Hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) is a business phone system that resides in the cloud. If your company is using Hosted VoIP, the phone set on your desk utilizes the internet to connect to your provider’s phone system. This service reduces the amount of equipment a business needs to own and maintain. Hosted VoIP providers maintain multiple systems and provide automatic failover should one become inoperable.
Cabling. Do you have a Cat 5 cable outlet at each of your workstations, in your break and conference rooms? If not, you’ll want to know what it would entail to deliver cable wherever you need it. It’s more cost effective to have a third party cabling company complete this work for you than paying a Hosted VoIP provider, and they’ll provide you with an estimate ahead of time.
Bandwidth. What level of internet connectivity does your business have available to it? Ideally, you have access to Ethernet over Copper (EoC) or cable internet. If not, Hosted VoIP can become less affordable. Although, some Hosted VoIP providers will allow you to “bring your own internet” I don’t recommend it. There’s no way to assure quality voice communication in such a scenario.
How many phone lines? How many phone sets do you need and how many phone lines or call paths do you require? What percentage of your employees will be on the phone at the same time? Human nature is to order more lines than you actually need. Most businesses can get away with 40% less phone lines than phone sets. If you’re considering Hosted VoIP, start keeping track of the percentage of your employees that are using the phone at the same time.
How long is your lease? If your office lease is up in one year you’re going to want to know how difficult it will be to move your service and how comprehensive your supplier’s coverage area is. Make sure you check on the internet connectivity at any potential new location. If you don’t do your due diligence and move to a location your current provider can’t service, don’t assume they’ll let you out of your contract. You might end up paying for two different providers’ services or be hit with a termination penalty.
How important is call quality? If you’re operating a retail store or a coffee shop, maybe you can get by with below average call quality. But if the phone is a key component in your business and you don’t want to experience echoes, latency or dropped calls, make sure your Hosted VoIP provider is delivering Quality of Service (QoS). Get it in writing.
Would you prefer to own or rent? Some businesses don’t want to own a phone system and deal with the maintenance it requires. They want to limit the number of vendors they interact with. They’d rather let someone else manage software updates and other forms of maintenance. But one thing to keep in mind is that if you rent, you never stop paying for your equipment.
Does your company place a lot of long distance phone calls? The more services your business subscribes to with the same provider, the more aggressive the provider tends to be with their pricing. You should experience overall lower long distance rates with a hosted VoIP provider than you would if you were receiving your phone service, internet access and phone equipment from three separate providers.
How do your employees handle change? A new phone system requires employee training. A new Hosted VoIP system requires a little more training. One positive: Hosted providers are typically larger companies, with a national customer base. They provide training videos on their websites and maintain YouTube channels.
If your company is considering Hosted VoIP, contact CarrierBid today. We represent multiple providers and work with numerous local wiring companies. CarrierBid will help your company find the right solution at the best possible price.