Market musings

What Are Some Low-cost Alternatives to VoIP?

by Sasha Viasasha
September 5, 2017

VoIP was a good start. There's no doubt it can reduce the cost of a small business phone system by 50% or more. There's a new alternative, though, that can drop phone costs by 80% for businesses of 3-30 employees.  

Costs vary enormously based on a wide variety of factors, but a 30-employee business used to count on paying around $25,000 for a PBX system installation and $350 per month after that. In comparison, an average VoIP installation of 30 IP phones and 7500 outbound minutes might cost about $5,000 and then $590 per month. 

Those prices don't include cabling. Does your office have Cat3 or Cat5? You might need to rewire the office to be able to use the IP phone hardware.

That also doesn’t include the cost of hiring a technician to set it all up or taking time away from running your business to try to figure it all out yourself.

What are some low-cost alternatives to VoIP?

Free web calls

There’s a category of services like Google Voice and Microsoft Skype that offer free phone calls to some numbers, but have additional fees to upgrade. For example, you can't call regular numbers with Skype unless you pay by call or buy a package. Google Voice calls appear in unpredictable ways in CallerID or are blocked automatically by some businesses.

Even the best of these systems tend to have poor voice quality and don’t present a professional image. They can be most useful for sole proprietors operating on a shoe string. In addition, for those who aren’t technical and don’t have easy access to an inexpensive IT person, these systems have the virtue of being easy to set up.

Low-cost VoIP-lite (For 5 employees or less)

The next category of services include services like Grasshopper by Citrix. They are designed to offer a VoIP-like experience to very small businesses or a tight group of partners. You will usually pay by the minute for phone calls plus a base price for up to 5 lines. Spotty voice quality is a consistent problem for these services and when the company grows past their user limit, you’ll need to find a new service.

Use your mobile phone

You already have all the hardware you need. Spoke recognizes that you and your employees have made significant investments in the kind of phone you want to use. Spoke eliminates installation costs, complexity, investment in office hardware for a 100% mobile solution.

The fact is that employees are already using their own mobile phones, even if you are paying for a business phone system. 65% of small business employees are giving out their mobile numbers and 75% are forwarding their company lines to their mobile phones.

There's no reason anymore why you can't just ditch the office-bound phone lines entirely. All you will need to do is download an app to gain a shared company number, easy transfers, group ringing, local numbers anywhere and an AI assistant to answer calls when everyone is busy. You use your own mobile carriers voice minutes so it doesn’t touch your data plan. As the company grows and your staff changes, your employee directory is instantly updated the moment they add or delete your custom Spoke app.

Learn more about the Spoke revolution on our FAQ page and try Spoke for free. We are a small business, and we know that small businesses need cash flow, not expensive phone-shaped office ornaments. We want to help you make better use of the resources you have on hand (literally) and reinvest the savings back into growing your business.

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