Toll-free 800 numbers can help companies establish their brand, supercharge their marketing campaigns and stand out from the competition, but finding the right number for your business can be challenging.
Luckily, the high demand for available 800 numbers led the Federal Communications Commission to establish additional toll-free prefixes, expanding the pool of options and leveling the playing field for smaller businesses.
While this has undoubtedly benefited business owners interested in toll-free services, it’s also introduced a few complexities into the selection process.
The Basics of Toll-Free 800 Numbers
Toll-free numbers feature distinct three-digit prefixes (including 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844 and 833) that can be dialed from any landline at no cost to the caller, even on long-distance calls. This provides customers with a free and convenient method for contacting a business, though mobile phone users may be charged for airtime minutes if they do not possess an unlimited call plan, according to the FCC. This type of service is common for customer service lines, but it’s also widely used to track the performance of inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. Alongside the toll-free call features, companies can integrate business text messaging for increased communication and accessibility with customers.
Toll-free numbers are assigned by certified “Responsible Organizations” (or “RespOrgs” for short) that have been granted access to the 800 number registry databases. There is an administrative body that is operated by the FCC to ensure toll-free numbers are properly allocated by keeping the status of each number updated in real time.
Since toll-free numbers are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, businesses must select an unoccupied number or wait until their first choice is no longer in use. Most RespOrgs provide toll-free services in conjunction with the 800 numbers they assign.
Businesses can opt for basic number patterns, or more memorable repeating digit toll free numbers. Vanity numbers have become an increasingly popular toll-free option. Vanity numbers spell out memorable words or phrases that directly relate to a business’s products or services. For example, a taxi company could select 1-800-Taxicab as its toll-free number, though these options tend to be the most competitive. The purpose of any toll-free number is to make it easier for customers to remember your business and recall your contact information, so it’s important to think creatively before signing up.
How to Find Available 800 Numbers
Although 800 numbers have been around for some time, there are still plenty of opportunities to secure a memorable toll-free number. The first step to narrowing down your options is to decide whether you’re looking for a vanity number or a standard 800 number. Both options provide your customers with a dynamic point of contact, but a well-tailored vanity number can add a lot of value to your business’s marketing efforts.
While there is no shortage of randomized number combinations to choose from, the 800 prefix is essentially exhausted, so it’s important to consider several unclaimed alternatives. Regardless of what option you prefer, business owners typically use two common methods to find available 800 numbers:
- Searching 800 Number Databases: As an official RespOrg provider of toll-free numbers, Dial800 provides access to not only millions of numbers in the official registry, but also to their own database and that of our toll-free partners. We help users query any seven-digit number combination to check availability for every toll-free prefix, as our system directly connects to the entire SMS/800 TFN Registry in real time. The central database contains over 41 million toll-free numbers and displays ownership details for any 800 number that is currently in use.
- Consulting a business phone provider: Most companies that provide business phone solutions also offer toll-free number services, which makes them a valuable resource if you’re searching for an available 800 number. Partnering with a reputable phone provider can save you time and effort, as they’re able to hunt down all the available options and reserve an 800 number directly. This professional support is especially helpful if you’re looking for a vanity number, though different providers offer their services at disparate rates.
Once you’ve found the perfect available 800 number for your business, the next step is to review the cost of maintaining a toll-free business line.
Some phone service providers require a minimum monthly payment for a set number of minutes, while others simply charge per minute. Keep in mind that operating a toll-free number means your business is charged for any inbound calls your customers make. International calls will be more expensive than those made domestically, so be sure to consider the geography of your customer base before selecting a specific service package. Dial800 offers a per minute solution that features different pricing based on the quantity and types of toll free numbers you select, as well as the volume of inbound calls to your 800 numbers.
Securing a memorable 800 number can be difficult as the demand for toll-free numbers continues to be high. Even if new prefixes are released, proactive companies will be waiting to capitalize on catchy vanity numbers that are currently unavailable.
If you’re looking to incorporate a toll-free 800 number into your customer service or marketing workflows, Dial800 can help. To learn more about our customizable business phone solutions, browse our website or reach out to an agent today!