Surprise! No, It’s Not Your Birthday, Just Your Phone Bill

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Surprise! You owe more money than you agreed to! 

Unfortunately, unlike your birthday party, this surprise doesn’t include balloons and cake. (Well, unless someone has an awfully sick sense of humor.) Sure, surprises can be fun, but not when they involve your new Voice over IP (VoIP) business phone system and monthly service bill.   

Old-school phone companies are notorious for hidden costs and surprise fees. Consider these 3 areas before deciding on your business’s phone system provider in Lafayette, Indiana.

1 – Equipment

If you’re installing your first internet-based phone system in Lafayette, Indiana, a few required items include the phones, analog adapters, switches, and routers. The initial equipment cost may fluctuate significantly depending on whether you choose an on-premise or cloud-based hosted VoIP phone system. 

On-premise systems require a physical “box in the closet” (aka PBX), which seriously increases upfront costs. You won’t incur that with a hosted VoIP system. Some providers offer equipment rental agreements; however, it’s typically more cost-effective to purchase it outright. Just remember to double-check that the phones will be compatible with other VoIP systems if you choose to change providers.

2 – Monthly Cost

Internet-based phone companies typically use one of three pricing models for monthly service – à la carte, buffet, or usage. 

The à la carte model has a base price for each user/extension (aka “seat”). This is the price they advertise because it’s the lowest. However, if you need advanced features – voicemail, call recording, ring groups, etc. – the cost-per-user increases for each feature you add. Depending on your monthly budget, this model can limit your business’s ability to maximize the system’s full potential. 

The buffet pricing approach is also per user/extension, but the system features are limitless and there’s no additional cost. You don’t have to spend time figuring out which user needs which features. You’re not required to use them all, but having them available gives you more flexibility to customize the system to fit your business’s needs. You can easily change the phone system as your company changes. VoIP providers using this model sometimes include support and system maintenance in the price-per-extension as well. 

A usage, or per-minute, pricing model can be the most attractive because the advertised monthly fees are shockingly low. Yet, if you exceed your allotted minutes, they charge outrageously high overage fees. This model has the potential to cause one of those unwanted “you-owe-more-money” surprises, which are especially painful if you are tightly managing monthly cash flow. These VoIP systems tend to have few features and functionality, so be sure to look closely at what you are really paying for.

3 – Contracts and Hidden Fees

Ahhh, the fine print. If you’re known to skim over legal jargon, then you should delegate it to the most detail-oriented person on your staff, OR, ask the VoIP provider a few key questions before signing your name on the bottom line.

  • Does the company require a long-term contract? Are there early termination fees? 
  • What are the typical fluctuating monthly fees and taxes?
  • Is installation included? 
  • What are the costs associated with customer service calls or system maintenance? 

Your Business Phone Company in Lafayette, IN

It’s easy to collect estimates when you start shopping for a VoIP service provider. The true challenge is trying to compare them and make a final decision if each company uses a different pricing model. UpLync Communications, a VoIP phone company in Lafayette, Indiana, wants to help your small business succeed and offers free, unbiased quote comparison services. Save yourself time and headaches. Let the experts at UpLync help.