How much does VoIP cost?

Just about a month ago, if you had searched Google for the term “How much does VoIP cost?”, you’d want to see all of the price factors detailing everything your business would need to install a VoIP system — but it’s not a month ago. It’s today, and most of us are working from home.

This blog will still include all that information, but for the foreseeable future, PoE ethernet cables and SBCs are virtually meaningless, as they require physical, on-site installation.

THE COST FACTORS OF VoIP FOR OFFICES

There’s a lot more that goes into a VoIP system than you’d expect. VoIP systems are built with customizability in mind, so the price of both installation, and monthly charges, can vary wildly depending on the size and needs of your business.

Below, you’ll find the most significant cost factors of deploying and maintaining a VoIP system:

Set up and deployment

When it comes to the set up of a VoIP system, the two most significant cost factors are hardware, and labor. Hardware costs will include phones, headsets, Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables, switch, and your session border controller (SBC). For the actual labor costs of installing and configuring of a VoIP system and the associated hardware, you can expect a one time charge between $1,000 and $5,000 per location. For very large companies with thousands of employees, this number can grow exponentially.

Here’s the cost ranges for the hardware listed above:

  • - Phones: $50 - $300
  • - Conference phones: $600 - $1,000
  • - Headsets: $100 - $300
  • - PoE: ~$200 per one thousand feet of cable
  • - Switch: $500 - $3,000
  • - SBC: $300 - $3,000

Service charges

Just like any service, you’ll have monthly reoccurring costs associated with your VoIP system. Rather than lines, VoIP systems refer to phone lines as seats. One interesting aspect of VoIP systems is that your business can actually pay for less seats than it has phones. If your business doesn’t experience a high volume of calls at a single time, this can be a good way to save money. Similarly, if you business does experience a high volume of calls consistently, it may be a good idea to add more seats than available phones — allowing you to hold multiple calls though a single phone. VoIP systems are incredibly versatile, and customizable — so no matter the size or needs of your business, you can fit your VoIp system to it.

You also have the ability to purchase some hardware through a service plan, allowing you to forgo a high upfront cost during install.

Here are the cost ranges for services:

  • - Enterprise packs (Auto attendant, Hunt groups, Hold Music, Call Park, etc.): $20 - $40
  • - Individual seat: $20 - $40
  • - Stand alone voicemail: $10 - $15
  • - Call recording: $10 - $15
  • - Call center license: $20 - $30
  • - Call center agent software: $10 - $15
  • - Call center supervisor software: $30 - $40
  • - Faxing: $5 - $40
  • - Domestic toll free number hosting: $5 - $10

Keep in mind that all of the charges listed above are monthly, and reoccurring. For every seat added which requires add-ons like call center agent software, you’ll need that specific license, so make sure you only purchase what is needed for each user of the system.

This is a great time to talk to a CIO or vCIO if you don’t have one — they will be able to help you determine which features your users will need.

THE COST FACTORS OF VoIP AT HOME

This information is all well and good, and will help you plan your office’s upgrade to a VoIP system, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, we’re stuck at home, unable to go into the office.

So, how much would it cost you to get yourself and your business set up with a VoIP system at their homes? And, how is this even possible without installing all of this equipment at everyone’s house?

Simple: call forwarding.

The steps to enact this are pretty simple on your part as well, but do require specific tasks:

  1. Find a VoIP provider that has a remote set up option
  2. Provide your MSP or VoIP provider with your call information: call flows, extensions, phone numbers (both office and personal), voicemails, fax numbers… any piece of information your provider would need in order to set up your system.
  3. Call their current provider, and let them know to have any associated numbers (their office phone, for example) to be temporarily forwarded to their cellphone.
  4. Sit back, and wait for your system to be configured and set up. During this step, you’ll want to begin training yourself on your new system, using any materials or courses provided by your VoIP provider.
  5. Download the corresponding VoIP app for mobile, and desktop if needed.

With this remote-set-up system, your employees’ smartphones will essentially turn into their office phone — they will be able to access their voicemail, their speed dial, their contacts, and any other feature that exists in your current phone system.

This will even work if your current phone system isn’t VoIP.

So, how much does this remotely set-up system cost? That depends. Many companies right now are offering deferment of payment options, in order to get you running as fast as possible. This deferment would include, for example, your seats, licenses, and any other service.

If the company you choose isn’t offering deferment of payment, you can expect a labor charge of anywhere between $1,500 - $5,000, and the usual charge for an individual seat. Again, the more employees your business has, the more expensive it will be.

UPGRADE AS SOON AS YOU CAN

While this remote deployment may be simple for your business, it may not be for the VoIP provider or MSP you’ve chosen to partner with. If you need to upgrade to a VoIP system in order to improve your mobility and remote communications, now is the time to begin the process. Deployment can take anywhere between two days, and two weeks, depending on the system that is needed. The faster you can provide your service provider with information such as phone numbers and call flows, the faster this deployment will happen.

For more information, visit our blogs about remote work and working from home securely.

Patrick Judy
Patrick Judy is an IT Solutions Specialist who originally began working for Cobb in 2010, and after a five year stint in Raleigh, North Carolina, returned to Cobb’s managed IT development department. Patrick specializes in consulting with businesses in order to help grow and maintain their enterprise ecosystems, and when he’s not working, he’s snowboarding (in which he has over 20 years of experience), or spending time with his family.