Something’s amiss with 1-800 toll free numbers.
I don’t know why but all of a sudden Grasshopper went from having a decent selection of custom 800 numbers to being completely out of “inventory”.
To be exact, here’s what customer support told me:
“At this time we do not have any 800 numbers in our inventory, we are working on getting more added. I am really sorry for the inconvenience.”
This is strangely horrible because Grasshopper stood out as the one beacon of legit-and-knows-what-they’re-doing in a haven of outdated, distant looking phone service sites.
Oh yeah, and the other sites are super expensive!
Grasshopper was only $30 per with the accompanying phone plan. I think you could get a plan for as cheap as $12/month
Let’s back up a second to focus on what’s really important here: Me.
I’ve developed an ever so slight addiction towards getting good phone numbers for my businesses/companies.
As you might expect from a domainer, I like my name and number marketability to be the best it can possibly be.
Thus, I don’t want an 855 toll free extension or a local number, I want the king; I want 1-800 whatever keyword.
And so, just before this blog post, I set out on finding a solution and find one I did.
Here’s what 15 minutes of Google searching and research got me.
Grasshopper’s got it all except for 1-800: 833, 844, 855, 866, 877, 888 are all in play. 888’s aren’t bad but they’re like the .net in my eyes.
RingBoost.com is a dead end. They only have 1-833 in the results.
CustomTollFree.com only has 1-844 and 1-855 showing up.
FreedomVoice.com only has 1-833 from what I can see.
Phone.com has 800 numbers but the keywords are only in last 4 digits and they’re $100!
800forall.com is the winner. They actually have a database of searchable 800 numbers with good ones that are available!
And the cost is reasonable at $44.95 for 30 days or $54.95 for a year.
If you are working with your toll-free service provider to port your number(s) to them within 30 days, the $44.95 per number plan should be fine.
Ok so that sounds all well and good…but here’s where things get slightly sticky: I’ve never used any service besides Grasshopper before so I don’t know how porting works or what the final cost will be.
I dug into their FAQ and here’s two of the most explanatory answers:
Is the toll-free number processing fee a one-time charge?
The reservation fee is a one-time fee. Once you transfer your number to a toll-free carrier, you will be obligated to the contract agreement with that carrier.
Is this number mine forever?
You can use this number as long as you observe the contract with your toll-free carrier. You will be able to change your Toll-free carrier as long as you are within your contract guidelines.
So my guess is you can buy a number from 800forall.com and then try to port it into a carrier like Grasshopper and then once you do that, as long as you keep up with your monthly bill, then you keep your vanity number.
I’m thinking it’s very likely I’ll stumble my way through this process soon so if I do, I’ll come back and write a quick review to anyone looking to purchase from 800forall and port to a routing service.
It can’t be too difficult, right?
If anyone knows why the 1-800 market has shriveled up or anything about porting, please don’t let me stop you from leaving a comment and letting us all in on the mystery in this already dark industry.
It’s weird to me because when it comes to buying phone numbers, there’s a lot less information out there and not that many reputable or known sites.
Grasshopper was the one that made everything streamlined, easy, and upfront. They were like the Godaddy of business phone numbers.
In a niche of sites that looked like they were designed in 2004, they were the one company who actually had a clean, simple, and nice web design along with fair prices and straightforward process.
Into the abyss I go.