This is just about the basics of pointing a toll free number or 800 number to your cell phone. There are a lot of good reasons why millions of people point their vanity 800 numbers to their cell phones. And we’ve made a whole section about toll free numbers going to your cellular phone number. It doesn’t matter what phone company you use or what type of cell phone you have. See http://www.tollfreenumbers.com/800-numbers/cell-phone for much more information
Many people make the mistake of calling their cell phone company and asking them about toll free service. The cell phone representative usually looks at them like they have three heads because they don’t have a clue about toll free service and they usually say it just can’t be done.
The truth is of course they can, but it costs them a little bit more and their goal is to sell more phone lines. They also want to make you think you have to stay with them for everything. Plus the entry level representative you talk to at most local phone companies really doesn’t know that much about toll free service and doesn’t want you to look bad. So they usually just say it can’t be done instead of they don’t know how or that their company won’t do it.
The good news is that you have a choice
You don’t need to use the company that provides your phone line to get the toll free calls to your phone line. This is one of the common toll free mistakes that people make, thinking they have to get their toll free service from the same company that provides their physical line. Not only do they not have to get their toll free service from their local phone company, they are usually one of the worst options, being more expensive, harder to work with and more restrictive.
Any phone company can send the calls to any local number. Otherwise your phone probably wouldn’t be very good if only customers who use that same company could call you. Any company can send local calls to your local phone company and any company can send toll free calls there too. To any non-toll free number (the only restriction is that you can’t point a toll free number to another toll free number).
That means if the company providing your local number or phone line doesn’t want to provide toll free service or is just clueless, you have a choice! And your ability to change toll free service companies is more important than most people realize or the company selling you service wants you to believe because that’s what keeps them honest.
There are 3 main reasons many phone companies don’t want to send toll free calls to a cell phone. It’s not really that they can’t but there are several reasons why they don’t want to terminate toll free calls to a cell phone.
I should also mention that although some companies say they don’t go to cell phones if you don’t tell them it’s a cell phone they may just go ahead and do it. I know AT&T for example used to have a policy against it, but some representatives admitted that they know some people are doing it. And with number portability it’s probably very hard to tell the difference. There may also be an advantage to using a phone number that was originally transferred from a land line.
1. It costs more to terminate calls to a cell phone
The company providing the local line receives a small fee from the long distance company completing a call. Cell phone companies are usually tier C numbers which may mean a slightly higher rate per minute. (C doesn’t stand for cellular, but it might be easier if you remember it that way)
Tier A usually means the largest incumbent phone companies. Tier B is for slightly smaller phone companies or the phone companies out side of the major markets. Tier C is usually the very smallest rural phone companies, cell phone or voip phone companies, etc.
2. They don’t get any outbound long distance
You obviously can’t change the outbound long distance on a cell phone and phone companies always want to sell you long distance service. Toll free service is like an accessory to most phone companies and they don’t want to sell you just the accessories if they’re not selling you the dress. I guess they make more money on the dress or on the combination than on just the toll free service by itself. This is sometimes called Toll Free Only, or “Stand Alone” Toll Free Service.
3. They are usually smaller customers
There are probably some exceptions but you probably wouldn’t run that big of a company pointing all of the toll free calls to your cell phone. When I ran my business by myself I could do this, because there wasn’t anyone else. But it’s hard to imagine a big company forwarding all of their calls directly to one person’s cell phone. Enhanced voicemail services can send calls to different people on cell phones but that’s something else.
Anyway there certainly are good companies that can send your toll free service to a cell phone and we can give you several, but it’s also important to understand why many regular phone companies don’t like to or won’t do it.
Even if you don’t want to point your toll free number to a cell phone it’s good to have that capability, because it gives you a lot of flexibility. You never know what’s going to happen and if your building has a flood or the power goes out, or you just get sick or break a leg and need to work from home for a while, having the option of sending your toll free number to your cell phone gives you a lot of flexibility.
If you’re getting a toll free number because starting a new business keep in mind that you don’t have to have a separate business line, especially in the beginning. You may think you need a separate line for your business, but many people are able to start their business with a toll free number, going to their cell phone and then change the ring to number once they get things going. That way you can wait a few months before spending the extra money for a separate business line, not to mention the convenience of your cell phone.
It always takes longer and costs more than you think it should in starting a new business. So why should you have to pay the $25 to $40 a month for the separate phone line until you’re sure you need it. You can probably put that off for at least a few months by pointing the toll free number to your cell phone until you really get things going and need it. And it always seems like there’s more crazy hours and running around to do when you’re getting a new business started. So having your toll free calls on your cell phone may be a real benefit too.
Pointing a toll free number to your cell phone can also give you some of the benefits of distinctive ringing even without technically having distinctive ring service. That’s because most of the people that call your cell phone are probably already programmed into your phone and may even have their own separate ring tone. So if you answer the default ring with a business voice or greeting, there’s a good chance that’s a business call.
There are 3 more ways to recognize calls from your 800 number if that’s important but using your cell phone and the Caller ID is the simplest way.
It’s not all cell phones but some and even a few voip office phones analyze the number before dialing it and don’t put numbers with more than 7 digits in the body through. This can be a consideration when evaluating different vanity number options, but don’t get too hung up on it. It’s not as much of an issue as most people assume it would be.
Most callers realize the problem when the call doesn’t go through, look at the display. They back up a couple digits and hit send. There is no statistics on this but I can tell you from personal experience with an 8 digit phone number, and being in the vanity number business if callers can’t get through on my phone number they’d tell me.
There aren’t any statistics, but the number of large advertisers that use numbers like 1-800 PROGRESSIVE or 1-800 GO BUDGET prove the value of memorable numbers far out weighs the difficulty some cell phones have with the extra digits.