NOTE: Before mid summer 2003 we will finally have the only TRUE bottom line bill computer
that allows you to enter as many variables as you desire from your current or anticipated bill(s)
and see the actual bill cost under each of the low cost provider's plans. It will take less than 2 minutes to have all this info in front of you for your
perusal. Check back in a few days to see how your bill would look from a database of hundreds of plans.
If you've followed the recommended steps before arriving at this page, your work is already done.
The best toll-free provider for you has already been determined. In case you jumped here first
or decided not to follow the plan that will allow you to create the absolute lowest cost
combination of all desired services, let's quickly review. You need to start at the top
of the menu and work down. Understand how your phone bill is put together, then use the
Custom Rate Computer
and follow up with an examination of the
to get your best interstate primary 1+ provider. When looking over the plans
available on your phone line, check those that have 1+ or stand-alone toll-free
numbers available and the fees (if any) that will be incurred. You may have a
need for a toll-free number only for in-state or interstate calls, so take that
into account when figuring the best plan for you. If you already know everything
you need to about toll-free numbers and simply want to order
then jump to the form and order. Otherwise, read on.
All the providers listed under the best
plans have toll-free numbers available at competitive rates.
You can add as many toll-free numbers as you like and they can ring to ANY numbers you desire.
That's correct, you can have toll-free numbers to ANY number billed to your regular phone
bill without incurring any additional charges other than the regular cost per minute of the
call. Some charge a nominal fee for adding toll-free numbers,
and some charge no fee. Please note that we are talking
about the best companies previously selected by
you from the tables, NOT one of the "Big 3" or other high cost providers.
The plans from ATT, Sprint,
others, charge extra fees and usually higher rates per minute. Sometimes
these rates are incredibly high.
Why would you want a toll-free number, let alone several toll-free numbers even if you
only have one actual phone line? Well, they can save you a lot of money and make you
a lot of money in so many different ways. The reason the new 888 and 877 (and now 866 and
soon 855/844 and so on) codes have
been necessary is because toll-free numbers are so useful and effective. First let's
look at businesses. There are obvious things like customers and employees being
able to call or fax the business easily and without cost to them. If you have sales
people in the field, there is no better way for them to use all types of services,
in addition to voice calls, to handle business needs. You can have one number
sent to a fax machine for internal use, or directly to your computer network or
just a single computer with a modem setup for sales info integration and on-line
order entry. I have seen people recommend directing one to your ISP, but if your
ISP doesn't have a cheaper toll-free access number than you can get for yourself,
contact us and we'll set you up with an ISP that does and probably charges less
than what you are now paying for basic service. Having separate numbers listed
in your different ads or forms of advertising is one of the most common uses of
multiple toll-free numbers. You can determine exactly which ad is most effective,
or which part of the country or state your caller is from before you pick up the phone.
This is also possible by installing ANI service (different from Caller-ID which is
unavailable for many numbers or can be blocked) but it costs quite a bit more.
Even without ANI detection equipment, you will always have a complete accounting
of where all your toll-free calls came from on your bill.
Home toll-free numbers have an equal number of advantages. Set up a toll-free
number for your home for friends and relatives to call without expense. The child
away at school or camp, the elderly parent, or a friend or relative in a nursing
home or treatment facility, all could benefit by calling you at the cheaper rates,
and of course by you paying for it. One thing you NEVER want to do is have someone
call you COLLECT and accept the charges. The costs can be beyond belief. Any family
member or friend who might have to call you collect should know your toll-free number.
If you have a business in your home, you can actually use a residential number (your regular
home number) and have an 800 number for your business at no additional cost. This puts your
business on par with the big guys and is impressive for people contacting you who need never
know you're actually in your underwear lounging on the couch. You can add distinctive ring
services for $3 to $6 on your home line and have one number for your home calls, one for
your business, and another for a "dedicated" fax line, and answer each accordingly. You
can even do this automatically using distinctive ring switches. We can set you up with
one if you need it.
We've barely touched on all the advantages. The point is that much like a calling card,
if you use the right provider, toll-free numbers have no downside. Well there is one
small problem you MAY encounter and we cover this below in the information on the advantages
and disadvantages of 800 versus 888/877/866. In any case, we assume you have decided that
you must have at least one toll-free number or you wouldn't be here. The procedure for
adding toll-free service couldn't be easier. When you call us (or we call you) to order your
other long distance services, we can add toll-free numbers at the same time, and unlike
1+ service, a toll-free number added to any existing service, can be available literally
in minutes after signing up. There are several things to consider about how your service
needs to be setup and we detail those next.
First you need to have your number plan mapped out. If you need extra local lines or
distinctive ring go ahead and order those. You don't have to wait until they are installed.
You'll have the number immediately when ordering. Once you know what your "ring-to" numbers
are going to be, you need to decide whether you want to get an original 800 number or
use one of the new 888/877/866 codes. Each has its pros and cons. While 800 numbers
are harder to get, you can still obtain them because people constantly change numbers,
delete services, or go out of business. This is also the potential disadvantage to an
800 (as opposed to an 888/877/866) number, and why you must make a decision. Everybody
knows that an 800 number is free for them to call, but some are still reluctant to call
an 888 or other 8XX number even if TOLL FREE is boldly stated with it. 800 numbers are not
always without charges to the caller, but this is another matter discussed on the
illegal stuff page. In any case, you must decide
which you want, assuming you can get an 800 number from the provider. The downside
is that somebody, maybe many people or businesses have had that 800 number before you get it.
On a new local number this is no big deal. You say - sorry wrong number and hang up.
800 wrong numbers will cost you a few cents. You may actually even be able to turn this
into an advantage, although it's a stretch. If you have a product or service that can
be sold to anyone and you are a very hard sell business, even a wrong number may turn
into a new customer or lead if handled aggressively. Of course any line is
susceptible to wrong numbers from types like the drunk trying to call Joe's
24 hour beer barn and dialing your toll-free or probably worse your home number at 3 AM.
A non-800 8XX number will not suffer from the wrong number (drunks excluded) syndrome, but
may not get quite as many calls for the reason stated earlier. Also,
when calls are made from a few antiquated centrex type systems, the 877/866 codes may
not be properly
recognized and the call won't go through. This is very rare and becoming rarer.
888 numbers should work from any phone that an 800 number will. There is one other
possible advantage to an 8XX number as opposed to an 800. You MAY still
be able to get a custom (vanity) number if you pick one of these codes. An example
of this is 1-800-COLLECT, as stated previously a number you should NEVER use or
accept calls from. Perhaps a better example is 1-800-FLOWERS. These phone numbers
have actually become the business name to millions of people and can be a great
boost to business if properly chosen and heavily promoted. You have almost no chance of
getting one with an 800 code, but there is a small chance if you use 888/877/866 etc..
It can't hurt to try for one if you've got a catchy 7 character name worked out.
There is one final area that needs to be covered, and that is where you want to allow a
specific toll-free call to originate. You can block out certain areas from a particular
number to save money on the per minute costs of that specific provider or because you
have no way to conduct business in that area and don't want to pay for wasted sales
inquiries you can't handle. You will get the same rates for the toll-free number
as you do from its provider (when using the best plans) so if you have read the
pages on interstate and intrastate calling and determined that a combination plan
is best for your bottom line, then the same will have to be applied to your toll-free
numbers. Use your interstate provider for an interstate toll-free number and block your
home state. Have a second toll-free number for instate usage from your instate
provider (if different from the interstate) and block the other 49 states for that number.
This brings up one other point. Some people may want to receive calls from Alaska,
Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean, and other areas where US toll-free numbers may be
used without cost to the caller. You must setup numbers properly for these areas
as well, because each provider charges for calls from these areas differently. Many people
simply want all these areas totally blocked for all toll-free numbers as they
will cost more to receive in most cases, even with the best rate providers.
We can also arrange to have your
number listed with 800 information (1-800-555-1212) after the number is setup,
if you believe this will help your business. They do charge a monthly fee for this
and many companies don't think it pays. If you are nationally
known, it will pay. If not, then the number will be included in your advertising
anyway. We can list you free on an large number of other toll-free information
services and we can discuss this when we talk. As with everything good, there
is a downside to having your number listed with an information service.
Telemarketers can use them (phone spam) to send you
junk faxes or make appeals for contributions at your expense. They can get the
number from your ads as well, although they normally use some kind
of easily obtainable list to autodial with predictive dialers. All
numbers are susceptible to this, even if not listed in any phone book or directory
through the technique of computerized random number predictive autodialing.
We're afraid to report that now fax autodialers are also being used to randomly dial
numbers nationwide, listening for a fax tone and if one is found sending you
an unwanted fax (wasting your supplies and tying up your line) AND adding
your number to a database of known good fax numbers which they can then sell to
others for the same insidious purpose. You do have a number of remedies in this
area from the government and other sources and these are discussed in greater
detail on the illegal stuff page.
So now you are ready to order. If you still need more information, as always feel
free to contact us with any questions you may have. In either case the way to do
this is the same. Simply fill out the form below and we'll call you back and get
everything taken care of. If you have existing toll-free numbers and wish to
switch those over to your new provider, we can handle that as well when we talk.
This can almost always be done with no problem. It simply takes a signed form
which you can fax us for quick processing. We don't ask for any personal
information over the Internet so just leave your name, phone number and the
best time to call. If you just need an answer to a question by E-mail,
simply include your inquiry in the text box at the bottom of the form.
You are not signing up for any plan by filling out this form, nor are you
obligated to accept anything if we call.
You may also contact us by a variety of other methods, including a direct Net Phone
call (or voice-mail) over the Internet, an alphanumeric page, call us directly toll-free at
one of the numbers below, or fax us your bill for free analysis. You will almost
definitely get diverted to a voice-mail system during business hours as we REFUSE to
make people wait on hold for more than a minute. We will call you back at your
convenience at any time you specify if we can't take your call immediately.
Henton Communication Enterprises
24 Hour Bill Faxing Line
Toll-Free US Voice Calls Only