You’ll be hard-pressed to find any Canadian who’s never seen or heard of a toll-free number. But as a business owner, it might not be clear what exactly these numbers are, how they work, and how your business might benefit from one.
Whether you’re looking to consolidate your phone communications, break free from a location-based number, or create more trust for your brand, a toll-free number may be the way to go.
In this post, we’ll look at everything you need to know about getting a Canadian toll-free number. 🇨🇦
What is a Canadian toll-free number?
A Canadian toll-free number, also known as a North American toll-free number, is a phone number that allows people across the continent to reach you without paying hefty long-distance fees. As the phone number owner, you foot the bill for both incoming and outgoing calls, ensuring that every caller has a memorable experience. That way, your customers and prospects can call you for free.
The three-digit prefix most well-known with toll-free numbers is 800. Since the 1990s, additional area codes have been released including 833, 844, or 833 (more on this later).
Interestingly, a Canadian toll-free number isn’t limited to a particular geographic area or time zone. It’s accessible to callers in all 20 countries in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), including the United States, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Jamaica. So even if your Canadian client is vacationing in the Caribbean, they can reach you for free like they’re dialing from home.
How to get a toll-free Canada number with OpenPhone
If you’re in the market for a toll-free Canada number, choosing a VoIP service like OpenPhone is the simplest way to get one. Since VoIP providers route calls over the internet, you won’t have to worry about buying new hardware or configuring physical setups.
Here’s how you can get a toll-free Canada number in three steps with OpenPhone:
1. Sign in here with your Google account or enter your email to start your free trial.
2. Choose your toll-free Canada number. Tap on “toll-free numbers” or enter a specific toll-free area code, like 855, 866, or 888.
3. Enter your credit card information to activate the trial. You can cancel anytime and won’t be charged until the trial ends — we’ll even remind you when your trial is about to end.
Once you complete these three steps, you’ll instantly be able to use your toll-free Canada number on our web, desktop, and mobile apps.
OpenPhone also offers free phone number porting. If you get your Canadian toll-free number from somewhere else, simply fill out the porting form in the OpenPhone app and we’ll take care of the rest! Once the transition is completed, you’re free to start exploring all the features of your new VoIP toll-free business phone system.
What are the benefits of using a Canadian toll-free number?
So what makes a Canadian toll-free number so desirable for businesses? It’s highly beneficial for serving customers across North America, instead of just those in your immediate area. Beyond that, here are four reasons why you should consider using a Canadian toll-free number instead of a standard local number:
1. Use as a mainline that’s easier to access for both your team and customers
Toll-free numbers used to require yards of copper wires, but now you can use a Canadian toll-free number as the main office number that you and your team can access remotely. But again, equally important, any NANP customers can call your main number without paying any long-distance fees.
Plus, with providers like OpenPhone, you can have a phone menu ready to route toll-free calls to the right team member or department. This way, you can share a main phone number that NANP customers can dial to reach any staff in your organization.
2. Don’t tie your company to one location
A Canadian toll-free number isn’t tied to a specific geographic area, meaning your business isn’t anchored in one location either. An 855, 833, or 800 area code demonstrates your company’s ability to serve North America and beyond, establishing your reputation as a global business. Since calling is free for your customers, you’re likely to receive calls from more NANP clients than you might otherwise.
3. Easily set up and scale
Setting up a Canadian toll-free number is easier than ever. You don’t need to buy any special hardware or install a phone line in a physical office. Simply claim your number when you sign up for a VoIP service.
As your business grows, you can easily add more users to your account, allowing you to scale easily, or share a number with your team to delegate responsibility among your team members.
4. Create a stickier number
Getting a Canadian toll-free number helps you stick in customers’ minds. With a unique dial code that no local phone numbers share, your business can make a lasting impression on callers. Having a toll-free Canada number is almost like having a premium web domain.
How do toll-free numbers for Canada work?
For the person making the call, a Canadian toll-free number offers the same experience as their regular phone number. You simply dial in to get connected with customer service or another department. The main difference between dialing a Canadian toll-free number and a regular number is long-distance calls are free, even when placed from a landline.
If your team is a startup, SMB, or large enterprise, how your Canadian toll-free number works depends on your phone service. In case you decide to go with a VoIP phone system, double-check that your service provider allows you to receive toll-free calls for free. With OpenPhone, you don’t pay extra. However, some toll-free number service providers charge extra for this, so it’s crucial to read the fine print before choosing a toll-free service.
Are 1800 numbers free from outside Canada?
Yes. When you get a toll-free number in Canada, anyone in the 20 countries and regions in the North American numbering plan can call you without paying long-distance fees.
What area codes are available for Canadian toll-free numbers?
All Canadian toll-free numbers begin with a three-digit prefix that follows an area code. There are seven different area codes available, including 855, 800, 833, 844, 866, 877, and 888. The most important bit of these toll-free codes? Your North American customers can use any of them to call your business for free.
How to select the best fit Canadian toll-free number provider for your business
With the recent surge in the popularity of Canadian toll-free numbers, an army of providers has popped up to serve businesses. How do you find the right toll-free business partner? We’ve listed several of the key factors you should consider when evaluating a provider for toll-free service:
- If your team is working remotely, you may want to opt for a virtual business phone system. One advantage of doing this is that your employees will be able to access the toll-free line from anywhere, anytime. All they need to start calling and texting through that number is their cell phone or computer.
- Find a solution that allows your team to have separate calls at the same time. This will reduce customer waiting time as more employees can pitch in to answer calls from customers around the world.
- Ensure your Canadian virtual number provider offers the essential features your team may need, such as call recording, voicemail transcriptions, and shared numbers. And if they want to keep their existing numbers, you’ll want to find a vendor who could provide free number porting.
- Consider the app integrations available with a provider. The best toll-free number providers are those that offer third-party integrations with apps you already use.
- If you’re looking to text your customers through your toll-free number, ensure your provider offers SMS and MMS support. That way, you can deliver a better customer experience by being able to receive and send photos and videos.
- Look at the provider’s pricing structure and how that fits into your budget. Also, see how clear the pricing is upfront — you don’t want additional fees or surprise charges to ruin your toll-free Canada number experience.
How much does a toll-free Canada number cost?
A number of providers offer toll-free phone numbers, so pricing may vary. With some FCC-approved providers, you’ll be paying $15-plus per month to use a number, plus $0.06-$0.30 per minute to receive toll-free calls.
Bottom line: A provider’s fee structure can easily impact your bottom line. Bottom line: do your research when searching for a Canadian toll-free service. 🔎
OpenPhone offers simple, affordable pricing when it comes to toll-free numbers. Our plans start at just $13 per user per month, with the option to use a toll-free Canada number. There’s no extra charge for this. With OpenPhone, you can attend inbound calls from customers and potential clients in international NANP countries for free.
OpenPhone is your Canada toll-free number partner
Whether you’re running a local shop or a large business, a Canada toll-free number can help you better manage your customer service queries, sales calls, and any other phone communications.
As you scout your options, consider opening your toll-free number with OpenPhone. It’s simple to set up, easy for you and your team to use, and cost-effective so you can scale as your business grows. You’ll also get access to tons of helpful features to help you set expectations with your work contacts, including the ability to set business hours so you’re not getting calls during your off-hours.
Sign up for as many phone numbers as your team needs. If you want local numbers to cater to specific markets you can also sign up for local US and Canadian phone numbers.
Ready to level up your business with a Canada toll-free number? Sign up for your free seven-day trial.
Austin, TX-based storyteller with a background in support operations that’s helped businesses for 3+ years navigate virtual phone solutions. Passionate about sharing best practices for calling and texting.