The Best 800 Number Service Introduction
Thanks for stopping by! Let's check out the best 800 number service for small business, and the benefits of using a VoIP phone number or vanity 800 number. We'll also answer common questions and provide valuable coupons. Since 2011, I’ve used an 800 number service that forwards calls to my cell phone for my e-commerce business and other online businesses. Features and options continue to change and improve, and this blog is updated to 2020. Use our coupons below for deals on the service that best fits your business!
There are a number of companies that provide 800 number services for small businesses. In this article, I’ll recommend three of my favorite companies that provide 800 numbers. I’ll provide recommendations, advice, and coupons to try out their services. Please note that plan prices change frequently, so you'll find the latest information on their websites. Also, many of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means I'll receive a commission for a recommendation if you choose to go through one of my links to get a free trial or a product. Using my links helps support my business and family, so I'd like to thank you for using a link if you decide to go with one of the services I talk about. Each service is unique and has features and pricing that will fit all different levels of entrepreneurs. I personally have used Grasshopper and so I have the most experience with their company. However, each 800 number service has their fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Why should I use an 800 number?
- Credibility: makes your business seem larger and more established
- Memorable: get a vanity number they won't forget like 1-800-COLLECT
- Remote friendly: redirect business calls to remote employees anywhere
- Travel friendly: forward business calls to your cell phone anywhere you are
- Text capability: text customers from a business number, not your personal number
- VoIP advantages: speed, security, data capabilities, cloud storage, analytics
- Professional greeting: “Press 1 for sales, 2 for customer service, etc.”
- Hold music: keep your customers dancing!
A Quick Overview of Our Three Best 800 Number Services
Grasshopper has worked well for my own personal use as an entrepreneur with just a small team. It's a fairly simple service with unlimited minutes. Phone.com and RingCentral are geared a little more toward larger team operations, with more features and analytics. They are both quite similar and you'll want to compare them for yourself. To narrow it down to one outstanding feature for each, I think Phone.com's security/encryption ability to be HIPAA certified is big. And for RingCentral, they have a ‘whisper and barge' feature, where an authorized person can listen in on the call and offer coaching to the employee that the customer can't hear. There are a handful of other 800 number services out there as well, so look those up too of course, but these are my favorites for the best 800 number services.
Common 800 Number Questions
Let’s start by answering a few questions you might have. Following the questions, we’ll go more in depth on the details of each 800 number provider. Let's try to figure out the best 800 number service for your business.
How much does it cost to get an 800 Number?
You’ll find that 800 Number service providers are much more affordable than you might think. Some 800 number services like Phone.com start for as little as $9.99 / month for a set amount of minutes. That rate is if you choose to get billed annually—all at once, instead of being billed every month. Others like Grasshopper.com start at $26 / month for UNLIMITED minutes (also billed annually). Depending on the service, plans can be cheaper in the long run if you choose to pay all at once—that's what “billed annually” means. But you also have the option to pay month-to-month. For example, for Grasshopper, it's $26/month but you pay $312 up front; if you choose to pay month-to-month, it's $29 each month which adds up to $348 for the year. Also, plan options change over time, so these are the updated prices of 2020.
Is an 800 Number Free?
No, it is not free to have your own 800 number service. However, they are very affordable and will give your business the freedom to answer calls anywhere. Simply forward an 800 number to your cell phone or phone of your choice. 800 numbers are free for your customers to call—that's the whole ‘toll free' part about 800 numbers.
How do you get an 800 Phone Number?
You can get an 800 phone number by finding an 800 number service like Grasshopper.com, Phone.com, or RingCentral.com. Make sure to look for coupons like the ones on my website so you’ll get a deal or discount for the product. The process of getting an 800 number only takes about 10 minutes to set up. Simply choose a number with the prefix 800, or the newer 877, 866, down to 833. There is no difference between the prefixes. Purchase the number and then use the provider's website to set up the number, voicemail, extensions, and forwarding to your cell phone. Some services may take more time to set up, and larger businesses with more employees will be more time consuming.
Do you have to be a major corporation to have an 800 number?
Nope! That's exactly what this whole article is about—ANYONE can get an 800 number by using one of the best 800 number services that we review, or there are a handful of other services too.
Can I get the features of an 800 number service but use a local number?
Yep! Some folks prefer a local number, especially if you’re a restaurant or some sort of vendor where a local source or local office is important to your customers. You can still get the professional features like a professional greeting menu (press 1 for reservations, etc.), call forwarding/redirecting, and the ability to choose your own number, AND still have a local prefix.
Can I get a local vanity number that isn't an 800 number?
Sure can! All of the best 800 number services provide local numbers and local vanity numbers. You may have to be creative and flexible to find a vanity number that is still available.
What is the difference between 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 numbers?
Nothing really. The different toll-free prefixes all work the same. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) released more prefixes when the 1-800 numbers were running out.
Does having an 800 number work well for remote workers?
YES. Using an 800 number for your business is especially valuable these days for the ability to direct calls to a team of remote workers anywhere. The world is moving toward a landscape of remote workers, and a reliable VoIP service may be the link you need to make remote-working work for your business.
Will an 800 number have a professional greeting and extensions menu?
Yes, you can set up a greeting menu to direct calls to different departments or employees. “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for customer service, or press three to speak with Lindsay.” You can also add hold music while your callers wait!
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a different system than how your normal cell phone works. Traditional cell phone networks transmit your voice as radio waves from tower to tower, while VoIP converts the information to a digital signal and sends it through the internet.
What are the benefits of an 800 Number?
There are many benefits to having an 800 number for your small business. I’ll share of few of the benefits I’ve experienced.
• Freedom and Flexibility
An 800 number can be set up to forward to any phone and multiple phones. I forward my 800 number to my cell phone so I can answer a business call no matter where I am. No longer do I have to be in the office simply to answer calls. An old-school office phone sounds kind of… old school! Calls can be answered no matter where I’m traveling. While on vacation, I can either send them to voicemail or to an extension of an employee.
Credibility – Sound like a national company!
An 800 number instantly gives your small business a boost of credibility. People generally think that companies with 800 numbers are more reputable and reliable. Adding extensions provides another way to sound like you have more employees or a larger team. I originally started my small online sign business out of my home. People who called in often asked where my warehouse was located, what our turnaround time was, and who would help them out with their order. They were always so surprised to find out they were either talking to an owner or one of just a couple employees. The 800 number made us sound much bigger than we actually were.
Extensions give you the ability to forward calls to different departments or employees. You can turn your smart phone into a business line! My 800 number call greeting says:
“Thank you for calling our business and we hope you are having a great day! For sales, press 1. For customer support, press 2. To talk to Kate S, press 3. For Pete, press 4.”
You get the picture. But this can be a great way to manage calls for businesses with employees who work remotely. It’s also an excellent way to save money by forwarding calls to cell phones or land line phones that you already own.
Great for Remote Teams
800 number services provide extensions that are able to be routed individually to your team's cell phone numbers wherever they are. This is really handy for today's growing world of remote working. You can have a team across the country or even the world, and thanks to VoIP technology, they can all be connected to the same phone line and answer calls 24/7 from anywhere.
Vanity 800 Numbers
Vanity numbers are easy to remember and can help brand your name or slogan into an 800 number. Finding the perfect vanity number isn’t easy these days with 800 numbers, but newer toll free pre-fixes like 888 and 877 can also be customized through the 800 number services. The full range is 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833.
800 number providers like Grasshopper also offer local numbers. So you can get a number with any area code you'd like, if you are not in the market for an 800 number. This is especially useful if you'd like all the services of an 800 number, like call extensions, but want a local feel, like if you're a restaurant or some other office or branch that provides local services.
The toll free benefit isn’t a big deal these days since long distance calling isn’t really a thing anymore. However, having the “Toll Free” benefit used to be a big deal because the caller did not have to pay a long distance fee. So this no longer is a big deal.
How does Google Voice (a free service) compare to an 800 Number Service?
Google voice is a cool and free service you can use to get a local phone number. I actually have a Google Voice number set up that I use for another personal phone number. A number like this is useful for Craigslist posts and for the number I give to companies whenever I buy anything or fill forms out online. It’s a good option for a local number in any area code that will forward to your phone. However, there are not multiple extensions, 800 number options, and many of the additional features you’ll find from an 800 number service for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Grasshopper is the quick and easy solution to a simple 800 number service (or local, too!)
- Unlimited minutes
- Text from business number
- Auto-text missed callers to keep their business
- Transcribes voicemail to email text
- Receives faxes as email PDFs
- Download the app to smartphone and/or computer
- VoIP is not default but possible
- Use current phone, no new hardware needed
- 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 available
- Vanity numbers available
- Local numbers available
- $75 Off Coupon for Think Entrepreneurship Readers
I’ve used Grasshopper for several years now and interviewed their original founder, David Hauser—so I am a little biased—but for me and my needs, Grasshopper is the best 800 number service. They have a great track record, over 350,000 happy customers, a slick app, and tons of features included with every level of plan—especially unlimited minutes.
Grasshopper VoIP set-up
With Grasshopper, it is a VoIP system, but the default is actually to use your regular cellular network. If you're in a place with Wifi, you probably have cell service, so that’s not a big deal, but just be aware of your minutes use if your cellular plan is not unlimited. Or you can just turn on Wifi as the default in the App, if you prefer VoIP. Grasshopper must be used as a secondary number—you will need to keep your primary number and cell phone service as the actual number that the Grasshopper number gets forwarded to.
Simply download the app on your phone and/or computer, and you can: call and text, get voicemails emailed as text, and receive faxes as PDFs—all from the same phone number and which, importantly, is not your personal number. Using a non-personal number helps you screen against spam and overzealous customers, and prepares you to answer the phone in a professional voice.
If you want a vanity number, be ready to be creative and flexible… it’s tough to get exactly what you want. Honestly, I feel like most people just search for your business and click a link to call, so a vanity number seems less important now than it did in the days of infomercials or Mr T.
Easy to Transfer Your Current Number
If you already have a business number in use but want the great features offered by Grasshopper, it’s free and easy to transfer your current number to function as a Grasshopper number. And among all this talk of smartphones and VoIP, it should be noted that you can also direct your Grasshopper number to a classic landline phone.
Auto-text Reply to Missed Calls
One of the coolest features is that Grasshopper can automatically text a caller if you missed their call, so you don’t lose that potential customer. If you were busy helping another customer or busy working (or playing!), you can still make contact and make that potential customer feel heard—and save them from taking their business somewhere else!
Free Trial + Pricing
If you’re ready to try it, they currently offer a 7-day free trial period. Otherwise, the most basic plan starts at $26/month for one number and three extensions. $44/month for three numbers and six extensions, or $80/month for 5 numbers and unlimited extensions. If you pay for the whole year at once (“billed annually”) you save 10%, which is what the prices are above. These are the prices in October of 2020 but prices change so double check their site.
Think Entrepreneurship Coupon / Promo Code
We’ve got a special coupon for $75 off. It’s like getting two or three months for free, or having a long trial period. Comment below the post to let me know you used it or found success with it! If you have any issues with the coupon please let me know and shoot me a message via the contact page. Sometimes you may need to open a new browser (like Safari, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, etc., if it doesn’t work right away.
- Full VoIP cloud-based service
- Includes analytics and storage
- Minutes are NOT unlimited
- International numbers
- Voicemail transcription costs extra $1.50/month
- Integrations with several softwares
- Secure voice and video calls
- AES 256 Bit Encryption
- HIPAA Compliancy option available
- Phone.com 25% off for 3 Months Promo
Phone.com is another great 800 number service with many additional features. Phone.com is a fully cloud-based VoIP system, which means everything is always through the internet, which means there are trackable analytics and space to store tons of information, like recording your calls (an add-on feature).
Phone.com has been in business for a number of years and has a top notch reputation. I have a few friends who have used Phone.com and they have told me they are very happy with it. After diving into the backend and learning more about it, I've found it to be another competitive option with excellent features. Their app has a pretty low review number of 2.1, but also only 16 reviews, which is kinda strange. On their website it says that their app allows texting, but it looks like they might be more geared toward using your computer to manage the number.
There's an App For It, Or, Optional Desktop Phones, Too
Like Grasshopper, there’s an app for it. They sell actual phones, too. Ranging from $100-300 for a desktop corded phone, to $500+ for a big conference phone for the center of your table. I’m sure these could be useful in some settings, but you don’t need them if you’re fine with using your current smart phone and/or computer.
Phone.com is better geared for international use than Grasshopper, offering local numbers in foreign countries. For example, your UK-based clients could call a number that is familiar to them and it would still route to your Phone.com business number. There is a difference between Standard Countries for $4.99/month and a handful of Premium Countries for $14.99.
Voicemail Transcription Costs Extra
For voicemail, the audio file is automatically sent to your email. But for a transcription to read, it costs $1.50 month. They also offer “human-assisted transcription” for greater accuracy, at 25 cents per transcription.
The service does offer integrations with several other softwares, CRM software like Salesforce, chatbots like Haptik, or many others including Google Docs and Dropbox.
Video Meetings & Security
They also have a video meeting service that looks a little nicer than Zoom. The biggest advantage here would be the overall security, AES 256 Bit Encryption with all plans, and the option of HIPAA Compliancy with the second and third tier video plans.
Cheaper Initially But With Limited Minutes
Plans start quite a bit lower than Grasshopper, however, the minutes are not unlimited. I’ll use the annual billing rate for comparison’s sake. $9.99/month for the basic plan with one phone number and 300 minutes, $14.99 for the popular Plus Account with one number and 500 minutes, or $24.99/month for one number with unlimited minutes. They all include call routing to other phones, but they do not include multiple phone numbers, like Grasshopper does.
Think Entrepreneurship Coupon / Promo Code
If you think Phone.com sounds like a good fit for your business, or you'd just like to try it, use our coupon! We have a deal with them to offer you 25% off for the first three months!
Ring Central allows you to monitor and coach your employees during a call
- Fully VoIP and cloud-based
- Includes analytics and storage
- Many office tools beyond just telephone
- Minutes are NOT unlimited
- International numbers
- Voicemail transcription to email included
- Prices vary by number of users and four different plans
- Whisper and Barge feature for call monitoring and coaching
The third 800 number service that we’ll compare is RingCentral. RingCentral is geared toward bigger business, similar to Phone.com. RingCentral is a full VoIP service, which includes more analytics, and they offer global numbers and video conferencing.
Listen in, whisper in, or barge in
They’ve got a number of advanced features and analytics that Grasshopper does not offer. The one that sticks out the most is the set of “advanced call handling” features, including Whisper and Barge: “allow authorized users to listen in on employee calls with clients to monitor the conversation, provide coaching, and facilitate discussion.” Sounds a little strange at first, but would probably be very useful for the right application.
800 Number Service Is Hidden Among Other Features
RingCentral doesn’t highlight their 800 number service. It's just one of their many services for businesses. You have to make a few correct clicks and then it redirects you to an older version of their site (in October 2020, anyway), so I’ll provide the right link here: https://www.ringcentral.com/office/features/toll-free-numbers/overview.html. The 800 number part of their business is quite similar to Grasshopper or Phone.com.
Their plans offer the biggest savings when billed annually, so I’ll again compare the annual rate. Pay attention to the slider at the top of the Pricing page, which defaults to businesses of 2-20 people, but the numbers go up by $10 if you select it for just one person. So, I’ll compare the annually billed rate for a one person business: $29.99/month for one number with 100 minutes included and up to 20 users (the user slider doesn’t totally make sense to me). $34.99/month starts the Standard Plan with 1000 minutes and unlimited users. $44.99/month includes 2,500 minutes and the Whisper feature. And $59.99/month is the Ultimate Plan with 10,000 minutes.
Google Voice Quick Comparison
Google voice is a good way to have an additional personal phone number with any area code. They do not offer 800 numbers and do not have the additional business services of the 800 number service providers. I use a Google Voice number as the phone number listed when I post things on Craigslist or when I fill out forms online. Sometimes a one-person business can use Google voice and it can work well for a while. If you are just getting started this is certainly an option to have a phone number forward to your cell phone. You can get a number in just about any area code. I found that I quickly outgrew this option for my business and switched over to an 800 number service provider.
We have tried to provide an objective review of the many features of three of the best 800 number services, but please explore for yourself, too! There are a handful of other services out there. If you decide to go with one of our recommendations, please click through our links and use our coupons to get the best deal, and we would really appreciate the commission. Swing by our Resources page for a few more helpful software recommendations, too!
What is the most important feature that you're looking for in a business phone service? The 800 credibility, an international number, voicemail to text, HIPAA security, amount of minutes?? Please comment below, and it can help us decide on future content for our site!
Check 'em out for yourself!
Click on through to each site to have a look for yourself and see what fits your business needs.
Thanks again for reading and cheers from Montana,
Try our favorite, Grasshopper!
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