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Local Number vs Toll Free Call Forwarding: Everything You Need to Know

toll free call forwarding

Need to route your business calls, but aren’t sure if you should set up local or toll free call forwarding? For nearly 20 years, we’ve been providing toll free and local number forwarding around the world. In that time, we’ve hear a lot of questions about which type of call routing is best for a specific business. So today let’s and cover everything you need to know, including:

  • The basic differences between each forwarding number.
  • When each type of forwarding makes the most sense to you.
  • What price differences you can expect.
  • How you can minimize your costs.
  • Common features used with virtual number forwarding.
  • Other frequently asked questions.

Let’s get to it!

toll free number forwarding

What is Toll Free Call Forwarding

Toll free call forwarding is a service where calls made to a virtual 800 number are forwarded to your existing business line. Companies like 800 number forwarding because:

  • Dialing a toll free number is free for the caller.
  • 800 numbers establish a single point of contact and professional business appearance nationwide.
  • Potential customers are more likely to call a business number when they know the call is free for them.
  • Custom 800 numbers, known as toll free vanity numbers, are a popular marketing tool.
  • Many call forwarding services include a range of useful features with your business number.
  • Toll free calling is a basic consumer expectation when dialing support or hotline numbers.

In most cases, a toll free forwarding number can only be dialed from callers within that country. However, there are exceptions. For example, 1800 numbers in the USA can also be reached from callers in Canada and the Caribbean because these are all part the NANP (North American Numbering Plan).

Best Times to Use Toll Free Number Forwarding

The most common uses for a toll free forwarding number include:

  • Establishing a primary business number.
  • Create a single point of contact across a department or small business.
  • Support lines, hotlines, whistleblower lines, etc.
  • Counseling or outpatient services.
  • Any time you want to ensure your customers are not being charged for calling you.
local call forwarding number

What is Local Number Forwarding

A local call forwarding number is simply a virtual number with a dial-code specific to a certain city or country. With local phone number forwarding, caller and the company share the cost of the call. Business benefit from this service because:

  • Callers are more responsive to calls from familiar area codes.
  • It gives your company a local presence anywhere in the world.
  • Local numbers forwarding is shared-cost, so it is often less expensive for the business (though there are exceptions to this).
  • Callers only pay local rates when dialing these numbers from within the country.
  • Callers from abroad can still reach your business via local number forwarding, though long-distance charges will apply.

When to Get a Local Forwarding Number

In most cases, you should set up a local number for forwarding when:

  • Trying to gain local credibility in a market.
  • You are more focused on outbound calling than inbound.
  • 800 number forwarding is much more expensive in certain countries.
  • Your target country has too many restrictions on toll free numbers.
  • You want dedicated phone lines for your employees.
  • You need a low-cost alternative to setting up international numbers in many countries.

Pricing: Local vs. Toll Free Number Forwarding

800 number forwarding

There are a variety of factors that affect your costs no matter who your provider is. These include:

The Location of Your Number

Many countries charge providers a monthly fee just to keep a toll free number in stock. The total cost of these fees varies by country. While this less common in many popular service areas like the US, UK, Australia, and Singapore, it is a common occurrence in emerging markets. For more information about specific countries, view the local business number page or the toll free number page for that country.

How Your Customers Call You

This is an issue that mainly applies to toll free numbers. In general, customer calling your toll free number from a landline will cost you less per-minute than calls from mobile devices. This is the case for many European countries. In addition, inbound rates vary by country. For example, a call from the UAE is more expensive than a call originating from Ireland.

How Your Receive Calls

The device you forward calls to usually has a bigger impact on your call charges than your customer’s device. Routing calls to a mobile device will almost always be more expensive than routing to a landline. To minimize your call charges, always try to route calls to a VoIP softphone via a desktop or mobile application. Most providers do not charge you for forwarding minutes to a VoIP phone.

Add-on Features

Depending on the specific call routing features you need, you may need to pay add-on fees for premium functionality. However, this varies widely by provider. If you know you need features like time-of-day or geographic call routing, make sure you ask if these services are included as a standard feature from your provider.

local number forwarding features

Is There a Difference in How I Can Route Calls?

No, local and international call routing works the same regardless of which number type you use. The most popular call forwarding strategies companies use include:

  • Time-of-Day Routing: Calls are forwarded to different lines based on the hour that they are received. This is ideal for 24/7 operations.
  • Geographic Call Routing: Calls are forwarded depending on the caller’s location. This is optimal for companies that have callers from around the world or offer location-specific services.
  • Skills-Based Routing: Calls are forwarded to an agent most suitable to the callers need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I forward calls to multiple phones at once?

This is a feature called simultaneous ringing and it is easy to set up. This feature is included at no additional cost from AVOXI, though some services charge an add-on fee to activate simultaneous ring.

Can I get an unlimited toll free plan with my 800 number?

While some companies may advertise an “unlimited” toll free number, there is always some type of charge for usage. In most cases, an unlimited toll free plan means you get free call forwarding to a VoIP phone or application. In other words, the second leg of the call is free, but you will still pay for the origination minutes.

Is there a service that includes unlimited outbound calling with my forwarding number?

Yes and no. Many providers offer “unlimited” plans. However, these plans are always subject to the provider’s terms of service, which includes a “reasonable use” policy. These policies give the provider the right to terminate your service or charge additional fees if you have unusually high usage. Oftentimes, providers do not specify exactly what would be considered unusually high. However, it is usually between 3,000 and 3,600 minutes per user extension.  These policies usually set restrictions against bulk calling, auto-dialing, and trunking to lines capable of handling simultaneous calls.

How can I get a custom forwarding number?

Yes, custom business numbers are known as vanity phone numbers. If you’re interested in a specialized business number, let us know today! We’ll help you find what you’re looking for.

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Whether you are a one-time visitor looking for more information or a current customer trying to troubleshoot a problem, we want to provide the most useful content possible for you.  If you have additional questions or would like to know more about forwarding services from AVOXI, contact us today! You can submit a free quote form or contact us directly from any of our international business numbers. We'd love to hear from you.

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