Businesses have more choices than ever when it comes to phone systems. Whether they want a landline, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), on-premises, cloud-hosted or completely virtual system, businesses now have hundreds of options. With this vast selection, finding a phone system that is right for your business can often be a difficult undertaking.
The first questions to answer are what type of phone connection you want – landline, VoIP or virtual – and whether you want the system hosted on premises or in the cloud. You then need to consider features, mobility access, cost and customer service before settling on which system is best for you. With so much to consider, we want to help you narrow down your choices.
Besides highlighting how each type of system differs and providing a rundown of the different business phone system costs structures, this guide also offers our recommendations on the systems we think fit best for various needs. Specifically, 8x8, RingCentral, Cisco, Ooma Office, Nextiva, Avaya, Grasshopper and Mitel are the systems we think are best for different types of businesses. You can read more about each, and the types of organizations we think they are best for, below.
If none of our recommendations work for you, scroll down even further to see a comprehensive listing of business phone systems.
RingCentral Office is one of the best business phone services because of its wealth of features, ease of use and multiple price points. The VoIP service is hosted in the cloud and requires no special equipment or wiring to install. All businesses need is the required bandwidth to support their call volume and a router that prioritizes their voice traffic.
Once the service has been activated and IP phones are plugged into Ethernet ports, your business can start making and receiving calls. The entire system is controlled via an online portal, from which administrators can assign employees phone numbers and extensions, configure the auto-receptionist, and set up answering rules.
Business phone systems have a variety of price points and structures. The hosting method – on-premises or cloud – is the determining factor in how the cost of your system will be structured.
The costs of on-premises systems are mostly one-time, upfront expenses, while the cost of cloud-hosted phone systems revolve around monthly fees. The prices for each type of system vary based on the provider, how many users you have and how many features you want.
Cloud-based phone systems typically cost $10 to $75 per user, per month. Since the system is hosted in the cloud, there usually aren't any large installation or setup costs. On-premises systems cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per user. In addition, since all of the associated equipment is housed within your business, there are large installation and setup charges. At a minimum, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars for this.
There are also some smaller monthly fees with on-premises phone systems. In order to connect to a dial tone, on-premises system users have to pay for SIP trunking or PRI circuits.
The other major expense with either system is IP phones. Phones typically cost anywhere from $50 to $400 each. If you have a cloud system, some providers will rent you phones for as little as $5 each per month.