Our whole website is mainly about finding vanity numbers, but more specifically it’s about finding TOLL FREE Vanity Numbers. Local vanity number availability varies BOTH by geography and phone company so there’s no nationwide system or standard rules them. Sometimes they only take a couple phone calls and come easy but often no matter what you do, they really won’t or can’t help you. Unfortunately there’s just nobody that can help you very much for local vanity numbers.
Local numbers are assigned very differently than toll free numbers. With toll free numbers there is a central database called the SMS/800 that administers toll free numbers and certain companies are qualified to get numbers from them (called Resporgs) and more importantly they all have to follow the same rules in one nationwide system.
Local numbers are assigned in blocks to phone companies. Then each phone company is responsible for administering and allocating those numbers. They also tend to only want to break up blocks one at a time. If they had 10 blocks and all 10 were being broken up it would be harder for them to administer. So they may be assigned certain blocks but they are probably only using a much smaller set of blocks. So a phone company may technically have a number you want in a block they control but the operators often don’t see that at all. That’s why it’s often helpful to keep checking back over time.
Be Persistent – don’t just accept the first no you get, keep trying until you find someone that is willing to try and help you.
Be Patient – keep checking back every couple months because the number you want may be just below the surface and next time it may be available.
Be More Creative – don’t get fixated on one specific number, because just like toll free numbers, if you have more targets to shoot for you’re more likely to get a hit.
You might be able to find a number that someone already has and doesn’t spell anything to them. Most toll free numbers aren’t given out as vanity numbers because of the difficulty in finding specific numbers. So there’s a much higher probability that the customer using the number you want doesn’t have that much attachment other than if they’ve put it into print or advertising somewhere or given it out to their friends.
I bought a great local vanity number from someone years ago when my brother opened a pizzeria. His former boss had tried to buy it but wasn’t successful, but I think I asked them at the right time and got it for what I thought was a real bargain.
The only tool I know of that can really help a little in tracking down a good local vanity number is FoneFinder.net I use them to see what phone company is responsible for the number, but unfortunately the operators there really don’t know any more than they see in the computer. And their computer is only going to show the ones they’re giving out and using already. So if it’s not being used they probably won’t show it even if they are the company responsible for it. And don’t bother trying to tell them they are wrong, because if the computer says it, that’s it.
We did have a little tool that would suggest local numbers that might be possible within a certain mile radius of a zip code but we discontinued more than 4 or 5 years ago I think. It caused a lot of frustration though because it helped overcome the geography issues and showed what might be possible but it can’t solve the timing issues and doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the local phone companies. So even though it was helpful if you understood the limitations, it created a lot of problems and questions for people.
I do think local vanity numbers have tremendous potential. There are way more local vanity numbers activated ever day. There are also way more potential numbers, and there’s also nobody that’s doing even a reasonable job of helping people with them. So there is a lot of potential for local numbers and I do want to use some of our technology to help people in this area.
We will sometime in the future add local vanity numbers to our lookup system too, but only local as in non-toll free numbers, not local as in, in your local area. For instance if you put in a query for BILLQUIMBY, even though 800, 888, 877 & 866 are taken we might be able to suggest that a voip company has 401- BILLQUIMBY and give you a link to request it. Voip numbers can be used anywhere so even though you’re not in Maryland, that might be helpful to some degree. But even that is probably not likely to happen in the near future at this point because of the number of other important projects we already have.
401-BILLQUIMBY also may not be as helpful since it sounds like an out of the area number in 95% of the country. Some people may not care, since it increases the memorability which is the goal, it doesn’t help as much for more local services. Local vanity numbers just don’t have the same marketability and demand that toll free vanity numbers do at this point. And you run into the same problem you get with toll free numbers only bigger. People usually only want a specific local number plus they only want it in their local area code which means there usually is no real solution for them.