How to Buy a VoIP

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: August 04, 2011

More and more companies are using VoIP as a fast and effective means to make phone calls over the internet. This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to buy a VoIP system for your business.

The first step is to figure out what type of VoIP solution you want for your company. There are three main choices available:

Hosted

This is where a hosting company provides the phone service through a high speed internet connection. It tends to be the cheapest option, but does not offer total control over the phone system.

Managed

Managed VoIP is similar to Hosted VoIP in that the phone service is provided by an outside company. The main difference is that you can choose to have the equipment located inside your office.

Premise

This is where you purchase the physical hardware needed to make phone calls over the internet and keep it on the premises. It’s the most expensive option, but offers the most control over the system.

The next step is to figure out the phone features that you want for the system. Some popular choices include:

  • Three-Way Calling
  • Advanced Call Forwarding
  • Call Recording
  • Voicemail Transcription
  • Call Queuing
  • Caller Identification

You’re also going to need to figure out your budget for the phone system. Don’t set a specific price – choose a general range that you would be willing to pay. You should also keep in mind that there may be hidden costs related to the VoIP solution. Some vendors offer training and support for free, while others charge extra for these services. If you have a strong IT department this may not be as much of an issue.

You should now make a short list of potential vendors. This may take a little time – you’re going to need to visit their websites and write down the cost of each solution and the features they have available. If a VoIP solution outside your budget, don’t hesitate to strike it from the list. There are hundreds of vendors available, so you should hopefully be able to find one that’s within your price range.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you will want to contact the different vendors and ask for a free demonstration. A phone system is a long term investment for your company, so it makes sense to try it out to make sure that it can successfully meet your needs. You can try out most hosted and managed solutions over the internet, though you will need to ask the vendor to stop by your office if you would like a premise-based solution.

You should now have sufficient information to choose a VoIP solution. If you’re still concerned about the purchase, make sure the vendor offers a 14-day trial or a money-back guarantee. You’ll be able to reverse the decision if you change your mind and your company won’t be stuck with the system.

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