A reliable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system can boost your business’s productivity while reducing communication expenses and maintenance. But like most IT solutions, the costs around VoIP solutions vary. It’s important to understand the different factors that play into the total cost of owning or renting a VoIP system if you want to get the most value out of it. Here are four important VoIP costs to keep in mind.
Related reading: VoIP basics: An SMBs guide to Voice over Internet Protocol
Upfront costs cover VoIP equipment and services that are clearly price-tagged. In most cases, these include hardware, telephony environment upgrade, and software licensing. It’s worth noting, however, that there is no significant initial investment with VoIP solutions unless you purchase a system outright. Even then, it’s usually a one-off expense and payment will not go on indefinitely. This option is ideal for large corporations with sizable budgets.
On the other hand, hosted VoIP solutions make the most sense for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). You simply have to pay a small monthly subscription to rent a VoIP system from a third-party provider — and purchase additional hardware, if necessary — rather than shell out a huge amount upfront. This not only lowers infrastructure costs, but also makes it easier to manage your IT budget.
In addition to paying for hardware and continuous user licensing, you may incur expenses for upgrading your current network or internet bandwidth to support VoIP and ensure crystal-clear calls. This could also entail purchasing cables, routers, LAN equipment, and network security devices.
Implementation costs primarily comprise the fees associated with the design, deployment, and configuration of your VoIP system. These go to your consultant or managed IT services provider.
If you are installing a completely new business phone system, implementation costs may also include user training to ensure employees know how to use the system securely and effectively. It’s worth pointing out, though, that leading VoIP systems are ready to plug and play and have intuitive user interfaces. These also require minimal initial training for administrators to become familiar with system functions and configurations.
Recurring phone bills and network expenses fall under operational costs. Note that some VoIP providers charge local, long-distance, and international calls by the minute, while others offer unlimited calls for a fixed monthly fee. Not only that, but some solutions might not have all the functionalities you need, so you may need to spend more on additional calling features such as call recording, video conferencing, and unified communications.
If you manage your own VoIP infrastructure, you also have to take into account monthly utilities, cooling, and maintenance fees. Additionally, with on-premise systems, repairs and maintenance require expensive expert help, so you’ll likely need to hire additional staff or contractors. Either way, this can set your business back thousands of dollars per year. On the other hand, with hosted VoIP services, you are only billed for management and maintenance.
At some point, you may want or need to improve your VoIP system. That’s why it’s important to set aside some room in your budget for hardware parts and replacements, as well as software upgrades and updates. For instance, you could integrate customer relationship management or CRM software into your system to enhance customer service and, consequently, customer satisfaction.
Related reading: Best practices to maximize your CRM
Evaluating all the different costs involved in owning or renting a VoIP system will give you a clear idea of how much you can expect to pay for it. If you’re having trouble putting a figure on VoIP, get in touch with our experts today. We’ll help you figure out which VoIP solution is most ideal for your needs and budget.