How to Choose a Phone System

  (440 words)

Are you looking for a new phone system for your business? It’s hard to find phone systems that are affordable and yet reliable. To get what you want, you may have to mix and match from what’s available or find a configuration that is the best fit for your needs and your budget.

phone systemOne Small Office?

Your best option might be to use plain old service telephone (POTs) lines with a less expensive system or a phone combined with a private branch exchange (PBX).

How Much Would That Cost?

Four lines should be more than enough if you have 6 or 7 people working for you.

A base unit with cordless handsets would be around $700

4 POTs phone lines would cost around $25 each per month, so $100 per month 

Don’t Forget the Extras

If you don’t know how to set up a PBX, add in the cost of a contractor for installation and then add maintenance costs.

Are you Growing Rapidly?

If you’re adding new staff members soon, this might cause problems if you need to increase the system.

Physical PBX – you could buy and install an expansion card which would let you add more lines.

Combine phone and PBX – you’d need a whole new system

What Else Could I Do?

Get a POTs line (or digital) for each member of staff and use phones that connect to a virtual PBX. For six employees, this could cost:

Around $240 for phones

About $270 each month (that breaks down to $20 per employee per month for PBX and $25 each month for each line)

The advantage of the virtual PBX is that it could work for remote employees.

I Have Offices all over the Country

Your best choice would be a virtual PBX that uses VoIP and would save you money on calls between offices.

How do I Choose?

Start by checking out your local phone and broadband providers. They may offer packages including digital phones and a virtual PBX. This may cost more but would be more reliable than options 1 or 2. Check that your digital phone lines would be different from the line you use for connecting to the internet. Make sure you would have enough bandwidth for both. 

Checklist

How big do you expect your business to be in a few years’ time? Going for a less expensive solution now may not scale up when you employ more people.

If you go for a virtual PBX, will the provider stay the distance as you expand?

Remember – phone systems don’t need to be exciting – just reliable.

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