How Much Does a Business Answering Service Cost?
A business answering service is an essential communication tool that most every company needs, regardless of size. From the one-person operation all the way up to a large multi-location corporation, they all have one thing in common: they all have a telephone. Their customers and prospects call them whenever a need arises. This may be during the day or it may be in the evening or on the weekend.
It’s critical that your business answer those calls, either yourself or with the help of another company. A telephone answering service can handle those calls after office hours or whenever your employees aren’t available. Working with an answering service, you can answer those calls around-the-clock, 24/7.
With the need for an answering service for your company clearly established, the next question the astute businessperson asks is, “How much does a business answering service cost?”
There are three elements that makeup business answering service cost. These are the recurring package rate, the time included in the package, and the cost for additional usage.
Here’s how it breaks down.
1. Package Rate
Leading answering services charge each client a recurring base rate. This is to ensure they have the infrastructure and staff in place to handle calls as needed. Professional answering services offer an array of rate packages to accommodate clients of all sizes with differing call handling needs.
We’ll cover how the pick the right package for your company in a bit. But first, we must cover the other two elements that go into determining business answering service cost. However, if you’re anxious to learn if hiring an answering service is even a realistic option for you to consider, know that business answering service cost starts at around $79.
2. Included Time
The second element of business answering service cost is the amount of work, measured in minutes, that the package includes. Higher-priced packages include more time for companies that expect to receive more calls. Lower-priced packages are ideal for smaller companies that don’t get as many calls.
3. Additional Minutes
What happens if your business uses up all the time included in the rate package? That’s a great question, but there’s no need to worry. If a client exceeds the amount of work that there rate plan includes, their answering service continues to answer their calls, charging them a small fee for each additional minute of time used.
Putting It All Together
Many managers are unsure of which answering service package to choose. If they pick too small of a package, they’ll exceed the amount of time included in that plan. Yet if they pick too large of a package, they’ll have unused time that they don’t need.
The most cost-effective solution is to select the rate package that most closely matches the typical amount of work you expect your answering service to do for you each billing cycle, which is every four weeks.
If you currently use an answering machine or voicemail system, count the number of times it answers the phone. Don’t consider the number of messages, because many people won’t leave a message on an answering machine or voicemail.
If you currently use an answering service, look at the amount of work they do for you. But know that cheap services are often too busy to answer every call. Therefore, their numbers will underrepresent the situation.
Now take the number of calls and multiply it times the average length of each call. You can estimate what this may be or do some call simulations with a stopwatch in hand.
Once you determined the average number of calls per day and the average length of time for a typical call, multiply these two numbers together. This gives you the estimated time per day. Now multiply that times 28 days.
Last, select the rate plan that most closely matches this total number of minutes, without going over it. The cost of this rate plan is what to expect for your business answering service cost. It’s that easy.
The Next Step
With your rate plan selected, contact us to discover how we can meet your business answering service needs 24/7.