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. Or maybe you are an established business and want the credibility and trust factor of having an 800 number that doesn’t limit you to your geographic area.
Toll-free numbers might seem like they’re only used by big corporate giants, but because of the technology any small business or entrepreneur can get an 800 number at an affordable price, provided you choose the right company and the right plan to suit your business needs.
To help you in the search process, I am going to compare four different companies that offer 800 numbers and talk about whether or not it might be right for you and your business.
800 Number Service Providers
While there are more than four options, for this article I’ll focus on the four of the best companies that offer 1-800 numbers.
My favorite service is Grasshopper as this is one that I have personally used.
They currently offer 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
- $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. Try it risk-free for 30 days with no long-term contract by clicking here.
2. Ring Central
It is worth noting that Ring Central offers a free trial so that you can try it out for free and see if it is a good fit for you. Their 800 number plans are as follows:
- Pro Plan includes 300 minutes a month for the low price of $9.99
- Pro Plus Plan includes 1000 minutes a month for $19.99
- Pro Power Plan includes 2000 minutes a month for $24.99
There are two things that you should know about Ring Central. The first is that they have a $30 activation fee which the other companies do not hit you with an activation at all. The second is that they cannot convert voicemail to text like the other services can.
The third company is 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.
- $12.99 for 300 minutes
- $29.99 for 1000 minutes
- $49.99 for 2000 minutes
- $79.99 for 4000 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, so it may not be a good fit if you have a larger business.
Next up on the list is Phone.com (Affiliate link that will get you 15% off). Phone.com has just three different plans to meet different small business needs.
- $9.99 for 100 minutes
- $19.99 for 500 minutes
- $29.99 for 1000 minutes
All plans include the following:
- A local or toll free number
- Integrated mobile app
- Unlimited users
- Hold music
- Dial-by-name directory (great if you have multiple employees with extensions)
- Call screening
- Call Recording
- Call routing schedules
- Fax to email
- Voicemail to email
- And More
All 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.
Fax to Your Phone
You can get faxes delivered to your cell phone that are viewable as PDF’s. This is a great feature if you don’t have a traditional phone line but want to receive faxes.
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 landline 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 landline 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 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.