1-800 numbers are the code that most people think of when they think of toll-free numbers. If you choose to get a toll-free number for your business, you will make it easier for your customers to reach you. That is because it will not cost them anything to call you. This adds a level of convenience for customers and puts your business in a better light. 

Thanks to the fact that calls to toll-free numbers are free to make, these are also a great way to attract future clients. If you and a competitor are otherwise equal in your offerings, the free calls may push you ahead. 

What are toll-free numbers? 

Toll-free numbers are numbers that are free to call from a landline. The idea behind a toll-free number for business is that because it is free to call, there are no long-distance fees. This makes it much easier and more affordable for customers to contact a business, even if they are in different areas of the country or have different area codes. 

It is worth noting that while a toll-free number for business is free to call from a landline, it will still come with normal charges from a cell phone. This is typically in the form of using up minutes, unless the caller has a plan with unlimited calls. 

When business owners and merchants think about toll-free numbers, they likely start wondering how to get a 1-800 number. This is because “1-800” was the first three-digit code to be reserved for toll-free numbers. Over time, however, demand for such numbers grew, and so did the list of potential prefixes. Now, you can also get a toll-free number that starts with: 

  • 800
  • 833
  • 844
  • 855
  • 866
  • 877
  • 888

The following image shows when the new prefixes were added: 

toll free number facts

How do I get a toll-free number step-by-step?

The following steps will walk you through the process of how to get a 1-800 toll-free number. 

Step 1

The first step in how to get a 1-800 number for your business is to figure out which Responsible Organization (RespOrg) you want to use. The FTC has a list of toll-free service providers (RespOrgs) on their SOMOS website. 

SOMOS website

You can also just do a simple online search to find a service provider. 

This is a very important step of the process, as the service provider you choose will determine your costs, minutes, customer support, features, and more. When comparing RespOrgs, consider the following toll-free number features in addition to pricing and the number of minutes included: 

  • Voice-to-email
  • Caller ID
  • Voicemail
  • Call forwarding
  • Auto-attendant service
  • Custom service 

Step 2

After you choose which toll-free service provider you want to use, it is time to choose a phone number. The good news is that the FTC makes it illegal for providers to “hoard” numbers. In other words, all RespOrgs should have access to the same numbers until one is claimed. This is very helpful if you are interested in vanity toll-free numbers. 

Warehousing toll free number facts

You will start the number-selection part of how to get a toll-free number for your business by choosing a prefix. This is when you can choose 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, or 888 if you don’t want an 800 number. 

Once you choose a prefix, you will see some options for your full toll-free number. Choose one that you like. 

Step 3

Finally, you will have to decide on the plan or package that your business needs. Carefully evaluate the options to figure out which package is best for your company. 

Step 4

At this point, your number is ready. All that is left is to set up call forwarding or any other features that you need from your existing phone numbers. Most businesses will need to set up call forwarding right away to start making and receiving messages. 

FAQs on getting a toll-free number for business

Can I record calls on my toll-free number for customer support?

Yes, you can record calls on your toll-free number. You can do so as long as you follow all of the local guidelines regarding consent for recording calls. It is crucial to check your local laws before recording calls. 

Depending on where you live, you may have one-party consent laws or need consent from the caller. This is good news, as most companies want to record calls for the reasons shown in the following image: 

customer service call recording laws

How is a toll-free number different from a local number?

There are two main differences between local numbers and toll-free numbers. To start, the first three digits (or area code) of a toll-free number will be 1-800 or another one of the designated toll-free prefixes. By contrast, a local number will have a local area code. This means that if you call someone from a toll-free number, they will not know where you are calling from. 

The other difference is that it is free to call a toll-free number from a landline, no matter where in the country you are. By contrast, depending on where you are, you may have to pay long-distance fees if you call a local number from a landline. 

Local Access vs Toll Free Numbers

What about vanity numbers?

A vanity number is when you choose the digits in your phone number. Businesses will frequently do this to spell out a name, acronym, or word or just to make their number easier to remember. Examples include 1-888-NEW-CARS and 1-800-FLOWERS. Businesses can get these numbers through a toll-free number service.

Can I send or receive text messages using my 800 toll-free number?

Yes, you can use your 1-800 number to send or receive calls or text messages. However, it is important to note that to receive and send text messages on a toll-free number, you need to get a “text enabled” number. 

Can I get a toll-free number even if I am located internationally?

Yes, you can get a toll-free number if you are located internationally. However, in most cases, that toll-free number would be for the country that you are located in. Customers calling you from another country would have to pay to call you. 

You can get around this with an international toll-free number. These are slightly more expensive but will be free for international customers to call. 

How much does it cost to get a 1-800 number? 

The cost to get a 1-800 number will depend on the plan that you choose. Expect to pay at least $13 a month. That being said, you can find plans for as little as $10 a month. On top of that, expect to pay 6 to 30 cents per minute

Do I Need a Toll-Free Phone Number for My Business? The Impact of Getting a Toll-Free Number

Local Phone Number pros and cons


If you get an 800 toll-free number for your business, you will notice several important benefits. To start, customers will not have to spend to contact you for business calls. This will improve the customer experience. That, in turn, should boost customer loyalty and retention while increasing referrals and positive reviews

Getting a toll-free number for your business can also add legitimacy to your company. People see companies with an 800 toll-free number as being more established. Customers can call your toll-free number from anywhere in the world, as long as they use the appropriate country code. Just keep in mind that callers do typically have to pay for international calls to 1-800 numbers. 

It is also incredibly easy to get a toll-free number. Many services let you easily get them instantly. There is also the option to get a vanity number, which makes it much easier for customers to remember your number. 

When you get a toll-free number, you will also likely be able to set up call forwarding. This lets you forward calls to another landline or a VoIP phone, so you never miss a call. 

Toll-free numbers help ensure that your business is future-proof, specifically if you move. If you move to a new area code, you would have to change your local number. That’s not the case with a toll-free number. This saves you the hassle of notifying customers and the risk of losing customers due to the change in your business phone number. 

Another benefit of toll-free numbers is that they can be ported. This means that you can switch from one RespOrg to another and continue using your existing toll-free number. 

stats on toll free number calls


Opting for a local number instead of a toll-free one can improve customer loyalty and interest by making you seem like a part of the community. Sometimes, people prefer to interact with local businesses instead of ones that are far from them. 

Some people may also have negative assumptions about calls from a toll-free number. This could affect the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. 


The need to get a 1-800 number may depend on the type of business and customers you have. If you have customers in various regions or you want to make your company seem more established or professional, then it makes sense to get one. 

However, you may also want to maintain a local number to encourage potential customers to see you as a local business worthy of support. 

Raechel Duplain
Raechel Duplain Group Manager, Solutions Marketing

Raechel Duplain is an experienced content, marketing, and business professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform for local businesses.

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