How to Get a Custom Phone Number

By Mandy Slake

In the telecommunications industry, custom phone numbers are called vanity numbers. You can purchase a toll-free vanity number from a toll-free number provider. The toll-free provider then forwards the calls to your regular phone number. Local vanity numbers are provided by the local phone company. Some local phone companies do not provide custom numbers, so it's usually easier to get a custom toll-free number.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access

Step 1

Decide on the custom phone number you want. You can only work with the last seven digits of the number. Local number area codes are determined by your physical location. For toll free numbers, the choice of area codes is limited to 800, 888, 877, 866, or 855.

Step 2

Look at a phone dial pad, and write down the numbers that correspond to the word or phrase you want. There are three letters assigned to the numbers 2 through 6 and 8, and four assigned to numbers 7 and 9.

Step 3

Find out if the custom phone number you want is taken. Since the numbers on the dial pad correspond to multiple letters, it's possible that someone else is already using the number. Most toll-free providers have search tools on their web sites that will tell you whether a number is in use or not. For local vanity numbers, you'll need to contact your local phone company.

Step 4

Review your phone bills for the past few months to determine how many minutes you will use. Look at the amount of incoming calls and figure out how many minutes of calls would be to your custom number. Then average the number of minutes by the number of months.

Step 5

Review plans from toll-free service providers. Toll-free numbers are free for the caller, but not for the number's owner. The provider will charge your account based on the number of minutes your callers use. You can buy plans that give you a set amount of minutes and charge you a higher rate for overage, or you can go with a flat per-minute rate.

Step 6

Contact the toll-free provider or local phone company. You can find their contact number on the company's web site. Some companies also have online forms that you can use to apply.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select a custom number that reflects what your business does, or a term relating to your industry. For example, a financial institution may want something like NEW-LOAN, while a veterinary clinic may choose PET-CARE.