Numbers Buyer's Guide
Toll-free numbers allow your customers to reach you free of charge, and they also give your company the appearance of being a nationwide business. In this way, a toll-free number can help you stand out from your local competitors. In addition, many toll-free number services allow you to choose a vanity number (e.g. 1-800-FREE-HAT) to personalize your digits and help customers remember you.
Monthly Minutes: An important part of choosing a toll-free number service is deciding how many minutes you will need each month. Some companies have low monthly fees with a certain number of included minutes, but their overage charges can get expensive. Before you purchase one of these numbers, you should get a good estimate of how many minutes you’ll need per month.
Voicemail Storage: The majority of toll-free numbers come with their own voicemail box. This can be useful in separating your customer’s voicemail from other work-related or personal voicemail. Our Market Standard for voicemail storage is 200 messages for 30 days, although some services can store voicemail for much longer.
Call Blocking: Most toll-free numbers come with a block-call list which allows you to stop certain numbers from dialing into your number and wasting valuable minutes.
Technical Support: Many toll-free number services come with phone, live chat and email customer support. Quality of customer support can be critical, as having issues or questions solved in a timely manner can be vital to your business, especially when your toll-free number is your company’s main number.
1. Evaluate Your Phone Service Needs
Analyze the number of incoming calls and related minutes you expect to use each month. Most toll-free number providers include blocks of incoming minutes with their monthly fee, which range from 50 to 300 minutes a month. Overage fees charged for minutes over this allowance usually run between five and eight cents a minute, so most services offer plans with more minutes for businesses with high call volumes.
Decide what kind of additional features you may want to add to your phone line. In general, a toll-free number will come with it's own voicemail box which is useful in keeping your business's voicemail separate from other messages. Also, many toll-free number providers we've reviewed come fully-loaded with a hosted PBX system that allows you to set extensions and route calls to various phones in your office or around the country.
2. Compare Toll-Free Numbers
Our toll-free numbers comparison chart gives a side-by-side assessment of six providers on fundamental features, such as monthly fee, included minutes, types of numbers available, and quality of customer support. Scroll over underlined terms to read a full description of the feature. You can also click on a provider's name to read our review of the service.
3. Read Toll-Free Number Reviews
Our toll-free number reviews offer a brief summary of each service reviewed on our site. We've listed pros, cons, and conclusions for every provider so you can easily compare and select the plan that best fits your needs.
4. Sign Up for a Toll Free Number
After you finish examining your toll-free number options, sign up for the service that works best for you. Some plans offer a free trial so you can test out your new number before paying a cent. If you still haven't made up your mind, go back and use the comparison chart and other resource pages.