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Toll Free Numbers vs Local Inbound Numbers: Which is Better Suited For Your Business

When starting a business, establishing a phone service for customers to contact is crucial. While social media messaging, email and virtual chatbots are beginning to diversify customer contact routes, phone lines are still in demand.

There’s no doubt toll free numbers are an incredible marketing tool, but are there instances where a local presence may be more beneficial for sales?

Read on to learn more about the difference between toll free and local numbers, how they compare, and which option may be better suited for the needs of your business. 

The Difference Between a Toll Free and Local Number

Local inbound numbers target customers wit

hin a specific region. They are particularly effective for businesses trying to establish themselves as a local presence. Valuable for freelancers and local businesses wit

h a walk-in location radius of a few kilometres.

Toll free numbers or 1800 numbers make it easier for customers across Australia to contact a business. They can also help to impr

ove customer service and satisfaction as they offer a range of call management functions which can lead to a more seamless experience. 

Typically, businesses who receive more calls fr

om locations across Australia or businesses wanting to expand their business beyond their local area are more likely to purchase a 1800 number.  They are also valuable for businesses without a physical location, as they can give the impression of a larger and more recognised corporation. 

Pricing for Toll Free and Local Numbers

Business 1300 offers both 1800 and local inbound number plans. Our local in

bound number plans start at just $9 per month and with a range of features available including, IVR, Voice 2 Email, time based routing, call forwarding and more. 

Our 1800 inbound number plans start at ju

st $15 per month with features including a 24/7 helpline, IVR, Voice 2 Email, geo routing, call overflow, call distributing and more. While the monthly price may be more, having a more memorable number and dynamic features can make a positive impact on your business.

How Toll Free and Local Numbers Compare

Toll free and local numbers differ in the way they work and operate, as well as the features available. Here’s how they line up.



As the name suggests, a local number should be used when targeting a customer base in a specific region. On the other hand, a 1800 number on the other hand can be used to reach geographic regions across Australia.


Local numbers work just like a usual landline – charging the caller depending on their carrier’s rates. This is why local numbers may not always be the best option for businesses who receive calls outside of their local area. Toll free numbers instead require the business to take on the charge of the calls, but in return, it provides customers with better access to the appropriate representatives for your business.

Professional Appearance

Toll free numbers provide a much more professional business image than local numbers. This can help improve your credibility. They are also usually much easier to remember, especially if you invest in a smart number, which uses words or phrases to create a number that customers can immediately associate with your business.


Toll free numbers are with you for as long as you wish, which means if you change office - you don’t need to change your business number. They can also be forwarded to any office or phone depending on the day of the week, time of day or location of the caller. Local numbers, however, need to be changed should you ever relocate your business and offer less flexibility when it comes to call forwarding.

Toll Free Number vs Local Number FAQs

Are Local Numbers and Toll Free Numbers Both Free to Call?

Local numbers charge the caller. The rate at which the caller is charged depends on the pricing outlined by their phone provider. 1800 numbers don't accrue any charges for the caller, only for the business. If they are calling from an Australian mobile or a fixed number, the call is free.

How Long Does it Take to Set Up a Toll Free vs Local Number?

Setting up an 1800 number is straightforward. With Business 1300 you can speak with our team for free advice and we can also browse the ACMA database on your behalf for a particular number. Once you select a number, it can be activated and used immediately. This can be done in as little as 24 hours. Local numbers also require no fixed landline, which means they can be set up quite quickly as well.

Should I Choose a Local or Toll Free Number for my Business?

Which you choose should depend largely on the needs of your business. If you are looking for a business number that can be contacted internationally or multiple numbers to establish a more localised presence - then a local number is probably the best choice for you.

1800 numbers can help you increase your national presence, make a more professional impression and are also much more memorable than local numbers. If this is what you’re looking for, then an 1800 will give you the edge you need.