What is a Toll-Free Number & How Do You Get One?


Have you ever dialed a 1-800 number? Usually, people use it to ask some questions, receive help, or get in touch with a sales rep. Such phone numbers are also known as toll-free numbers since they’re absolutely free for those making a call.

But what actually are toll-free numbers? Where can you get them and how much will it cost you? If you’d like to learn all the key details, you’ve come to the right place – today’s guide will tell you everything you need to know about such phone numbers, as well as provide you with all the information you need about how to use them. So read carefully, and let’s get to it!

What is a toll-free number?

A toll-free number is a phone number, but it differs from a usual one with the following: the bill is paid by the recipient, not by the caller. Actually, they were developed to allow customers and prospects not to worry about a costly long-distance phone call when they need help – that’s why they are often used by business owners in work.

How exactly does a toll-free number work?

In the event you’re a caller, these numbers work the same as any other phone number – you’re just dialing a number to contact a customer service rep or another employee. The only difference between toll-free numbers and regular numbers is that in the former case, long-distance calls are absolutely free.

If you’re an enterprise, your number depends on your phone service. Since several VoIP service providers require additional payment for receiving toll-free calls, it’s worth learning everything in advance when choosing a service.

Is there a difference between 800, 888, 877, and other area codes?

Toll-free numbers always begin with one of the following three-digital prefixes: 800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, and 888. The selected number does match the geographic area, but without the need to have a fixed line in that area. In this, they are up against the old classic numbers and standards that depended on geographic location.

The content of the offerings varies depending on the service providers and the options chosen. The basic offer of most service providers consists simply of a virtual number with no additional options. On the other hand, the most comprehensive offerings may include standard, individual reception, answering machine or call log. In addition, some virtual numbers can redirect the caller to the desired interlocutor through a voice menu.

What is a vanity number?

A vanity number, in turn, is a phone number where a word or phrase is numerically represented. It’s kind of a marketing and sales technique, which helps people to remember the company’s number. Here are two great examples of such numbers: 1-800-FLOWERS and 1-800-CONTACTS.

Regarding functionality, a vanity number doesn’t differ from its regular toll-free number. Here’s a great example: 1-800-FLOWERS will be transformed into 1-800-356-9377 and 1-800-CONTACTS – into 1-800-266-82287.

How can I get a toll-free number?

Toll-free numbers are under the control of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They monitor who receives such a free number. If you’re willing to get one, consider a great option – Responsible Organization (RespOrg). This company is responsible for reserving, operating, and distributing such numbers to owners of the business. However, note that you’ll be asked to wait in a live queue.

OpenPhone is a great FCC-approved provider of such numbers, and it’s pretty straightforward to get your own one with this company. So let’s take a closer look at exactly how it’s possible to become an owner of such a number:

  1. First of all, you need to sign up for an OpenPhone account with the help of either your Google account or email address.
  2. Once you’ve done that, select your OpenPhone number by choosing “toll-free numbers.”
  3. That’s it! Finally, just type your payment information to start a free trial (during 7 days).

After you’ve successfully completed the OpenPhone setup process, you’ll be fully ready to use your number, and your customers, in turn, will be able to make toll-free calls to you.

How much does a toll-free number cost?

Since these numbers are shared through several providers, the prices may vary. For instance, multiple FCC-approved providers will ask you to pay $15-plus per, regarding managing a number and $0.06-$0.30 per minute, regarding incoming calls.

Here’s one key thing you should keep in mind: a toll-free service can increasingly impact your business, so it’s worth doing thorough research while searching for a provider.

Who owns toll-free numbers?

Once you’ve bought a number for your business, you’ll become the owner of it (in the event you haven’t canceled the service with the provider).

These numbers are portable, which means they belong to you, and no phone provider can hold yours in custody or decline to port it/them to a different carrier.

The choice of such numbers is limited, just like domain names and retail locations. Therefore, once you’ve received one, it’ll become a business asset.

Texting with toll-free numbers 

Besides all the functions connected with calls, a toll-free number also allows you to send text messages. Thanks to that, you can use the same number to communicate with clients – it significantly facilitates sending and receiving text messages. A mobile app and online dashboard are also available.

How toll-free numbers are helping businesses

Below you’ll see some ways businesses use these numbers.

Promo & marketing

If you have a memorable number, it’s like owning prime real estate. The phone number is your marketing strategy. You might be surprised, but many companies spend huge amounts of money on campaigns focused around a single phone number.

Customer support lines & contact centers

Such a number allows customers to get in touch with support without any difficulties when they have any questions. Displaying such a number on your website tells your client the following: if you need help, we’re here and want to make it easy for you to call us.

Toll-free routing to remote workers

With the help of these numbers, you’re able to route international calls to employees in any location. Contact centers that are located abroad can still call your US number, even if they’re outside of the country.

National presence & branding

Regarding branding, it’s pretty simple: having a toll-free number shows your business has a national presence.


Toll-free numbers are essential for companies that provide their customers with phone services and have special phone lines for sales, support, and so on. If you’re a business owner, we recommend you consider such an option, which can easily be a great solution to help your business grow and thrive.

We sincerely hope our guide helped you to get a full understanding of what a toll-free number is, how it actually works, where to get a toll-free number, how much it’ll cost you, etc. Just remember that it’s worth learning everything in advance before you choose a phone provider, so you can simplify your company’s workflow. In the event you forget something crucial, just come back to this article and refresh your memory, which will help you avoid difficulties in the future. Thank you for reading, and choose us to make your life a lot easier!


Still have some questions connected with toll-free numbers? If so, let’s have a look at the FAQ list below, as well as this full guide on YouTube – we’re sure you’ll find the answers to all of your outstanding issues there.

Who pays for a call to a toll-free number?

Those who own the number are required to pay the bill.

What countries support toll-free numbers?

Toll-free numbers are supported by the United States and Canada. Outside these two countries, unfortunately, you’ll face long-distance charges.

How can I call a toll-free number?

Everything is straightforward: such a number works the same way as any other number. Just dial “1” and then choose the required toll-free prefix we’ve listed above. Don’t forget the most important thing: such prefixes aren’t interchangeable.

Are there any disadvantages to toll-free numbers?

Using such a number, you’ll, unfortunately, face the following disadvantages: expensive hardware, unnecessary calls, and not being a stand-alone medium.

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