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How much does a business telephone system cost?

Are you a small business owner who’s interested in knowing more about telephone system prices? Find out the key costs to consider here

If you’re looking to invest in telephone systems for your small business, it’s important to know how much you need to budget for a system that suits your startup’s requirements. But how do you know if you can afford a phone system for your startup? And how do you find good, cheap business telephone systems?

We’ll guide you through all the information you need to know, including cost, company size, and other considerations you should factor into the decision-making process. Plus, we’ll provide information about how much you can expect to pay for different types of phone systems.

In this article, we’ll cover:

1. Business telephone system prices: An overview

How much you can expect to pay for your business' phone system will vary depending on certain factors, such as the size and function of your business.

In this section, we’ll give you an idea of how the costs are calculated for different types of businesses, to help you find what’s best for you.

For example, while a micro business with 10 phones can expect to pay £300+, a small businesswith 20 phones, may be expected to pay around £600+.

Similarly, medium-sized businesses needing 50-60 phones are looking at costs in the region of £1,600-£1,900+, while large businesses with 200-300 phones can expect to pay even more – somewhere around £8,000+.

For more detailed information about phone system costs based on different business sizes, read our dedicated section below.

Cost considerations

When buying a phone system, it can be easy to think that the cheapest price is the best for your budget. But what factors should you take into account, in addition to the price point, when selecting a system for your startup?

  • Are the cheapest systems also the most valuable? For example, while a small price tag may seem like a great deal, consider the costs of repairs and maintenance that a secondhand system could incur
  • What is and isn’t included in the price? A lower figure could indicate a cost-effective purchase, but be sure to review if any additional charges are applicable, such as for maintenance, support, or installation
  • Does the system have any specific requirements? Whether the system is only compatible with certain devices, or if it needs a particular amount of bandwidth, check if there are any other costs you’ll need to factor in to make the system work
  • Which ongoing charges will be applicable? Once you buy a phone system, the costs don’t always end after the initial purchase. Many often require monthly plans for calls or to use the service, so assess these charges to find out what matches your budget – both immediately and in the long-term

Also, a traditional cheap business phone line may seem like a good choice initially, but once you factor in the costs to add or remove a line as your business requires, it may not seem so cost effective.

2. Cheap business phone system suppliers

With so much information out there, how do you know which phone systems are really the least expensive? Here we profile some of the top cheapest phone systems, including how they stand out.

Supplier Type Best for Starting price
Zendesk VoIP International brand recognition From £0+ for the Talk Lite package (only pay for what you use), plus a Support package available from £5+ (prices are based on a per agent, per month and annual billing basis)
Voipfone VoIP Award-winning service (ITSPA Best Business VoIP Provider 2019) From £1 per month (create your own package)
VoIPstudio VoIP Excellent Trustpilot reviews From £3.99 per user per month
Telephone Cloud Pick and mix features From £10 per user per month

To compare quotes for telephone systems, simply complete the form at the top of the page.

3. VoIP phone system cost

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and describes a way of using the internet to make and receive phone calls. For a more detailed definition, read our ‘what is VoIP?’ article.

VoIP is suitable for businesses with the following requirements, among others:

  • Budget-conscious – as VoIP phone systems use the internet to connect calls, this can reduce call costs and other charges associated with making and receiving calls
  • Small spaces – without the need for physical phone lines, or even phones (if you choose to use softphones), a VoIP system often requires a minimal amount of space
  • Remote teams – as VoIP is an internet-based service, this means that your team members can work from multiple places, and don’t need to be tied to a particular location
Phone Best for Starting price
Datatel Networks Support Prices available on request
Gradwell Communications Affordability From £12 per user per month
Lily Communications Ease of use Prices available on request

For more VoIP-specific information, check out our dedicated pages on VoIP costs and the best VoIP providers and phones.

4. PBX phone system cost

A private branch exchange, commonly known as a PBX, is a way of connecting phone calls. Traditionally, a PBX would have been wired, although it’s now possible to use internet-based PBX systems.

PBX phone systems can be located on your premises or elsewhere, or even hosted on the cloud. Read our PBX phone system installation article for more information.

Who should use a PBX?

PBX phone systems could be suitable for a range of business needs, as they offer the flexibility to create a system that matches varying requirements (e.g. hosted or on-premises, wired or internet-based).

Phone Best for Starting price
RingCentral App integrations £7.99 to £24.99 per user per month
8×8 Speedy deployment Contact for pricing
Mitel Growing business £13.59 – £23.79 starting price per user per month

Do you want to know more about PBX? Read our comprehensive guide on PBX for a detailed look at this type of phone system.

5. Telephone system costs by company size

In this section, we break down the different costs associated with phone systems, depending on the size of the business. This should you give you a very rough idea as to the different costs involved. The prices given take into account the fact that you may be provided with refurbished phones.

Small business phone system costs

A small business is one that has fewer than 50 team members. Businesses that have up to 10 staff are classified as micro businesses.

Although it depends on the business’ requirements (and exact size), small businesses could have up to 20 phones, with micro businesses possibly needing 10 or fewer phones.

Phone type Quantity Price per unit Total
Desk 6 £27+ £162+
Reception 1 £27+ £27+
Customer service 1 £27+ £27+
Sales 1 £27+ £27+
Conference 1 £80+ £80+

Medium-sized business phone system costs

Medium-sized businesses have more than 50, but fewer than 250 team members. In this range, these types of business might require 50+ phones – a telemarketing company, for example.

Phone type Quantity Price per unit Total
Desk 30 £27+ £810+
Reception 5 £27+ £135+
Customer service 5 £27+ £135+
Sales 5 £27+ £135+
Conference 5 £80+ £400+

Large business phone system costs

Based on the above definitions, it follows that a company with 250+ staff is considered to be a large business. With this many team members, such businesses could need 300+ phones – a call centre could require this amount to function, for example.

Phone type Quantity Price per unit Total
Desk 150 £27+ £4,050+
Reception 25 £27+ £675+
Customer service 25 £27+ £675+
Sales 25 £27+ £675+
Conference 25 £80+ £2,000+

6. What other costs might I need to consider?

In addition to finding the cheapest system and one which matches the size of your business, there are additional costs to factor in when calculating telephone system prices. These include:

  • Installation – you’ll need to factor in the fee for a professional installation, unless you or your team members have the relevant expertise
  • Maintenance – whether you need remote support or an in-person visit, it’s likely that your phone system will need maintenance on at least a yearly basis, if not more frequently. The amount you’ll be charged depends on the level of cover you choose, with more comprehensive packages likely to incur higher prices
  • Training – you and your team may require specialist training to use the systems effectively. The costs for this vary, depending on if training is available internally, or if it needs to be delivered by an external organisation
  • Ongoing charges – these could include the business energy charges required to run the system, as well as the monthly call plans and other services
  • Extra plan charges – if you opt for a pre-agreed amount of minutes, then go over this, you may incur additional fees from your provider

Next steps: Compare telephone system prices

From reading this article, you’ve learned more about the different elements that go into pricing a phone system for your small business. We’ve covered key points, such as phone type, company size, and extra charges that you may encounter, such as installation and maintenance.

Next, read our pages on multi-line phone systems and office phone systems for additional information.

Alternatively, for information based upon your exact business needs, fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes for telephone systems now – it’s easy, free, and quick!