First a little information on what Flat Rate Virtual Phone System plans are, and who should be considering them.
What is a Flat Rate Virtual Phone System Plan?
All Flat Rate plans normally include the following:
- two or more phone numbers
- unlimited local and long distance calling/faxing
- you normally get a specified number of toll free minutes per month (usually 1,000)
- one or more Free VoIP business phones or the option to purchase them
- rates normally broken down by number of users
- most offer unlimited extensions
How do I know if I should be considering a Flat Rate Plan?
You should consider a flat rate plan if:
- you generate more typical phone usage rather than using fewer minutes per month
- you have employees in multiple offices
- you have employees who work from home offices
- your remote offices or home offices have broadband internet
- you want to connect teams/employees around the globe via one phone system/one company phone number
- unlimited local and long distance calling/faxing is important
What to consider in selecting a Flat Rate Plan
- How important are toll free minutes to your company?Typically plans include 1,000 toll free minutes. However some plans may offer unlimited toll free minutes (Phone.com), while other plans offer absolutely no included toll free minutes and are billed at a per minute rate to 2.9¢ (Nextiva).
- How many phone numbers do you need? Do you need a local number for each remote office/employee?Most plans come with two phone numbers, but some will provide a local number for each user at no additional charge (RingCentral Office), while other plans can charge up to $34.95/month (Nextiva).
- Watch out for activation and shipping fees on VoIP phones.Some plans don’t charge any activation fee or shipping charges for their VoIP business phones (Phone.com), while other plans will only charge a one time fee $12.99 (VirtualPBX) and others will charge based on the number of phones being shipped (RingCentral).
- Do you want or need a vanity number for your business? (example: 1-888-EAT-CAKE)If having a vanity number is important to your business, then you will not want to look at Nextiva. This provider does not offer Vanity numbers you can purchase directly through them. You could however purchase a vanity number via a vanity number provider and port it to Nextiva. This however, is more work, and in the case of Nextiva will cost you an additional $19.95.
All in all, flat rate virtual phone system plans are a great option for small to medium sized businesses that have multiple employees located in one office, or in home offices, or maybe in offices spread out across the globe. If you are looking to connect multiple teams in different offices, or home offices, but don’t want to spend the money on all the equipment and installation required by a traditional PBX system, then a flat rate virtual phone system plan is a great alternative.
You can get started with a flat rate plan for as little as $19 per user per month. That’s less than 64¢ a day per user. With this you can get unlimited local and long distance calling and faxing, a fully functional auto attendant, unlimited extensions, sophisticated call routing, call waiting, call recording, call screening, conference calling, and much more.
If you’d like more information on the flat rate virtual phone system plans available, you can find summary information in our quick comparison or more detailed information and links to each merchants review here.