When starting a company, a phone number is important for customers to reach you. Your phone number and how your phone system is handled will say everything about your company. Many companies debate between the merits of a toll free number versus a more traditional ‘local number. This article lays out the advantages to both.
Local (Traditional) Phone Numbers
Traditional local phones are those you see in your everyday life. The area code your cell phone uses is the one your company will most likely receive. Traditional phone numbers are affordable; they do not incur additional costs compared to a toll free number. They allow customers local to your area to know that your business is in their area with your area code.
There is one major problem with a local area code. If you're out of state are charged for long distance calls, they will be hesitant to call phone numbers across state lines at their own expense. How often this occurs anymore with the advent of free long distance cell phone calls is a matter of debate.
Toll Free Numbers
Toll free telephone numbers, commonly referred to as 1-800 numbers are frequently touted as being a professional alternative to tradition local phone numbers. Many companies you see on television will advertise 1-800 numbers for you to call into. This exposure has led to a large popularization of toll free numbers as the phone number of choice for legitimate businesses.
While toll free phone numbers may appear more desirable than traditional area code numbers, there is a large drawback to using one. Costs are often much higher with a toll free number compared to a traditional phone line. When combining toll free numbers over a SIP trunk or traditional POTS line, your carrier often will include an additional per minute surcharge of toll free use.
1-800 phone numbers have become increasingly hard to find over time. Few 1-800 numbers remain now, and those that do are often more expensive than alternative toll free telephone area codes. 855, 866, 877, and 888 are all toll free area codes your company can use as an alternative. Your customers may be unfamiliar with such phone numbers, however, and will end up dialing your phone number as a 1-800 by mistake.