As previously mentioned, both hosted PBX and hosted business VoIP services, as well as a combination of both have been increasingly popular, both for small and large businesses. Hosts eliminate the customer’s need to invest in expensive hardware. In addition, hosts take care of maintenance costs and technical issues, so that customers can focus on business tasks and enjoy uninterrupted communication and improved efficiency and functionality. With all these benefits, it is not a question about whether a business should choose a business VoIP provider, but rather, which one should they choose? There are several factors to consider. Firstly, the customer should consider their specific needs: How big is the business? Are their multiple locations? Are there many employees telecommuting? To and from where are these employees making and receiving these calls? Does the company have a contact service center? Does the office need cordless phones? Do employees travel a lot for work? These questions are a starting point in addressing the needs of the business and where the costs are and how to make communication more efficient. For instance, if the company has a very international calling base, they should consider international calling business to save money. For customer contact centers, call redistribution, automated call services, and call waiting will keep customers and employees happier as communication is more streamlined.

Even though the outside telephone company will deal with large-scale hardware issues, the internal hardware will need to be addressed. In most cases, PBX/VoIP systems can integrated with very little cost and utilizing existing phones and wiring. However, with older PBX systems, some new hardware may have to purchased to allow for increased functionality. These costs may be minor, but one does not want to be surprised by a higher-than-expected invoice. Taking an inventory of how many phones will be needed and the type of functions that each phone needs (fax,voicemail, greeting messages) will allow for an estimate of cost.

As previously mentioned, calling plans are important. Some telephone companies will give impressively low prices. However, there may be hidden and astronomical costs for services, such as long-distance or international calling. Decide on what the calling demographic is like and (if considering a variable plan) think about how many minutes each employee needs to complete their duties. Companies should have these costs available so that customers can evaluate potential costs.

In addition, the host company should be easy to contact, be transparent with their costs and offer timely service.