How to Choose a Phone System for Your Organization If You're on a Shoestring Budget
Picking a phone system for your business can be done by simply mixing and matching available options. Multiple configurations bring multiple advantages, so get the one that best suits your needs and satisfies your requirements.
For small nonprofits with just one office, POTS phone lines and a low-end phone/PBX combo or phone system is good enough. This is a tested and proven solution that will not demand a lot of support or technical knowledge. For a four-line system -- likely adequate for six or seven users -- you may pay around $700 for a base unit and cordless handsets, plus $100 monthly for four POTS phone lines ($25 each).
The problem about with using a physical PBX is its setup and maintenance costs. If you are not knowledgeable or experienced with this system, find a contractor. If your organization is poised for growth and more staff members, scalability can also be an issue may also run into problems scaling up the system. With a physical PBX, you can purchase and set up an expansion card for additional extensions; with the combo phone and PBX solution mentioned earlier, you might need a whole new system altogether. Look up Polycom Phones online to see the best options.
Another alternative is to use a POTS or digital line for every worker, and use commercial phones linked to a virtual PBX. If you have six employees, you will likely pay around $240 up front for the phones, plus some $270 in monthly charges ($20 for every user monthly for the PBX, plus $25 monthly for every line). This virtual PBX system can handle onsite and remote employees with equal efficiency.
If your has several offices distributed across the country, a virtual PBX on VoIP would be a smarter choice compared to POTS lines, and you'll even save a significant amount of money on long-distance communications from office to office. Before making decisions, speak to local broadband and phone companies. The may have a package that combines digital phone service and a virtual PBX. This could be more expensive, but also more robust in comparison to the two other options. Again, ensure that you have separate lines for your digital phones and your Internet connection, and that your bandwidth is sufficient for both.
It is indeed a complicated task to set up an office phone system, especially if your budget is low. Although we all know what phones are, the moment you want to support more than two employees, you automatically enter a confusing world of acronyms and choices. Before choosing your phone system, think how big your organization could be in a few years. That cheap solution that was okay for two employees may be unable to scale up if this number increases significantly.