January 16, 2023

Best Small Business VoIP

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Inefficient phone systems can hurt your business. Fortunately, VoIP providers can help. Read on to learn which one is best for you.

Traditional phone lines aren't right for many businesses. Remote or on-the-go teams might not even be able to use them.

Plus, the high price of analog phones can eat into your profits.

That's why VoIP phone systems can be a great alternative. They're convenient, accessible, and budget-friendly.

But there are so many providers and features that it can be difficult to select the right service.

Read on to learn more about the best VoIP providers, including pricing and features.

What Is VoIP?

VoIP, short for "Voice over Internet Protocol," allows you to make and receive calls on any compatible device via the internet.

You only need high-speed internet, a service provider, and an app. This allows you to take calls on your computer or mobile device.

Is VoIP good for a small business?
Yes, it is. VoIP minimizes your phone expenses while still getting the needed features. Unlike traditional landlines, it gives you more flexibility and versatility because you can take it anywhere.

Your phone system can also grow alongside your business since you can just upgrade your subscription to accommodate changes.

VoIP works by converting your voice into digital data packets. These are then sent to the other person over the internet in real-time, so it works like a regular phone line.

Many services also use VoIP for unified communication functions like video calls and conferencing. It's a convenient option for many business owners because they don't have to pay for several services just to get what they need.

VoIP vs Landline: How Do They Compare?

VoIPLandline
ProsConsProsCons
Simple setup and maintainNeeds stable internetStable call qualityLimited to one location and device
Easy to useOnly compatible with newer devicesWorks during bad weather or power outagesHigher costs, especially for international calls
Lower costs than landlinesMight not work during bad weather or power outagesNeeds physical installation and maintenance
Can be used almost anywhereRequires more physical lines for more users
Can easily accommodate more usersMore difficult to use

For years, businesses have used landlines to connect with customers and team members. But they're no longer as effective because of their limitations.

VoIP and virtual phone systems are now often the better choice because it offers everything landlines do but with more features, fewer restrictions, and lower costs.

To better understand if your business can benefit from VoIP, check out the pros and cons of each one:

Easy to Use
With VoIP, everything you need to connect is in one app. You don't have to memorize multiple phone numbers to reach other people in your business. The same goes for your customers.

Simple Setup and Maintenance
VoIP lets you use your current devices since most gadgets are already compatible. This eliminates the need for complicated and expensive installations. It's also more accessible since more than 90% of the U.S. population has regular access to the internet.

Technicians can also do any required repairs or maintenance to the service remotely. In fact, you only have to worry about your internet connection in most cases.

Landlines still rely on physical phone lines, so you'll have to double-check where to route the wires. You'll need specific hardware to use the service. They're also harder to maintain because technicians will need to visit your location for repairs or maintenance.

How do I set up a VoIP phone system for small businesses?
The exact setup instructions will vary from company to company. But generally, you need to do the following:
  • Download and install their mobile/desktop/web app
  • Choose your virtual phone number/port your current number
  • Add users to your subscription

Flexible and Affordable
VoIP allows you to make or receive calls wherever and whenever you want. You can also make international phone calls at a fraction of the cost of landline calls. Your business can save as much as 50% on your monthly phone bills with VoIP.

Some VoIP providers even offer free business phone numbers.

Besides that, most VoIP phone systems have more advanced features like voicemail or virtual fax included in their plans.

On the other hand, landlines are limited to just one location - where they're installed. Their rates are usually more expensive, especially for international calls. Features like faxing, voicemail, and caller ID can also cost extra.

Is VoIP cheaper than a landline?
Yes, it is. VoIP uses your internet connection and existing hardware to make calls. Unlike landlines, you don't have to undergo a long and complicated installation process to benefit from VoIP.

Scalable for Future Growth
VoIP allows you to easily add new users to your subscription when needed. Some companies even offer discounts when more people use the service. This lets you continue your operations without replacing your entire phone system just to accommodate more team members.

With landlines, you'll need to install additional physical phone lines if you need separate numbers for each team member. Not only is this usually more expensive, but you also need to check if your infrastructure can handle it.

What Are the Drawbacks of VoIP?
Although they're very convenient, VoIP phones also have their disadvantages, like:

  • Requires stable, high-speed internet: If you have a slow or unreliable internet connection, you're more likely to experience poor call quality or issues like dropped calls. Landlines retain the same call quality for every call.

  • Unstable during bad weather/power outages: Traditional landlines work even when there's no electricity or during bad weather. VoIP relies heavily on your internet's stability, which is usually negatively affected in these situations.

  • Limited compatibility with old devices: You'll need to meet specific hardware requirements when using VoIP. This can be a problem if you have an older device since it might not be able to handle VoIP calls.

7 Best Small Business VoIPs

Whether you're looking to save on costs or just need a more efficient business phone system, you'll need a reliable VoIP service provider.

Here are the top ones you can consider:

1. RingCentral - Best for Customer Service

CREDIT ringcentral

RingCentral's services use machine learning to analyze employee interactions with customers. With this, business owners gain valuable insights into their company's customer service performance.

They also have many advanced features that make managing a business and handling customer calls simple and convenient.

RingCentral Pros + Cons

  • Easy setup and use
  • Reliable service
  • Advanced analytics and reporting features
  • Excellent call management features
  • Delays in connecting calls
  • Must upgrade to higher plans for more features

Who is it for?
RingCentral's services are ideal for small business owners who want to improve their customer service quality. It's also the best option for those who want more accurate data without needing to monitor each call closely.

This VoIP service's AI-powered analytics and reporting features can give you a clearer picture of your performance. You can use them to create data-driven strategies that boost your company's performance.

It also makes it easier for you to reward high-performing employees and better guide underperforming ones.

But if you only need AI-generated transcriptions, you can check out Dialpad's services below.

Pricing
RingCentral has four plans:

  • Essentials - $32.99/mo per user ($19.99/mo with annual plan)
  • Standard - $40.99/mo per user ($27.99/mo with annual plan)
  • Premium - $47.99/mo per user ($34.99/mo with annual plan)
  • Ultimate - $62.99/mo per user ($49.99/mo with annual plan)

The prices per user go down if you have more than 100 team members. You can choose from local, toll-free, or international numbers when you subscribe. They also offer vanity numbers if you want a more personalized phone number. Additional numbers cost extra.

RingCentral has a 14-day free trial, with a limit of 5 users and 2 desktop phones. Each user also gets 50 free domestic calls during the trial period.

Features
The key features of their plans are:

  • Unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada
  • Business SMS
  • Dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Document sharing
  • Team messaging
  • Voicemail and voicemail-to-text

RingCentral also offers desk and conference phone rentals if you need them. Our next choice is probably the best for most businesses, though.

2. Nextiva - Best Overall Pick

Nextiva offers clients reliable VoIP phone systems for every budget. In fact, they even won several awards over the years for their services. These solidified their reputation as one of the best.

They also offer many features for team collaboration, not just voice calls. So you can enjoy all the services you need for your business in just one subscription.

Nextiva Pros + Cons

  • Easy setup and use
  • Excellent customer support
  • Reliable service with 99.99% uptime
  • Enhanced control features
  • SMS and MMS are only for more expensive plans
  • Difficult cancellation process
  • Lack of transparency

Who is it for?
Nextiva's services are best for business owners looking for reliable VoIP services at reasonable prices. They can also cater to small businesses and larger companies alike. You no longer have to transfer to a new service every time your business grows.

Thanks to its easy and user-friendly interface, you can seamlessly integrate it into your operations. You can avoid experiencing delays or disruptions in your business activities.

Pricing
Nextiva offers three VoIP phone plans. For a team of 20 to 99 people, it costs:

  • Essential - $25.95/mo per user ($18.95/mo per user with annual plan)
  • Professional - $30.95/mo per user ($22.95/mo per user with annual plan)
  • Enterprise - $40.95/mo per user ($32.95/mo per user with annual plan)

You get a 7-day free trial with each plan. You can also request free demos before purchasing.

Features
The basic features you'll get with each plan are:

  • Unlimited voice calls in the U.S. and Canada
  • Free local and toll-free numbers
  • Call handling features (auto attendant, call log reports, call groups, etc.)
  • Unlimited internet faxing
  • Dedicated mobile and desktop apps
  • Toll-free minutes (limits vary for every plan)
  • Admin control features (admin portal, dashboard, user portal, etc.)

You can get features like CRM integrations, call recording, and additional toll-free minutes if you upgrade to either Professional or Enterprise.

Below you'll find our favorite service for mixing and matching features.

3. Grasshopper - Best for Contacting Customers and Clients

Grasshopper focuses on providing reliable voice-calling features at affordable prices. Their plans are also tailored to the needs of solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. This makes contacting your customers easier and more efficient.

Grasshopper Pros + Cons

  • Affordable pricing
  • Multiple extensions with each plan
  • Easy setup
  • Instant responses available
  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Designed only for smaller businesses
  • No advanced features for better team communication
  • Ideal only for voice calling

Who is it for?
Grasshopper's VoIP phone services are ideal for small business owners who want to focus more on contacting customers and clients. Each plan comes with multiple extensions and dedicated business phone numbers. These help customers reach the right person in your company.

They also offer an instant SMS response feature that allows you to respond to calls when you can't answer them. It enables you to establish a communication line with potential customers within the 5-minute golden window. This can help convert them into paying customers.

Did you know?
Around 78% of customers buy from the first company that replies to their inquiries. This is especially true if you respond within the first minute. Doing so increases your sales conversion rates by up to 391%.

If you're more interested in an all-in-one communications system for your business, check out what 8x8 has to offer in the next section.

Pricing
Grasshopper currently offers three plans to clients:

  • Solo - $31/mo ($28/mo with annual plan)
    - For 1 phone number and 3 extensions
  • Partner - $51/mo ($46/mo with annual plan)
    - For 3 phone numbers and 6 extensions
  • Small Business - $89 monthly ($80/mo with annual plan)
    - For 5 phone numbers and unlimited extensions

You also get a 7-day free trial with every plan. You can use this to test out their services before you subscribe.

Features
All plans include the same features, with only the number of phone numbers and extensions varying. Here's what's included:

  • Business phone number(s) - can be toll-free, local, or vanity
  • Dedicated desktop and mobile apps
  • Virtual fax
  • Business texting feature
  • Call forwarding
  • Instant SMS responses
  • Voicemail with transcription feature

You can also get add-ons for your plan, but these cost extra. If you want to save money, check out the next provider.

4. 8x8 - Best Budget Pick

8x8 offers customers a comprehensive VoIP phone system with unlimited features at budget-friendly prices. From voice calling to team messaging, their all-in-one system has everything you'll ever need for both internal and external communications.

8x8 Pros + Cons

  • Unlimited domestic calling for every plan
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Easy to integrate into your operations
  • Efficient call handling features
  • Unlimited calls to selected countries (X2 and X4)
  • Call quality isn't always the best
  • Buggy notifications

Who is it for?
8x8's VoIP phone services are perfect for business owners who don't want to worry about the rates whenever they make/receive calls. It's also ideal if your business regularly handles a high volume of calls.

Their unlimited voice calling allows you to contact your customers and team members anytime without worrying about your bill. You can talk to them as long as you need.

Plus, if you upgrade to their higher plans, you can also enjoy unlimited calls to selected countries.

Pricing
8x8 has 3 business communications plans:

  • Express - $15/mo per user
  • X2 - $28/mo per user
  • X4 - $57/mo per user

You get a 30-day free trial with the Express plan and free demos for the X2 and X4 plans. You'll have to contact their sales team to get a free demo.

Features
8x8 offers these basic features in all their plans:

  • Unlimited voice calling in the U.S. and Canada
  • Call handling features (hold music, auto-attendant, and voicemail)
  • Synchronized desktop, mobile, and web apps (8x8 Work)
  • Team messaging
  • Audio and video conferencing

You can get more advanced functions like voicemail transcription, call queues, and unlimited calls to other countries if you upgrade to the X2 or X4 plans.

What is the cheapest VoIP?
8x8 has the lowest starting price on this list. Their Express plan costs only $15/mo per user. They also offer unlimited services. Other options are Nextiva, Vonage, and Ooma. Their starting prices cost less than $20/mo per user.

5. Vonage - Best for Mix-and-Match Plans

Vonage allows businesses to create more personalized VoIP phone systems that fit their unique needs and budget. This gives you the best bang for your buck because you can just pay for the features you'll actually use.

Vonage Pros + Cons

  • Feature-rich plans
  • Mix-and-match system for more personalized subscriptions
  • Easy to integrate into your operations
  • Affordable prices
  • Reliable service
  • Various integrations available
  • Transferring numbers can be difficult
  • Customer service can be hard to reach

Who is it for?
Vonage's VoIP phone systems are ideal for small businesses with unique or specific needs. It's also best if you're on a tight budget or prefer something more personalized.

Their mix-and-match system allows you to customize your plan just how you want or need it. You no longer have to settle for pre-made plans that don't meet your needs. You also don't have to pay for features you won't use, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Pricing
Vonage currently has 3 subscription types:

  • Mobile - starts at $19.99/mo per user
  • Premium - starts at $29.99/mo per user
  • Advanced - starts at $39.99/mo per user

You can get discounted rates per user if you add more people to your subscription. You also get a 14-day free trial to see if their services are the right fit. They also offer VoIP-compatible hardware for an additional cost.

Features
All plans come with these basic features:

  • Unlimited voice calls and SMS
  • Dedicated mobile and desktop apps
  • Unlimited team messaging
  • Access to their Vonage App Center
  • Over 50 business phone features (caller ID, call waiting, virtual voicemail, etc.)

What's great about them is that you can choose what features to include in your plan. You can check the full selection here.

6. Dialpad - Best for Transcribing

CREDIT dialpad

Dialpad also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve their services and give the customers what they need. Their VoIP services have an excellent transcribing feature that offers highly accurate written copies of your conversations.

Dialpad Pros + Cons

  • Excellent for inbound and outbound calling
  • Advanced analytics and reporting
  • Intelligent and accurate transcriptions
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
  • Limited selection of virtual phone numbers
  • Slower responses from their customer service

Who is it for?
Dialpad's VoIP phone services are ideal for small business owners who want to stay on top of things, especially with their business calls. Their highly accurate transcriptions make tracking what's been said during phone calls easier.

This gives you a handy reference when dealing with customer concerns or other company-related matters. These transcriptions can also provide valuable insights into how your employees handle customer calls. You can then use these insights to improve your overall performance.

Pricing
Dialpad has three plan types:

  • Standard - $23/mo per user ($15/mo with annual plan)
  • Pro - $35/mo per user ($25/mo with annual plan)
  • Enterprise - contact their sales team to learn more

You get a 14-day free trial if you get the Standard or Pro plans. You'll need to talk to their sales team if you're getting Enterprise.

Features
Each plan comes with these features:

  • Unlimited calls, SMS, and MMS within the U.S. and Canada
  • Call handling functions (e.g., multi-level auto-attendants, call recording, and call forwarding)
  • Dedicated mobile and desktop apps
  • Unlimited team meetings
  • AI-powered call, meeting, and voicemail transcriptions
  • Integrations with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365

More advanced features are available in their more expensive plans. You also have the option to pick and choose what features you want with the Enterprise option.

7. Ooma - Best Toll-Free Phone Numbers

CREDIT ooma

Ooma offers its customers a wide selection of toll-free numbers and plans. These give you more options for calling without the high costs.

Ooma Pros + Cons

  • Great value for money
  • Advanced features even in the lowest-priced plan
  • Customizable user settings
  • Offers long-term savings
  • Additional toll-free plans are available
  • Desktop app only available in Pro and Pro Plus
  • Apps can be glitchy
  • Slow response time from customer service

Who is it for?
Ooma's services are perfect for small business owners who want to enjoy the benefits of toll-free numbers but don't want an expensive monthly phone bill. It's also ideal if you want more features at a lower price.

They include 500 toll-free minutes in every plan. You can also get additional toll-free minutes for an extra fee or get a separate toll-free calling plan to save more. These give you more flexibility when trying to reach a broader customer base.

Pricing
Ooma currently has three plans:

  • Essentials - $19.95/mo per user
  • Pro - $24.95/mo per user
  • Pro Plus - $29.95/mo per user

They don't offer a free trial like the others. But they give a 30-day money-back guarantee for all Ooma Office hardware purchases if their services don't work out for you.

Features
Here are some of their key features:

  • Unlimited calling within the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico
  • Free number transfers
  • Built-in 911 service
  • Support for analog fax machines
  • Call handling features (e.g., paging groups, virtual receptionists, intercom, etc.)
  • Dedicated mobile app

Ooma also has a desktop app for the Pro or Pro Plus plan. Additional features like call analytics, call recording, and team communications are also only available with these plans.

Factors to Consider for the Best Small Business VoIP

There are a lot of VoIP services out there, and they all have their unique selling points. So it can be challenging to decide which company to go for.

Considering these factors can help narrow down your list:

Costs
VoIP phones are generally more affordable alternatives to landlines. But that doesn't mean they come cheap. Make sure you have considered your budget before you commit to a monthly subscription.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • How will the monthly subscription fit into your budget?
  • Is the price comparable to other services?
  • Do you need new devices, or can you use your current ones?

Ease of Setup and Use
Businesses, especially smaller ones, can't afford to experience downtime. So choosing a VoIP system that won't take long to set up and use is a good idea.

That way, your business operations won't be interrupted while you and your team adjust to your new phone system.

Internet Connection Stability
VoIP relies heavily on your internet connection to work. Ensure you have a stable, high-speed internet connection if you get a VoIP phone system. If not, consider investing in that first.

Reliability
Again, businesses usually can't afford to have interruptions or delays to their operations. It's best to ensure that your VoIP service is reliable. Their service should be consistently high-quality and not consistently down or under maintenance.

You should also be able to contact them quickly if you experience issues with their services. Aside from that, their customer support should also be able to help you or direct you to someone who could.

FAQ

Which is the best VoIP service available in the market?
That depends on your specific needs. Nextiva has the best services overall, so they're a good option for most businesses.

8x8 is ideal if you want unlimited services at lower prices. Vonage can be a good choice if you want a more personalized VoIP plan.

Bottom Line

VoIP made voice calling easier and more convenient for business owners. It's flexible, versatile, and adaptable. With VoIP, you can contact anyone without worrying about the usual limits of traditional landlines.

But you'll need a reliable service provider to ensure you get the best service. That's why it's important to research and compare each company before committing to a plan.

Write to Alyssa Supetran at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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