Business News Daily receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Editorial Guidelines.
BND Hamburger Icon


BND Logo
Search Icon
Advertising Disclosure
Advertising Disclosure

Business News Daily provides resources, advice and product reviews to drive business growth. Our mission is to equip business owners with the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. As part of that, we recommend products and services for their success.

We collaborate with business-to-business vendors, connecting them with potential buyers. In some cases, we earn commissions when sales are made through our referrals. These financial relationships support our content but do not dictate our recommendations. Our editorial team independently evaluates products based on thousands of hours of research. We are committed to providing trustworthy advice for businesses. Learn more about our full process and see who our partners are here.

Updated Apr 22, 2024

How to Get a Business Phone Number

A business phone number is essential for customers and partners to contact you. Here’s how to set one up for your business.

author image
Written By: Jeff HaleBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Verified Check With BorderEditor Reviewed
Verified Check With Border
Editor Reviewed
This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

Open row

A business phone number provides more than a direct line to your company. It also demonstrates your local, national and international presence. Even if the vast majority of your customers are unlikely to call, the simple existence of a phone number presents a level of credibility that customers want to see.

You can easily demonstrate that credibility with local phone numbers, toll-free numbers and easy-to-remember vanity numbers. Some of these options are available free of charge, or through paid options, which are typically priced below $50 per month. Obtaining a phone number for your business doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow the steps below.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right business phone system? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

How do you get a business phone number?

1. Decide what kind of service you want.

You may want a traditional landline phone associated with your business address, a mobile phone that you can transport with you as you do business, or a virtual phone number or Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) system you can access from anywhere. Most of the available cloud-based business phone systems provide the option of local, toll-free, and personalized or vanity phone numbers, along with a vast suite of advanced features for communication and productivity. With VoIP for business options, adding new numbers is easy through the phone system apps.

2. Research service providers.

Once you have a sense of what type of business phone system you want, research the providers that can make it available. Take note of features they offer and what pricing options are available. Make sure you understand any unexpected costs, like equipment you may need to buy or any installation fees.

If you’re looking for a strong list of candidates, our picks for the best business phone systems is a great place to start. Check out our comparison of these top providers and in-depth reviews on each one.

3. Reach out for quotes and get started.

Now is the time to reach out to business phone providers and request quotes for service. You can ask any questions you have about phone service, equipment, contract terms or customer support. If you’re considering adding multiple lines, such as for multiple employees, make sure to ask about any deals that may be available.

4. Share your new number.

Once you sign up for service, it’s time to make sure your customers know your new phone number. You may want to add it to your business cards and other printed material, like invoices and receipts, as well as your social media accounts and review sites where you interact with customers. Consider whether you want to have your new number listed in any business directories where customers may come looking for you.

Why you need a business phone number

It makes it easy for customers to reach you.

First and foremost, your company should always provide a way for customers, clients and vendors to reach personnel by phone during regular business hours. Having a business phone number provides them with confidence that they can easily get ahold of you and provides your company with an added level of professionalism in many people’s eyes.

It allows you to separate business life from personal life.

For your new business, you may want to separate your personal calls from your business calls. This separation gives you a better work-life balance, and keeps your professionalism with clients, vendors and accounts. 

It lets you take advantage of advanced phone features.

A business phone system provides useful features, including automated interactive voice response trees, call forwarding and customizable menus that help direct callers in the most efficient and courteous way possible. Many of these phone systems offer native integrations with popular productivity tools and best CRM software that helps make the most of every customer interaction. 

Types of business phone numbers

There are generally three types of phone numbers from which to choose for your company. In many cases, your business may require a local number, toll-free number and vanity phone number. Regardless of the type of phone number you acquire, the cost associated is relatively low.

Type of phone number


Price estimate

Local numbers

Phone numbers with a local, three-digit area code associated with a specific geographic region

$0-$10 per month

Toll-free numbers

Phone numbers that start with 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844 and 833; can be dialed from anywhere without a long-distance fee

$0-$10 per month

Vanity phone numbers

Personalized phone numbers that utilize the lettering system on a dialing keypad

$10-$50 (sometimes more) per month

Local phone numbers

Local phone numbers that begin with a three-digit area code are familiar to local callers and offer a good way to build a relationship with customers in your geographic area. For inbound calling purposes, local numbers provide a way for customers to contact a business without worrying about long-distance charges.

A local business phone number is typically included for free with phone service plans, and extra lines are easy to add for a small fee. If your company does not have a physical footprint in a specific geographic region, consider a local phone number through VoIP and virtual phone systems. These are some advantages to securing a local number:

  • It establishes a presence in the community.
  • There is no cost in many cases.
  • It’s easy to obtain with landlines and VoIP.

Here are some downsides to keeping it local:

  • Patrons are less likely to answer a call from an unfamiliar area code.
  • Inbound callers may have to pay long-distance charges.
  • Customers may perceive your business as inadequate.

Toll-free numbers

Toll-free numbers are phone numbers that typically start with an 800 designation, though they may start with 833, 844, 855, 866, 877 or 888 as well. A phone number using a toll-free prefix can be dialed from any landline free of charge to the individual placing the call. For customers outside of the local area, toll-free numbers allow them to call without worrying about potential long-distance phone charges.

These are some of the benefits of going toll-free:

  • Customers can reach you anywhere for free.
  • You can easily obtain a toll-free number.
  • You establish credibility as an organization.

Here are some disadvantages of a toll-free number:

  • Inbound international callers may have to pay additional fees.
  • Users have potentially limited talk minutes through your service provider.
  • You may receive a high number of unsolicited calls.
If you operate in multiple regions, you may want to have a local phone number in each. Business phone systems will normally be able to forward multiple incoming numbers to the same phone system or route them to separate locations, such as your offices in multiple regions, as appropriate.

Vanity phone numbers

Vanity phone numbers allow you to utilize the standard three or four letters that can be used in place of phone numbers to help patrons remember your number. Some businesses have gone as far as building their entire brand name around toll-free numbers, such as 1-800-Flowers. 

For businesses with seven letters like Best Buy, the memorability of a toll-free number like 1-888-Best-Buy makes the decision to use a vanity number easy. Unfortunately, many of the personalized options for seven-letter words have already been claimed. However, if you were able to find a unique domain for your business, chances are that you’ll be able to secure a matching vanity phone number. These are some benefits of a vanity number:

  • It’s easy to remember.
  • It’s an effective branding tool.
  • It boosts your credibility.

Here are some disadvantages of a vanity line:

  • Many of the good ones are already taken.
  • It’s the most expensive option.
  • It’s risky for international callers.

How to choose the best phone number for your business

You don’t necessarily have to settle for only one option between local, toll-free and vanity numbers when choosing a phone number for your business. Before you decide which type of number works best for your company, it’s a good idea to choose a VoIP or landline. Consider your existing equipment, internet reliability, the potential to scale and the monthly cost. Follow these steps to obtaining a business number:

  1. Decide if you’re going to implement a landline, or check out our reviews of the best VoIP business phone systems.
  2. Find the best phone system based on the available features and cost for the number of lines you plan to use.
  3. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar store, start with a local number to build your presence and reputation in the community.
  4. Add a toll-free number to your list of available contacts once you’re ready for a national presence with a decent volume of inbound calls.
  5. Add a vanity phone number (if you can secure one) that works well with your company’s name and can be used for marketing purposes. 
Still not sure how to choose a business phone system? Read our guide for a detailed breakdown of what to look for and how to know what’s best for your business.

Business phone number FAQ

Google Voice is one of the easiest ways to obtain a completely free phone number that can be used for calls, text messages and voicemail through your personal cell phone or computer. This option does require you to have an existing phone number – meaning it cannot be used as your sole service provider. Another route is a toll-free number that will be assigned based on rules established by the Federal Trade Commission or Federal Communications Commission. All toll-free phone number subscribers must choose from what’s called “Responsible Organizations,” or “RespOrgs,” to reserve a number and manage the appropriate records. RespOrgs have access to the toll-free database used to manage more than 42 million toll-free numbers.
Virtual phone numbers are ideal if you want to be accessible by phone anywhere, anytime, while maintaining your personal number’s privacy. Consider starting out with a virtual phone number if your business does not have a permanent address. Many service providers – including Grasshopper and Google Voice – offer plans with virtual numbers and valuable features starting at around $10 per month. Check out our review of Grasshopper to learn more.
Vanity phone numbers can be a nice addition to branding and marketing efforts across voice, print and digital advertising. The potential impact of a vanity number is dependent on identifying seven available letters that match your brand name or service category, or provide a basic call to action, such as 1-800-Go-FedEx. According to the phone and communications company Grasshopper, as many as 90% of Americans have contacted a company using a toll-free number after viewing an advertisement – and up to 84% of those people were able to remember the letters used in the vanity phone number.
You can generally have your business phone number forwarded to your personal phone or access a virtual phone number or VoIP business phone system from any phone where you install the relevant app. It's a good idea to take note of whether calls are coming to your business number or personal number when you answer the phone so you can give an appropriate greeting. You will likely be able to see which is which using your phone provider's apps.
It can be worth thinking about exactly what business phone number you want. Think about whether you want a toll-free number or a local phone number, as well as whether you want a randomly assigned number or a memorable, vanity phone number. Then, you can talk to your business phone provider about the kind of number you want and what it would cost.

Steven Melendez contributed to this article.

author image
Written By: Jeff HaleBusiness Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Jeff Hale is a communications and content marketing expert with extensive experience leading teams as a managing editor. He has deep knowledge of B2B communications technologies, including business phone systems and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Jeff is also an entrepreneur who knows the realities of launching and managing a small business, where he serves as a Content Director and SEO Consultant. In his role as an entrepreneur and professional, Jeff has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 clients and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.
Back to top
Desktop background imageMobile background image
In partnership with BDCBND presents the b. newsletter:

Building Better Businesses

Insights on business strategy and culture, right to your inbox.
Part of the network.