Toll-Free Vs. Local Vs. Direct Dial Phone Numbers: Which is Best for Your Business?

You have many options when it comes to choosing a business phone number. You can go for toll-free numbers, local numbers, DID numbers, the list of options is almost endless.

We thought we would lend you a helping hand and tell you all about toll-free, local, and direct dial numbers. With the right information, you can make a wise decision that may help your business grow significantly.

Let’s start with toll-free numbers.

What is a Toll-Free Number?

Toll free number

The term ‘toll’ is used to refer to phone numbers that charge users on a per-minute basis. As such, a toll number is not a traditional phone number.

Now we come to the question, what does ‘toll-free’ mean? It’s similar to toll numbers, but here the callers don’t have to pay anything, no matter how long or where the call comes from. Generally, toll-free numbers are country-specific.

You may be wondering, what’s an example of a toll-free number? Well, if you look at ads and billboards, you must have seen numbers such as 1-800, 855, 877, each one of these is a US toll-free number.

If you still aren’t sure what a toll-free number is, about the calls you make to customer support. They are also perfect examples!

Pros of Toll-Free Numbers

  • Toll-free numbers are unique and easily memorable
  • They generate brand awareness
  • They’re free to the caller
  • They make your business look professional

What is a Local Number?

A local phone number is a traditional phone number that is state or city-specific. Callers are charged local calling rates even if they’re calling from another part of the world. Local numbers are great for expanding your operations and creating a regional presence without an actual office. You can, for example, be in New York and get a local number in Thailand to help Thai callers reach you!


  • Helps you create a local presence
  • Suitable for targeting a specific geographical location or market
  • Callers pay local call rates
  • Can be used for business listings
  • People are more likely to call extensions they recognize

Local and toll free numbers

What is a Direct Dial Number?

Direct inward dialing, or direct dial, or ‘DID’ numbers, were originally created to assign specific numbers to specific employees, eliminating the need for multiple telephone lines. That means you can use DID numbers to route unlimited calls to a single existing telephone line.

Nowadays, DID numbers refer to virtual numbers that can route thousands of calls simultaneously to assigned extensions. The numbers are virtual, meaning you don’t need to own any hardware. You can direct the calls to your landline, mobiles, or even softphones.

Direct dial phone numbers can be local, global, or toll-free, meaning you can reap all the advantages associated with those types of numbers. You can also use advanced features like virtual PBX and IVR when you buy DID numbers from providers like CallGear. Being virtual, they also cost less than local or international numbers.


  • You can choose your preferred phone numbers (toll, toll-free, international, local)
  • Affordable
  • Comes with advanced call management features
  • No need to own multiple phone lines
  • Caller information
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Improves lead conversion
  • Measure marketing performance

Toll-Free Vs. Local Vs. DID: Which One to Choose

Virtual number

In this age, you’re much better off with a cloud-based online solution than having to depend on traditional phone lines. DID or virtual numbers offer many advantages that make them a more convenient, preferred choice.

Range of Choices

First of all, you have the freedom to choose between local, global, and toll-free numbers off the bat. Even better, you can use a combination of all types when you get your business numbers from providers like CallGear. Being virtual, you also don’t have to pay high fees or setup charges. The call rates are more affordable and cost-effective than buying international numbers.

Go Local if You Want

If you want a local number in the US, you can pick from 300 available city codes. CallGear also offers local numbers no matter which part of the world you’re targeting.

Advanced Call Management System

Virtual numbers typically come with a software that provides advanced call management features. If you use CallGear, you will get additional features like:

  • Virtual PBX: Manage and route calls automatically
  • Dynamic number insertion: Use unique numbers for different ads, landing pages, business listings
  • Call tracking: Find out the effectiveness of your ads and campaigns
  • Real-time reporting: Visualize your phone calls
  • Call recording: record calls for quality control and assessment
  • Call tags: Automatically categorize calls
  • Speech analytics: Create transcripts of calls
  • Call analytics: Helps you generate strong insights regarding your calls

Final Thoughts

Many people think phone numbers are not a big factor for businesses in this online age. But the truth is, more than 60% of customers still prefer to call a business on the phone. You need to choose a professional number so that your customers know you mean business! Whether you go for local or toll-free numbers, consider the benefits of virtual numbers before starting. You might actually get more than you pay for, things like call management, call tracking, call reporting, and analytics, that truly help your business grow!

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