toll-free phone number is a phone number with a distinct area code that can be dialed with no charge to the person placing the call.


Business owners consider getting a toll-free phone number when they’re serving customers across the country and want to be more accessible to them. Also, a 1-800 number makes your business look more established and bigger to potential customers.

In this post, we answer the most common questions about toll-free numbers and show you how to get one in a couple of minutes, right on top of your existing cell phone.

What is a toll-free phone number?

Toll-free (or 1-800) phone numbers can be dialed with no charge to the person placing the call. They have distinct area codes that make it easy to recognize them. These number prefixes are toll-free in North America – 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888.

What’s a vanity phone number?

A “vanity” phone number is a type of a toll-free number that spells out a name or word. For example, 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-855-LAW-FIRM.

Is there a difference between a toll-free number and a vanity number?

From the functionality standpoint, a vanity phone number is no different from any other toll-free phone number. There’s really no difference between 800-746-6304 and 855-746-6304.

From the marketing perspective, a vanity phone number usually looks more memorable and makes it easier for callers to reach you. That being said, unless you can get a really good vanity phone number (looking at you, 1-800-FLOWERS), it might be not worth the extra effort.

Why should I get a toll-free phone number for my business?

There are many reasons why you’d want a toll-free number for your business:

  • Keep business and personal separate: When business calls come into your toll-free number, you know it’s for business and you can answer the call accordingly. You can also set up a business phone system where your teammates share responsibility for the calls coming into the number.
  • Make your business more accessible to customers across the country: Not everyone has an unlimited long-distance calling plan. By offering a toll-free phone number for customer service, you’re removing any barriers that might prevent your clients or potential clients from reaching you.
  • Establish a nationwide presence: Having a toll-free number is a great way to show your customers and potential customers that you operate across the United States and Canada. This is a great way to appeal more to customers nationwide.
  • Look bigger and more established: When you’re just starting out, it’s very important to build trust with your customers. Having a 1-800 number makes your small business look a little bigger in your prospects’ eyes.

What are the downsides of toll-free numbers?

There are several limitations/downsides of toll-free phone numbers to consider.

  1. Toll-free numbers feel less personal. When you call a 1-800 number, you expect to talk to a support team rather than an individual. If you want to establish a more personal relationship with your customers, we recommend getting a local phone number.
  2. Toll-free numbers that most services in the US and Canada offer are North American. This means that callers from the US and Canada won’t incur any long distance charges when calling the toll-free number. Callers from outside of the US and Canada would incur long distance charges based on their local carrier. If you have a lot of callers from outside of the US & Canada, getting a North American toll-free number won’t alleviate international calling fees for them.
  3. Toll-free numbers aren’t optimal for outbound calls. If you’re planning to make a lot of outbound calls, in particular – cold calls, you’re better off with a local phone number. A toll-free number on the caller ID indicates that the call is coming from a company vs from a specific individual and you want to establish that personal connection with a potential client.
  4. Toll-free numbers often don’t support picture messages. If you expect to send and receive pictures, we recommend getting a local phone number.

Hard to choose between a toll-free and a local number? Get both and never look back. We’ve also published a detailed comparison between local and toll-free numbers.

How can I get a toll-free phone number?

These days, getting a toll-free phone number is as easy as getting an Uber.

Although toll-free numbers are assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), you can’t buy one from FCC directly. As a consumer, you can find a toll-free number service provider that both reserves the phone number on your behalf and provides you with the core calling and messaging service.

There are hundreds of providers you can get a toll-free number from. They’re also called RespOrgsHere is the full list.

While you can get a number through many different services, they’ll differ significantly when it comes to what they allow you to do with your new toll-free phone number.

If you’re a business owner and want to use your toll-free number for talking to customers and potential customers, you’d be looking for a toll free service that comes with both calls and texting, allows you to have a professional voicemail greeting on your toll-free business number, works both on your mobile phone and computer (ideally), and doesn’t require an IT person to set it up.

That’s where OpenPhone comes in. It checks all of the boxes (and more). And, unlike most business phone service options on the market, it’s free to try. So you can try it first and see how you like it.

Why OpenPhone is the best way to get a toll-free phone number

OpenPhone is used by thousands of businesses as their business phone system. Through OpenPhone, you can make unlimited calls throughout the world to help support your customers, team members, and clients. OpenPhone is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, as well as on the web.

OpenPhone has many required features for a business phone including:

  • Automatic call recording 
  • Works in the United States, Canada and internationally
  • Supports phone calls + text messages
  • Auto-replies for iPhones and Android
  • Crystal-clear audio quality
  • Ability to set business hours
  • Call forwarding
  • Auto-attendant (or phone menu) with call routing
  • Multiple phone numbers tied to one account
  • Number porting
  • Dedicated customer support

Don’t take my word for it – check out the free trial of OpenPhone today and see how you like it.

How to get a toll-free phone number for your business on OpenPhone

Here’s how to do it on OpenPhone:

  1. Go to OpenPhone.co and click to Start Free Trial
  2. Enter your email or sign in with Google
  3. Pick your OpenPhone number. You can select a Toll-Free number
  4. Enter your credit card to start the trial. You can cancel anytime and won’t be charged until after the trial
  5. You’ll get the link to install the OpenPhone mobile app (iOS or Android)
  6. That’s it! You’ll be able to call and message from your toll-free number via web and mobile
You can get a North American toll-free number on OpenPhone.

Ready to get a toll-free number with OpenPhone and start calling in 30 seconds? Get started here ⤴️

Author

Customer Service and Operations at OpenPhone. Founder of SOUL House artist showcase in the GTA. Art is life!

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