Have you thought about getting an 800 number for your business? Perhaps you just started a business and you want to appeal to a broader client base.
Toll-free numbers might seem like they’re out of reach, but really they can be an affordable option for any viable business, provided you choose the right company and the right plan.
To help you in the search process, we are going to compare four different companies that offer 800 numbers and we’ll talk about whether or not it might be right for you and your business.
Companies that offer 800 Numbers
There are many companies that offer this service to businesses, but today we’ll focus on the four best companies that I researched personally.
Grasshopper currently offers four different plans: $12 a month with an additional 6 cent per minute charge, $24 a month for 500 minutes (this plan includes two telephone numbers), $49 a month for 2000 minutes, and $199 a month for 10,000 minutes (this plan includes three 800 numbers). As of this writing, all four plans have a Free Activation special, and a 30-day money back guarantee. Click here sign up for a free trial with Grasshopper.
2. Ring Central
Ring Central is the second company that I researched. Ring Central’s Pro Plan offers 300 minutes a month for the low price of $9.99. Next up on the list is their Pro Plus Plan, which offers 1000 minutes a month for $19.99. Their third option, the Pro Power Plan, offers customers 2000 minutes a month for $24.99. Ring Central also offers a free trial option and other add-on features and benefits.
The third company I researched is called eVoice (Affiliate link for a 30 day FREE trial). Like most other companies, eVoice offers a free 30-day trial with all of their plans. Their lowest plan starts at $12.99 for 300 minutes. Their most popular plan is the $29.99 plan, which includes 1000 minutes per month. Next up on the list is the $49.99 plan, which includes 2000 monthly minutes, and their highest-priced plan is $79.99 a month for 4000 monthly minutes. eVoice did seem to include more numbers with each of their plans, which would be a nice benefit for businesses that need or want to have several toll free numbers, however, it did not include a minute plan in the 10,000 minute-plus range, which might make it a non-competitor for larger businesses.
Next up on the list is Phone.com (Affiliate link that will get you 15% off). Phone.com has just two different plans to meet different small business needs.
Their free plan offers no monthly charge, but instead, a per minute usage charge, based on the number of minutes a business uses during the month. The price for less than 5,000 minutes used per month is 3.9 cents per minute. Over 5000 minutes but less than 10,000 minutes used will cost 3.5 cents per minute. Over 10,000 but less than 20,000 minutes will cost 2.9 cents per minute, and finally, over 20,000 minutes used during the month will cost 2.5 cents per minute. This could be a good plan if you are an infrequent user of your 800 number.
Phone.com also offers an unlimited plan for $19.99 a month per extension. Both plans through Phone.com offer a 30-day free trial to help customers determine if the plan they chose is right for their small business.
Most companies offer a host of other features along with their plans, some of which include voice mail, conference call options, call forwarding, and the ability to hook your number to either your land line or your cellular phone. Here is some more info on each of those features.
Conference Calling Capabilities
Yes, by utilizing an 800 number for your business, you have easy access to conference calls with employees and or clients. The professionalism and clear connections for your conference calls are unbeatable.
Specialized Number Choices
Specialized number choices can help current and potential clients remember your phone number more easily.
For instance, if you have a landscaping business, you may be able to choose a number such as 1-800-CUT-LAWN for your phone number.
Adding Specific Department and Employee Options
Helping your business to have a more professional appearance is another great reason to use an 800 number.
You can give clients the option to choose from a number of departments or employees within your business. Here’s an example.
“Hello, welcome to (your business name). Please choose carefully from the following options. Press 1 to place an order. Press 2 to schedule repair service.”
A professional voice system will establish trust with clients and potential clients, and will make contacting the right area in your business easier for clients as well.
Custom Professional Greetings
Most companies all you to have a phone greeting that can be customized to fit your specific business, and the phone connection will be clear and professional sounding, even if your clients are calling from all over the world.
Don’t risk losing clients due to a bad phone connection because you’re using your cellular phone or a home land line for customers to call. Instead, choose an affordable 800 number plan that will help your business sound as professional as it is.
No Expensive Hardware to Install
Grasshopper and other 800 number providers partner with your existing land line or cellular phone line on a virtual level. That means that there’s no need for a technician to come and install expensive hardware onto your existing phone system.
No expensive hardware means money savings on purchasing and repair of hardware systems as well.
Get calls forwarded to your cell phone from your 800 number. This means that you never have to miss a call to your business if you don’t want to.
As a business owner, you know that some calls need to be answered immediately, while some calls need to wait as you tend to a current client’s needs.
With the caller ID service, you have the options to either accept the call, to direct the call to voicemail, and even to see the number and/or name of the person calling in order to help determine the urgency of taking the call.
Caller ID is just one more feature of an 800 number service that will bring the professionalism of your business to a new level.
Would My Business Benefit From Having an 800 Number?
There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to determine if your business would benefit from the presence of an 800 number. Here I’ll share a few of those questions.
Are phone customers and phone calls a large part of my business?
Only you can answer this question, and the answer depends, in part, on what you supply for your customer. For instance, a freelance writer might not benefit from having a toll-free number for their business as it is quite simple and accepted to conduct most business transactions via the Internet and e-mail. However, if you have a retail business where you’re selling something to customers – whether that be via brick-and-mortar store or an online store – an 800 number might a valuable addition to customers as it would present an image of professionalism and also be an easy way for customers to contact you should they have a question about an order.
What Level of Professionalism Do I Want to Present to Clients and Potential Clients?
Let’s face it: An 800 number does add an air of professionalism to a business. Potential clients searching for your type of business may feel more comfortable knowing that the business they’re considering has chosen to take the step to establish themselves for the long term by investing in an 800 number service.
Can my business afford an 800 number?
All of the companies we researched here have very affordable plans for any size business, but if you’re not making enough each month to cover even the smallest plan cost, and have no interest or plan in place for increasing your revenue, then an 800 number might not be a wise choice. However, if your plan is to continue to grow and prosper your business, then it may be well worth the investment.
What are my future plans for expanding my business?
If you have ideas or plans in place to expand your business in a way that would invite customer calls and contact, it might be a wise idea to put an 800 number in place now in order to establish that mode of contact for customers and have it solidly in place for when your business expansion takes flight. The appearance of a well-established business, along with a great product and quality customer service will do wonders for present and future business growth.
An 800 number can give the appearance of a national company for an affordable price. Click on one of the options above to begin a free trial and see which service is best for you.