Toll-free numbers have been around for a while, yet most people don’t know how to obtain one for their business. There are several reasons for obtaining an 855 number, which is a type of toll-free number.
Getting an 855 number can help you build your client base and make your business look more legitimate. And it can signal to customers that you’re a solid company rather than a startup or a small business.
Also, people recognize 855 numbers, so having one gives you credibility and makes it easier for people to trust your company.
So how do you get an 855 number for your business? Let’s look at a few reasons to acquire a toll-free number, and the steps you need to take to secure one.
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What is an 855 Number?
Toll-free numbers can be great for online-only business operations that don’t have a physical address. Having an 855 number makes your business appealing to a nationwide customer base since a local area code does not constrain you.
Some businesses also use 855 numbers as a way to get a toll-free vanity number, such as 1-855-BUY-CARS. This strategy can make it easier for customers to remember your number, and it can help you market your business.
One advantage of having a toll-free 855 number is that the person dialing it from a landline does not get charged for the call. However, people calling an 855 number from a cell phone will be charged air time minutes per their cell phone plan unless they have unlimited calling.
If the 855 phone number is text-enabled, customers can also send text messages to it. The business can also send a text back in response, which can be an advantage as more and more companies are embracing texting as a way to communicate with customers.
Get an 855 Number in Two Steps
So how do you get an 855 number for your business? Let’s look at the steps you need to take to secure a toll-free number.
Step 1: Research Available 855 Numbers
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of toll-free numbers and the rules and regulations for getting them. All toll-free numbers can be moved from one phone provider to another per FCC requirements.
The FCC assigns companies that want an 855 number on a first-come, first-served basis. Phone numbers have to be reserved and are managed through third-party entities called “Responsible Organizations” or “RespOrgs.”
RespOrgs have databases of toll-free numbers, including 855 numbers, that businesses can search for availability. Some RespOrgs also provide phone services to businesses for the toll-free number.
All RespOrgs have to be certified by Somos, Inc., who is the administrator of all toll-free numbers, including 855 numbers. To find available 855 numbers, you will need to visit www.somos.com/find-a-toll-free-number and search the database.
You can search for any combination of numbers, including vanity numbers that spell out something or ones with digits that are easy to remember, such as 1-855-888-5555.
Step 2: Contact a Certified Provider
Once you find an 855 number that will work for your business and is available, you will need to contact a certified service provider or RespOrg.
The Somos website has a list of RespOrgs you can reach out to get the 855 number. Many also offer business phone services that can help manage and administer the necessary records.
FCC regulations prohibit RespOrgs from reserving a toll-free number without having a toll-free subscriber that will use the number.
Also, the FCC does not allow individual subscribers to hoard toll-free numbers. Hoarding and number brokering of toll-free numbers are both illegal and subject to penalties.
Best Ways to Get an 855 Number
If you’re looking for a 1-855 phone number for your business, you will have to go through the Somos, Inc. website to find one that is available. You will have to search through the toll-free phone number database until you find one that will work for you.
Once you do, you can reserve the number and will need to find a company to administer it. Somos keeps a list of RespOrgs that are certified to administer toll-free numbers. The cost of an 855 number will include the service under a particular plan as well as the minutes you use.
Certified Service Providers
Here are some RespOrgs you can use to secure an 855 number and set up a service for your business.
Avoxi is a RespOrg listed in the Somos, Inc. database that offers 855 toll-free phone numbers to subscribers. Once you find the 855 number you’d like to secure, you can contact Avoxi to set up your service.
There are no setup fees or minimum contracts, and you can do the entire process online. Plus, it is possible to purchase a business phone plan from Avoxi and try any plan risk-free. You can also forward calls to any location, which can be handy when traveling.
Toll-free business lines offer features such as custom ring rules, global call forwarding to multiple devices and more at no extra cost. You also get call transfer, hold and conferencing included.
Avoxi offers 24/7 technical support if you run into any issues with your 855 number operation. The company operates on a global cloud infrastructure, which means better voice quality regardless of where you do business.
2. CallFire, Inc.
CallFire, Inc. is a Somos-certified RespOrg toll-free number provider. In addition to 855 phone numbers, the company offers call analytics and tracking, call monitoring, call routing and texting to toll-free numbers.
Being able to track and analyze your data from toll-free numbers will help you narrow down what’s working and what isn’t. You can also test different marketing campaigns and optimize them based on the call volume.
CallFire’s service is web-based, so you can get started today. There are no set up fees, and you will pay only pennies per minute, saving you money. You can scale the service for many phone numbers and download a report for each one to determine the return on investment.
With CallFire, you can receive both calls and texts to local numbers. You can also record any inbound calls and respond to inquiries via text.
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You can try the service for free before committing to using CallFire for the 855 toll-free number services.
Check out Grasshopper for another great option to get an 855 number for your business. This RespOrg lets you set up a business phone system with all the related features and functionality.
You can also get vanity numbers, 800 numbers, toll-free numbers and local phone numbers. Grasshopper offers a text message option on both toll-free and local numbers, which can help you better communicate with customers.
One of the advantages of going with Grasshopper is its cloud-based system, which means there is no hardware involved. You can also run your business using your cell phone rather than needing a dedicated business landline.
4. FracTEL, LLC
FracTEL, LLC, is a Somos-certified RespOrg toll-free number provider. In addition to 855 numbers, the company offers call monitoring, call routing, texting to toll-free numbers and vanity numbers.
You can get an 855 number through FracTEL that allows customers to message and text you. Other features include automated outbound calling, routing for inbound calls, conference capabilities, voicemail and more.
The network can be configured to send and receive SMS or MMS messages, which can be helpful depending on your business model. You can also set different types of phones to work with your system, including iPhones and Android devices.
There is no credit card required to get started. This means you can try FracTEL’s services risk-free before you commit to a provider.
5. NetCarrier Telecom
NetCarrier is another RespOrg that can help you secure an 855 phone number. They also offer scalable phone plans that can grow with your business. Their platform is open and flexible to allow for custom integrations with business software.
The company’s project management team can design a custom configuration that will work for your business needs. They will also help with training and on-site installation.
Some features you can combine with an 855 plan include call hold and transfer, call waiting, caller ID, automated attendant, music on hold, time-based greetings for special hours or holidays and more.
Frequently Asked Questions about Getting an 855 Number
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about getting an 855 number or another toll-free number.
Are 855 numbers toll-free?
Just like 800 numbers, 855 numbers are toll-free. Toll-free number prefixes include 1-800, 1-833, 1-844, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877 and 1-888. Since 1-800 numbers are so in demand, it may be easier for a business to secure a toll-free number with another prefix such as 855.
How are 855 numbers assigned?
The FCC regulates the assignment of 855 and other toll-free numbers. They are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve an 855 number, you will have to go through one of the authorized RespOrgs.
If you want to know if a certain 855 phone number is available, you can search the Somos, Inc. database. Somos, Inc. certifies RespOrgs and manages the toll-free phone number database.
What is a vanity number?
A vanity number is a phone number that is easy to remember. When the phone number spells out a word, the letters correspond to numbers on alphanumeric keypads. By doing this, it makes it easy for customers to keep the phone number in mind for the future.
Perhaps you have seen them before but didn’t know that’s what they are called. Some examples of vanity phone numbers include 1-800-FLOWERS (1-800-356-9377) or 1-800-PETMEDS (1-800-738-6337).
Other examples of vanity numbers include phone numbers with several of the same numerals, such as 1-855-555-8888 or 1-877-777-7777.
Are 855 numbers free internationally?
The short answer is: it depends. Calls to an 855 phone number from a landline are free in the United States, Canada and the other eighteen countries taking part in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP).
Most of the countries that take part in the NANP are located in North America and the Caribbean, with the notable exception of Mexico.
Calls to an 855 are toll-free since they are paid for by the business receiving the call. When dialing a number from a foreign country, the caller is responsible for international charges on outgoing calls.
Because of this caveat, many businesses block calls to 855 and other toll-free numbers from other countries. Instead, they may provide callers with a regular phone number.
The Bottom Line
Getting an 855 phone number for your business is not difficult as long as you know where to look. It can give your business legitimacy and help build customer trust and goodwill. If you offer services nationwide, an 855 number can make it easier to scale without a local number holding you back.
Just keep in mind that an 855 number means that you, as the business owner, will foot the bill for inbound calls. This can be an added cost in your budget that may not make sense right now but could be a good fit down the road.
The best way to get an 855 number is by doing your research and going through the Somos website. Once you find an 855 number that works for you, contact one of the RespOrgs certified by Somos to get started with the toll-free service for your business.
Do you have an 855 toll-free phone number for your business? What has been your experience? Please share in the comments.