The Beginner’s Guide to Toll-Free Numbers


What is a Toll-Free number?

Toll-free numbers are phone numbers with distinct, preassigned 3-digit codes in place of an area code. Those codes currently are: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833 (it’s important to note that these codes are not interchangeable). Toll-free numbers are typically used for customer-service calling.

Who pays for a call to a Toll-Free number?

The charges for calls to a toll-free number go only to the person/company hosting the number; for the person calling, it is technically free. I say technically because that is true if you call from a landline; if you call from a cell phone and do not have an unlimited calling plan with your service provider, calls to a toll-free number will use your available minutes.

Essentially, businesses are paying for customers to call them—that’s why these numbers are predominantly used in customer-service calling.

What is a vanity number and how is it connected?

Vanity numbers are numbers that contain words or abbreviations that are easy to memorize. It’s good for branding and works well with toll-free numbers; one of the most famous examples is 1-800-FLOWERS, the use of which helped launch the company into newfound stratospheres of profit.

Are toll-free numbers compatible with international numbers?

They are compatible, however, the main perk of calls being free for callers no longer applies since they will be charged international call rates. This goes both ways (if you’re in the U.S. and call abroad or if someone abroad calls an American toll-free number).

How can I get one?

Getting a toll-free number can either be a headache or a breeze, depending on what route you go.

Since the FCC regulates the distribution of toll-free numbers to some extent, they have bestowed a group of what they coin “Responsible Organizations” the ability to distribute toll-free numbers on a first come, first serve basis. These Responsible Organizations are approved by Somos, Inc. You can find help here, although if you want to buy a toll-free number on your own, it may be challenging to find an available or desirable number.

The easier way to get a toll-free number is through a virtual phone number provider like MightyCall, among others.

These services usually have a wide collection of toll-free numbers for you to choose between.

Why should I get a Toll-Free number?

Here are several notable reasons to get one:

  • A toll-free number helps you avoid appearing local if you have business in various areas
  • Since it’s free people are more likely to call
  • These numbers provide a company with a professional appearance
  • Callers can’t block their caller ID when calling a toll-free number
  • If your company relocates, you don’t need to change your number
  • Portability: The FCC requires that toll-free numbers be portable between services, which means you can easily move from one company to the next and have the same business number. Unless otherwise explicitly stated, a business owns its toll-free number, for all intents and purposes

Are there any downsides to Toll-Free numbers?

Here are a few downsides to using a toll-free number:

  • Obviously, as the provider, your phone bill will be increased
  • If your business is strictly local, there isn’t a strong need for a toll-free number
  • You may have more unwanted calls
  • A toll-free number itself typically won’t boost your profit

Regarding the last downside, MightyCall may be able to help you.

We offer multiple phone numbers with every plan, so you can get as many toll-free numbers as you want, or even 1 toll-free number and 1 local number to cover all the possibilities. When you factor in the plethora of useful features we provide, your phone will become your business’s best friend.

MightyCall’s business phone numbers

Have any other questions about toll-free numbers? Ask in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.