The 6 Best Business Phone Service For Startups

Best Business Phone ServiceAre you looking for reliable business phone service for your company, but you aren’t certain which service is the best fit for you?

Since the advent of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service, there are many more options for business telecommunications than ever before. Because so many choices exist, it can be tricky to figure out which one to pick.

In this business phone service comparison guide, we’ll walk through the details of 6 popular service providers. They all have their own prices and features, and of course customer reviews are important too. Which one seems like the right option for your business?

To read a more in-depth take on any of these companies, simply use the accompanying links to read our individual service reviews.

#1
Pick

Nextiva
4.8/5 Stars

With over 150,000 customers served since opening in 2003, Nextiva is a popular option for business phone service. They have several advantages that make them my top pick in this industry, so let’s take a look at how they structure their service offering.

  • Nextiva’s pricing model runs from $34.95 to $44.95 per month for one user. While the $34.95 base rate is higher than many competitors charge, Nextiva includes more advanced features than most other companies in this price range. Additionally, they offer volume discounts for prepaid service, as well as for multiple users.
  • When it comes to features, they offer a highly competitive service. Every Nextiva customer receives unlimited minutes and unlimited faxes, whereas some competitors have limits as low as 100 minutes per month. Nextiva also offers exclusive Skype integration, and they include professionally recorded custom greetings with all but their cheapest business phone service plan.
  • Customer feedback is a major strength for Nextiva. Especially in an industry where positive customer reviews are a bit of a rarity, it’s great to see such overwhelmingly positive rating scores with hundreds of reviews.

Throw in their strong reputation for customer service and it’s easy to see why Nextiva claims the top spot in this guide. It’s difficult to find any weaknesses in their business phone service, except that the “per user” pricing model can get expensive for large companies.

#2
Pick

Grasshopper
4.7/5 Stars

Next, we have Grasshopper. Their popularity is quite robust, as they have over 300,000 customers served since 2003. How do they compare in other areas?

  • With pricing that starts at $24 per month, Grasshopper offers a more affordable business phone service than Nextiva. However, their top-tier service plan costs $89 which is a bit pricey. It is important to keep in mind that as opposed to the “per user” fees charged by Nextiva, Grasshopper has flat rates that can really save you a lot of money if you require service for multiple users.
  • Like Nextiva, Grasshopper’s plans all include unlimited minutes. Aside from that, their customers receive standard features like iPhone/Android apps, voicemail to email, call forwarding and more. They don’t have any exclusive integrations like some competitors do, but it’s a nicely rounded collection of features.
  • Grasshopper’s customer feedback isn’t as strong as Nextiva’s, which was the deciding factor for me putting Grasshopper in the #2 spot in this guide. Some of their customers are quite happy with the service they receive, but there are plenty of others who have some complaints, primarily regarding billing issues or their convoluted voicemail system.

If you only need service for 1-2 users, I do still think Nextiva is your best bet in general. However, if you want business phone service for more than a couple people, you can save a tremendous amount of money with Grasshopper. They’re my top pick for larger companies.

#3
Pick

RingCentral
4.4/5 Stars

It’s tough to top the overall popularity of RingCentral. With 350,000 active clients, their customer volume is unrivaled in the business phone service industry. What other advantages do their customers enjoy?

  • RingCentral has a bit more variety built into their service packages than Nextiva or Grasshopper do. RingCentral’s rates for business phone service range from $39.99/month to $69.99/month for one user. Like Nextiva, they do offer discounts based on number of users and annual prepays.
  • The biggest advantage of RingCentral is their integrations with popular software solutions. RingCentral offers integration with Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Salesforce, Zendesk and more. It’s an impressive list of software products, and it’s probable that your company uses at least one of these solutions already.
  • RingCentral’s service plans all have limited minutes. While their base-rate package includes just 100 minutes, you can get up to 10,000 minutes per month with their top-tier plan.
  • In general, their customer reviews are pretty good, but that’s not as much the case if you just look at their most recent reviews. While RingCentral used to receive mostly positive feedback, their reviews have been on a negative downturn for the last couple years.

Finally, some customers have issues with their support department. RingCentral outsources some of their customer service to foreign countries, and their clients sometimes have problems communicating with reps that might not speak English as their primary language.

Overall, RingCentral has a lot to offer their business phone service clients, but they also have a couple shortcomings that keep them out of the running for our top spot.

#4
Pick

Talkroute
4.3/5 Stars

Talkroute is a more recent addition to the business phone service industry than the other providers we’ve discussed in this guide. Still, even though they just formed in 2013, they already have thousands of customers on their platform.

  • Talkroute’s pricing starts at just $19 per month, which is one of the most affordable rates in this industry — especially when you consider that, like Grasshopper, their prices are flat rates instead of per-user fees charged by RingCentral and Nextiva.
  • Talkroute offers their customers unlimited minutes with any business phone service plan. Aside from the minutes, Talkroute’s standard features are pretty basic, including things like voicemail access, 100 text messages per month, etc.
  • As a smaller company than the previously discussed providers, it’s no surprise that Talkroute only has a couple dozen customer reviews across the web. While they may not have a large volume of customer feedback, it’s worth noting that Talkroute’s reviews are nearly all positive.

One issue I have with Talkroute is their customer service. Their Basic ($19/month) plan only includes email support, while the Plus ($39) package adds web chat. If you want phone support, you’ll need to pay at least $59/month for the Pro plan.

Talkroute isn’t one of the industry giants, but they do offer a business phone service that is reasonably priced and quite appealing to many entrepreneurs.

#5
Pick

Kixie
4.1/5 Stars

Like Talkroute, Kixie is a more recent entry into the world of business phone service. They opened in 2013, and they’ve cultivated a loyal customer base in those few years of operation. Let’s see how they compare with these other options.

  • Kixie’s pricing can be very affordable, as their Basic service package is available for just $15 per month. However, your costs can add up rather quickly under their “per user” pricing model, as their top-tier Enterprise plan will set you back $65 per month for each user.
  • As opposed to unlimited or prepaid minutes plans, Kixie does not include any talk time with any of their service plans. Instead, you’ll pay a flat rate of 1.6 cents per minute, or you can add unlimited minutes to any package for $30.
  • Customer reviews are a big positive for Kixie, as nearly all of their online feedback is highly positive in nature. They have around 100 customer reviews available online, and only a small handful of them are critical at all.

I’m not a big fan of their “add-on minutes” structure, and I’m also not impressed by their customer service. Much like Talkroute, Kixie only provides email support for customers who purchase their Basic ($15/month) or Integrated ($35) packages. For phone support, you’ll need to step up to the Enterprise service plan for $65 per month.

While they do have a few significant drawbacks, Kixie’s affordable $15 base rate and strong customer feedback make them a service well worth considering.

#6
Pick

eVoice
4.0/5 Stars

Unlike most of the other options in this guide that are either standalone services or the main focus of their parent companies, eVoice is just one of many products offered by j2 Global, a company that’s served over 11 million clients since 1995.

There are positives and negatives to being a small part of such a major corporation, so let’s see how they stack up to other providers.

  • With a base rate of $12.99/month, eVoice has the most affordable business phone service package I’m aware of. eVoice’s pricing model is a bit of a hybrid between “per user” costs and “all inclusive” packages. In their own words, each account is “limited to three auto-attendant numbers, and one direct-dial number,” so in essence you could have up to 3 users on one account.
  • eVoice’s service packages all include a limited number of minutes, from 300 monthly minutes on the low end to 4,000 per month at the top end. Additional minutes are available for 3.9 cents per minute.
  • Their standard feature set is pretty strong, as it includes professionally recorded greetings and some other advanced features like mobile apps and voicemail-to-email at no extra charge.
  • eVoice is not well-regarded among their current customers, at least according to their reviews. I found 54 reviews of eVoice, which are nearly all negative, and parent company j2 Global has just one positive review on BBB.org, compared to 29 critical reviews and 577 other customer complaints.

eVoice does have 24/7 support with both phone and email options available, and with their cheap base price, I can certainly see why some entrepreneurs would find their service offerings appealing.

Pros & Cons of Business Phone Service

Pros

  1. Compared to traditional business service from the phone company, these VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services can save you a bunch of money, while also being more flexible and portable options because they run on an internet connection rather than a standard phone line.

  2. The setup process couldn’t be much easier than it is with these service providers. With most of them, the entire process takes only a few minutes, which again is much more convenient than a legacy phone service.

  3. Security is not a concern with any of these companies. None of them have a history of security threats, and in general they’re all every bit as safe and secure as the internet connection you’re operating them on.

Cons

  1. One area where traditional “phone company” business phone service still has an advantage is in reliability. Whereas landline phones hardly ever experience any sort of outages, VoIP services are a bit more prone to brief temporary service outages due to reasons like software updates.

Which Business Phone Service Should You Use?

Winner - Which Should You ChooseAll 6 of these business phone services are legitimate operations that are all capable of providing quality communications services. My personal preference is Nextiva, although the other service providers discussed in this guide are all worthy options as well. In short, any of these products is an easily justifiable choice depending on your preferences.

If you want to learn more about any of the service providers featured in this guide, I invite you to dive into our full reviews for more info.