Get a Toll Free Number

A reader asks: ‘I have an online business and would like a toll-free number for customers to reach us. How do 800, 888 and other toll-free numbers work, and how can I get a specific number that I want?’ Here’s the scoop…

Your Own Toll Free Number?

Almost every business owner would like an 800 or toll-free phone number. Customers don’t want to make a toll call to place an order, and a toll-free number also lends an extra measure of credibility to a business, whether you use it as a sales line or for voice mail.
Some companies have built an empire based on their 800 number alone. Ever heard of 800-Flowers? But how do you get one? And is it still possible to get a “vanity number” that spells out the name of your business?
The concept is simple… a toll free number is assigned to you, and calls are then forwarded to any local number you choose. No special equipment or extra phone line is required — you’ll use the same phone you have now to receive calls on the toll-free line. All of the features you have on the local line, (Call Forwarding, Caller ID and Voicemail) will work just the same for incoming toll-free calls. You may want a separate line for your incoming toll-free callers, but that’s completely optional.
toll-free numbers
Toll free numbers were introduced by AT&T in 1967, and originally, all of them started with the 800 prefix. But over the years other toll-free prefixes, such as 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844 have been added to meet the demand. And of course, AT&T no longer has a monopoly in the toll-free number business. Almost every phone company now provides toll-free numbers. They all work exactly the same way, in that there is no charge to the caller — the receiver pays for the call.

What About Vanity 800 Numbers?

A vanity number is a number that spells out the name of your business, or some other relevant or memorable words, on the telephone keypad. A well-known example is 800-356-9377, which translates to 800-FLOWERS. Check out PhoneSpell to see what word(s) a given phone number spells, or vice versa. Vanity numbers are useful because it’s easier for customers to remember your number, especially if you advertise on radio or TV. If your brand matches your phone number, that’s a powerful marketing tool.
One website that I’ve found useful when digging for available toll-free vanity numbers is Just enter the name of your business, or related keywords, in the search box, and the site will present you with a list of matching 800, 888, 877, 866 or 855 numbers that are either available or in disconnect status.
Any number that shows as “Currently Available” can be yours for a one-time fee of $49, and will be activated right away. You can even reserve (hold) a number for 15 days for free.
If a number shows as “Disconnected” that means it’s in the process of being returned to the available pool, and can be backordered. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get that number, but the experts at will monitor it and then try to grab it the instant it becomes available. The backorder fees are $195 for an 855 or 866 number, $395 for 877 numbers, $595 for 888’s and $795 for an 800 number. If they’re not able to grab it, you pay nothing.
For numbers that are immediately available, you get free temporary service upon activation, for 30 days or 100 minutes. Yout toll-free number can be ringing to any local number you want within minutes. specializes in helping customers get the toll-free number they want, but does not provide ongoing toll-free service. They will assist you in transferring it to another service provider for the ongoing service, and you can use their website to compare prices and service plans offered by various telecom companies.
The website is loaded with helpful information about the 800-number industry, service providers, details on the process of obtaining a vanity number, and what goes on behind the scenes.
Do you have something to say about getting a toll-free number? Post your comment or question below…

More Posts about Telephony:

  • VoIP Systems for Small Business

  • Here’s Your Free Business Fax Number

  • Free Conference Calling Services

  • Mobile Phone Plans for Small Business

  • Get a Toll Free Number


  1. This is awesome. I always wondered how to go about getting one of those “vanity numbers” for my business. I will check out, thanks!

  2. Steve Bohne says

    Kall8 is another source for toll free numbers. Their service is very reliable. I used them for years.
    Steve Bohne

  3. Toll Free Numbers says

    Cheap Toll Free Numbers are also easy to set up and come with a lot of features and bonuses. These include the capability for audio conferences, professional voice announcement feature, call screening, call recording, call forwarding, auto attendant, and many other features.

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