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IP phones using business phone numbers to for calling

Choosing the right business phone number for your company can significantly impact your brand’s accessibility and reach. Business owners often find themselves asking– Should I opt for a toll-free number or a local number? Understanding the nature, the pros and cons of each numbers is crucial to make informed decisions that align with your business goals.  

What is a toll free phone number? 

A toll-free number is a business phone number that allows callers to reach a business for zero call charges. When a person dials a toll-free number, the toll free number owner bears the cost of the call rather than the caller. 

Businesses commonly use these numbers to facilitate communication with leads, clients, or partners. Toll free phone numbers let companies offer a free means of calling for customers, irrespective of their location within the country.  

What is a Local Number? 

A local number is a business phone number linked to a specific area or region. Unlike toll-free numbers, you can identify local numbers by area codes corresponding to localities. 

Local numbers let you build a presence in specific regions and let customers call you without long-distance charges. Businesses targeting specific areas to connect with their audiences often use these numbers. It helps them foster a sense of community engagement among their customers. 

Pros of Toll-Free Numbers

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Toll-free business numbers offer several advantages for small business owners:  

Professional Image 

They project a professional and established image for the business. Toll-free numbers often convey credibility and trustworthiness, which can be crucial in attracting customers.  

National Availability 

Toll free phone numbers enable businesses to cater to a nationwide audience. By removing all charges, they encourage customers from across the country to contact them. This expands the business’s reach beyond its local area. 

Easy to Recall 

Toll free phone numbers are easier for customers to remember. This can lead to increased recall value and have a higher likelihood of customers reaching out to your business. 

Marketing Campaigns 

Toll free phone numbers can become a part of a business’s branding strategy. Use of catchy or brand-specific toll free numbers in advertising campaigns can enhance brand recognition and recall value. 

Customer Services 

Businesses use toll-free numbers commonly for support helpline. Having a dedicated toll-free line for customer inquiries or support improves customer satisfaction and retention for small businesses. 

Cost-Effective Communication 

Toll-free business numbers can encourage more customer engagement for your business. While it enhances engagement, it also potentially increases call volumes and sales inquiries. 

Cons of Toll-Free Numbers 

While toll-free business numbers offer numerous benefits, there are some drawbacks that small business owners must consider: 

Cost to the Business 

Toll-free numbers do bring expenses for the owner business. While callers don’t pay for the calls, your business bears the cost of incoming calls. This cost may potentially accumulate during peak seasons because of high inbound call volume.  

Potential Spam or Non-Serious Calls 

Toll-free numbers can potentially attract unwanted calls, including spam or non-serious inquiries. Sorting through such calls can consume the agents’ time, impacting their overall productivity. 

Lack of Local Presence 

While toll-free numbers facilitate national presence, they might lack the local connection that small businesses desire. This could potentially affect customer relationships in areas where a local touch is crucial. 

Dependency on Service Providers 

Businesses relying on toll-free numbers are dependent on toll free service providers for their functionality and maintenance. Any service interruptions or issues could impact communication with customers.  

Pros of Local Numbers


Local numbers can be beneficial for small businesses as they let them tailor their services for specific regions. They offer several other advantages for small business owners in the US, they are: 

Local Connection 

Local numbers help you establish an intimate presence between you and your target audience. Having a local number can make your business more relatable and appealing to local customers within that locality. 

Personalized Approach 

Local numbers can convey a more personal touch, fostering stronger connections with customers. It shows the involvement of your business in the local community, which can be a significant selling point for you. 

Geographic Relevance 

A local number can enhance the relevance and understanding of local needs for small businesses. It helps them target specific local markets and personalize their services according to the local trends.  

Ease of Accessibility 

Customers within the same area code might find it easier to remember and dial a local number. As a result, it improves the likelihood of incoming calls to your agents. 

Availability and Flexibility 

Local numbers are more readily available compared to specific toll-free numbers. This provides small businesses with more options when selecting a number that resonates with your brand’s services. 

Cons of Local Numbers 

While beneficial in many ways, local numbers also come with certain limitations for small business owners: 

Geographic Restriction 

Local numbers are tied to specific geographic areas because of their area codes. This limitation can slow down businesses looking to expand beyond their local region or cater to a national audience.  

Limited Reach 

Small businesses relying strictly on local numbers might miss out on national customers, outside their immediate area. This limitation can be a challenge if the business aims to attract a wider customer base. 

Perceived Size 

Relying only on a local number might create a smaller, and less professional, or established impression for your business. This perception might not align with your business’s aspirations or brand image. 

Call Costs for Customers 

Local calls within the same area code might not incur additional charges. However, customers outside that area might face long-distance charges, potentially discouraging them from calling. 

Scalability Challenges 

If you are planning to expand your business, you might find it cumbersome to do so. Changing your local phone number or getting new local numbers in every area you target can become a challenge. 

Should You Get a Toll-Free or Local Number for Your Business?  

The decision to choose between a toll free or local number ultimately depends on your objectives and target audience. While you make your decision, considering the given points can help you choose wisely: 

Nature of Business 

If your business operates primarily on a larger scale, a toll-free number could be the right choice. On the contrary, if local connections are crucial for your services, a local number might be better. 

Customer Base 

Understanding your target demographic is key. If your customers are spread across the country, a toll-free number could enhance accessibility. Conversely, for businesses deeply rooted in a specific community, a local number might foster stronger connections.  

Brand Image 

Consider the image you wish to portray. Is your aim to appear larger and more established? Or do you want to emphasize a local, personalized touch?  

The Verdict  

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Assess your business priorities, audience needs, and branding goals before deciding between a toll-free or local number. Remember, both options can be beneficial; it is about aligning your choice with your business’s unique identity and objectives.  

Choosing the right business phone number, be it a toll-free number or a local number, can significantly impact your customer interactions and overall brand perception. Evaluate your options wisely to make a choice that best serves your business’s interests and goals. 

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