Brian Scudamore buys a toll free phone number and turns it into one of America’s fastest growing franchises.
A perfect seven digits for a toll free vanity number, 1-800-Got-Junk was founded by Canadian Brian Scudamore in 1989 when he was still in college. While the company operated successfully for years, it wasn’t until it bought an unforgettable toll free phone number that it saw tremendous growth. A year after the company changed its name from “Rubbish Boys” to 1-800-Got-Junk, it was franchising to other cities. It’s now amongst the fastest-growing franchises in America, and has been covered by both CNBC and Oprah.
As more businesses, both online and brick-and-mortar, adopt toll free mnemonics as their brands, toll free vanity numbers will become increasingly scarce. That means the resale value of toll-free numbers may increase steadily over the next few years. (*This is not the opinion of RingCentral or to be construed as investment advice – it is solely my independent prediction based on my years working in the telecom industry and “spider sense”.)
Call it gut feel. Or in my case, expanding gut feel.
While I’ve mentioned before that it’s getting harder and harder to find available toll free numbers to purchase cheaply, generally 1-866 and 1-888 numbers are recognized as toll free numbers as well by the general public. IMHO I would prefer 1-800, followed by 1-888 (it’s only 1 digit to remember), 1-877 (seven is considered a lucky number in many cultures and religions) and 1-866.
BTW, that’s the order (coincidentally?) of the age that each of these toll free vanity numbers were FTC approved, so 888 has been around the longest – since the ’60s, in fact. Again, just my opinion – but if someone offers me 1-800-Printer for a few hundred bucks – I’m buying!
Originally published Oct 16, 2009, updated Sep 01, 2021