Since the 1960s, 1-800 vanity numbers have become ubiquitous marketing tools for big and small companies. But today, for most small business owners and marketers, trying to find a good vanity 800 number can be a difficult task. One of the reasons is availability. Since 800 numbers were first released more than 40 years ago, almost all of them have been snapped up by existing businesses and, in some cases, scooped up by companies that want to collect misdialed calls for marketing purposes.
The good news is the FCC has stepped in and required that all available toll free numbers be housed in a centralized database where authorized phone company RespOrgs (like UniTel Voice) can provide customers with the ability to search that database and find available 800 vanity numbers instantly.
True 800 numbers are hard to come by. At least one that spells the word or phrase you want for your branded phone number.
So here’s a tip that even Fortune 100 companies use when looking for a good marketing number: If you can’t find a vanity number with the area code 800, you should look to other available toll free area codes.
There are six other toll free vanity number options:
Sometimes it’s hard to find good vanity numbers, especially true 1-800 numbers because they are only so many of these older toll free numbers available. The first toll free phone numbers, with the area code 800, were released in the 1960s. Since then their popularity as business phone numbers has skyrocketed.
The good news the FCC recognized the 800 number shortage and released toll free numbers in other prefixes including 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833, and the next scheduled to be released 822. So the moral of the story is if you can’t find a good vanity 800 phone number you should expand your search because there are many great vanity numbers available in other toll free prefixes.
Whether a prospect is calling your sales team to learn more about your services or an existing customer is calling for assistance, your business’s phone number is a major touchpoint people use to reach your company. Using a memorable vanity 800 number reinforces brand recognition and trust.
Not only are vanity 1-800 telephone numbers easy to remember and recognize, but they also give customers the confidence they are speaking to a trusted party. This is especially useful if your company calls customers or receives calls to collect payment.
We live in an age of sneaky telemarking and fraud. When your company has a phone number and a website that customers recognize, it removes the fear of being scammed by a fraudster impersonating your business.
One of the main reasons you should consider buying a vanity 800 number (for sale right here) for your business beyond brand marketing is building brand trust. When you call the number 1-800-XFINITY, you know you are calling your cable company. When you call 1-800-FLOWERS, you know who you are calling.
Phone companies like UniTel Voice sell vanity 800 numbers to small businesses outright. This means that once you buy an 800 number or custom toll free number of any kind, you own that number – no strings attached. If you decide to cancel your toll free service with UniTel Voice you can port your number to another phone company of your choice. You own the number, so you can take it with you.
However, some toll free number service providers operate differently. They do not relinquish control of their numbers but instead, temporarily rent them to companies to use for marketing purposes. Some of the best 800 vanity phone numbers are owned by marketing agencies that lease or rent them to businesses for advertising campaigns.
For example, a phone company might own the numbers 1-800-DENTIST, 1-800-DOCTORS, and 1-800-PLUMBER and lease them to different businesses across North America. Because toll free numbers can be geographically routed, both a plumbing business in Chicago and a plumbing business in Las Vegas can lease the 1-800 vanity number: 1-800-PLUMBER.
When customers in Chicago call the number, they are geographically routed to the plumbing business based in Chicago. When customers in Vegas call the number, they get the Las Vegas-based plumber.
The upside to renting is it makes it easy for businesses to find a great 1-800 vanity number. The downside is that it’s expensive to rent a vanity phone number. You don’t own the number, the phone company does, and they could raise your rental rate or drop you for a higher bidder at any time.
In other words, once you stop paying for the number, you lose it, and it can be rented to your competitor. And all the advertising investment you put into the number, and all your customers who have that number, are now lost to your competition.
There are typically three types of vanity phone number service providers on the market: vanity number renters, vanity number vendors, and toll free number service providers. All three of these types of companies have vanity 800 numbers for sale, but the terms, conditions, features, services, and pricing are very different. Here’s what you need to know:
Vanity Number Renters
These types of businesses consider themselves marketing companies more than phone companies. They own and lease great 1-800 vanity numbers to businesses across industries and have the ability to rent the same toll free numbers to multiple businesses based in different locations using something called geographic call forwarding.
For example, these types of vanity number providers might rent the number 1-800-ROOFERS to a roofing company in New York and a roofing company in Chicago. When customers in Chicago call that vanity toll free number, they get routed to the Chicago-based roofer. Whereas customers living in New York would get the New York-based roofing company.
The pros of using a vanity number rental company are that they make it easy to set up and have the best selection of vanity 800 numbers for sale. The cons are that it’s super expensive, and you don’t own your vanity number. At any time, you could lose your business number to a competitor down the street.
Vanity Number Vendors
These types of businesses also consider themselves to be more so marketing companies than phone companies because they sell vanity phone numbers outright and require you to transfer them to a phone service provider of your choice after you’ve made a purchase.
The pros of using a vanity number vendor are that they typically have a good selection of vanity 1-800 numbers for sale and make it easy to initially reserve a number. However, the cons often out way they pros because vanity number vendors are essentially middlemen.
Once you’ve bought a vanity number for a premium price, you have to transfer it to an actual phone company to use the number. And if it’s a toll free number, you are required to transfer the number to a toll free service provider, you cannot just transfer the number to your cell phone company.
Toll Free Service Providers
This is the category that UniTel Voice falls into. These providers sell vanity 800 numbers and toll free number phone service so once you find the number you want, you can activate it and forward calls to any existing phone (landline, cell phone, smartphone, VoIP line etc.).
The pros are affordability and business phone system features. The biggest con is potentially not finding the exact 800 number you want. However, if you can often find a great custom toll free number in available other toll free area codes.
UniTel Voice allows you to forward your number to an existing line or use our built-in auto attendant, to greet and route calls to different department extensions or employee extensions. We offer a wide variety of vanity phone numbers with all the features of a professional virtual phone system.
Phone numbers have been sold on eBay for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The value of vanity numbers like 1-800-FLOWERS is in the millions. Comcast could pay top dollar for the number 1-800-XFINITY when it launched the rebrand Xfinity.
But there’s two takeaways small business owners should know before they conduct a time and money-intensive vanity 800 number search: One, Tracking down an 800 number already in use is a futile enterprise, and two, you can get a great toll free vanity number without the cost or headache if you think outside the box.
Let’s elaborate on that.
It’s almost always a futile enterprise to try and track down 800 vanity numbers that are not available in the FCC’s national database of spare 1-800 numbers. The way it’s supposed to work is if a toll free phone number is not in use, it returns to the spare pool of numbers so other businesses can use it. Unfortunately, that is not always what happens.
In many cases, the number is held hostage, either with the intent to sell it or, more often than not, by accident. For example, if you think up a great vanity number and google it, you might find the business that owns it, but nine times out of ten, you won’t. And if you call the number, it might be answered, but nine times out of ten, it won’t. And even if it gets answered, the person answering the call doesn’t have the authority to discuss selling the number, nor do they have any personal incentive to entertain your proposal.
What happens most often is you call a number, and it sounds disconnected. However, technically it has not been returned to the spare pool because technically, it is still in use with the company that originally bought it.
If you dig deeper, you may discover what phone company RespOrg (a telecom term for the “Responsible Organization” carrying the number) is hosting the toll free number. But unfortunately, if you contact that phone company, they can’t help you because they cannot give out their customer’s contact information.
It’s like trying to find a website domain name but even harder.
The good news is if you’re willing to think outside the box, there are a lot of great vanity numbers available – and not just for rent.
At UniTel Voice, we have access to every available vanity toll free number that other companies do not currently use. You can instantly search for numbers on our signup page ready for instant purchase.
If the number you are looking for isn’t available, our vanity number search tool will generate a batch of available related phone numbers. And the best part is vanity numbers are just a $15 one-time fee, and then you own the number and can use it on our service or transfer it to the provider of your choice.
You need to make a list before trying to find 800 numbers for sale. Make a list of all the keywords and phrases you can think of that relate to your business’s brand, value, and industry. For example, if your business is called “Jackson Plumbing,” an obvious brand term would “JACKSON”, an obvious value word would be “QUICKFIX” or “EASYFIX,” and an obvious industry word would be “PLUMBING” or “PLUMBER.
Once you’ve come up with that list, try adding action and descriptive words to the terms you’ve come up with. It’s okay if the word is longer than seven characters. Vanity numbers don’t have to be limited to seven digits.
Action/descriptive words might include:
So after doing that, here’s what your final list might look like:
And after doing a vanity number search for every available toll free prefix, here’s what your results might look like:
Once you find a good number that’s easy to remember and relates to your business’s brand name, value proposition, or industry/service, it’s time to find a toll free service that provides you with affordable, reliable, flexible service. That’s where UniTel Voice comes in again.
Whether you are a one-person team or a large company, UniTel Voice has the virtual phone system features you need to stay connected and sound professional. We’re confident we have what you’re looking for. More features. More Minutes. Better pricing. Better support. See why over 20,000 small businesses have chosen UniTel Voice as their business phone service provider by trying our 30-day risk-free trial today!