Phone Systems Buyer's Guide
Office phone systems pricing
Table of Contents
- Introduction to small business phone systems
- Types of commercial phone systems
- Sizing office phone systems
- Features of office telephone systems
- Advanced corporate phone systems features
- Choosing office phone dealers
- Office phone systems pricing
- Phone system buying tips
- Find a Business Phone Systems supplier
The watchword when buying new phone systems is total cost of ownership (TCO). Simply buying the lowest price system can easily get you into trouble: more reliable, expandable systems do tend to cost more per user up front - but the savings you will see in the long run make it worthwhile.
In addition to being able to add more users as your company grows, you should find out how easily your equipment can be upgraded as new phone system features and technologies are released. Comparing offerings from multiple providers is a good way to find solutions that fit your company's requirements.
Estimating costs for a complete new telephone system is very difficult: costs are dependent on system size and features and can quickly climb into the tens of thousands of dollars. See what recent BuyerZone users paid for their phone systems.
Key systems and hybrids can range from $350 to $1000 per user, depending on the features you select. Larger PBX systems, prices start at around $800 per user, but usually wind up more in the $1000 per user range. There are significant economies of scale: very small offices will find it hard to stay under $1000 per user for any system, and companies with 100 or more employees save considerably.
KSU-less systems generally cost between $130 and $225 per office telephone. While the savings may seem attractive, this option is really only viable for offices of 10 or fewer people. If a KSU-less system fails to meet your needs you'll have to upgrade your system and the savings you thought you had will vanish. You'll also have to dedicate some of your staff time to set up and maintain the new phone system.
When comparing phone system prices you'll need to look at the following five factors:
The base system
The central base system, or cabinet, controls and oversees the entire phone system. This price differs between systems and rises as cards and accessories are added. A small central unit can cost as little as $1,000, with the price increasing considerably to the tens of thousands of dollars for larger systems. The base system will be the main limiting factor for your phone system both in terms of features and expandability.
The actual phones
Most new telephone systems can be equipped with several different types of phones. The least expensive may cost less than $100, but can make accessing features very difficult or provide less than optimal sound quality. Most mid-level handsets sell for $200 to $300 per unit.
On the other end, some "executive phones" sell for many times the standard price. These phones can make using the system slightly easier, but are often just flashier - the main result of larger screens and more buttons is often increased profit for the dealer. Receptionist stations are also more expensive, but they bring important features for the person at the center of your new phone system. Most businesses will buy a mix of phones.
Phone system add-ons
You'll also need to purchase accessories such as voicemail, music on hold, and CTI applications if they don't come built in to your system. These features can easily tack on hundreds of dollars to your purchase. Find out more about office telephone system features.
Many manufacturers sell equipment bundles that can save you quite a bit. These typically include the central control unit, several office telephones, and voicemail. They are sold in varying sizes - your vendor can help you choose a bundle and then add on any other equipment you need.
Wiring and installation
Installing wires in an unfinished building is fairly inexpensive. However, installing wiring through already finished walls can add quite a bit to your total cost. If you're in a location with existing wiring, make sure you have the dealer inspect it so you can re-use it if possible. Find out more about choosing cabling and wiring providers.
This includes training, programming, service, and future modifications. Pricing is usually based on the time these tasks will require and can often be the most flexible portion of a bid. Sometimes, it is best to compare the hours that will be spent completing training/programming/service tasks with the price tag for the service.