Web conferencing costs
What is the real cost of web conferencing in 2020?
✓ Web conferencing software is available from £3.80 per user, per month
✓ Web conferencing equipment starts at £80 for a basic webcam setup
✓ Avoid the hidden fees, and compare web conferencing costs with us
How much does video conferencing cost?
A simple question, but one without a straightforward answer. Yet all the same, it’s one you’re going to have to get to grips with – particularly if your business wants the speed, convenience, and flexibility that the right web conferencing system will bring to your remote working setup.
Below, we break down all the costs involved with web conferencing. Whether you’re a small team looking for a basic web conferencing software subscription, or a larger enterprise seeking a complete telepresence solution, read on to find out how much it’s all going to cost you.
Alternatively, you can start comparing video conferencing prices right away, and for free. Simply click on the microphone to tell us more about your requirements, including a bit of info about your business, and the number of users you’ll need your new communication software to support.
You’ll then receive quotes tailored to your business’ size, from a communications solution provider handpicked to help you scale.
Cost of web conferencing software
The first thing you’ll need to boss your business’ remote working situation is good web conferencing software.
While the hardware (i.e. cameras, speakers, microphones) certainly makes for a more comfortable, professional setup, all you really need to get going is your device, and an application such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts.
Let’s take a look at the different costs involved here.
Per host pricing
A host (also called an ‘organiser’) is essentially just someone that actively schedules and facilitates meetings. ‘Per host’ pricing plans won’t bill you for meeting participants or guests – just those holding them.
Web conferencing software priced this way tends to clock in at around £8 to £12 per host/organiser, per month. Popular examples include:
- GoToMeeting (from £9.50 per host, per month)
- BlueJeans (from £8.86 per host, per month)
- Cisco Webex (from £11.25 per host, per month)
- Zoom (from £11.99 per host, per month)
- Zoho Meeting (from £6.30 per host, per month)
Per user pricing
Other web conferencing providers charge per user. In this model, you’ll pay a fee for each member of your team with access to the software. Everyone can make calls, and is able to organise virtual meetings.
Web conferencing providers that use this pricing model include:
- Join.me (from £9 per user, per month)
- Microsoft Teams (from £3.80 per user, per month)
- RingCentral (from £7.99 per user, per month)
If you have a small, dynamic team that will all require the ability to organise and host calls, it makes sense to pay per user. However, if it’s just yourself (or a select group of managers) that will be facilitating remote meetings, a per host model offers better value.
The licence fees above aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ kind of deal. Different businesses won’t require all the same features, and larger enterprises will need systems that sport a wider scope of abilities.
That’s why web conferencing costs are tiered. Each provider offers a range of ascending pricing plans that add more features, more functionality, and (inevitably) a bigger monthly bill.
Tiered pricing allows you to pay only for the features you need, while offering much-needed room for scalability. It’s simple – as your communications needs grow, so too does the software.
Here are some examples of pricing plans, as they relate to top web conferencing providers:
|Web conferencing provider||For small businesses||For medium-sized businesses||For large businesses|
|Microsoft Teams||£3.80 (per user)||£9.40 (per user)||£17.60 (per user)|
(Per month, per host, unless specified otherwise)
The most basic plans don’t cost much (and some providers offer them for free), but they are much more limited in terms of what you can actually do. Certain features (such as screen sharing, a virtual whiteboard, and meeting recording) aren’t included in a cheaper plan.
Lower pricing plans will also limit the number of users you’re allowed, along with your total file and data storage capacity. Many plans (particularly the free ones) also limit the number of calls you can make, the duration of those calls, and the number of participants permitted. Take Zoom, for instance:
Think carefully about which web conferencing pricing plan is right for your business. Selecting too advanced a plan will mean paying for features you won’t need, while at the other end of the scale, picking one that’s too skeletal will hamper your business’ growth.
Annual vs monthly commitment
Like all SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products, web conferencing software isn’t sold, only leased. Companies want to secure your custom for as long as possible – which means you get a better deal for signing on a yearly, rather than monthly basis.
RingCentral’s pricing plans, for instance, allow you to save up to 38% by choosing annual billing:
(Per month, based on businesses with between two and 19 users)
Choosing to pay annually doesn’t equal getting shackled into a restrictive contract. Web conferencing providers are just trading reduced costs for the security of your service for a year.
Now you’ve got to grips with the software, let’s take a look at what hardware you’ll need.
Do you already have a web conferencing software solution?
Cost of web conferencing equipment
Solely software-based web conferencing solutions are great. But for larger businesses – those hit hardest by the demands of a remote working environment – they’re not necessarily a long term solution.
If this sounds like you, you’ll need to consider video conferencing equipment. That means display screens, cameras, microphones, speakers… the works.
So how much is it going to set you back?
Video conferencing equipment costs start from around £80 for a basic webcam setup. For more advanced hardware, you’re looking at between £800 and £3,000. For integrated, ‘all-in-one’ packages that offer a complete telepresence solution, that figure is upwards of £10,000… and can be as high as £40,000.
These packages bundle together the system, cameras, microphones, and speakers into a single deal, offering business class, crystal clear call quality. Our favourites are:
- Yealink VC200 (£1,385)
- Logitech Rally (£1,975)
- AVer EVC350 (£3,800 – £4,000) (pictured)
- Logitech Tap for Zoom Large Rooms (£5,220)
- Cisco CS-KITP60-K9 (£7,215)
You can buy this equipment outright (the most common option), or choose to lease it over a set time period. Leasing has its benefits – most notably the spreading out of costs over multiple months – though it can also leave you behind the curve, stuck with old technology as newer, faster models are released.
If you would prefer to lease your equipment, be sure to budget a minimum of $100 per month for an SME – though this cost could end up being as high as $280 per month, or even more.
Hidden costs of web conferencing
While the equipment and licence fees should account for the bulk of your total web conferencing costs, the devil is in the detail… and sometimes, hidden costs do apply. Be on the lookout for the following:
Many providers just put the equipment in a box, and ship it to your home or office – you’re then expected to have the technical knowhow to set it up yourself. If you don’t possess this, you may end up forking out to get your gear installed, before you’ve even made a call.
Remember, web conferencing pricing is tiered. So, though it may look as though you’re getting a good deal, you can get stuck paying extra for crucial satellite features.
Some benefits not typically included with basic plans include:
- Integration with other business software, such as Salesforce
- Call scheduling, recording, and annotation
- Security and incident management features
- Call analytics
As your business and customer base grows, so too will your need for these features – so it’s worth checking how much it’ll cost you to upgrade first.
You’ve bought your equipment, and purchased licences for you and your team. But… how do you set up those microphones? Where should the speakers go? How do you use the call interface, and get the most out of the software’s intricacies?
When you make an investment in something as crucial (and expensive) as web conferencing, you’ll want to know you’ve got the support you need – whether that’s talking you through setup, or helping out with issues on an ongoing basis.
What you don’t want is a provider to charge for this. Make a mental note now to check that there’s no ongoing support for technical support – it could end up saving you a lot of money.
Return on Investment (ROI) of web conferencing
So, what do you get for your money?
That depends on a few things; there's the size of your company and team, how much you’re willing to invest, and the extent to which your business expects to rely on remote work and meetings (right now, we’re guessing that’s a lot).
Here are three ways your business can see an ROI by implementing web conferencing.
Reduced travel costs
A complete, cloud-hosted web conferencing platform negates much of the need for business travel. First, calculate how much you’re currently spending on business trips; including expenses, and the loss of productivity from having your employees out of the office.
Then compare that to the cost of installing web conferencing in an analogous number of meeting rooms. If it balances out, you’re looking at the start of a good ROI.
More productive meetings
How many times have you booked in meeting rooms for hour-long slots, when they’ve only taken 40 minutes, or even less? Poor calendar management results in lost productivity – full stop.
With web conferencing, though, you can be more effective at scheduling meetings. You can better plan for spaces and meeting rooms, and ensure your team’s time is being spent in the most efficient manner. A few recovered minutes here and there can add up to days of recuperated revenue over the course of the year – meaning there’s a decent ROI there for the discerning business.
Replace outdated systems
Attachment to outmoded systems or ways of communication is – at best – a sentimental throwback to the early days. At worst, though, it’s holding your company back from developing, and could be costing you money, too.
Figure out the costs of keeping your current workplace communication system going, and deduct them from the charges of a brand new system. You might find a good ROI before you’ve even started!
Remember, for the best chance of selecting the web conferencing software that’s best suited to your business, we can help. By providing us with a few details about the kind of communications solution you’re looking to implement, we can match you with providers in your area.
It’s free to do, and takes about 30 seconds. When you’re finished, you’ll receive workplace communication tool quotes tailored to the specific needs of your business. Give it a try now, or browse related content below.