Your Virtual Phone Number: Toll-Free vs. Local

Looking at the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision

When setting up your cloud phone system, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between a toll-free and a local number.

How do you decide which one is better for your business?

In this blog post we’ll cover the pros and cons of each to help you decide.

Toll-Free (1-800) Phone Numbers

These numbers are usually ideal for companies with customers who live and work beyond a single area. With a 1-800 number, your customers can connect with you wherever they are for free. Toll-free numbers are often easier to remember than local numbers and tend to be associated with larger and more established companies.

Therefore, setting up a toll-free number is one way to make your company appear larger and more established than it actually is, which might improve overall brand perception.

Nowadays, though, a lot of consumers have phone plans with free nationwide calling. A toll-free number may no longer be warranted on a consumer cost basis alone. Still, they may be worthwhile for your business simply because of the professional perception that people tend to associated with companies that have a toll-free number.

Local Phone Numbers

Local phone numbers are assigned based on the geographic location of your office. With a local number, you’ll share the first three digits of your phone number with other individuals and businesses in your area.

If you work exclusively in a single area, it might be beneficial to use a local number to give your customers the perception that you’re a part of their community. You’ll benefit from the sense of hometown pride and the natural consumer tendency to favor local companies.

How do you decide? Ask yourself these questions.

Toll-free numbers typically cost between $0.02-0.08 per minute, but may improve your brand image.

Are they worth the additional cost?

They likely are if you . . .

1. Want to get customers to place orders over the phone.

Toll-free numbers showcased in advertisements are easier to remember. If you choose a number with an easy-to-remember pattern or several repeated numbers, you’ll likely get more calls and generate more sales over the phone.

2. Provide frequent customer service over the phone.

If your company receives a lot of customer services calls, it would be worth investing in a toll-free number. It’s critical to uphold your image as a company with reliable customer service, and a toll-free number can help with that.

3. Would benefit from a high call volume.

If your sales are directly proportional to the amount of calls you receive, then go with a toll-free number. Think of it as a small but necessary expense for generating more sales.

4. Have a broad geographic consumer base.

If you already operate in several markets or want to expand, go with a toll-free number. It’ll simply be easier for you to manage customers across geographical boundaries.

. . .

If none of the above cases apply to your company, then you should choose a local number.

Could you have both a toll-free and a local number?


You might find that your company does not fit neatly into a local or toll-free category. For instance, you could set up a toll-free number for inbound calls and a local number for outbound calls to give your customers the confidence that your company is well established, and the comfort of speaking with a real person – a member of their community.

Interested in a cloud phone system with a local or toll-free phone number?

Our cloud-based office phone system (BullsEye UC) is the phone system that you can take with you anywhere. With BullsEye UC you can set up a local or toll-free number and take calls, check voice messages, manage your auto attendant, participate in HD video meetings, and send instant messages from any desktop computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

No hardware requirements, carrier integrations, or IT maintenance required.

Click here to learn more about BullsEye UC.

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