There are many business VoIP providers that offer unlimited minutes. But not every business needs or can afford an “all you can eat” plan. VoIP has some of the cheapest plans out there, from low-volume minute plans all the way down to per-call rates with no (non-government) fees. VoIP also has features that you’d expect from an expensive provider, but for way less. VoIP is a great alternative to using your cell phone as your business phone, too.
One major business phone provider charges $61.50 per line per month for unlimited nationwide calling, and $78.50 for features like call waiting, 3-way calling, and line hunting. That’s a premium of $17 just for features. Every VoIP minute has about 40 features, whether you use one minute or ten thousand. While there is some variation on features and pricing, you can expect call features like caller ID and call waiting as a given (that’s why I refer to them as “standard call features” in our head to head series); “premium” features like auto-attendants, music on hold, and dial-by-name directories are also available at even the lowest tiers, and without a premium price tag.
But what about SMBs that don’t need or can’t afford unlimited minutes? Features aside, the per-minute rates on metered plans are much cheaper. For domestic PSTN/Cellular calls, OnSIP, for example, charges 2.9 cents per minute, with SIP-to-SIP calls free; CallCentric charges 1.9 cents per minute, also with SIP-to-SIP calls free; eVoice’s lowest rate plan is $9.95 for 300 minutes.
For many small businesses, only going by cell phones sounds like a good idea. Calls between members of the same network are free, and you can get some pretty good metered minute plans. But, this method has some limitations. For one, the individual employees have to give out the same number to their sweeties as they do to their customers. There is also no unified presence to customers. If you subscribe to a VoIP service, you can use either the company’s propriety mobile app or a free SIP client. VoIP mobile apps route all your companies through your main number, so your customer’s caller ID will read your company’s name and phone number.
The best thing about VoIP for small business is that it actually helps business grow. How is this possible? It’s because VoIP has many features that help subscribers keep in touch with customers, and that can mean the difference between making a sale and losing it. VoIP subscribers don’t just get voice mail, they can get their voice mail forwarded to their phone or email; they don’t just get a call forwarded, they can set specific rules about where a call is sent throughout the day. As if that weren’t enough, VoIP scales easily, so when you hire new employees, you can easily integrate them into your network. Business VoIP is the best choice for small businesses and sole proprietors. Read our business VoIP reviews to find the best VoIP service provider for you.