VoIP phone costs
How much does a VoIP system cost? From the size of your business to the equipment you'd prefer to use, Startups explores the factors that will determine how much VoIP will cost you
This article will answer the following questions:
How much does a VoIP phone system cost? The short answer is it depends. From the size of your business to the equipment you prefer, there are lots of factors at play, all of which will have an impact on how much VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will cost you.
So, to help you work out how much installing a VoIP system might set you back, we’re going to explore these factors – including a rough guideline for the prices you can expect.
VoIP vs. conventional phone systems: How do the costs compare?
That VoIP phone systems are cheaper than conventional telephone systems is a fact. But why is it the case?
Well, the key reason behind VoIP’s relatively low price point is that VoIP systems are software-based.
VoIP software uses your existing broadband connection to work, transmitting calls over the internet. So, VoIP requires no lines need to be paid for, laid and maintained – rather, it takes advantage of a service that you’d be paying for whether you choose VoIP or not.
Similarly, VoIP doesn’t require a lot of expensive hardware to work.
Yes, you can choose to buy VoIP phones if you prefer (more on those below), but it is also possible to make VoIP calls simply using the software and your computer – and its built-in microphone and speakers – or a mobile device.
How do VoIP phone system costs break down?
The amount you’ll spend on your VoIP system will be comprised of three facets:
1. A fixed line rental fee
In return for its VoIP services, you’ll pay your VoIP provider by subscription, with a line rental fee each month.
Where on this spectrum your payment plan sits will depend on a number of factors – and not just how reasonably priced your VoIP provider is. These factors include:
- The package features you’ll need
- The number of employees you’ll have using the VoIP system
- The length of your subscription agreement
We’ll explore these in more detail below.
2. Usage costs
On top of your line rental, some VoIP providers will also charge you for the minutes you spend making calls using your VoIP system – much like a traditional phone bill.
Meanwhile, other providers will offer you a call package – giving you a certain number of (or unlimited) minutes to use each month – and charge an additional fixed fee for that.
Of course, some providers simply include usage fees within their monthly line rental charge, meaning that’s the only regular fee you need pay.
3. Any additional costs
You might also choose to fork out some extra money to get your VoIP phone system up and running to the operational standard you desire. These costs might cover:
- Buying VoIP phone hardware
- Upgrading to better broadband that can deliver quality VoIP calls
Again, we’ll explore these in more detail below.
What factors will affect my VoIP line rental cost?
The features included in your subscription
The more comprehensive and advanced your VoIP package, the more expensive your rental fee is going to be.
VoIP providers tend to offer several tiers of subscription. Your cheaper, more basic packages (sitting at the £10 to £20 end of the spectrum) usually come with most of the expected features, such as:
- Unlimited VoIP calls, and limited landline calls
- Call holding and forwarding
- Customer support within certain time frames – for example, 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
Meanwhile, the more expensive packages (veering towards the £30 to £50 bracket) come with all of the above plus more advanced features, such as:
- Voicemail-to-text or voicemail-to-email services
- CRM integration
- Unlimited international and landline calls
- Automatic callbacks
- Call data analytics
- 24/7 customer support
You’ll need to carefully consider which features you’re likely to need – and work out how much value these features will add to your operations – before settling on a plan.
The number of users you’ll introduce
It’s important to remember that the majority of VoIP providers charge their rental fees per VoIP system user, per month.
Obviously, if you’re a one-man-band, this isn’t something that’ll affect you. But if you have a team of three telemarketers under you, be aware that you’ll be charged a rental fee for each of them.
So, if your rental fee is, say, £15 per month and you’ve got four people using the VoIP system, your total rental cost is going to come to £60 per month – £15 for each user.
The length of your agreement
VoIP providers tend to offer subscriptions in 12 and 24-month contracts, though many will be open to working out a bespoke subscription length with you if you need it.
It goes without saying that the longer your contract agreement, the cheaper your monthly payments will be.
That being said, it’s better to plump for a shorter contract if you’re still getting established. Running a start-up can be an unpredictable affair, and you don’t want to be locked into a contract that you might not need to fulfill.
What additional cost considerations do I need to make?
Will you need to buy hardware?
While conventional telephone systems require – yep, you’ve guessed it – telephones to be stationed at each user’s desk, VoIP systems are largely software-based and don’t need a lot of additional hardware.
In fact, there are only three pieces of equipment you’ll want to consider buying:
1. Headsets with microphones
You can use VoIP software to make and receive phone calls via your computer, tablet or mobile phone – also known, in this context, as softphone devices. This gives you the freedom to simply use the equipment you already have to get going with VoIP.
Having said that, if you’re going to make calls using your computer, using a headset is generally a better idea than relying on your PC’s built-in microphone and speakers.
Using a headset means your calls remain private, and sound quality will ultimately be clearer through it. These factors are especially important if you’re going to have more than one person using the VoIP system at a time.
2. VoIP phones
Of course, if you and your staff would feel more comfortable using phones to take and make calls, that’s also a possibility with VoIP – thanks to dedicated VoIP phones.
VoIP phones – also known as IP phones – look much the same as conventional phones, with a handset, cradle, keypad and caller ID display.
Unlike traditional telephones, however, VoIP phones connect to the internet; either using a Ethernet connector, a built-in modem or wifi. As such, they can make calls using VoIP.
3. ATAs (analogue telephone adaptors)
An ATA is a device that plugs into a conventional phone and transforms it into a VoIP phone that’s able to make and receive calls over the internet.
This could be a great option if your office already has conventional phones that you’d rather not see go to waste.
Do you need to improve your broadband connection?
The clarity and reliability of your VoIP calls will rely heavily on how good your internet connection is.
If you’ve got ultra-fast, fibre optic broadband, your call quality is going to be pristine. If your broadband is more unreliable than a London commuter train, it might sound like you’re calling your clients from the bottom of the sea.
This can be a real concern, so if you’ve been suffering with slow internet, it’s worth looking into getting it upgraded before setting up a VoIP telephone system. This, of course, makes for an additional cost.
Hopefully, you now have a greater understanding of the costs involved in setting up VoIP calls for your business.
Now, it’s time to speak directly to VoIP (and other phone system) providers to help you find the best option for your venture – and give you an even clearer idea of how much it’ll cost. We can help you here.
Simply fill in the form at the top of this page, and you’ll receive bespoke quotes from the phone system providers who can supply what your business needs. This process is free and fast – so get started today!