Skype offers a host of communication services for businesses including video calls, video conferencing, text chats and the ability to call land-line and mobile phones from the Skype platform. For a subscription fee Skype also provides individuals and businesses with their own Skype number, which is basically like any other telephone number. However, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the prospect of getting a toll-free number from Skype is unlikely.
The FCC notes that only toll-free service providers, such as those known as Responsible Organizations or "RespOrgs," can assign toll-free numbers to individuals or businesses. Another organization, named SMS/800, is responsible for managing the database of all known toll-free numbers. SMS/800 also keeps a list of all the authorized toll-free service providers in the United States (link in Resources). A search of that list shows that, as of the publication date, Skype does not rank among such toll-free providers.
Working through the Skype platform bears that reality out. By signing in to your Skype account and beginning the process of getting a Skype number you'll notice that Skype requires you to choose a number based on location. First Skype prompts you to choose a country and then perhaps a state or area code, depending on the country you choose. Then Skype will give you a list of numbers to choose from based on local area codes and not the toll-free codes of 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855.
A basic Skype number might serve your business just as well as a toll-free number, depending on your business' particular needs. If you are seeking a way for colleagues or clients to call your business without paying long-distance charges and most of your clients are in the same area, consider a Skype number. For example, say you're trying to gain clients from London. You can buy a London-based number from Skype that your potential London clients can call, which will forward calls to your number in the U.S. -- without any cost to the caller.
Another option is to go the indirect route and purchase a toll-free number from an authorized service provider and then forward that number to a Skype number, which you could then forward to your business or mobile phone. That, though, might not be the best choice if you don't already have a Skype number -- you would be buying a Skype number just for the sake of having a toll-free number forwarded to it. In that case, it'd be less expensive to forward the toll-free number directly to your business phone. However, if you happen to run your business solely with a Skype number, having calls forwarded to it from a separate toll-free number might be a good option.