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Local vs Toll Free Phone Numbers for Small Business

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Making a decision between the right type of virtual phone number and a toll free number that’s right for your local business can be tough.

Local Business Numbers

The main feature (or drawback) of a local business number is that it betrays the size and scope of your business.

To a potential customer, your local business number is indistinguishable from a cell phone number until they call and hear your professional virtual phone system. The key is to know how and when that small size appearance is appropriate and beneficial.

In many types of business, the appearance of local presence is crucial to gaining new business. These verticals typically include areas of our lives where we place a large amount of trust in the companies we choose to work with, such as insurance, real estate, banking, legal counsel, and health care. These can also include areas where we want to feel like we’re giving back to our community, such as local retail shops or restaurants. We want to know that these companies aren’t big, faceless corporations and that there’s someone nearby that is working for us and shares our concerns and interests. In these cases, a local business number is better than a toll free number for establishing a lasting connection with a local community and its residents.

Toll Free Numbers

A toll free number immediately suggests to callers that you are an established and professional business, especially if you have an attractive 800 number for small business or vanity toll free number.

It implies a nationwide reach and the size, stability, and resources necessary to support that reach — even if reality is closer to a small local office of dedicated professionals or a savvy entrepreneur working from home. A toll free number for small business helps you stand with the pack against your larger competitors, getting your foot in the door so customers can see your unique qualities and value.

A toll free number for small business also offers a scalable one-number solution. Your business might be tied to one area now, but what if you expand? With local business numbers, every time you open an office or simply start doing business in a new city, you’re going to need to get another number for that area. And a new number could mean all-new marketing materials, such as fliers or business cards. Toll free numbers work nationwide, meaning you can scale your business up and expand anywhere across the country without needing to change one thing about how your customers reach you over the phone.

Grow your personal brand activating your own Local or Toll Free business number

If you are a small business owner (consultant, software developer, etc.) with international clients in different countries, you can provide your clients with a local or toll free number in the country they live so they can simply reach you by dialing your local business number (our system instantly forwards the incoming call to your mobile, home or office phone). This will not only make your clients feel as if they deal with a local company, but it will also develop loyalty for your business as they will get a global service provider with a unique local reach.

Having a local or toll free phone number in your clients’ countries can also improve your chances for getting referrals and new clients. Most of the time satisfied clients will refer your business to other potential customers by simply passing on your local or toll free number to them. More potential customers will simply turn into more real business by having local contact phone numbers for those new clients to reach out to you.


You are a financial consultant living in the USA with clients in Russia, Singapore, and Japan. You can purchase a local number in each country and give these numbers to your clients. Whenever they need to call you, your clients can simply dial the local business number in the country and our system forwards the call to any phone number you like or to a voice mail that is available to you at no additional cost. If the client leaves a voice mail, our system instantly forwards the voice file to your predetermined email address. You can also set our system to forward calls made at a certain time of the day to your landline, at other times to your mobile and some other times to your voice mail. You get all the flexibility you need with our advanced forwarding options at no extra charge.
So Which Is It?

Ultimately, the decision comes down to perception. If there’s value to your business in being seen as smaller, more personal, and more in-touch with a local community, then a local business number is the right choice. If you’re up against larger competitors or have plans to expand, you’re better off with the professional image and scalability of a toll free number.

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