What Number is Best for Small Businesses – 08 or 03?

Best number for Small Businesses – 08 or 03

Your phone number is not only a way of communication, but it can also be a way of being remembered or portraying your business as you want it to be. When you start a business, you have to make many important decisions. Choosing the right type of phone number for your business is also one of the most important decisions. There are many business phone numbers, such as 08 and 03. Many business owners are confused about whether to go for 08 or 03 numbers. You may have many questions, and we are here to clarify everything for you.

Both 0800 and 03 numbers are inbound numbers, meaning you can only receive a call on such numbers but can not make an outgoing call. However, they are used as a caller ID in the UK, and it’s recommended to use the local number as a caller ID when you dial a local number when dialing overseas destinations, as some foreign carriers cannot pass 0800 or 03 numbers as the correct caller ID. 

These numbers are non-geographic, meaning they are not localized to a specific region within the UK. If you have an 0800 or 03 number, your callers can reach you without knowing whether you are running your business locally or nationally. It helps you improve your perception as a business with a broader national reach.

Both 0800 and 03 numbers have similar features and are configured similarly. You can use them for any softphone, group of users, IVR, ring group or queue

Now let’s look at 0800 and 03 numbers separately to decide which is best for your small business.

What Are 0800 Numbers?

0800 numbers are commonly referred to as free numbers since the burden of paying for call rates lies solely with the account holder. It means that callers are not charged for calls from landlines or mobile phones. Many big organizations in the UK use these numbers to ensure that customers can easily reach them without worrying about call charges.

Typically, 0800 numbers are used by charities, helplines, and government agencies, but businesses can also use them to encourage customer contact. However, since the account holder is responsible for paying the cost of all calls made to 0800 numbers, it is mostly used by larger organizations or companies with adequate budgets to cover the call charges.

Not all the 08 numbers are free to call, but they have a wide range of numbers. You may find several variations of the 08 numbers that have call charges, such as:

  • 087-are the numbers that come with access and service charges, and these are charged from the callers.  
  • 084 numbers also have call charges divided into two parts, including access charges, which are the cost of connecting the call, and service charges, which are determined by the company you are calling. All organizations need to mention service charges. 

087 and 084 numbers are referred to as premium numbers and are used by businesses to cover the cost of their service and generate additional revenue. Before using these numbers, you must ensure that it complies with the Bill on Consumer Rights.

Benefits of Using 0800 Numbers


0800 and 0808 are national numbers and are free of charge for calls from mobile phones or landlines. Businesses use these numbers because callers do not have to pay to call. These are beneficial for businesses that have large customer service departments.

Customers tend to call free phone numbers more than they call other numbers. According to a survey, 65% of customers said they prefer to call free customer service numbers.  

In addition, 0800 numbers are easy to remember and inspire trust in customers to press those digits. Generally, large organizations which use 0800 numbers get many calls and often see a large return on investment. This number also helps you develop a sense of formality surrounding your brand.   

Today, 0800 numbers are the most recognizable in the UK phone network. Although they have changed over time, they offer convenience to businesses and organizations by providing free customer service.

What Are 03 Numbers?

03 numbers are cost-effective for organizations looking to encourage customer communication while minimizing expenses compared to the more expensive 0800 numbers.

The call rates to 03 numbers should be the same as the cost of calling a local geographic number such as 01 or 02. For 03 number owners, incoming calls are generally free or included in their monthly service package.

03 numbers are ideal for businesses seeking to establish a local point of contact for their customers across the UK, regardless of their geographic location.

However, certain usage restrictions come with the allocation of 03 numbers:

  • 0300 and 0309 numbers are used exclusively for non-profit organizations and public enterprises. 
  • 0330 and 0330 numbers are available for all businesses and organizations. 
  • 034X and 037X numbers are used for migration purposes.

03 numbers have become popular among UK businesses due to lower ownership costs, free inbound calls and nationwide coverage. People from any part of the country can make a call at the cost of a local call.

Moreover, 03 numbers do not have any negativity associated with 08 premium numbers. In the past, some consumers were tricked as they called on 08 numbers by thinking they were free, but they were dialing premium 084x or 087x numbers.

Benefits Of Using 03 Numbers


03 numbers have the same charges as the local numbers, and calls to 03 are usually included in most mobile and landline monthly packages. These numbers can help companies maintain a national presence without charging extra costs to their customers.   

As we described earlier, using 087 or 084 numbers for customer support or service lines is illegal, so how can you follow these regulations without changing your number? You can use 03 numbers in this case.

For example, if you have a premium number, you can use the 03 variant to reroute customer service calls from your existing phone line. It is a cost-effective way to stay compliant while using a premium number. 

In addition, because they are well recognized, 03 numbers can open you to a wider audience and enhance your professional image.

08 Or 03 Which Number Is Right For Your Business?

Selecting the appropriate virtual number for your business depends on size, projected inbound call volume, and revenue. For small to medium-sized enterprises seeking to avoid significant monthly telephone expenses, 03 numbers are ideal as the account holder bears no cost for inbound calls. At the same time, the caller only pays the price of a local call. However, some customers may hesitate to call as these numbers are not toll-free.

In contrast, 0800 numbers are toll-free, and the account holder is responsible for the call charges. It makes them suitable for large corporations or government organisations seeking to eliminate any financial barrier to customer interaction.

Another alternative is local virtual numbers, enabling businesses to establish a local presence in different locations without needing physical offices. It is especially useful for companies operating on a national or international scale.

Ultimately, the choice of virtual number depends on the unique requirements of each business.

Conclusion - Cold Calling

Choosing between 0800 and 03 numbers depends on your small business’s specific needs and goals. If you want to encourage customer contact without worrying about call charges and have a large customer service department, 0800 numbers may be the best option.

On the other hand, if you want to establish a local point of contact for your customers across the UK while minimizing expenses, 03 numbers may be more suitable.

Additionally, 03 numbers are ideal for businesses seeking to avoid the negative connotations associated with premium 08 numbers.

Both numbers have benefits and can improve your business’s image by projecting a more professional image and increasing the perception of a broader national reach.

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