Expensive Business Phone Services
Traditional and small businesses probably call their local phone provider (AT&T, BellSouth, etc.), and setup a business account with multiple extensions. In other cases they get a business phone service from their internet service providers. Some businesses and startups have a work from home or they simply work remotely (in office shared spaces, home-offices or simply on the road) that needs to be on the same phone system so they can use extensions, conference bridges, check voicemails via web, etc and end using popular VoIP based services such as Vonage Business, RingCentral or Nextiva. These services tend to be cost-prohibitive for these kind of players and creates a fixed or variable cost per extension.
Small VoIP providers are cheap
Yes, there are plenty cheap providers out there, and some of them are “fishy”, because they actually set up, and not to mention their voice services might be bad because they host several clients on a same server or virtual server to save costs, they also actually have access to your call logs, voicemails, etc, so it’s a risk to know if your data and your voicemails are really safe from unwanted persons to access them.
So, is it possible to have something better where I can have full control?
Yes! Using cloud hosting it is easy to simply set up a PBX (Phone Branch Exchange) of the size you need and simply start managing your own phone system. You can set it up using an Open Source solution such as FreePBX they offer a totally free license version which you can set up on your own and they even release maintenance packages for it, so you can keep a real nice and secure phone system on your own. There are plenty of other solutions, some of them with paid licenses like: FusionPBX, FreeSWITCH, Wazo. At the moment we published this article, we have tested FreePBX first hand and we loved it! But the beauty in all of this is, that every single of these solutions have their own advantages and they all can be “cloud-sized”, so you can have any of these in the cloud and enjoy their benefits like their full control and save a lot of money in the process.
Now, setting up the PBX is just the first step. After that, you must setup an account with a SIP Trunk Provider, which is basically a company that offers the proper routes or communications with the common and regular landline phone systems. There are plenty of players out there, however, the one we have had experience (and a good one) is Twilio. They offer a lot of services which include SMS, VoIP and even Video Conferencing. Their voice services rates are elastic, which means you don’t have to sign up for a monthly minutes plan, you can just pay what you consume and their minute’s costs are average in comparison with providers in the market, so it makes a great deal.
Using a self-hosted solution with Twilio can save you costs. We have seen customers who have decreased bills for a $200/month to $20/month, and this would include around 3,000 minutes of “on-air” (incoming and outgoing landline & cell phone calls), international calls and even SMSes.
Do I need special equipment?
Not really. This will depend on you, are you more “old school” and like to have your desk phone on your table? Then yes, you will simply need to find a regular VoIP capable phone, there are plenty and they can be found anywhere, even in Amazon. Are you more a “road warrior” or do you prefer to be as mobile as possible? Then you can simply purchase a VoIP app such as Zoiper (although, they have a limited version for free which works well too) and set it up on your cell phone or even your laptop, so you can make and receive all your business calls through your already owned devices and you minimize the amount of devices (and of course, the cost is a lot less). If you already have a VoIP phone device, chances are that you can re-use it as well.
Implementation isn’t easy though
Implementing these solutions require a lot of thought, as PBX solutions must be really secured in order to not have call thieving, which consists that an external person finds your PBX in the Internet and if it’s not properly secured, they could simply place calls (even international ones!) at your expense. This is why, even though maintenance of these PBX is not a big deal, their setup is in order to have a proper solution.
How to get started?
We can get you started, we can launch your PBX using any of these mentioned solutions in your own Amazon account. this gives you peace of mind that it will be properly setup and you will have full control after it has been launched and we can provide you training on how to use it. Want to give it a try? Let us know here.