Many businesses rely on their phone systems; for building and maintaining relationships with clients, closing sales, or responding to their customer or audience’s needs. Unfortunately this essential equipment can be quite costly.
This article will give you an overview of phone rates for businesses in the UK, and how you can lower your costs without sacrificing service and quality.
Business Phone Cost Overview
If your business handles high volumes of outgoing calls, then it goes without saying that you will be receiving quite substantial bills each month. Whilst some costs are necessary, you may be surprised at the amount you can save in the long run. That is, if you are willing to make a few smart investments of time and money today.
VoIP or PBX?
Before your business can identify which phone system represents the best deal, you should consider whether you would prefer a VoIP Phone System or Traditional PBX system.
Traditional PBX Business Phone Systems
Traditional PBX systems use permanent on-site hardware, which is installed with a set number of lines and handsets. The main pros and cons of these systems include:
✔ Because the wiring is in-house they are far less likely to disconnect than a VoIP phone which relies on internet connection.
✔ Traditional PBX phone handsets are built to last a lifetime.
✗ The required hardware makes them far more expensive to implement.
✗ On-site set up means they are not adaptable to change (for example if you move your office location or expand).
✗ Hardware must be maintained and upgraded to keep running smoothly (which costs extra).
✗ Call capacity is limited by the number of lines you have.
✗ Payment is done per line and the number of lines is time consuming to change.
✗ Charges will be added for long distance calls.
VoIP Business Phone Systems
In contrast, little to no new equipment is needed to set up a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Phone System, which uses IP or Cloud (also known as “hosted” or “virtual”) PBX instead of traditional wiring.
The benefits and downfalls of VoIP include:
✗ The reliance on internet capabilities to send audio back and forth may cause some (albeit infrequent) dropout in connection and call quality.
✔ Businesses are given a huge range of choice over which phones they can use.
There are hundreds of modern handset options, but even these are optional as a wide range of devices that employees may already own can also be integrated into the system, such as smartphones or laptops.
✔ The ability to connect various devices such as mobiles means that users can make calls from anywhere- perfect for those who work from home or travel.
This can also be a life saver if circumstances such as a power cut or weather conditions prevent access to your office handsets.
✔ Because no new hardware is needed, VoIP phone systems are far cheaper to implement.
✔ Perhaps most importantly, call costs are between 50% - 70% lower
This is due to the online method used, which converts sound into small digital packets.
✔ Long distance calls do not cost any extra.
✔ The number of users able to connect can be adapted within minutes.
This flexibility means you won’t need to continue paying for calling functions if an employee leaves, but can quickly add resource when someone is hired. It also allows your company to make changes in response to changing call capacity.
✔ VoIP systems have no physical limitations, removing any issues that would usually occur when changing office size or location.
✔ VoIP Business phones are just as feature-rich as PBX Systems, but also offer additional features.
For example, many VoIP phones offer voicemail to email transcription and an auto-attendant (customisable virtual receptionist).
✔ VoIP software does not require any maintenance. It is updated and upgraded automatically.
~ Payment is done per user/device.
This is cheaper for SME’s, but fast growing businesses approaching 50+ employees may get more value from a hybrid VoIP/ Traditional PBX Business Phone System. (Many VoIP Providers will offer this.)
For most businesses, choosing VoIP will lower costs significantly, even if a traditional PBX set up already exists within the office. Their integration with modern technology also contributes to their growing popularity.
Find out more about VoIP Business Phones here, including the Top 10 VoIP System Providers, and the Top 10 VoIP Desk Phones in the UK this year.
Business Phone Line Installation Rates
|Business Line Installation|
|Number of Lines||Price Per Line|
|Two - Five||£79|
|More Than Six||£69|
If you do opt for a traditional PBX system and you are a new business starting from scratch, you will need business phone lines installing. Look for companies offering packages that are specifically designed for small businesses to get the best deal.
The estimated installation of a business line is £99 but, the more lines you require, the cheaper they become. (Similarly, if you opt for VoIP, the more users you add the cheaper the cost will be per user.)
If you need between 2 and 5 lines installed on your business premises then you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £79 per line. If you are going to need at least 6 lines installed then the prices are further reduced at £69 per line installation.
It's also worth bearing in mind that some companies will actually install a line for free if you take out the broadband option. No doubt internet is something else that your office will require if you’re just starting out, so this could be extremely cost effective.
Don’t be Afraid to Challenge and Change
Telephone service providers are always updating and renewing their special offers. Whatever your requirements, after 6 months or so, even if you opted for the best deal at the time of choosing your current supplier, there will almost certainly be different offers available that undercut your deal considerably. (You can use Expert Market’s quote comparison tool to check the latest prices for business telephone systems).
With VoIP Phone Systems, don’t hesitate to call your current supplier if you have found a better deal on their site or from a competitor. Eager to hold on to your loyalty, they will be able to reduce your call costs in a single phone call 9 times out of 10.
When this isn’t the case, you should consider switching providers. Although this sounds like a hassle, most companies will have you set up fully in less than a day, with no downtime to your communications.
For traditional PBX companies, many can reroute your service using your existing lines and offer deals including broadband, phone service, free installation and a free router for less than £20 per month. Definitely worth looking into if your current provider's prices have rocketed.
Comparing call packages and deals can be quite confusing. It's best to sit down and work out exactly the type of package you will need beforehand.
If you are opting for a traditional system you should consider whether you are going to be making mainly UK based calls or whether you will be operating abroad. You should also decide at what time of day, or night, you will be using the phone line most.
For a standard traditional line rental a small business can expect to pay between £13 and £15 per month (excluding initial installation costs) but, naturally, this will increase as you start to add your specific requirements. For example, unlimited peak calls will cost around £6 extra per month and unlimited anytime calls around £12 extra per month.
You may also want to opt for a package that includes management features such as capped calls. This will cost a little more again but will also prevent excess spending, saving money in the long run.
VoIP phone systems are considerably less expensive. You can start using an entry level VoIP phone package on an annual contract for as little at £7.99 per month (for 2+ users), or £12.99 per month with rolling monthly payment.
Expert Market has an extensive database of information and team of dedicated experts here to help your business thrive. To find out more about business phone systems and compare the latest price quotes just fill out our short form. We’ll match your business needs to the best suited providers in your area, based on the information you provide.