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CostHelper > Small Business  > 800 Number

800 Number Cost


How Much Does an 800 Number Cost?

 
 average costMedium: Ranges from $.019/minute to $.073/minute 
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Toll-free numbers allow callers to reach small businesses without being charged for the call; the cost is borne by the small business. The assignment of numbers is managed through SMS/800, a service provided under a tariff with the FCC[1] . Numbers are provided to Responsible Organizations, primarily telecommunications companies, which then provide service to their customers. Originally limited to 800-number prefixes, today toll-free numbers may begin with: 800, 888, 877 or 866. Toll-free numbers do not require an additional line -- calls may be routed directly to a business, personal or mobile phone.

Typical costs:

  • The cost of offering a toll-free number primarily relates to the length of the call. There are variations in rates based on whether calls originate from within or out of the state where the business is based. Costs per minute may range from around .02 to more than .08, depending on the provider.
  • A comparison of rates at Tollfreenumber.org[2] shows consistency in state-to-state rates across the country, but wide variations in in-stage rates ranging from .019/min. in Chicago to .073/min. in New York. Minute-rounding increments and minimum call lengths for all regions were consistently 6 seconds and 18 seconds, respectively. A $2 usage fee applies for bills that are less than $20/month.
What should be included:
  • Time may be purchased in blocks of 6, 30 and 60-second intervals -- rates vary accordingly, with shorter increments billed at lower rates.
  • Businesses may also choose a vanity number -- one that spells out a name (e.g. 1-800-FLOWERS), based on the availability of the specific number which would spell out the name. No additional charge applies.
  • It is usage that you are paying for -- not the number itself. It is illegal for providers to sell numbers for a fee.
Shopping for an 800 number:
  • Consider your customer base and their need/demand for a toll-free number. If your service area generally draws from one area code, for instance, a toll-free number may represent an unnecessary expense. On the flip side, a toll-free number may add credibility to your business.
  • Virtually every long-distance provider offers toll-free numbers, so a good first step is to contact your current carrier to start with a baseline rate comparison.
  • It can also pay to "comparison shop." A list of all toll-free providers is available through the SMS/800 site . The SMS/800 also offers a Help Desk at 1-888-SMS-3300 (a toll-free, vanity number!).
  • Numbers are assigned on a "first-come, first-served" basis by entities with access to the SMS/800 database.
  • Be wary of companies or websites that offer to rent or lease you an 800-number. You should own your own number and should also be aware that the FCC requires that toll-free numbers be portable -- they can be transferred to a new provider if/when changing service providers.
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External Resources:
  1.  transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/tollfree.html
  2.  /www.businesstrust.us/order/tf/neworder/squeeze/low-toll-free-rates.html
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