Expensive Business Phone Services
Traditional businesses probably call their local phone provider (AT&T, BellSouth, etc.), and setup a business account with multiple extensions. In other cases they get a business phone service from their internet service providers. Some businesses have a work from home or have a remote team that needs to be on the same phone system and use popular VoIP based services such as Vonage Business, RingCentral or Nextiva. These services tend to be cost-prohibitive for some businesses or start-ups and creates a fixed or variable cost per extension.
We were using a popular VoIP system that worked well with our distributed team, however, it created an added cost per extension and/or direct line. Our company requires several direct lines and a main line because we provide white label services to some of our partners. Some of these services charged for every feature we would need such as a conference bridge, a call tree and others.
Our First Attempt to Lower Phone Service Costs
We were approached by a small phone service provider that was able to offer us a similar setup to what we had at half the cost, and at first it seemed to work well. They positioned them selves as a PBX provider and were even able to port our existing numbers to their system. Then we ran into some problems such as poor call quality, call forwarding didn’t work, voice mail notifications came late, a large number of anonymous calls coming in and other issues. Because we were saving money, we decided to stick with it for a while.
We wanted to continue to save money but needed to find something better that would work. All the options we looked for were around double of what we were paying, so we arrived at a dead end. At around the same time we had moved most of our hosting infrastructure to a true cloud hosting setup and had available resources and internet bandwidth. We stopped and thought “what if we setup a PBX by ourselves?”.
How we Started Setting up our Own PBX / Business Phone Service
We started with what I believe is the almost always the best solution: Open Source. We were able to find FreePBX to solve most of our problems. This is one of the many flavors of Asterisk PBXs and it comes with cool visual interface (GUI). FreePBX allows you to easily control and manage your PBX system. It comes with pretty much all you would need to set up your own PBX. If there is a feature it doesn’t have, you can purchase a modules for it.
The Solution we Implemented
We ended up with a nice phone system/PBX with multiple extensions, an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, incoming fax-to-email, incoming SMS-to-chat and a crystal clear voice quality. Our team tested voice quality between extensions and confirmed it worked with physical VoIP phones and virtual phone software/apps. We have extensions working in areas with poor internet connection speeds and it still worked well.
The second challenge was how to get inbound/outbound calls to work and not pay the big “Tel-Co” Companies. We found out that we needed a “SIP trunk provider” or simply a phone provider to solve this. After some research, we chose Twilio, and honestly, its self-service simplicity and pay-as-you-go pricing model has turned out to be outstanding! Their usage model is based on usage, so you don’t have to pay exorbitant fees for each extension regardless of actual minutes used. They have decent international rates as well!
We ended up cutting our cost in more than 75% of what we were paying for our old system. Not only did we continue to have great voice quality, we also were able to get more additional services which we didn’t have in the past. On top of that, we have 100% control over our Phone/PBX system and can control our costs better. We were able to “cut the cord” from traditional business phone services!
This is how a lot of the greater projects out there begin: with a problem and solution that works! Now that we set up our own PBX to satisfy our needs, it’s something we are proud to offer to our clients. We want to help businesses like yours to have a great service at the cheapest price possible.
Our Hosted PBX Service
This is why we decided to offer this as a service to our clients. We are not a Tel-Co company, we aren’t trying to offer you the best rates per minute. We are offering you a way to setup and host your own PBX with us. You control your costs, what SIP Trunk you want to use and how do you want it to work. You can stop paying ridiculous fees for features that you need. Make your call to us one of your last calls through your current phone service. We will painlessly switch you to a more cost-effective and manageable solution!
Call me at 561-922-6508 to get started!