Business phone numbers: a rough guide to prices and tariffs

How to choose the right phone number for your start-up

Most telephone operators offer marketing numbers but it can be difficult to know which number will suit your business needs best.

Some operators charge monthly line rental whereas others will offer low rates but won’t always cope with large volume calls.

You also need to decide how you want to position yourself against competitors; if your biggest competitor uses a high rate number for callers then a low-cost or free number could be the difference between a consumer calling them or you.

Overall, it is best to choose an established provider and to ensure you get the best deal for your outlay. Here’s a rough guide of what you can expect to pay:

Which phone number should you use?

Freephone 0800

Benefits: One of the most popular phone numbers used by businesses and organisations, 0800 numbers can make your business appear customer-friendly as most calls – those from landlines – are free. Similarly, 0808 and 0500 numbers tend to be the same. Customers are more likely to enquire if they know they are not being charged.

Connection fees: Fees will vary, depending on whether you wish to buy the number outright or rent it for a fixed period. Some numbers will cost thousands of pounds; others will be provided free of charge.

Monthly line rental: Varies from £5 to £74, depending on the provider and package you choose.

Caller rates: Service is free to callers on a landline but can cost up to 40p a minute from mobile. Calls can cost your business roughly 6p per minute.


Lo-call 0845

Benefits: Charged at a low rate from any landline anywhere in the UK, this phone number can seem attractive to consumers for the low cost-element and can be seen to give your business more of a national presence.

Connection fees: Range from £0 to £25.

Monthly line rental: Costs up to £40.

Caller rates: Callers pay local rate, (4p per minute during the day, 1.5p per minute at night and 1p per minute at the weekend) and you pay for part of the call. Callers pay significantly more via mobile and rates vary.


National rate 0870

Benefits: A non-geographic number, callers pay the standard UK national rate. Ideal if you want the customer to bear most of the cost of the call but still want to portray customer confidence by not charging a premium rate.

Connection fees: Charges vary

Monthly line rental: Varies

Caller rates: Callers pay 8p per minute week days, 4p per minute in the evening and 2p at weekends, although this varies according to their provider. You receive a minimum of 1p per minute in revenue.



Benefits: Callers pay a fixed rate and you get revenue from the call which charges, depending on the volume of calls and the cost charged to the caller, typically 2p to 2.5p per minute.

Connection fees: Range from £0 to £25.

Monthly line rental: £0 to £40 per month.

Caller rates: Callers pay between 6p and 10p per minute, all day every day.


Premium rate 090

Benefits: Revenue, revenue, revenue – that’s the main benefit from using an 090 premium rate number. However it comes at the risk of alienating your customer and makes them less likely to contact you. NB: Premium rate number services have to follow a code of practice set up by Phonepayplus.

Connection fees: £100 to set-up and memorable numbers may incur charges. There is an annual charge of £250.

Monthly line rental: Varies – some operators provide it for free

Caller rates: Callers pay anything from 10p to £1.65 per minute from a landline but can cost up to £2.55 from mobile. Revenue generated depends on cost per minute to caller. If you charge £1.50 per call, you can earn up to 84p per minute.



Benefits: A popular choice for businesses, 0844 numbers can be obtained for free and there is often no on-going cost yet revenue can be generated from the calls. Customers will be less likely to call but this does offer the advantage of only attracting genuine enquiries.

Connection fees: Range from £0 to £25.

Monthly line rental: Can cost from £0 to £40 per month.

Caller rates: Callers pay between 1p and 5p per minute all the time, with a 7p call set up fee.


Personal numbering 070

Benefits: 070 numbers are virtual telephone numbers that can be set-up and routed to any destination. Useful if you’re a business owner that travels often as callers can get in contact with you anywhere in the world, just as easily as in the UK.

Connection fees: Usually free to set up and call forwarding to UK landline, mobile and international lines is usually free

Monthly line rental: Free and call usage is free

Caller rates: Callers pay anything from 4p to 50p a minute at both peak times and off-peak, depending on which personal numbering service tariff is used.