The Definitive Cheap Business
VoIP Phone Service Buyers Guide

Our digital world requires creative solutions for customers and employees. Cheap VoIP services help you talk to your clients from anywhere and on any device. But, concerns over call quality, pricing, and installation have plagued the industry, making it increasingly difficult to find the right business phone service. Fortunately, plenty of options provide unlimited VoIP calls at an affordable price.

More than 20% of small businesses depend on cloud-based VoIP.

However, choosing the right VoIP service providers for the job isn’t an easy task. This guide will help you select VoIP solutions that protect your budget and reputation.

chapter header

Does your tech team spend too much time repairing outdated desk phone systems?

Perhaps your staff feels overwhelmed by multi-channel communications. Start by talking to your team and company stakeholders. Find out what problems they face in daily customer and team interactions.

Common reasons business owners switch to voice over internet protocol, or VoIP, include:

  • A need for increased productivity when managing several customer support channels.
  • The desire for improved customer experience and faster response times.
  • An expectation of business growth and a need to scale.
  • The use of a remote workforce that requires collaboration.
  • Dissatisfaction with high telecom costs.

Today’s workforce and customers require accessibility. Although many technologies come and go, VoIP and cloud-based services are here to stay. Companies that pivot towards agile voice over IP systems experience an increase in profits, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Plus, cheap VoIP options give you enterprise-level capabilities that build your credibility.

chapter header

Voice over Internet Protocol offers features that improve communications like video conferencing and remote apps. With proper tools, you empower teams to assist customers from anywhere. Before choosing a cheap VoIP provider, take a look at your current and future needs. Avoid future issues by selecting a provider that gives you options to grow and scale.

Get Your Team (and Customers) on the Same Page With Unified Communications

Gone are the days of providing customer support only through a dedicated landline phone. Today’s customers want help from their platform of choice. From text messaging to video conferencing, managing different channels is challenging. Unified communications systems put all your communication and collaboration networks in one spot.

Boost Productivity With VoIP Text Messaging Capabilities

Texting is the main form of communication for both team members and clients. But, not all VoIP phone systems offer SMS for businesses. Others may only provide it for administrators. Adding support options, like texting, shows customers that your company values their time.

Mobile Apps for Working From Anywhere

To please both customers and employees, more business leaders look for mobile smartphone solutions. Doing so allows team members to answer and respond to incoming messages regardless of location. While mobile apps are ideal for your sales team, remote workers also benefit. Regardless of which members of your team are utilizing mobile apps, sky-high calling rates for long-distance phone calls are no longer a concern. Your remote employees will need to ditch the home phone in favor of a smartphone to utilize this feature. But with that upgrade, they’ll be dialing in from anywhere in no time.

Save Time With the Voicemail-to-Email Voice Over IP Feature

One purpose of investing in cheap VoIP services is to increase productivity. But, you lose efficiency if your support team needs to listen and press buttons to get voicemails. Instead, the voicemail-to-email feature delivers data to your team on their chosen device.

Improve Customer Response Times Using Call Waiting and Routing

Customers are more impatient than ever. Switching to a cheap VoIP phone system doesn’t mean giving up essential capabilities like call queuing and routing. VoIP provides affordable options to lower response times. Easily add hold music to keep callers who do have to wait on the line, and route incoming calls where they need to go faster.

Enhance Communications With Voice Over Internet Protocol Team Chat Rooms

Workforce collaboration with teams across the globe can get tricky. With team chat rooms, a feature provided by some cheap VoIP providers and PBX systems, your staff can talk in real-time. Instead of transferring customers, this feature connects your team to solutions. With just an internet connection and a laptop, desktop, or even a cell phone, your team can connect with one another from anywhere with ease.

Develop Better Customer and Team Relationships With Video Conferencing

Just because we live in a digital world doesn’t mean that our clients and staff don’t want to see a human behind the screen. With video conferencing, you can get the best of both worlds. Your team and customers can talk from any device, from any place around the globe. This hands-on communication of a business phone system equipped with VoIP helps your organization collaborate and establish trust.

Make Data-Driven Decisions Based on Advanced Analytics

Access to high-quality data is critical to improving business operations. Inexpensive VoIP services provide information about every call, caller, and agent. Select providers help you narrow reporting data by dates and team members.

Rely on Your VoIP for Call Monitoring and Recording

Business owners can monitor and record phone calls from any device and location, with just a simple WiFi connection. Plus, cloud-based services store data, so you don’t have to worry about backing up critical information. Team leaders use this data to ensure every customer receives the best service.

chapter header

Shifting your organization to the cloud is easier than ever before. Yet, with so many options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming. Before making a move, it’s important to research each company. Aside from finding the cheapest VoIP, you should also ask about the provider’s hidden fees, support options, and much more.

Although many cheap Voice over IP providers offer similar features, you may find that not all your current equipment, like fax machines, are supported. Plus, when you need extra help, it’s crucial to be able to contact and speak to a real person immediately.

Learn About the Set-Up Process and Fees

Switching to a cheap Voice over Internet Protocol system shouldn’t require a hands-on IT department. Nor should your company get hit with unexpected costs. Before choosing your cloud service, talk to your provider. Find out if you’ll pay extra for setup, activation, porting, or equipment. Then, review the installation process. Make sure you can set up your VoIP service in-house or that you have access to extra support.

Inspect the VoIP Quality and Reliability

Communicating with your staff and clients is essential to businesses. Yet, dropped calls and poor call quality reflect poorly on your company. Your VoIP service may affect your reputation. Talk to your VoIP service provider about connectivity in your area. Ask for local testimonials. Then, look for customer reviews that hint at connectivity issues.

Ensure Customer Support Services Provide Real-Time Assistance

From team training to unexpected problems, VoIP customer support is critical. Yet, not all companies offer 24/7 support. Before picking a cheap Voice over IP provider, examine their support options. While an online help desk is great, having access to training materials and webinars help your team fix minor issues without waiting on hold for a customer service response.

Double-Check Support Levels for Your Current Equipment

Ask your provider if you can use your existing phones and fax machines. Some companies offer ATA gateways and help with installation. Also, check if their mobile options cover both iOS and Android phones.

Discover New Equipment Purchase or Lease Options

If you want to upgrade your equipment, then some VoIP providers sell or lease equipment. Others provide a free softphone or office phone with a contract. Ask about equipment options and pricing plans before choosing your Voice over IP service.

Determine Package and Feature Availability

Although you may not currently need video conferencing tools, as your company grows, then you’ll want more options. Avoid the hassle of switching to a new company every time you experience growth. Instead, ensure that your VoIP provider offers free upgrades.

Protect Your Business With Disaster Recovery Plans

Lastly, what happens to your data in an emergency? Communication is critical, regardless of weather conditions or security breaches. Losing your messages and voicemails isn’t an option. Ask your VoIP providers about their disaster plan. Then, find out who handles back-ups and recovery.

Once you’ve determined your must-have features and created a list of questions, then it’s time to contact providers. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of seven of the cheapest VoIP providers who provide low-cost options along with tons of value.

chapter header

Let’s face it; many small businesses don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on phone service each month. Switching to a VoIP system should save you money, not cost more. But, complicated pricing plans and hidden fees can drive up costs. Discover seven reputable providers that deliver value at a low-price.

1. Nextiva: Cheap VoIP With a Great Reputation

Since 2008, Nextiva has provided business owners with affordable VoIP. Nextiva stands out due to its reliability. Their award-winning VoIP system had zero outages in 2019. Not only do you get a company with a solid reputation for helping companies stay connected, but you also get access to tons of standard features.

Features With Every Nextiva Package

features image

As a customer-voted top VoIP provider, Nextiva delivers more of what your company needs and provides plenty of options for growth. With the basic plan, you receive access to Nextiva’s Customer Relationship Suite. This customer management relationship (CRM) system provides extra insights into your clients. For only a few dollars more per month, you can add exciting website features like live chat and customer surveys.

2. OnSIP: Budget VoIP With Limitations

OnSIP is a cheap VoIP provider that offers plans for unlimited use or pay-as-you-go. This US-based business has been around since 2004. It provides solutions for small to medium-sized companies. OnSIP is a fantastic option when you want a bare-bones cloud system.

Features With the Unlimited Package

features image

But, before choosing OnSIP, it’s important to consider if your operations will suffer from a lack of features. Or if add-on fees will skyrocket monthly costs. For example, texting is not an option. This limits your staff’s communication with customers. OnSIP also charges extra for essential features such as inbound toll-free calls, conference suite, and a reporting dashboard. Plus, you’ll pay one-time setup fees to port or add a new phone number.

3. Jive: Feature-Rich VoIP

Jive Communications offers more than 80 hosted VoIP and unified communications features. The company uses a tiered payment plan, so it works for companies of all sizes. You’ll have access to in-demand options like voicemail-to-email and CRM integrations.

Voice Features on All Plans

features image

But, you’ll pay extra fees for international calling, toll-free numbers, and number porting. Jive also requires more IT knowledge than other cheap VoIP providers. Both setup and maintenance may be more challenging. Jive also lacks some reporting options available through other services. Plus, the tiered pricing model can make it pricey for small companies with only a few users.

4. Grasshopper: Just the Basics for Small Businesses

Grasshopper is a virtual call service geared towards solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Although Grasshopper isn’t considered one of the cheapest VoIP providers, it’s a good solution for those who don’t want to pay per user. Instead, Grasshopper uses a payment program that serves up either one phone number, three phone numbers, or five phone numbers. Depending on your plan, you’ll have three, six, or unlimited extensions.

Features on Grasshopper Plans

features image

Unfortunately, Grasshopper doesn’t support SMS messages for individual users at your company. Video conferencing and call recording aren’t offered either. A lack of features makes it difficult for owners who want a long term solution that grows with their company.

5. DialPad: Cheap VoIP With Classic Integrations

DialPad provides solutions for both small businesses and large enterprises. This company focuses on software integrations and robust support for iOS and Android phones. Integrations with software like Microsoft 360 and the Google Suite make data management easier. From receiving text messages to handling conference calls, the standard package provides features perfect for small business owners.

Standard Plan VoIP Features

features image

However, it’s important to read the fine print. Prepare to pay extra for options like dedicated fax lines, Salesforce integration, and voicemail transcription. As a relatively newer company, DialPad is a good solution for companies that need extra features at an affordable monthly cost.

6. VoIPstudio: Low-Volume and International Plans

VoIPstudio provides options for businesses at different levels. For example, organizations that make and receive international calls frequently may benefit from their international calling plan. This plan offers calls to all countries with 2,000 minutes at a flat rate. VoIPstudio’s biggest draw is that it doesn’t push premium features. Instead, all features are available to customers on the basic plan. Plus, you’ll find a variety of information on their website on how to best use these options to your advantage.

Essential VoIP Features on the Basic Plan

features image

Although global users appreciate the low-cost plans, users report problems with a dated interface. Plus, VoIPstudio relies on third-party apps and doesn’t provide a bulk text messaging feature. Both of these issues limit connectivity across devices.

7. Ooma: Feature-Rich Service for a Low Price

With a rich array of features, it’s clear why PCMag selected Ooma as the number one VoIP Provider for Small Businesses. Along with features typically found on inexpensive Voice over IP systems, Ooma also provides a fax machine port (with a base station), a complimentary toll-free number, and easy installation options.

Ooma VoIP Plan Features

features image

Although global users appreciate the low-cost plans, users report problems with a dated interface. Plus, VoIPstudio relies on third-party apps and doesn’t provide a bulk text messaging feature. Both of these issues limit connectivity across devices.

Best Cheap Business VoIP Phone Service

Plan Starting Price (per month/user) Features Learn More
Nextiva $19.95

Customer Voted Top VoIP Provider 100+ Premium Features Free Unlimited Calling & Faxing Free HD Phone for Every Business 24/7 US Based Support

View Plans
Onsip $18.85

Unlimited Calling, Video Calling, Every Month Free Desk-phone for Every Business 5 or More Users, Monthly Contract

View Plans
Jive $19.95

Very Simple to Use for Admins and Users Free Upgrades, Features & Any Add-ons Use Your Computer, Mobile, or Desk-phone

View Plans
Mitel $19.95

Unlimited Calling/Faxing & Conferencing Award-winning Customer Support User-friendly & intuitive control panel

View Plans
Fonality $29.95

Voicemail to Email Unlimited Calls 99.9% Uptime

View Plans
Grasshopper $24.00

One Free Toll-Free/Local number per Line 24/7 award winning customer support Run your office from you mobile device

View Plans
Vonage $19.99

Unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada 24×7 support and live chat No special IP phones required

View Plans
chapter header

Once you’ve made your list of cheap VoIP providers, then it’s time to get to work. After all, you don’t want to sign up with the most inexpensive Voice over IP service on your list just to lower your current phone bill without doing some further research. Instead, review the features and pricing structures, and contact each company. Gather enough information to narrow your list down to your top three to five choices. Then, talk to representatives from each company about a free trial or demo.

Make a Data-Driven Decision

Although all the signs may point to your need for cheap VoIP service, it’s essential to dive into your budget and strategy to ensure that you’re going with the best plan. While unlimited Voice over Internet Protocol calls may save your business money, will the costs of switching outweigh the benefits?

By reviewing your internal data before choosing a provider, you’ll have the facts to understand what you need in a VoIP plan. Plus, it’ll be easier to get everyone on board when you can show how VoIP fits into your overall objectives.

Review Contract Information Including Extra Fees

Each VoIP provider uses a different pricing structure. Some require annual payments, while others use a pay-as-you-go plan. Choose services that lower your telecom costs now and in the future. Make a list for each provider that lays out:

If you have questions about contract wording, then ask for clarification before making a final decision. Above all, consider how your costs will change as your organization grows and scales.

Get the Most From Your Free Demo or Trial

Whether its 14-days or 30-days, use your free trial or demo to discover how each cheap VoIP service functions. Enlist help from team members so that people from all departments can test it out. Plus, access each company’s customer support options.

Essential elements to consider are:

  • How does the mobile app function on iOS and Android phones?
  • Is the call quality top-notch, or do you notice connectivity issues?
  • Can your staff adjust to the interface, or will more training be required?
  • Were you able to locate documentation online or get assistance after hours?
  • Did the service give all the features necessary for excellent customer service?

About a week before your trial period is up, send out a short survey to your staff. Ask questions from above, along with providing space for them to elaborate. It’s crucial to understand why something didn’t work for them. You may also consider sending a survey to affected customers to get their input as well.

Once you’ve compiled the information, then hold a meeting with management. Discuss the survey results and address any questions. By getting everyone on board before switching to a cheap VoIP provider, you’ll have better support once you make the final decision.