Local vs. Toll Free Numbers – What’s Best for Business

Local vs. Toll Free Numbers - What's Best for Business

Several factors come into play when maintaining a business, and one of the principal ones is branding. Your brand is what establishes credibility. So much so that ‘trust in brand’ has been regarded as one of the top three reasons customers choose to go with a business.

When it comes to establishing credibility as a business, the first thing business owners need to consider is a communication line between customers and the company. While social media forms have admittedly taken over in many sectors and emails are relied upon in many cases, nothing comes close to having a working business phone line.

Which leads us to the question: Local numbers or Toll-free? Which one’s better for businesses?

Local and toll-free numbers both have their own sets of pros and cons. Therefore a better question would be: Which one is better for MY business? You don’t have to go far for an answer to that. Read on to find out the difference between local and toll-free numbers, their advantages and disadvantages and the which businesses they’re best-suited with.

Local vs. Toll-Free Numbers:

Setting up a phone number takes a lot more than just plugging in a phone, there are quite a few factors to consider and the foremost is whether you should go with a local number or a toll-free one.

The simple answer: it depends! There isn’t a clear-cut answer on what you should go for. There are, nevertheless, pros and cons to using each. We’re going to go through a list of ‘why’s’ and ‘why not’s’ to help you decide which one is better for your business.

But first, let’s go through the ‘what?’

local vs toll free numbers

What is a Local Number?

Local phone numbers are area-code specific numbers (region, county, city-specific) whereby a customer is charged by his or her service provider each time they make a call to a particular business.

What is a Toll-free Number?

A toll-free number begins with a country’s international dialing code such as 1-800 or 1-888. As the name suggests, a customer would not be charged each time they place a call to a particular business.

Why Should You Go With A Local Number?

1. Boosts Reputation In The Local Area:

Small-businesses, home-based operations, or businesses that aren’t looking to venture out on a multi-national scale often go with local phone numbers because their primary goal is to get more local customers.

Likewise, a local customer base is more likely to go with a business they feel caters specifically to them i.e is based in their community. There is a personal element attached to calling local businesses and it boosts the company’s reputation within it’s targeted area.

2. Accessibility:

A local number is usually sought after by a local company, which means that their target audience is usually limited to consumers in a particular region. The company is not only built for the people, it runs because of its credibility with that limited consumer base.

With a local phone number, your business will be more easily accessible to consumers and establish lasting customer relationships.

3. Customers Will Answer Calls:

Customers and consumers aren’t always on the dialing end, sometimes the business will telemarket deals and products to customers. It is therefore important for the customer to pick up the phone.

Put yourself in the customer’s place: would you feel more comfortable receiving a call from an area code you recognize or an international code where a bot is probably pitching a sale?

Local phone numbers are well-circulated throughout the community with many people already having the number saved on their phones. By reaching out with such a phone number, you’re able to appeal to customers even if you aren’t pitching a sale in person.

Cons Of Local Numbers:

1. Money Matters:

Customers calling local numbers will be charged by their service provider, and customers generally aren’t looking to spend money when sorting out complaints, concerns, or queries.

2. Limited Reach:

Needless to say, a local number would work best for a local business that isn’t looking to venture out anytime soon. Their limited reach makes them less accessible to wider audiences, even within the same country.

3. The Implication of A ‘Small Company’:

While a local business has local customers who are loyal to their brand, the implication of a business being a smaller one to other customers is off-putting. This isn’t to say a smaller company isn’t as good, but new customers would vary in spending money on a smaller company.

Why Should You Go With A Toll-Free Number?

1. Unlimited International Reach:

A toll-free number is a powerful tool in transforming your business, especially if you’re looking to scale up or venture out on a national, or even international scale. Businesses who opt for toll-free numbers have a wider customer base from within its area of operations or globally.

2. Your Business Appears More Reliable:

If you’re saving your customers a little extra money each time they call, it establishes a reliable image right from the get-go. Not only for them, but you can use your business phone number to call supply chains in other regions at little to no extra charge even with long-distance calls.

3. A Unified Business:

A toll-free number indicates professionalism and helps in improving your brand’s global reputation. Likewise, your company is a lot more unified with extension lines and easier call routing.

Your brand seems bigger to the average customer who associates it with being a more professional and trust-worthy business to deal with.

4. Easier To Maintain:

One of the biggest advantages of having a toll-free number is portability. If your business is adapting or changing to a new base of operations, you wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of changing your number. Businesses can seamlessly change their service providers yet stick to the same numbers when relocating. You could just access the number from another location.

Cons Of Toll-Free Numbers:

1. They Aren’t As Good To Target Local Customers:

To some customers, your reputation as a business would be that of a cold and grey business operating in a monotonous fashion with each customer instead of personalizing their experience.

This has an impact on the local community who would much rather go with a business that they feel caters to their individual needs.

2. Calls Might Go Unanswered:

A customer is less likely to pick up a call from a toll-free number because they would associate the call with being an automated sales pitch. This sets back telemarketing channels.

What Should You Choose?

There are plenty of reasons why you should choose a local number, and there an equal amount of reasons why you should choose a toll-free one. It all comes down to the sort of business you’re running and the image you want to portray to a target audience.

If you’re based in a local community with no plans in the imminent future to expand nationally or internationally, then a local phone number would work best for you. Your targeted audience would see you as a reliable and personal business that would appeal to them.

On the other hand, if you’re a business that is or has plans on expanding to a larger customer base, a toll-free number would work best for you. Your business’ customer base is a lot more diverse and requires a simple, easily accessible and free phone number to establish communications.

How Caller Suite Can Help:

Caller Suite is a cloud-based automated mobile PBX and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems provider. We provide business phones and business line innovations in over 80 countries.


From call recording to call hosting and routing – we provide automated services with local and/or toll-free business numbers that help establish your business’ credibility. Our cloud-based system allows free hosting at no additional charges for extra bandwidth and storage. Local numbers or toll-free? We’ve got you covered! Contact us

Take Away:

A business phone number is a crucial element in establishing a credible rapport as a business. Your business phone number can either be a local one or a toll-free one. It all depends on the sort of business you’re running and the future you see for it.

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