How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Answering Service?
It’s a wise business decision to ask how much something will cost before committing to move forward. Therefore, it’s not surprising that business people wonder about answering service cost. We’ll cover that in a bit but first, consider the opposite question.
How much would it cost to not hire an answering service?
The answer is both tangible and long-reaching. Not hiring an answering service can result in missed opportunities, lost sales, and frustrated customers. Mishandling phone calls, by not having an answering service, could damage your reputation, stir up negative sentiment, and send business to your competition.
In short, the cost of not hiring an answering service is always greater than the cost of hiring one.
But that’s not what you asked. You asked, “How much does it cost to hire an answering service?” There are common components in an answering service rate package. The three main ones are base rate, the time included, and the cost for additional work.
The first element of answering service cost is the base rate. An answering service needs this small, fixed, recurring fee from each client to maintain their service’s infrastructure and make sure they have staff ready and available to take their clients’ calls anytime of the day or night, evening or weekend.
When you consider this low base rate, it’s a real bargain, especially seeing what’s covered.
This base rate isn’t like a retainer, however. It’s more than to just make sure they’re available when you need them. It also includes a specified amount of work, usually in minutes. This is the second element of answering service cost.
For example, the base rate might include 100 minutes of work during the billing cycle. If you use less than 100 minutes, then you only pay the base rate. Nothing more. If, however, you use more than 100 minutes of work during the billing cycle, you’ll pay a small fee for each additional minute. This gets us to the next element in our discussion of answering service cost.
Cost for Additional Work
It’s not a problem for your answering service if you use more time than what your base fee includes. They expect this will happen for some of their clients, some of the time. They’ve already adjusted their staffing levels to accommodate that additional work.
It might be for you, or it might be for another client, but they have staff standing by to take those extra calls. When they do this added work, they charge a small additional fee per minute. This is the third element of answering service cost.
An ancillary consideration is additional services that the base rate doesn’t include. These are usually minor expenses. And you can avoid them completely depending on how you ask your answering service to handle your calls. The charges for additional services are generally small, so this will only increase your bill slightly, but don’t dismiss these possible charges either.
Determining Answering Service Cost
Remember the base rate and the amount of work included? Answering services give you options with different packages of base rate and included time to meet the needs of any organization, starting with a solo entrepreneur and building up to include much larger operations or even departments of Fortune 500 companies.
To determine which answering service package is right for your business, estimate the number of calls you expect your answering service to take during the billing cycle. Multiply that by the length of a typical call. This will give you your projected minutes of usage per billing cycle. Now select the package that will cover this projected time and give you a small cushion.
For example, assume you project in average of four calls per day and a typical call lasts 45 seconds. This means that for a 28-day billing cycle, you project you’ll use about 84 minutes of time.
The basic package of $79.99 includes 100 minutes of work. This will cover your projected usage, with no charges for additional time. With this scenario, the answering service cost is a mere $79.99 every 28 days.
That’s far less than the cost of one cup of coffee per day. What a bargain! And a cup of coffee will only give you a boost for an hour or so, whereas your telephone answering service has you covered 24/7. That may just be the best value of anything you’ll ever buy for your business.
The Next Step
Now that you have an idea of what an answering service will cost, don’t wait any longer. Contact us today to discover how we can answer your telephone calls.