense with an automated attendant capability in your phone system.


WARNING About Getting A Free Toll Free Number For Your Small Business

I personally wouldn’t trust my business to any carrier or provider offering a free toll free 800 number, and here’s why. If I put time effort and money into marketing my business, I want to make damn sure I own the line. If not, I’m putting a lot more at risk than just the number itself, it can also lead to lost sales and people thinking you’re out of business if they call after an honorable mention and the line is dead or it’s the we wrong company.

For example, sometimes you’ll be working on a project, and get an unknown mention in the newspaper or magazine. Anytime a publication features your work, it can lead to an influx in inquiries, sales, and new customers. But not if you don’t control the number and let it drop a year later! You never know when opportunity is going to present itself…


Where To Get A Toll Free Number If You Want To Add A VoIP Desk Phone To Your Office (instead of just using your cell phone or the smartphone app)

A lot of people don’t tell you up front that number forwarding services like Google Voice and Grasshopper don’t support physical hardware. This means phone adapters are usually limited as well, and if you want to use an office desk phone with your new toll free number, you’d be better off going with Phone.com over Grasshopper in this case.

RingCentral can also be a good choice if you want a multi line phone system, with multi-location support as well. You’ll pay a bit more with pricing starting around $25 dollars a month instead of $10, but if you need that expandable flexibility it’s well worth it to get setup on the right platform the first time around.


The Best Toll Free Phone Number Service For Business Is

In my opinion, the best toll free number provider for 98% of businesses is Grasshopper. If you need things like specialized call track and call recording, Phone.com and Ring Central are tied for a close second. If you’re running a slightly larger office, and need a more complex PBX phone system with a fail-over parachute, Virtual PBX is the way to go.

perfect-business-number-grasshopper


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Get Vanity Toll Free Numbers Through Grasshopper Or Phone.com?

Well most small businesses have really long names, so most don’t qualify for an exact match vanity number right off the bat. But what is really common, and works really well to give you a unique and personalized number, is using the abbreviation of your business or an acronym of your primary service or problem your business solves. Use this vanity number search to see what combinations you can come up with.


How Much Does A Toll Free 1-800 Number Service For My Business Cost On Average?

Most plans start at around $15/mo through Grasshopper and Ring Central, and go up to about $50/mo for some of the smaller unlimited plans. The nice thing about all of these voip providers, is that all of them are no contract services.

Virtual PBX, Phone.com, and Evoice are all fairly close in price, but some have better features within the plans for some businesses.


Can I Get A Toll Free Number For My Cell Phone To Use As My Business Line, But Not Interfere With My Personal Line When I Get Faxes?

Yes if you use a VOIP provider with a smartphone app (and have a smartphone cell of course!), it will differentiate between the two incoming call types for you, and route as you specify. For instance, if you have it set to transcribe your faxes and email them to you, this will happen simultaneously under the hood while you’re cell phone is accepting forwarded calls.

You can choose to forward your office calls straight to your personal cell, and then use the Grasshopper smartphone app to make outgoing calls that match your business caller id.


How Do I Add An Extra 800 Number For My Small Business, And Still Use My Local Landline?

If you have a local landline through your telephone company, and a traditional analog or digital phone, you have to decide up front how you want to receive the calls on your 800 line you add.

You have a couple options here, but one requires you to buy a phone adapter to support VOIP calls on your office phone if that’s how you want to receive them, and the other lets you forward any toll free calls from your 800 number to any cell phone free of charge.


Which Toll Free Number Service Should I Get For A Small Business With Only 1-5 Employees?

Grasshopper, Phone.com, and RingCentral are the market leaders when it comes to the best features and service for the money. They call it the entrepreneurs phone system, since it works really well when you’re just getting your business going (1 person), and can expand easily with you when you start adding employees.

You won’t have to worry about transferring services that can handle increased volume, phones, or additional phone lines either. Smartphone and office phone integration is seamless, and you can have multiple employees on your unlimited extensions and transfers anywhere in the world.


Should I Just Get A 1-800 Number For My Business Through My Local Telephone Company, Or Is There A Better Solution?

Comparing your local provider to a VOIP provider is like comparing apples to oranges. The flexibility you get with a virtual toll free number provider is drastically more diverse than a hard line… But then again it’s not a landline. If you already have a local landline, and want to add a toll free 800 line, check out Grasshopper. They have flexible plans that integrate with cell phones, and are perfect for most small office setups for small businesses that want to forward their 800 number to their office line. However, when I want to get a toll free number these days, the last thing I want to do is wait around on the phone company. If you landed on this page from the quick search, scroll up and have a look at the toll free number setup guide at the top of the page. That should help you see how easy it is for anyone to get a toll number going in less than a half hour… you can be taking and making calls from your new business line in a jiffy. Best of all, if you don’t need it anymore, simply cancel your account with no penalty, and there’s no wasted money on expensive hardware or anything else.


What Are The Benefits Of Having A Toll-Free Number For My Business?

How a toll-free number can help your business…

  1. Have that BIG BUSINESS feel even if you’re just starting out so customers take you seriously
  2. Boost response rates from ads and marketing
  3. Create a more memorable impression to customers, and appear much more professional
  4. Research shows a toll free number can improve your bottom line by increasing inbound calls
  5. Technical Assistance Research Programs study shows — “86% of consumers believe an 800 number connotes a quality product.”
  6. Customers are more likely to trust a business that has a 1-800 number
  7. “When our clients add an 800 number to their advertisements, they increase their response rates by 30%!” – Billboard Connection
  8. 1-866-DESIGNS – Research Firm Marketing Charts “Vanity numbers are even more memorable than URLS.”
  9. Virtual phone systems let you connect employees from anywhere around the globe, even if they work from home

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