14 best small business phone systems for 2023

Despite the ever-growing ways customers can communicate with your business, 72% of consumers and 56% of small business owners prefer to use the phone. 

The business phone, however, has evolved tremendously in recent years. And if you’re looking to choose one that fits your business needs and enables your teams to increase customer satisfaction, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options. 

This guide will help you cut through the clutter and make a more informed decision. We’ll explain the features and costs you should look out for, as well as answer the common questions small business owners like you have about modern business phones. 

Let’s go!

Best small business phone systems

Virtual phones are ideal for growing businesses, but dozens of brands exist under each category — some offering more value than others. Here are 14 of the best small business phone systems you can consider.

1. OpenPhone: The best business phone system for small businesses

OpenPhone Mobile and Desktop apps

OpenPhone is a robust VoIP system with modern features that can scale with your business. With plenty of automation capabilities — including phone menu features and texting auto-replies — and integrations with your favorite business apps, OpenPhone ensures you never feel alone in managing your communications, even if you’re a solopreneur. Best of all, you can easily call and text with OpenPhone on your existing computer, smartphone, or tablet. 

As your business grows, you can easily increase the number of users on your account anytime. Each user can get their own US, Canadian, or toll-free number, allowing you to expand your business throughout North America, or share existing numbers with their team members to help field calls and texts. Collaborating is also flat-out simple as teammates can add specific notes to contacts. Plus, start internal threads to work together on external communication and assign out tasks. Don’t worry about needing to sit on hold or visit a store to activate your business phone system. With OpenPhone, you can get up and running in under 15 minutes. Try out OpenPhone for seven days by signing up for our free trial.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and texting in the US and Canada
  • Affordable international rates
  • Desktop, web, and mobile apps
  • Shared phone numbers
  • Call recording
  • Business hour settings
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Auto-attendant (IVR)
  • Texting automation (snippets and auto-replies)
  • Business app integrations (Slack, Zapier, Google Contacts, and email come standard)

Pricing

  • Standard: $13 per user per month
  • Premium: $20 per user per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing for a custom plan

Learn more about OpenPhone

2. Google Voice

Best small business phone systems: Google Voice

Google Voice for Google Workspace is a popular small business phone system for businesses that already use products like Gmail and Google Docs. It offers a number of necessities for growing businesses, like voicemail transcriptions and unlimited calling to the US. However, with no toll-free numbers or call recording capabilities for business accounts, Google Voice can make it difficult to scale your business and train your team at a large scale.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling to the US from anywhere (and to Canada from the US)
  • Free unlimited SMS in the US
  • Mobile and web apps
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Auto-attendant (upgrade required)
  • Google Calendar and Google Meet integrations

Pricing

  • Starter: $10 per user per month
  • Standard: $20 per user per month
  • Premier: $30 per user per month

Learn more about Google Voice pricing

Unfortunately with Google Voice for Google Workspace, you need to pay for two subscriptions to access Google Voice for Google Workspace. This includes an additional $6 per user per month payment for Google Workspace required to use Google Voice for business.

3. Dialpad

Best small business phone systems: Dialpad

Dialpad is an AI-powered business phone solution that offers plenty of modern features like shared phone numbers and business app integrations. It can even tell you when your team members are speaking too fast or slow. However, Dialpad may cost more than it initially appears. Dialpad charges customers who want to port more than one existing number into the system and requires an upgrade for users to access more than one number per user.

Many other key features, like Slack and Zapier integrations and international SMS, are similarly locked behind higher tiers.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and texting in the US and Canada
  • Desktop and mobile apps and Chrome extension
  • Shared phone numbers
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Business app integrations (upgrade required except for Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365)
  • Speed coaching

Pricing

  • Standard: $15 per user per month
  • Premium: $25 per user per month (three license minimum)
  • Enterprise: Must contact for pricing (100 license minimum)

Learn more about Dialpad

4. Ooma

Ooma

Ooma offers a phone system that’s specifically built for small businesses, but with many other bells and whistles added to their plans, you’re likely paying for many additional features your team doesn’t need. You also won’t get voicemail transcriptions and other key features unless you upgrade. Bottom line: Ooma misses the mark on many necessary features while including services like overhead paging that few small businesses really need.

Key features

  • Free calling in the US, Canada, and Mexico
  • Texting (SMS only) in the US and Canada
  • Voicemail transcriptions (upgrade required)
  • Ring groups
  • Call recording (upgrade required)
  • Auto-attendant

Pricing

  • Office Essentials: $19.95 per user per month
  • Office Pro: $24.95 per user per month 
  • Office Pro Plus: $29.95 per user per month

Learn more about Ooma

5. Vonage

Vonage

Vonage is a legacy VoIP service provider that’s well-known, but fairly out-of-date compared to modern options like OpenPhone and Dialpad. Its basic plan offers a few built-in features, requiring upgrades for today’s essentials, like auto-attendant capabilities and CRM integrations. While Vonage does offer desktop, web, and mobile apps — which is ideal for remote businesses — it doesn’t make up for the considerable amount of fees, like the cost of extensions, toll-free numbers, and add-on expenses for features that come standard with other providers.

Key features

  • Free unlimited team messaging
  • Desktop, web, and mobile apps
  • Call recording (upgrade required)
  • Voicemail transcriptions (upgrade or add-on required)
  • Auto-attendant (upgrade required)
  • CRM integration (upgrade required)

Pricing

Vonage’s pricing for their base plans depends on the size of your team, with smaller teams paying more per user. 

  • Mobile: $14.99-$19.99 per line per month
  • Premium: $24.99-$29.99 per line per month
  • Advanced: $34.99-$39.99 per line per month

Learn more about Vonage

6. Grasshopper

Best small business phone systems: Grasshopper

Marketed as a small business phone system, Grasshopper offers an atypical pricing model for all of its plans. Every user can access 100% of Grasshopper’s available features and higher-tier plans simply allow them to access extra phone numbers and extensions. However, even its top-tier plan is only built for a team of five, which means you’ll soon need to switch to another provider as you grow or pay far more. Plus, while you’re paying a premium to access all Grasshopper functionality, you still won’t meet key business needs like integrations or shared numbers as Grasshopper is very much a legacy provider.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and texting in Canada and the continental US (doesn’t include Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Custom greetings
  • Virtual fax

Pricing

  • Solo: $29 per month (one phone number, three extensions)
  • Partner: $49 per month (three phone numbers, six extensions)
  • Small Business: $89 per month (five phone numbers, unlimited extensions)

Learn more about Grasshopper

7. Sideline

Sideline

Sideline is a virtual phone that allows you to make calls through your phone, but it’s the only option on our list that’s not a true virtual VoIP app. Whether you’re dialing your client’s number or receiving a call, Sideline uses your existing cell phone service, which means you’ll still need to pay for a traditional phone plan on top of your Sideline plan.

On Sideline’s basic plan, you’ll mainly get business texting features like auto-replies. But as you look at the higher-tier Sideline plans, you’ll see no matter how much you upgrade, not all features are available with a single one of their plans. Confusing, right? 

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and texting in the US
  • Web and mobile apps
  • Shared phone numbers (with Team Number plan)
  • Business hour settings (upgrade required)
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Texting auto-replies

Pricing

  • Standard: $9.99 per month
  • Pro: $14.99 per month
  • Team Number: $9.99 per month (shared number plan)
  • Enterprise: $9.99 per number per month (for access to international calling and auto-attendant)

Learn more about Sideline

8. Nextiva

Best small business phone systems: Nextiva

Nextiva is a popular VoIP service provider that’s used by many well-known enterprises. However, as a small business, you can expect to pay higher per-user fees than any large-scale team. While Nextiva uniquely offers video calling features with screen sharing features on every plan, its business phone features are a little lackluster without upgrades. A basic plan (which still costs $23.95 per user per month for teams of less than four) doesn’t even offer SMS or MMS.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and video calling in the US and Canada
  • Mobile text messaging (upgrade required)
  • Desktop, web, and mobile apps
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Auto-attendant (IVR)
  • Business app integrations (upgrade required except for Outlook and Google Contacts)

Pricing

Like Vonage, Nextiva’s pricing per user also depends on your team size. And smaller teams pay more.

  • Essential: $18.95-$23.95 per user per month
  • Professional: $22.95-$27.95 per user per month
  • Enterprise: $32.95-$37.95 per user per month

Learn more about Nextiva

9. Line2

Best small business phone systems: Line2

Line2 is a VoIP service that mainly offers the bare necessities. Their only plan — which includes monthly or annual payment options — includes unlimited calls and texts to the US and Canada, as well as some basic features like voicemail recordings and screenings. However, teams looking for more advanced business features might find their plans lacking.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling in the US and Canada
  • Unlimited texting to the US and Canada
  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Voicemail recording
  • Voicemail transcriptions
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call screening
  • Caller ID
  • Call blocking

Pricing

  • Monthly: $15.99 per month
  • Annually: $13.75 per month, billed yearly

Learn more about Line2

10. 8×8

8x8

8×8 is a communications platform that offers three core pricing plans, though you can also upgrade even further to access an enterprise-level contact center solution. With a basic plan, you can get key necessities like auto-attendant. However, while you may get the perk of unlimited video calling, you can expect 8×8 to skip out on basic features like group texts.

Key features

  • Free unlimited calling and video calling in the US and Canada (more countries with upgrade)
  • Unlimited text messaging to US and Canada or from any country (no group texts)
  • Desktop, web, and mobile apps
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Auto-attendant (IVR)
  • Business app integrations (including Microsoft Teams, HubSpot, and Salesforce)

Pricing

  • 8×8 Express: $15 per user per month (10 users max)
  • x2: $24 per user per month
  • x4: $44 per user per month

Learn more about 8×8

11. GoTo Connect

Best small business phone system: GoTo Connect

GoTo Connect aims to consolidate businesses’ internal and external communication on a single platform, offering customers a VoIP phone and virtual meeting system. GoTo Connect has some strong features for businesses (such as ring groups and integrations with Zoho and Zendesk), but it can also be tricky to configure. Texting needs to be manually activated, and toll-free minutes can quickly get pricey at $.03/minute unless you upgrade to GoTo Connect’s higher-tier plans ($29 per user per month or more).

Key features

  • SMS and MMS messaging (requires activation; available to US & Canadian customers only)
  • Unlimited extensions
  • Integrations with Google Workspace and Microsoft Outlook
  • Conference calling
  • Integrations with Zoho, Zendesk, and Salesforce (upgrade required)
  • Phone menus (upgrade required)
  • Ring groups (upgrade required to set more than one group)
  • Free international calling to 50+ countries (upgrade required)

Pricing

GoTo Connect’s price per user depends on your team size. The following pricing is for teams of two to ten users:

  • Basic: $24 per user per month (A maximum of 20 users allowed on this plan)
  • Standard: $29 per user per month to access call recordings, paging, 1,000 toll-free minutes, and free international calling to 50+ countries
  • Premium: $43 per user per month to access call analytics, call monitoring, and 5,000 toll-free minutes

Learn more about GoTo Connect

12. Phone.com

Best small business phone system: Phone.com

Phone.com provides customers with a basic, affordable VoIP business phone system. Their plans come with features like voicemail to email, call routing, video conferencing, and conference calling. 

For a solopreneur, these features may be enough. However, keep in mind if you have multiple users, all phone calls and text messages route to separate inboxes. This can make it hard for teams to deliver a cohesive customer experience.

Many of Phone.com’s features also come at an extra cost, with users needing to pay add-on fees (or pay for an upgraded plan) to access key features like shared numbers, call recordings, and voicemail transcriptions.

Key features

  • Unlimited calling (upgrade required)
  • Emergency 911 calls (via mobile app)
  • Conference calling
  • Call logs
  • Shared phone numbers ($5 per month)
  • Voicemail transcriptions (upgrade required)
  • Call recordings ($8 per month or upgrade to Pro)
  • CRM integrations (upgrade required)

Pricing

Phone.com allows teams to mix and match plans across users, depending on the needs of each user. One thing to note, though: using the Basic plan may lead to additional fees, as there is a cap on total minutes and text messages (which is shared across users). 

  • Basic users: $11.99 per user per month
  • Plus users: $15.99 per user per month to access unlimited calling, voicemail transcriptions, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, and desk phone compatibility
  • Pro users: $23.99 per user per month to access CRM integrations, call analytics, and free call recording

Learn more about Phone.com

13. Zoom Phone

Best small business phone system: Zoom Phone

Zoom might be better known for their online meeting platform, but in 2019, the company broke into the VoIP phone space. For enterprise organizations, their plans offer a number of appealing features, such as voicemail transcription, call listening and whispering, shared phone numbers, and call recording.

Getting the features your businesses needs, though, can get pricey with Zoom Phone. If your teams need access to a shared phone number, they’ll need to use a paid Zoom Pro plan, which costs $250 per user per year. On their metered plan, outbound calls to the US cost $0.0318 per minute, with rates for other countries varying. Unlimited calls require an upgrade to their unlimited plan, and unlimited international calling (limited to 19 countries) costs an extra $120 per year. Additional phone numbers and toll-free numbers cost an extra $60 per year.

Unfortunately, unlimited texting is not included with any of Zoom’s plans — Zoom charges per text message and limits the option to text to US and Canadian customers. And if you frequently use texting in your business, keep in mind that Zoom Phone doesn’t offer any advanced texting features, like scheduled messages, auto-replies, or snippets unless you dig into their API, which can cost up to $1,900 per month.

Keep in mind with Zoom Phone there’s no option to try before you buy. While most other providers offer a free trial, you won’t be able to trial Zoom Phone at all. 

Key features

  • Desktop and mobile apps
  • Unlimited outbound calling (requires upgrade)
  • Call transfer
  • Call forwarding
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Call recording
  • Call listening
  • Shared phone numbers
  • Integrations to Salesforce and Slack
  • Analytics and reporting (requires $300 per year add-on)

Pricing

  • US & Canada Metered (Pay As You Go): $10 per month per user
  • US & Canada Unlimited (Unlimited Regional Calling): $15 per month per user
  • Pro Global Select: $20 per month per user (supports unlimited domestic calling in one of 40+ countries and territories)

Learn more about Zoom Phone

14. RingCentral

Best small business phone system: RingCentral

RingCentral has been around since 1999, and its MVP product provides companies with business and toll-free numbers. While RingCentral is a popular VoIP provider, many of its key features — such as integrations, call recordings, and unlimited messaging — remain locked behind higher-tier plans, making it a pricier solution. 

If your business frequently uses text messaging, you should also note that RingCentral’s Essentials plan only includes 25 free texts per user per month. To send more, users need to upgrade to a higher-tier plan or pay extra fees. Finally, if you wish to have a clear communication trail (in case you need to follow up with a contact months later or a legal dispute arises), RingCentral’s storage can be a dealbreaker: RingCentral limits the number of text messages teams can store in the app, saving just 5,000 text messages for each user. After that, older client communication is no longer accessible. 

Key features

  • Free unlimited calls in the US and Canada
  • One free US, Canadian, or toll-free number per user
  • Phone menus (upgrade required)
  • Call recordings (upgrade required)
  • Integrations with Slack, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more (upgrade required)
  • Video meetings supported (upgrade required)

Pricing

  • Essentials: $19.99 per user per month (maximum of 20 users)
  • Standard: $27.99 per user per month to access phone menus, on-demand call recordings, and integrations to Slack, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and more
  • Premium: $34.99 per user per month to access automatic call recordings, analytics, call whisper, CRM integrations, and RingCentral APIs (requires a minimum of 3 users)
  • Ultimate: $49.99 per user per month to access unlimited storage, device monitoring, and device status reports

Learn more about RingCentral

The top 14 phone systems for small businesses compared side by side

Here’s how each of the providers mentioned above stack up:

ProviderPriceUnlimited calling to US & CanadaUnlimited SMS, MMS to US & CanadaShared phone numbersAdditional phone numbers
OpenPhoneStarts at $13 per user per month$5 per number per month
Google VoiceStarts at $16 per user per month(must have Google Workspace)Unlimited calls to Canada from the US onlyUnlimited texting in the US onlyRequires upgrade (ring groups only)X
DialpadStarts at $15 per user per monthFor US & Canadian customers onlyRequires upgrade
OomaStarts at $19.95 per user per month$9.95 per number per month
VonageStarts at $19.99 per user per month (1-year contract)SMS only, for US & Canadian customers onlyRequires upgrade or $4.99 add-on for each call group$14.99 per number per month
GrasshopperStarts at $26 per monthUS numbers onlyX$10 per number per month
SidelineStarts at $9.99 per month per userUnlimited in US onlyUnlimited text in US onlyRequires Team Number planX
NextivaStarts at $23.95 per user per month
Requires upgradeRequires the purchase of an additional user seat
Line2$13.75 per monthUnlimited text in US onlyX$14.99 per number per month
8x8Starts at $15 per user per monthX$5 per number per month
GoTo ConnectStarts at $24 per user per monthXOnly available in US & Canada✓ (up to 8 phones)$5 per number per month
Phone.comStarts at $11.99 per user per monthRequires upgradeRequires upgrade$5 per month$15.99 per number per month
Zoom PhoneStarts at $10 per user per monthUnlimited inbound only with upgradeUS & Canadian numbers onlyShared line appearance / delegation only$5 per number per month
RingCentralStarts at $19.99 per user per monthX$4.99 per number per month

10 phone features every small business needs

There are a lot of vendors in the business phone system space, from legacy providers to relative newcomers, each providing a range of features at different price points. Some vendors charge a premium for advanced features that others consider standard, while some vendors don’t offer them at all.

Here’s a list of features offered by the best small business phone systems. Use it as a checklist as you evaluate service providers.

1. Transparent pricing

When you’re trying to grow your small business, the last thing you need is hidden fees. Look for a provider that offers simple, upfront pricing. Ideally, look for a phone system that offers unlimited calling and texting in the places you conduct most of your business.

Any add-on costs — like those for international calling or extra phone numbers — should also be transparent and reasonable.

2. Computer and smartphone access

A phone system should be compatible with your iOS or Android mobile device or your Windows or macOS computer. And you should be able to use it with your preferred web browser — Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.

Also, keep in mind not all systems have a desktop app and a mobile app.

If you want to keep all your business conversations focused away from your browser or use click-to-call features, you’ll need to shortlist a desktop app as a must-need for your chosen business phone solution. 

3. Call management solutions that streamline communications

Time-saving features are key to efficient call management. The best small business phone systems offer auto-attendant or IVR. These virtual phone menus automate call routing by allowing callers to choose where they need to go, so you and your employees can stay on task instead of fielding inbound calls.

Call forwarding and call transfer capabilities are also ideal for team collaboration.

4. Call recording

Set up a script to record all your calls or record on demand for training, transcription, or legal purposes. If you have a business number for recruiting, you can also record interviews to make better staffing decisions.

5. Caller ID

Build trust by setting up a caller ID that displays your business name, even if your call recipient doesn’t have you in their address book. Caller ID usually isn’t available for toll-free or Canadian numbers, but it should be available for local numbers in the US.

6. Voicemail transcriptions

voicemails to emails: desktop view of OpenPhone's Gmail account

Having voicemails automatically transcribed and then pushed to an email inbox or Slack channel when you miss a call is a major time saver. Even if you can’t listen to a message right away, you can see how urgently you need to call back.

7. SMS, MMS, and automated texting

You don’t always need to have real-time phone conversations to conduct business. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could send texts, pictures, videos, or have group messaging conversations? SMS and MMS are essential services in a world where consumers send 2.2 trillion text messages each year.

If you want to speed up your texting response time, choose a small business phone system that offers automated texting features like snippets and auto-replies.

8. Integrations

Leveraging the small business tools you already use like Slack, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zapier by selecting a phone system with CRM and workflow integrations. These integrations can help you save time on repetitive tasks and give you more context to easily follow up on conversations.

9. Shared numbers

Make sure a team member’s got your back when you’re away. Shared phone numbers, like a shared email inbox, ensure incoming calls and texts from customers and prospects are always taken care of.

10. Free phone number porting

Switch providers without losing the numbers your clients have saved on their phones. Opt for a VoIP provider that will port your business phone numbers for free — whether you have a local number or a toll-free number, and no matter how many you have — like OpenPhone.

Now that you know which features you should be looking for, we’ll show you how you can compare different business phone providers and pick the best one for your needs.

How to choose the right business phone system for your small business

For some businesses, expensive international calling is a dealbreaker, while for others, seamless texting is the number one priority. So, based on your own unique needs, how can you decide which provider will be right for you?

We recommend using this process of elimination:

  1. Shortlist a few potential options based on the features highlighted in this guide and on each provider’s website.
  2. Check out review sites like G2 to get a sense of existing and former customers’ experiences with each provider. If the reviews are red flags based on your needs, strike the provider off your list.
  3. Verify how responsive the providers are by reaching out to their customer support. Ask them any initial questions you might still have about their services after checking out their website, and keep an eye on how responsive and transparent they are when answering.
  4. Trial the providers that still remain on your shortlist. Hands-on experience will help you understand just how intuitive the system is, how easy it is to onboard, and how well the system will integrate into your existing tech stack and processes.

By the time you wrap up the final step above, you should have your winning business phone system selected. Congrats! 
If you have any existing number you wish to use on your new phone system after you’ve completed a trial with a temporary phone number, you can port that over

Types of small business phone systems

There are a ton of acronyms and terminology to describe the types of phone systems being used by businesses today — and some can be used in combination too. But in the interest of keeping things simple, we’ll divide them into two categories: on-premises phone solutions and cloud-based phone solutions

On-premises phone solutions

There are two kinds of on-premises solutions: landline phones and private branch exchange.

Traditional landline

Companies once exclusively used traditional analog landline systems installed by phone service providers. Though they were reliable and produced great call quality, these phone systems were costly to set up and maintain. 

Today, analog lines are still in use within large institutions and in places without access to a reliable high-speed internet connection.

But most companies have moved on to phone solutions that provide more features than call transfer and call waiting. 

Private branch exchange (PBX)

As phone lines became digitized, businesses started implementing private branch exchanges, or private telephone networks within their own company. 

These systems require expensive hardware, proprietary office phones, and on-site expertise to maintain, but they provide advanced calling features like call recording, voicemail, call queues, and interactive voice menus (IVR). And they can be further customized to meet a business’ needs.

However, these solutions still don’t meet the needs of modern businesses, particularly for those with workers who don’t need to be tethered to a desk phone waiting for inbound calls. 

Cloud-based phone solutions

The advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and its ability to place calls over the internet was a game-changer for business communications. There are two kinds of VoIP services: hosted and virtual.

Hosted VoIP phone system

Most modern business phone providers use VoIP in conjunction with PBX technology — hosting the PBX hardware off-site for the client. This combination makes robust features like call recording and auto-attendant more affordable for small businesses. 

These hosted phone systems integrate with VoIP phones. So while the phone service is cloud-based, VoIP phones are needed in the office to connect to the service. 

Hosted VoIPs also include online interfaces that make administrative tasks easy, like adding users and making customizations to the system. Some systems can even integrate with many of the productivity and workflow tools businesses already have in place. 

This added functionality costs a lot less than on-site PBX systems. 

But for the most flexibility at an even lower cost, VoIP really comes to life through a virtual phone system.

Virtual VoIP phone system

A totally virtual phone system also uses VoIP. But there’s no expensive backend hardware to manage yourself or to pay a vendor to host on your behalf. Users simply download an app that turns their desktop or mobile phone into a “softphone” that can place calls over the internet. 

Virtual phone systems provide robust calling features and integrations, but because they are virtual, they may lack certain features of a unified communication system like video conferencing. 

However, the many benefits of a virtual phone system — like low pricing, easy installation, scalability, and lightweight footprint, to name a few — far outweigh the drawbacks of including an additional app to your business’s toolbox.

3 key reasons to use a virtual phone system for small businesses

So far we’ve mentioned the high-level benefits of virtual phone systems, here are the specific reasons thousands of businesses go with this solution. 

1. It works from anywhere

All you need to use a virtual phone system is an internet connection — which means that you and your team can work from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re a solopreneur who frequently travels, a business with team members in the Philippines, or a company that’s opening up new locations, your virtual business phone system can travel with you.

Shared numbers also allow you to share a single number with team members internationally. This means that a virtual assistant can call and text clients from your number (even while across the globe), and your distributed team can all share responsibility for a single line.

2. It can scale with your team as you grow

The best virtual phone systems charge companies by the user, giving you the flexibility to add and remove members from the platform as your team scales. Need new direct numbers for new teammates? Or expanding to another city and need a local number to support your expansion? You can get as many phone numbers as you need.

As your team evolves, your business phone provider should also. OpenPhone continually releases new updates and features to help small businesses communicate efficiently with the rest of the world. 

3. It’s easy to get started

While landlines require hardware and can be more complicated to install, virtual phone systems work off of the devices your team already owns. 

This means that you can skip store visits, installation appointments, and waiting on hold for hours to get your phone system activated. Instead, you can be up and running in a matter of minutes (… all without speaking to anyone at all, if that’s your preference).

How much should you be prepared to pay for a small business phone system?

As we covered earlier in this guide, there are a number of business phone solutions you can opt for, from landlines to virtual phone systems. Here’s what you can expect to pay for each.

Traditional landline and PBX

For a traditional landline solution, you can expect upfront installation costs to range from $4,000 to $7,200. This includes purchasing and setting up desk phones and installing wiring.

You’ll also need to run your landlines off a network. If you choose to install your own private branch exchange (PBX) on site, you can expect to pay an additional $410 to $6,000 in installation fees. If you decide to use your phone provider’s network to host your landlines, you should instead plan to pay a subscription fee of $15 to $40 per user per month.

Hosted VoIP phone system

Since a hosted VoIP phone system requires you to build out a new system on site, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1000 per user in setup costs. This includes purchasing PBX hardware and VoIP phones and paying for setup and software licenses. For many small businesses, this puts the upfront cost at over $10,000 — before they’ve placed a single call.

If you then decide to open up an office in a new location, be prepared to pay those setup costs again.

Virtual VoIP phone system

A virtual phone system costs anywhere between $10 and $40 per user per month. Whether that’s closer to $10 or $40 will depend on the provider you choose, what features are included in your plan, and how many phone numbers you need.

Want to get a better sense of what a virtual phone system might cost your business? Try our VoIP cost calculator to get a personalized estimate.

OpenPhone: The best small business phone system

OpenPhone chat window

You know the litany of features we listed above? Well, those are all OpenPhone features. Many are add-ons with the other guys, but nearly all of them come standard with OpenPhone for only $13 per user per month.

We might be a bit biased, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Thousands of happy customers/growing businesses can’t be wrong. When you use OpenPhone, you’ll be saying things like “Solid, Streamlined, Seductive, Superpowered” and “OpenPhone is the greatest.” 

Our virtual phone system will transform the way you do business. And because we’re constantly finding new ways to delight our customers with enhanced features and functionality, we’re gonna keep redefining greatness.

Check out OpenPhone with a free trial and see how you can be up and running with your business phone in about a minute!

FAQs

If you still have questions about small business phone systems as you consider making a switch, check out our answers to these frequently asked questions.

What is Voice over IP (VoIP)?

VoIP is a technology that lets you make and receive calls and texts over the internet. Instead of traveling over copper wires, your voice message travels through the web in the form of data packets.

What is a small business phone system?

A small business phone system is a solution that lets you manage and handle all your work-related communication over calls and texts whether you’re a solopreneur or a growing team. The best systems act similarly to email inboxes, making it easy for you to review a conversation’s history and focus on building relationships with your customers.

How do I set up a small business phone system?

Though traditional small business phone systems (like landlines) require hardware to be installed and the help of IT professionals, to set up a small business phone system, you can just sign up online and invite your team members through email. It only takes a few minutes!

How do traditional PBX systems compare to cloud-based phone services?

Traditional PBX systems are far less flexible than cloud-based phone solutions. Since your system is tethered to a physical office, you can’t use your phone away from your desk. Even with call forwarding, if you attempt to work remotely with a traditional PBX system, it’s far more difficult to follow up with your work contacts.

What are the benefits of a cloud-based office phone system?

Cloud-based office phone systems offer robust calling features — including business app integrations that are only possible with an internet connection — for a far lower price than traditional phones. Plus, with easy upgrades and no need for brand new devices, scaling your small business is simple.

Can I use my existing phone with OpenPhone?

OpenPhone is compatible with any smartphone with iOS 12.1, Android 6.0, or later. Don’t have a compatible mobile phone? You can always call and text from your computer; OpenPhone also has browser and desktop apps.

Is VoIP worth it for a small business?

A virtual VoIP phone system is one of the most cost-effective ways to get a business phone when you’re equipping just yourself or a team of 50. Being able to access unlimited business lines at under $20 per user means you can keep costs extremely low when your team is smaller, then scale up as your business expands.

Considering that many virtual business phone systems give you access to advanced features — such as analytics, call recordings, integrations, and more — you also don’t have to worry about outgrowing your business phone system in the future as your business evolves.

Can I use my cell phone as a business line?

Many small business owners start off by using their personal cell phone numbers for business — but you should avoid that. Using your personal phone for work can disrupt your work-life balance, give away your private information, and make it difficult to manage customer relationships effectively. 

Adding a virtual business number to your personal phone, however, sidesteps many of those problems:
– It keeps your personal number private.
– It allows you to add business hours to your line so that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
– It keeps customer communication centralized and separated from your personal communication, making it easier to manage.
You can easily tell when incoming calls are from your work or personal contacts.

Is it better to have a separate business phone?

If you’re considering a virtual business number, you may be wondering if there’s any downside to not having a separate business phone — whether a separate cell phone or a landline.

One downside that VoIP services have is that they generally don’t support emergency services (like 911 calls), since they’re not routed through physical phone lines and tied to a specific location. If your team needs to access emergency services frequently, a landline or separate business cell phone might be the way to go.

If emergency calls aren’t part of your team’s job, a VoIP is more affordable, more mobile, and easier to scale as your organization grows.

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1 Comment

  1. Curious, what has been most beneficial for you? I see a lot of great phone systems, but each one has a specific need based on the business niche.

    Thank you for taking the time to share.

    Reply

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