Toll-free numbers with a 1-800 prefix have continued to grow in popularity, enjoying regular usage despite the rise of free calling apps and free national calling plans. Toll-free numbers have become so popular that new prefixes are unveiled every few years to meet the high demand from customers. Why are toll-free numbers so popular? Before we get into that, let’s first understand what the numbers are all about. What Is a 1-800 Number and How Does It Work? A 1-800 number is a toll-free number that allows your customers to make a call to your business for free. The cost of the call is charged on your business. Toll-free numbers are unique as they have special prefixes such as 800, 855, 866, and 888. Why Get a 1-800 Number for Your Business Here are some reasons why you would need one of these numbers: Customers prefer to call a toll-free number rather than a regular number to save money. Therefore, having the number increases inbound phone calls from your customers. Increased calls from customers will result in more revenue for your business. Customers have a reliable and low-cost means of communication with your business. The number gives your business an edge over your competitors that are using regular numbers. A toll-free number is not tied to a single local area code. Therefore, even if your business moves locations, customers can still reach you using the same number. A toll-free number is important for any business that wants to reach more customers. How to Get a 1-800 Number for Your Business The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates and governs the release of toll-free number prefixes. The commission also sets the rules on how the numbers should be assigned to users. However, the FCC doesn’t assign the numbers to users. The organization neither has access to the database with the toll-free numbers, nor can it give information on their status. Toll-free numbers are assigned by organizations called Responsible Organizations, or RespOrgs. These companies also have access to the toll-free number database that has information on the available numbers. According to the FCC, toll-free numbers should be given on a first-come, first-served basis. It is against the FCC rules for a RespOrg to reserve any of the toll-free numbers without having a subscriber. It is also illegal for a subscriber to horde a toll-free number. Therefore, you can only have the numbers that you intend to use. Moreover, you shouldn’t sell or offer to sell a toll-free number to another business or subscriber. The FCC regulations also allow toll-free numbers to be transferred to different providers. This means that subscribers can port their toll-free numbers to another provider if they intend to change service providers. To get the best value for your money, consider the following before buying a 1-800 number: Cost: Each of the RespOrgs in the market has different rates for its toll-free numbers. This rate may also depend on the packages offered by the provider. For instance, some providers bill subscribers on a monthly basis, while others bill per minute. Features: Some service providers offer additional features with the toll-free numbers. For example, some providers include voice-to-email, caller ID, call blocking, call routing, auto-attendant, shared lines, among others in their offers. Before signing up with a provider, consider the features offered and whether they will be useful for your business. What’s the Difference Between Toll-Free and Vanity Numbers? A vanity number refers to phone numbers that spell your business name. Examples of such numbers include 800-Florist or 855-VET. If the number starts with a toll-free number prefix, then it serves the same purpose as a toll-free number. Tips for Getting the 1-800 Number Toll-free numbers that start with the 1-800 prefix are the oldest in the market. These numbers were first released in 1963. Since the numbers are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, the 1-800 numbers are also the hardest to get. The high demand for the numbers makes them more expensive than recently-released prefixes, such as 855. If you want a 1-800 number, here are tips that will help you: If you can’t get a number with a 1-800 prefix, consider the more recent prefixes like 877. Take advantage of the suggestions provided by your provider on the best numbers available. If you want a vanity number, try alternative spellings if your business’ number isn’t available. Use keywords that your site ranks for to choose your vanity number. Which Is the Best Toll-Free Number Service Provider? The best toll-free number service provider is one with affordable costs and a variety of packages with different features. Phonexa offers both affordable toll-free numbers with a variety of helpful features for your business. Get in touch with us for a package tailored to your business.