Internet Fax Services - Which One Is Right For You?Online or Internet fax has become extremely popular in our ever-increasing mobile society and workplace, mainly because with this modern way of faxing you can take your faxing with you, no matter where you go. While it is far too early to forecast the demise of the traditional fax machine, the writing is on the wall. This is one form of "cloud computing" that's here to stay.
Internet fax is often referred to as email fax because you use your email system and your Internet connection to send and receive all your faxes. You sign-up to an online fax service provider where you're given a local or toll-free fax number. There is no need for an extra fax phone line since everything is handled through the web. Your faxes are sent as email attachments, usually in Tiff or Pdf formats.
If you're in need of online faxing, there are many top-name Internet fax service providers to choose from. Average monthly charges run around $10 a month, but there are cheaper rates and plans out there, especially if your faxing needs are minimum. Since this is an ongoing business expense, it pays to do your homework and shop around. If you choose wisely, you can save significant amounts of money, especially over the long term, .
But which fax service is right for you or your company?
First, you must make a close examination of your own faxing needs. Do you or your company depend heavily on faxing to bring in sales, for contacting clients, or for communicating with your employees? If you need a robust faxing service with thousands of faxes sent and received each month, then you have to be extra careful when picking your online faxing service. Are their services 100% reliable? Can they handle your heavy faxing? Are the rates competitive with using a traditional fax machine?
Now on the other hand, if your faxing needs are very minimum or low, you probably only send 4 or 5 faxes a month and they're not crucial to your business, then choosing an Internet fax service will require less consideration. Keep in mind, you still want a good quality service but you can probably get a service for under $20 a year if you shop around.
Regardless of which type of service you're seeking, here are some common points or a checklist of things to look for when choosing an online fax service.
1. Check the monthly fee or charge. The average is around $10 but there are cheaper ones which you can choose. Also keep in mind, some of these services also offer bundled plans which include voice mail, call-waiting, call-forwarding... or a virtual PBX service which may be well suited to you or your company especially if you're operating a home business. Charges will be higher, but they will be much less expensive than setting up a real system with phone lines and receptionists. Just consider the virtual PBX option, especially if your overall business operating funds are low.
2. Check the set-up fees or charges. Most online fax services don't charge a set-up fee but there are a few that do. Don't necessarily rule these companies out because of the set-up fees but just be aware of them.
3. Check the number of Free Faxes allowed each month. The average is around 300 (incoming/outgoing) faxes each month, but these numbers will differ depending on the company or even the fax plan you choose. Also check how much it costs for faxes once you go over the allowed monthly limit, rates can be anywhere from 3 cents to 10 cents per fax. Might not seem like much but like phone bills, these costs can quickly add up.
4. Check if your service is completely scalable for companies. One of the great advantages of using an online fax service, it can be scaled up or scaled down very quickly and cheaply since you don't have to install extra hardware such as fax phone lines or fax machines. Most of the better known fax services are completely scalable but also check before you sign-up.
5. Check the online storage amount and how long your faxes are stored online. With most fax providers you are given an online account or interface which you can use to check and send your faxes. Your faxes are also stored online here so check for how long and what amount of storage you get with the service. You should also check how exactly are your faxes sent, many companies have a desktop application you can use besides your online account and/or your email system.
6. Finally, check to see if the service offers a 30 Day Free Trial. Most Internet fax services offer this feature and it is a great way to thoroughly test-run the quality of a service before actually buying. This way, if the service or provider doesn't meet your needs or come up to your standards, you won't have lost any money.
Finally, if you take into consideration all of the points mentioned above when checking out the different fax services, your job will be much easier. Just remember, like buying any product or service, find one that perfectly meets your needs and you won't be disappointed. Choose wisely.