How Much Does a Flat Rate Answering Service Cost?
In general, a flat-rate answering service will cost from $239 per month to $599 per month. Here’s what you need to know to calculate your answering service cost:
A flat rate answering service is a type of call center service where the customer pays a fixed monthly or annual fee for a set number of minutes of answering service. This type of service is typically used by small businesses that want to have a professional answering service without the added costs of per-minute charges. Some flat-rate answering services also include additional features such as call forwarding, voicemail, and call scheduling.
Calculate the Cost of a Flat Rate Answering Service
It’s important to understand that modern flat rate, answering service packages, or not unlimited usage, and for obvious reasons. In the past, you could get a flat rate answering service for roughly $200 a month. The problem began when people accessing those solutions were literally driving thousands of calls. In nearly every case, the answering service company lost, if not went into total bankruptcy.
Today’s flat rate answering service guarantees you a predetermined amount of usage for a fixed price. In the event you go over that predetermined number of minutes you will pay an added fee between $1.23- $1.39 per overage minute. The below table will help you calculate your cost of a flat-rate answering service:
|Live Operator Max Minutes/Month||Low End $||High End $||Avg Overage Cost|
|*Price ranges by Call Center|
Pros and Cons of a Flat Rate Answering Service
As with anything, there are pros and cons of a flat rate answering service. Here’s what you need to know:
Pros of a flat rate answering service include:
- Predictable costs: With a flat-rate answering service, businesses can budget for their answering service costs more easily, as they know exactly how much they will be paying each month or year.
- No hidden fees: With a flat rate service, businesses do not have to worry about unexpected charges for additional minutes or features.
- Professionalism: Flat rate answering services often provide a professional and courteous service, which can help to improve the image of a business.
- Increased availability: With an answering service handling calls, businesses can increase their availability to customers and improve their ability to respond to inquiries.
Cons of a flat rate answering service include:
- Limited minutes: Businesses may find that the set number of minutes included in a flat rate service is not enough to meet their needs.
- Additional costs for extra features: Some flat rate answering services may charge extra fees for additional features such as call forwarding or voicemail.
- Lack of flexibility: With a flat rate service, businesses may not be able to adjust the number of minutes they need each month or year.
- Limited control: Businesses may have less control over the way calls are handled by the answering service, and may not be able to customize the script used by the answering service.
Fees to Look For in a Flat Rate Answering Service
Here are some fees (sometimes hidden) that businesses should look out for when considering an answering service:
- Per-minute charges: Some answering services may charge extra fees for each minute of service used, in addition to any flat rate fees.
- Set-up fees: Some answering services may charge additional fees for setting up the service, such as for programming or training.
- Extra features: Some answering services may charge additional fees for features such as call forwarding, voicemail, or scheduling.
- Cancellation fees: Some answering services may charge a fee for canceling the service before the end of a contract.
- Overtime charges: Some answering services may charge extra fees for calls that are answered outside of normal business hours.
- Additional phone lines or numbers: Some answering services may charge extra for additional phone numbers or lines beyond the basic package.
- Minimum usage requirements: Some answering services may have a minimum usage requirement, and charge extra if that minimum is not met.
- Additional taxes or surcharges: Some answering services may charge additional taxes or surcharges on top of the basic service fees.
It’s important to read the terms and conditions of the answering service carefully and ask any questions before signing a contract to make sure you understand all the costs involved.
Now that you know what to look for it’s time to compare quotes from a reliable answering service near you!