PHONE SERVICES: WHAT ARE THE BEST SERVICES AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET? AND WHY WOULD YOU NEED ONE?
Phone services for businesses have come a long way.
The right services can get you toll-free numbers, easy routing, and unlimited SMS for a low monthly rate.
Business VoIP phone services have become much more popular than traditional phone lines. They’re easier to set up, easier to manage, and cheaper.
Below we break down the best business phone services on the market. Later, we’ll dive into why you need one and exactly how a VoIP works.
The Best Business Phone Service Providers for 2021
Below, compare the pricing, plans, and features of each one to identify the best fit for your small business.
Nextiva – Most affordable enterprise-level plans
- STARTING AT $19.95 PER MONTH
- AFFORDABLE ENTERPRISE-LEVEL PLANS
- UNLIMITED CALLS
- FREE LOCAL & TOLL-FREE NUMBER
Nextiva is an industry leader in the business phone service space. Brands like the YMCA, the Buffalo Bills, and Taco Bell trust Nextiva for their phone service solutions.
It’s great if you want a reliable phone system for your business at a good price. You’ll get everything you need:
- A phone for your desk
- Phones for conference rooms
- An app to manage phone calls, texts, and emails through your computer
- A mobile app for your cellphone
- Integrations with the major CRMs like Salesforce and Hubspot
According to Garnter, 94% of customers are satisfied with Nextiva. People love the service — and for good reason. They have a 99.999% uptime with no outages reported in 2019 and 2021. Rest assured that your phone service won’t be cut off by their data centers.
You’ll get to choose between three simple plans. The price depends on the number of users and the length of your contract. There are plans to accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes, with options for businesses with 1-4 users, all the way up to 100+ users.
Here are the starting rates for each plan, per user, for an annual contract:
- Basic — $19.95 per month
- Pro — $20.95 per month
- Enterprise — $27.95 per month
These are the most affordable enterprise-level plans that we’ve seen so far.
Some other highlights of Nextiva’s small business phone service include:
- Unlimited calls
- Call queuing
- Automatic call forwarding
- Hold music
- Free online fax
- Free local and toll-free number
Some sought-after features are not included in the basic plan. If you want to use the Nextiva app, get unlimited conference calls, pre-recorded greetings, and text messaging, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro plan.
Call recording, voice analytics, and voicemail to text delivery are only available on the enterprise plan.
RingCentral – Most popular VoIP phone service for small businesses
- STARTING AT $19.99 PER MONTH
- 100 TOLL-FREE MINUTES PER MONTH
- ON-DEMAND CALL RECORDING
- SMALL TO ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS
With more than 350,000 businesses using RingCentral for VoIP phone services, it’s one of the most popular solutions in the industry. That’s because they offer an all-in-one phone service solution at a competitive price.
RingCentral stands out because they offer specifically designed plans for small businesses. It’s reliable, secure, easy to use, and delivers high-quality voice for crystal clear calls.
RingCentral is also affordable. You can save over 30% if you sign up and prepay with an annual plan as opposed to a month-to-month contract.
Here’s a quick overview of the plans and pricing:
- Starting at $19.99 per month per user
- Up to 20 users
- 100 toll-free minutes per month
- On-demand call recording
- Unlimited calls within US and Canada
- Starting at $24.99 per month per user
- 1,000 toll-free minutes per month
- Unlimited Internet fax
- Unlimited audio meetings
- Unlimited video conferencing (up to 4 people per meeting)
- On-demand call recording
- Custom app development and deployment
- Starting at $34.99 per month per user
- 2,500 toll-free minutes per month
- Unlimited video conferencing (up to 100 people per meeting)
- Automatic call recording
- Multi-site support
- Salesforce and Zendesk integration
- Starting at $49.99 per month per user
- 10,000 toll-free minutes per month
- Unlimited video conferencing (up to 200 people per meeting)
- Automatic call recording
There’s practically a plan for everyone. However, I don’t think most will need any more than the Standard plan, which offers plenty of great features and all the essentials a business might need.
You can also customize your plan to pay extra for things like additional toll-free numbers, vanity numbers, international numbers, and international toll-free calling.
All of the plans come with basic features like unlimited business SMS and MMS, mobile apps for iOS and Android, HD voice, team collaboration, call log reports, and 24/7 customer support.
The plan you choose will largely depend on how many toll-free minutes you plan to use as well as the number of users you’re going to onboard.
Ooma – Best for traditional office settings with desk phones.
- FLAT RATE $19.95 PER MONTH
- NO CONTRACTS, CANCEL AT ANY TIME
- UNLIMITED CALLING
- VIRTUAL RECEPTIONIST
Ooma offers VoIP phone plans that are specifically made for small businesses.
It’s an ideal solution for businesses with traditional offices that need desk phones.
New businesses might be swayed by their lucrative pricing. Just pay a flat rate of $19.95 per month per user. No contracts and you can cancel at any time.
The catch? The monthly rates don’t include hardware costs.
Compared to other providers, Ooma is definitely more on the expensive side. This balances out the lower monthly rates.
Ooma does have a mobile app, which allows you and your staff to make calls on the go from your smartphones. So you could opt to go mobile-only and skip the hardware costs.
But I don’t recommend this. There are better options out there if you’re looking for a business VoIP phone service without any hardware.
So stick with Ooma if you want straightforward rates for your office phone.
For those of you with a growing team, Ooma can scale with you. It’s easy to add on users, devices, and manage everything on your own.
Your plan will come with unlimited calling, a toll-free number, low international rates, and a virtual receptionist. Ooma also has exceptional customer support if you have any trouble setting up the hardware or managing your service.
Phone.com – Best cheap small business phone service plans.
- STARTING AT $9.99 PER MONTH
- 50+ STANDARD FEATURES INCLUDED
- E911 DIALING OPTIONS
- PREMIUM FEATURE ADDONS
Phone.com offers some of the most straightforward and simple VoIP business phone plans that you can find.
They’re also incredibly affordable. The reason: Simplicity.
You can sign up and get started in minutes. Building and managing your entire business phone system from the intuitive dashboard is easy for anyone, regardless of their technical skill level.
Phone.com has more than 50 standard features, including:
- Fax to email
- SMS messaging
- International dialing
- HD conferencing
- Call screening and blocking
- Call routing
- Call queuing
- Auto attendant
You’ll also benefit from E911 dialing, which is not offered by all VoIP providers. Premium features like call recording, video conferencing, and CRM integration cost extra.
Another feature you can add is caller analytics. This helps you get a deep dive into the metrics of your call such as call durations over time, busiest hours, and your top performers. You can also see a handy breakdown of your incoming and outgoing calls by extension numbers.
That’s great for the data-driven companies out there. Plus it’s great to integrate into your sales funnels and marketing strategy. And at $3.99 it’s a bargain.
Phone.com is HIPAA and HITECH compliant, which means it’s safe to use if your company is in the medical field.
Compared to other business phone services that we’ve seen, Phone.com offers a unique pricing structure.
They have standard plans with unlimited minutes starting at $24.99, $32.99, and $49.99 per month with an annual contract. Each tier comes with extra numbers, extra text messages, and added features that you would expect with the price increase.
However, Phone.com also has pay per minute plans starting as low as $9.99 per month. This is the lowest monthly rate that you’ll find from a reputable VoIP phone service provider. These plans are reserved for businesses that don’t need lots of minutes. The pay per minute plans offer 300 monthly minutes, 500 monthly minutes, and 1,000 monthly minutes, respectively.
So if your calls are relatively short and infrequent, you can definitely save some money with one of these budget plans.
Grasshopper – Best phone service for solo entrepreneurs
- STARTING AT $26 PER MONTH
- VOIP AND WIFI CALLING
- NO CALLING LIMITS
- 24/7 LIVE SUPPORT
Grasshopper is a great phone service small businesses and entrepreneurs alike.
More than 135,000 users trust Grasshopper as their business phone service. They’re responsible for over 140 million calls per year.
Grasshopper makes it easy for you to find toll free numbers, vanity numbers, 800 numbers, local numbers, and more. This simple solution is a great way to add professionalism to your business.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the plans and pricing:
- Solo — Starting at $26 per month (1 number, 3 extensions)
- Partner — Starting at $44 per month (3 numbers, 6 extensions)
- Small Business — Starting at $80 per month (5 numbers, unlimited extensions)
The solo plan is the best option for an entrepreneur who has a small side business. You’ll want to upgrade to the partner plan if you have a small group of up to three employees working for you. For anything more than that, you’ll need the small business plan to accommodate your needs.
All Grasshopper plans come standard with the following features:
- VoIP and Wifi calling
- Virtual fax
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Business texting
- Ability to handle simultaneous calls
- Call reporting
- Call forwarding
- Call transfers
One big benefit: No restrictions from call limits. They also offer 24/7 live support.
Grasshopper also gives you the option to integrate your business interactions into one inbox that’s easy to manage. You can access your emails, texts, business calls, and contacts in one place. Try Grasshopper for free.
Vonage – Pioneer in the VoIP phone industry
- 50+ VOICE & COMMUNICATION FEATURES
- COMPATIBLE WITH VONAGE MEETINGS
- SIMPLE TO SET UP AND SCALE
- THREE DIFFERENT PLANS
Vonage is a highly-trusted business phone service.
They have been in business for nearly 20 years. In fact, they were the first VoIP platform for 911 calls.
Despite their long history, they only recently started providing business solutions.
That includes their unified communications service which allows you to communicate through voice, SMS, team messaging, fax, and social. That means it’s great for office settings, but also gives you more flexibility for conferencing.
They offer three different plans, with rates based on the number of lines you need. Here’s a brief overview of the plans and costs.
Make and receive calls from your mobile device and desktop computer. Best for smaller businesses that don’t need office phones.
- 1-4 lines — $19.99 per month per line
- 5-19 lines — $17.99 per month per line
- 20+ lines — $14.99 per month per line
Made for traditional office teams. Allows for calls from any device, including desk phones.
- 1-4 lines — $29.99 per month per line
- 5-19 lines — $27.99 per month per line
- 20+ lines — $24.99 per month per line
Best option for businesses that need a phone service for team setups and onboarding.
- 1-4 lines — $39.99 per month per line
- 5-19 lines — $27.99 per month per line
- 20+ lines — $34.99 per month per line
If you want CRM integrations, you’ll need to sign up for the Premium or Advanced plan. The Advanced plan also comes with on-demand call recording, group calls, and virtual voicemail.
Jive – Tiered pricing with all-inclusive features
- LOTS OF ALL-INCLUSIVE FEATURES
- CALL RECORDING & MONITORING
- CUSTOM GREETING & HOLD MUSIC
- ENTERPRISE-LEVEL COMMUNICATION
Jive comes with tons of all-inclusive-features.
That means the features you’d usually pay extra for in other business phone services come with Jive at no extra cost.
I like Jive because they strive to make enterprise-level communication available for small businesses. Their system is very easy to use, no matter how large or small your team is.
With Jive, you’ll get basic features like:
- Call recording
- Auto attendants
- Call monitoring
- Virtual fax
- Custom greeting
- Custom hold music
- Dial by name or extension
- Individual call logs
And that’s just the basic features.
Jive makes it easy for you and your entire team to connect to your phone system from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. This is ideal for those of you who aren’t always tied to a traditional office setting.
This versatility is also perfect for any recent upticks in remote work—which should be especially relevant to any and all companies impacted by the global pandemic.
Pricing for these plans is based on users. Here’s an overview of Jive’s tiered-pricing structure.
The more users you have, the less you pay per user. And even the entry-level plans are affordable. When you factor in the premium features that are all-inclusive, it makes Jive a more appealing option than some other providers on the market.
Jive phones are extremely easy to set up. All you need to do is plug them in and you’ll be ready to make calls in minutes.
1-VoIP – Flexible and cost-effective metered pricing for small businesses on a budget
- 40+ STANDARD FEATURES
- PAY FOR WHAT YOU USE PLANS
- COST-EFFECTIVE & FLEXIBLE
- METERED PRICING STRUCTURE
1-VoIP is a small businesses on a tight budget that want a reliable phone service provider.
Their plans start as low as $14.97 per month. That’s not the absolute cheapest rates in this guide, but it’s very close.
If you don’t make calls often, you can take advantage of 1-VoIP’s metered pricing structure. Only pay for what you use. In this case, you’ll be charged just $0.02 per minute.
Unlike other providers on the market, 1-VoIP doesn’t cut out basic features if you sign up for the metered plan. You’ll still have all of the features that come with the other plans, including:
- Hold music
- Virtual fax
- Digital call forwarding
- Call recording
- Hours of operation
- Extension transfers
- Call waiting
Altogether, there are 40+ features that come standard.
If you’re only using up to 200 minutes per month, the metered plan will be your best bet. Otherwise, they have package plans starting at $19.97 and $29.97 per month per extension.
The Value of a Business Phone Service
Why do you need a business VoIP phone service?
Most small business owners rely on traditional landlines or mobile phones for communication. But landlines can take up lots of extra space around the office. Plus, you can’t take those with you on the go.
The majority of you might be using your personal cell numbers to handle business calls. While the system might work for you, it’s not as professional.
Sure—you could always get a business plan from a traditional wireless carrier. But those plans are pricey, especially when you add more lines.
These are some of the top benefits of using a business phone service:
- Make and receive calls from multiple devices (computer, mobile, desk phone).
- Track usage, hold times, and duration of calls.
- Share one number with multiple users.
- Add new employees without going into a store to buy a new phone.
- Local and toll-free calls from anywhere with high-speed Internet.
Most business VoIP phone services also come with features like call recording, call waiting, call forwarding, and call routing.
Overall, a business phone service can add professionalism to any small business or website. It can improve communication in-house as well as with your customers.
What is a VoIP phone service?
The acronym stands for “voice over Internet protocol.” In simple terms, this is a phone service that operates over the Internet.
A VoIP creates a digital signal from any incoming or outgoing call. Then it converts that signal to reach any non-VoIP numbers as well. This cloud-based solution allows you to receive calls from a computer, VoIP phone, any phone with a VoIP adaptor, or mobile hotspot. Here’s a visual explanation of how it works.
How to Find the Best Business Phone Services For You
Compare Quotes From The Best Business Phone Services
Get matched up with a business phone service that fits your specific needs.
Now that you are more familiar with some of the top business phone services on the market, it’s time for you to choose a plan for your small business.
That’s why we’ve broken down the five essential features a business phone service needs. You can use the same criteria to find the best business phone service for you.
The first thing you need to do is figure out how many lines and users you’ll need. There are certain plans out there that are geared toward small businesses with just a handful of people, while other options are best for teams of 20, 50, or more.
Plans will differ in what they offer too, and that will determine your ultimate choice depending on your business size. For example, if you’re a bigger small business pushing mid-sized level, you are going to need a phone service that is easily scaled and also offers all of the volume you need to handle each month.
Also depending on how your business is organized, you might need different features. For example, field service organizations will require a robust UCaaS service moreso than just a VoIP with a mobile app. Vonage would be a good choice in this case.
In addition to the size of your business, the length of your contract can also have an impact on the price you pay. Some providers try to lock you into an annual deal to lower monthly rates. But this structure can be an expensive upfront cost.
For simplicity sake, let’s say you’re signing up for a $20 per month per user plan, renewed annually.. If you have 10 users, this plan will cost you $2,400 upfront when you sign up.
So make sure that you’re happy with your provider before you lock in any long term deals. I’d recommend a service that offers month-to-month rates. Try them out before you consider something long term.
Whatever you decide, just make sure that your VoIP business phone plan fits your budget. There are some cheap plans out there with fewer features, as well as some higher-cost plans with lots of extra benefits.
In most cases, you’ll pay less per month per line if you have more users. Larger companies should look for these plans to get the best rate.
But if you have a small team and only need a couple of lines, then it’s best to stay away from tiered-pricing models. Instead, look for package deals that are made for smaller organizations.
Ease of use
Although the concept of a VoIP phone may seem complex, using a business phone service shouldn’t be difficult.
In terms of setup and onboarding, you should look for a service that can be up and running in minutes. If you’re making calls from a mobile app or desktop computer, then you can start instantly.
For those of you who will be using VoIP desk phones and other hardware, look for providers that have simple solutions. If the hardware setup takes too long, it’s just not worth the hassle. Plus, the more complex the setup, the more difficult any troubleshooting will be.
Taking calls, making calls, transferring calls, recording calls, reviewing call logs, setting up your voicemail, and everything else should be simple as well. If you and your team are having problems doing these things during your first month or free trial, you should look elsewhere for an easier to use service.
Every business phone service comes standard with basic features depending on the plan you choose. Some of these will be more useful to you than others.
It’s up to you to review those features to see which ones you’ll actually use. Then find a plan that includes those features for free.
For example, you might be drawn to a plan that has 50+ features, even though you’re only going to take advantage of 10. But if that plan doesn’t include something you need, such as call recording, then it’s not worth it to pay extra for that if you can get it for free elsewhere.
So shop around and compare feature lists to make sure you’re getting the best value for your needs.
Summary: The Best Business Phone Services for Every Situation
I made sure that this guide included something for everyone. No matter how big your team is or how small your budget is, you can definitely find a reliable phone service for your small business.
Let’s recap the best choice for each situation: