Get an 800 Phone Number for Your Business
Choose between 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, or 844 Prefixes
Standard 800 Numbers
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Grasshopper lets you run your business using your cell phones!
The Entrepreneur’s Phone System
Running a business has changed. As entrepreneurs, we're starting businesses from home, shared offices, even our dorm rooms. While being so flexible is great for productivity and cost savings, it makes it more challenging to stay connected to our customers and our team.
The Busy Attorney
Some attorneys are just too busy to answer all their calls, which is why they love getting their voicemails transcribed and emailed to them.
Sound more professional with 800 numbers
Regardless of the industry you're in, every business needs a way for customers to contact them. With an office of one, you may be able to get away with using just your local number, but as your business grows it's likely that your local number will no longer cut it and it will make sense to get an 800 number.
They can also come in handy before then, too, by making you look bigger and giving your small business the professional look and feel it needs to get those first few customers through the door.
Common benefits and uses of 800 numbers by businesses include:
- It's portable so you're not tied down to any one toll-free service provider.
- They give your business a national presence.
- They help centralize your business. It doesn't matter if your employees are spread out all over the country, you'll still only need one contact number.
- They make it easy (and free) for your customers to call you from all over the country, making it more likely they'll call you.
- They can be used to track your marketing efforts. Try this: use a dedicated 800 number for each of your marketing campaigns and track the success of each by where the calls are coming from.
- Get access to features like call forwarding, unlimited extensions, and voicemail.
- Best of all, they grow with your business. Changing phone systems? No worries, you can still keep your number and all the great benefits!
These numbers helps businesses of all sizes. Some businesses have even built their entire brands around their number like 1-800-FLOWERS and FedEx whose 800 number is 1-800-GoFedEx.
Tips for picking the perfect 800 number:
- Make it easy to remember
- Avoid weird/unique spellings (Don’t use 1-800-DOGZ if 1-800-DOGS is unavailable)
- Try and communicate what you do, or your business name
- Avoid number hybrids (e.g. 1-800-TINTING is more memorable than 1-800-493-TINT)
- Make it easy to spell (1-800-EYESIGHT vs. 1-800-OPHTHALMOLOGIST)
- Don’t use your company name unless:
- it’s a well-known brand
- it describes what you do
Prior to the 1991 FCC mandate requiring that all toll-free numbers be fully portable, 800 numbers were simply allotted to particular companies—usually phone companies. The phone company owned the number, so if a subscriber wanted to switch their phone service to a competitor, they had to change it.
After 1991, a centralized database of 800 numbers was created, and authorized RespOrgs were granted access. Now they’re only removed from the database when a subscriber buys them. As a subscriber, you own your 800 number, so you can take it with you if you change phone companies or add-on providers.
A standard 800 number can be called from anywhere in the world. However, it’s only toll-free when called from North America. When called from abroad, they work just like a local number — fees are assessed normally to the caller.
For this reason, Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFNs) were launched in 1997 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). UIFNs are exactly like regular 800 numbers, but they are accessible toll-free from anywhere in the world.
How do 800 numbers work?
The first step is for the company or toll-free subscriber to buy one.. Now, when someone calls this number, the Service Switch Point (SSP) recognizes that the number is toll-free by its 800 prefix. The SSP sends a query to the Service Control Point (SCP), which knows the routing instructions for the toll-free number. The SCP sends back the local number assigned to the toll-free, and the call is routed to this number. Finally, the local phone rings. And all of this happens in a few seconds.
Before toll free numbers, people had to place collect calls through an operator. The number of collect calls being placed was increasing, and because this system was so labor intensive, AT&T rolled out the toll-free, 800 number in 1967.
The first numbers worked only statewide. In the early 1980s, AT&T centralized their database and 800 numbers became nationwide. Vanity numbers emerged in the 1980s, increasing the popularity, as well.
In 1991, the FCC mandated that they be completely portable, meaning customers can take their toll-free number with them when they leave a phone company, and third party RespOrgs emerged.
800 numbers ran out, and the 888 prefix was launched in 1996. The international toll-free (UIFN) came out in 1997. As of 2008, there were 24 million toll-free numbers in use in North America.
Frequently asked questions
How do I get an 800 number for my business?
You can get one through any toll-free service provider. Since they are portable, meaning you own the number and are not tied down to any one service provider, the toll-free service provider doesn't matter. Once you select the provider you want to go with, getting an 800 number is as simple as signing up and selecting a number.
How much does an 800 number cost?
The cost can vary depending on your service provider. The cost generally depends on the toll-free service provider, the plan you chose and the amount of minutes you use per month. At Grasshopper, you can get one for as low as $12 per month.
Do 800 numbers work in Canada?
Yes. The US and Canadian toll-free databases have been integrated since the mid-1980s.
Is there a difference between the 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855 prefixes?
No. Toll free numbers come in five formats, 1-800, 1-888, 1-877, 1-866, 1-855, and the newest, 1-844 and they all work the same. However, the 1-800 prefix is the only "true" 800 number. We often times get the questions "Is 866 a toll free number prefix?" or "Are 877 numbers really toll free?". Regardless of which prefix you chose, they all work the same and offer you the same benefits.
Do I have to change my 800 number when I change phone carriers?
No. You own your number, and it is fully portable.
Can I look-up available 800 numbers?
Yes. You can look-up available 800 numbers that we currently offer within our signup section.
Can my 800 number be more than 7 letters?
Yes and no. If you want it to be 1-800-MORTGAGE, you can use this in all of your marketing and ads. But to call you, customers will only dial 1-800-MORTGAG.
Why do we still use 800 numbers?
Over the years, they transformed from a small token given to customers into a symbol of professionalism and legitimacy. Vanity numbers added a branding element into the mix, as well. As of 2008, there were 24 million toll-free numbers in use in North America.
Who is the best 800 number service provider
While there are many different providers of numbers, the answer really comes down to the phone service you require behind the scenes. There are no real different between the acquisition of actual phone numbers, but the company you purchase the number through will likely have different available options once you have secured your number and how you can manage it. Grasshopper, for example, will offer you call forwarding to any number on any phone, unlimited extensions and much more.
What are some additional features that Grasshopper offers?
We provide all the same features and functionality that a proper business phone system would provide. You can get 800 numbers, toll free numbers, vanity numbers, or even local phone numbers through us. Since Grasshopper is a cloud based phone system, there’s no hardware or wires to worry about.
What 800 number prefixes does Grasshopper offer?
Will Grasshopper help me with any other areas of my business?
While we do not directly provide other business services, we do publish content regularly designed to help small business owners start and operate their businesses more efficiently. We have created a guide called JUMP which will help walk entrepreneurs through starting and growing their business. We also have a guide specifically for growing a local business as well! We cover other topics such as business equity more in depth as well. Grasshopper also compares various business tools and products, such as comparing online payment solutions for businesses such as PayPal and Amazon.
More content from our blog We publish marketing insights and tips 3 times a week:
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Here's what a few of them have to say about Grasshopper
I am now a huge fan of Grasshopper… truly saved the day (and my sanity).Carolyn Appleton Carolyn M. Appleton, Inc.
Having a phone number on our site increased conversion of site visitors to sign ups and paid users!Allan Branch LessAccounting