The Best Phone Services for Small Business

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best business phone service is definitely Nextiva, Ooma, or RingCentral.

Phone services for businesses have come a long way.

The right services can get you toll-free numbers, easy routing, and unlimited SMS for a low monthly rate.

Business VoIP phone services have become much more popular than traditional phone lines. They’re easier to set up, easier to manage, and cheaper.

Below we break down the best business phone services on the market. Later, we’ll dive into why you need one and exactly how a VoIP works.

The Best Business Phone Service Providers for 2021

  • Nextiva — Most affordable enterprise-level plans.
  • RingCentral— The most popular VoIP phone service for small businesses.
  • Ooma— Best for traditional office settings with desk phones.
  • Phone.com— Best cheap small business phone service plans.
  • Grasshopper— Best phone service for solo entrepreneurs.
  • Vonage— Pioneer in the VoIP phone industry.
  • Jive — Tiered pricing with all-inclusive features.
  • 1-VoIP— Flexible and cost-effective metered pricing for small businesses on a budget.

Below, compare the pricing, plans, and features of each one to identify the best fit for your small business.

Nextiva – Most affordable enterprise-level plans

Nextiva is an industry leader in the business phone service space. Brands like the YMCA, the Buffalo Bills, and Taco Bell trust Nextiva for their phone service solutions.

They offer reliable phone systems at a great price.

Features, tools, and hardware include:

  • A phone for your desk
  • Phones for conference rooms
  • An app to manage phone calls, texts, and emails through your computer
  • A mobile app for your cellphone
  • Integrations with the major CRMs like Salesforce and Hubspot

According to Garnter, 94% of customers are satisfied with Nextiva. People love the service — and for good reason. They have a 99.999% uptime with no outages reported in 2019 and 2021. Rest assured that your phone service won’t be cut off by their data centers.

You’ll get to choose between three simple plans. The price depends on the number of users and the length of your contract. There are plans to accommodate businesses of all shapes and sizes, with options for businesses with 1-4 users, all the way up to 100+ users.

Here are the starting rates for each plan, per user, for an annual contract:

  • Basic — $19.95 per month
  • Pro — $20.95 per month
  • Enterprise — $27.95 per month

These are the most affordable enterprise-level plans that we’ve seen so far.

Some other highlights of Nextiva’s small business phone service include:

  • Unlimited calls
  • Call queuing
  • Automatic call forwarding
  • Hold music
  • Free online fax
  • Free local and toll-free number

Some sought-after features are not included in the basic plan. If you want to use the Nextiva app, get unlimited conference calls, pre-recorded greetings, and text messaging, you’ll need to upgrade to the pro plan.

Call recording, voice analytics, and voicemail to text delivery are only available on the enterprise plan.

RingCentral – Most popular VoIP phone service for small businesses

With more than 350,000 businesses using RingCentral for VoIP phone services, it’s one of the most popular solutions in the industry. That’s because they offer an all-in-one phone service solution at a competitive price.

RingCentral stands out because they offer specifically designed plans for small businesses. It’s reliable, secure, easy to use, and delivers high-quality voice for crystal clear calls.

RingCentral is also affordable. You can save over 30% if you sign up and prepay with an annual plan as opposed to a month-to-month contract.

Here’s a quick overview of the plans and pricing:

Essentials

  • Starting at $19.99 per month per user
  • Up to 20 users
  • 100 toll-free minutes per month
  • On-demand call recording
  • Unlimited calls within US and Canada

Standard

  • Starting at $24.99 per month per user
  • 1,000 toll-free minutes per month
  • Unlimited Internet fax
  • Unlimited audio meetings
  • Unlimited video conferencing (up to 4 people per meeting)
  • On-demand call recording
  • Custom app development and deployment

Premium

  • Starting at $34.99 per month per user
  • 2,500 toll-free minutes per month
  • Unlimited video conferencing (up to 100 people per meeting)
  • Automatic call recording
  • Multi-site support
  • Salesforce and Zendesk integration

Ultimate

  • Starting at $49.99 per month per user
  • 10,000 toll-free minutes per month
  • Unlimited video conferencing (up to 200 people per meeting)
  • Automatic call recording

There’s practically a plan for everyone. However, I don’t think most will need any more than the Standard plan, which offers plenty of great features and all the essentials a business might need.

Ooma – Best for traditional office settings with desk phones.

Ooma offers VoIP phone plans that are specifically made for small businesses.

It’s an ideal solution for businesses with traditional offices that need desk phones.

New businesses might be swayed by their lucrative pricing. Just pay a flat rate of $19.95 per month per user. No contracts and you can cancel at any time.

The catch? The monthly rates don’t include hardware costs.

Compared to other providers, Ooma is definitely more on the expensive side. This balances out the lower monthly rates.

Ooma does have a mobile app, which allows you and your staff to make calls on the go from your smartphones. So you could opt to go mobile-only and skip the hardware costs.

But I don’t recommend this. There are better options out there if you’re looking for a business VoIP phone service without any hardware.

So stick with Ooma if you want straightforward rates for your office phone.

For those of you with a growing team, Ooma can scale with you. It’s easy to add on users, devices, and manage everything on your own.

Your plan will come with unlimited calling, a toll-free number, low international rates, and a virtual receptionist. Ooma also has exceptional customer support if you have any trouble setting up the hardware or managing your service.

Phone.com – Best cheap small business phone service plans.

Phone.com offers some of the most straightforward and simple VoIP business phone plans that you can find.

They’re also incredibly affordable. The reason: Simplicity.

You can sign up and get started in minutes. Building and managing your entire business phone system from the intuitive dashboard is easy for anyone, regardless of their technical skill level.

Phone.com has more than 50 standard features, including:

  • Fax to email
  • SMS messaging
  • International dialing
  • HD conferencing
  • Call screening and blocking
  • Call routing
  • Call queuing
  • Auto attendant

You’ll also benefit from E911 dialing, which is not offered by all VoIP providers. Premium features like call recording, video conferencing, and CRM integration cost extra.

Another feature you can add is caller analytics. This helps you get a deep dive into the metrics of your call such as call durations over time, busiest hours, and your top performers. You can also see a handy breakdown of your incoming and outgoing calls by extension numbers.

That’s great for the data-driven companies out there. Plus it’s great to integrate into your sales funnels and marketing strategy. And at $3.99 it’s a bargain.

Phone.com is HIPAA and HITECH compliant, which means it’s safe to use if your company is in the medical field.

Compared to other business phone services that we’ve seen, Phone.com offers a unique pricing structure.

They have standard plans with unlimited minutes starting at $24.99, $32.99, and $49.99 per month with an annual contract. Each tier comes with extra numbers, extra text messages, and added features that you would expect with the price increase.

However, Phone.com also has pay per minute plans starting as low as $9.99 per month. This is the lowest monthly rate that you’ll find from a reputable VoIP phone service provider. These plans are reserved for businesses that don’t need lots of minutes. The pay per minute plans offer 300 monthly minutes, 500 monthly minutes, and 1,000 monthly minutes, respectively.

So if your calls are relatively short and infrequent, you can definitely save some money with one of these budget plans.

Grasshopper – Best phone service for solo entrepreneurs

Grasshopper is a great phone service for small businesses and entrepreneurs alike.

More than 135,000 users trust Grasshopper as their business phone service. That’s because they make it easy for you to find toll free numbers, vanity numbers, 800 numbers, local numbers, and more.

This simple solution is a great way to add professionalism to your business.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the plans and pricing:

  • Solo — Starting at $26 per month (1 number, 3 extensions)
  • Partner — Starting at $44 per month (3 numbers, 6 extensions)
  • Small Business — Starting at $80 per month (5 numbers, unlimited extensions)

The solo plan is the best option for an entrepreneur who has a small side business. You’ll want to upgrade to the partner plan if you have a small group of up to three employees working for you. For anything more than that, you’ll need the small business plan to accommodate your needs.

best business phone service
best business phone service

All Grasshopper plans come standard with the following features:

  • VoIP and Wifi calling
  • Virtual fax
  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Business texting
  • Ability to handle simultaneous calls
  • Call reporting
  • Call forwarding
  • Voicemail
  • Call transfers
  • Extensions

One big benefit: No restrictions from call limits. They also offer 24/7 live support.

Grasshopper also gives you the option to integrate your business interactions into one inbox that’s easy to manage. You can access your emails, texts, business calls, and contacts in one place. Try Grasshopper for free.

Vonage – Pioneer in the VoIP phone industry

Vonage is a highly-trusted business phone service.

They have been in business for nearly 20 years. In fact, they were the first VoIP platform for 911 calls.

Despite their long history, they only recently started providing business solutions.

That includes their unified communications service which allows you to communicate through voice, SMS, team messaging, fax, and social. That means it’s great for office settings, but also gives you more flexibility for conferencing.

They offer three different plans, with rates based on the number of lines you need. Here’s a brief overview of the plans and costs.

Mobile

Make and receive calls from your mobile device and desktop computer. Best for smaller businesses that don’t need office phones.

  • 1-4 lines — $19.99 per month per line
  • 5-19 lines — $17.99 per month per line
  • 20+ lines — $14.99 per month per line

Premium

Made for traditional office teams. Allows for calls from any device, including desk phones.

  • 1-4 lines — $29.99 per month per line
  • 5-19 lines — $27.99 per month per line
  • 20+ lines — $24.99 per month per line

Advanced

Best option for businesses that need a phone service for team setups and onboarding.

  • 1-4 lines — $39.99 per month per line
  • 5-19 lines — $27.99 per month per line
  • 20+ lines — $34.99 per month per line

If you want CRM integrations, you’ll need to sign up for the Premium or Advanced plan. The Advanced plan also comes with on-demand call recording, group calls, and virtual voicemail.

Jive – Tiered pricing with all-inclusive feature

Jive comes with tons of all-inclusive-features.

That means the features you’d usually pay extra for in other business phone services come with Jive at no extra cost.

I like Jive because they strive to make enterprise-level communication available for small businesses. Their system is very easy to use, no matter how large or small your team is.

With Jive, you’ll get basic features like:

  • Call recording
  • Auto attendants
  • Call monitoring
  • Conferencing
  • Virtual fax
  • Custom greeting
  • Custom hold music
  • Dial by name or extension
  • Individual call logs

And that’s just the basic features.

best business phone service
best business phone service

Jive makes it easy for you and your entire team to connect to your phone system from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. This is ideal for those of you who aren’t always tied to a traditional office setting.

This versatility is also perfect for any recent upticks in remote work—which should be especially relevant to any and all companies impacted by the global pandemic.

Pricing for these plans is based on users. Here’s an overview of Jive’s tiered-pricing structure.

The more users you have, the less you pay per user. And even the entry-level plans are affordable. When you factor in the premium features that are all-inclusive, it makes Jive a more appealing option than some other providers on the market.

Jive phones are extremely easy to set up. All you need to do is plug them in and you’ll be ready to make calls in minutes.

1-VoIP – Flexible and cost-effective metered pricing for small businesses on a budget

1-VoIP is a small businesses on a tight budget that want a reliable phone service provider.

Their plans start as low as $14.97 per month. That’s not the absolute cheapest rates in this guide, but it’s very close.

If you don’t make calls often, you can take advantage of 1-VoIP’s metered pricing structure. Only pay for what you use. In this case, you’ll be charged just $0.02 per minute.

best business phone service
best business phone service

Unlike other providers on the market, 1-VoIP doesn’t cut out basic features if you sign up for the metered plan. You’ll still have all of the features that come with the other plans, including:

  • Queues
  • Hold music
  • Virtual fax
  • Digital call forwarding
  • Call recording
  • Hours of operation
  • Extension transfers
  • Call waiting

Altogether, there are 40+ features that come standard.

If you’re only using up to 200 minutes per month, the metered plan will be your best bet. Otherwise, they have package plans starting at $19.97 and $29.97 per month per extension.

The Value of a Business Phone Service

Why do you need a business VoIP phone service?

Most small business owners rely on traditional landlines or mobile phones for communication. But landlines can take up lots of extra space around the office. Plus, you can’t take those with you on the go.

The majority of you might be using your personal cell numbers to handle business calls. While the system might work for you, it’s not as professional.

Sure—you could always get a business plan from a traditional wireless carrier. But those plans are pricey, especially when you add more lines.

These are some of the top benefits of using a business phone service:

  • Make and receive calls from multiple devices (computer, mobile, desk phone).
  • Track usage, hold times, and duration of calls.
  • Share one number with multiple users.
  • Add new employees without going into a store to buy a new phone.
  • Local and toll-free calls from anywhere with high-speed Internet.

Most business VoIP phone services also come with features like call recording, call waiting, call forwarding, and call routing.

Overall, a business phone service can add professionalism to any small business or website. It can improve communication in-house as well as with your customers.

What is a VoIP phone service?

The acronym stands for “voice over Internet protocol.” In simple terms, this is a phone service that operates over the Internet.

A VoIP creates a digital signal from any incoming or outgoing call. Then it converts that signal to reach any non-VoIP numbers as well. This cloud-based solution allows you to receive calls from a computer, VoIP phone, any phone with a VoIP adaptor, or mobile hotspot. Here’s a visual explanation of how it works.

How to Find the Best Business Phone Services For You

You’ve read our reviews of the top business phone services out there. Now it’s time to actually choose a plan for your organization.

We’ve identified the essential qualities we looked for when researching each of the options above. We benchmarked each of the business phone services against our methodology to narrow down the very best ones.

Now, you can use the same criteria to find the best business phone service for your own business.

Remote Access

If there’s one thing that organizations across all industries have learned from the pandemic, it’s that remote work isn’t just the future—it’s here and now.

That’s why we really homed in on each of these business phone services’ remote features when reviewing the options. More specifically, we wanted to see what they offered in terms of remote access.

Remote access allows your employees to leverage their office lines whether or not they’re actually in the office. This allows users to make and receive calls from their desk phones, as well as listen to recordings and voice mail messages. That way, they don’t have to worry about getting a new phone number or using personal devices.

Services such as Nextiva facilitate this through handy mobile and desktop apps. Using the app, you’ll be able to take business-related calls on your smartphone.

RingCentral is another service that offers a standout app that enables remote access and work. It includes excellent integrations with tools such as Office 365 and Google Workspace, so you don’t have to keep switching between windows constantly.

As you do your own research, take a look at what remote options are available with the business phone service you’re interested in? Is it enough for your business’s needs? Will it be enough for your business as you grow? All of these are important points to take into consideration.

Audio and Video Connection Quality

Since the point of having a business phone service is effective communication, we also placed a high value on the services with the best connection quality.

We reviewed each phone service for HD video quality, instances and frequency of dropped calls, and connection issues. Both the audio and video quality needed to be top notch in order to be recommended on our list.

Some services have a greater emphasis on video calls than audio (and vice versa). For example, RingCentral offers Glip, a video conferencing service that uses carrier-grade infrastructure to facilitate high-quality video calls for up to 100 people.

Whereas a service like Phone.com is more focused on—you guessed it—phone calls. The calls you can make with their service are pristine, though, with clear connections and high-quality audio.

A service like Vonage gives you the best of both worlds with phone call service and video conferencing solutions. Its interface is a lot like Zoom’s—that is to say, highly intuitive and straightforward. You can easily share meeting links for people to join as well as dial in numbers for those who prefer to use their phones.

SMS and MMS Messaging

Texting is a great way to keep in touch with coworkers, employees, and clients. It’s also a great way to send messages and share photos or videos quickly. That’s why it’s crucial to find a business phone service that lets you leverage this channel easily and often.

We took a close look at what each business phone service offered (or didn’t offer) for:

  • Short message service (SMS). This is your standard text messaging. Great for firing off quick messages to anyone you need to communicate with.
  • Multimedia message service (MMS). This is for sending pictures, video, and/or audio. It’s a great feature of media-based businesses that need more depth to their communications.

Some of the business phone services we reviewed offer plans with unlimited SMS and MMS messaging each month as part of their UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) offerings. This refers to a combination of different communication services businesses rely on such as phone, fax, video conferencing, instant messaging, SMS, and MMS.

For example, RingCentral offers unlimited SMS and MMS as part of their service. If sending text messages is important to you, I highly recommend going with them.

A few services—like Phone.com—only offer SMS messaging, which can also be fine if your business doesn’t rely on it as much.

Responsive Customer Support

Normal support won’t cut it. For many businesses, if the phones go down, so do your profits.

You can’t afford a support team who won’t immediately spring into action to help. That’s why we took an in-depth look at the responsiveness and helpfulness of the customer support of the options on this list.

We also checked reviews specific to customer support for each one to see what real clients’ experiences were.

You should also take a look at how often their support is available. If you’re a distributed company with employees all over the world, you’ll want to find a service like Grasshopper and RingCentral that offers 24/7 live support for all of their plans.

Vonage also has a very noteworthy support team who are responsive to any issues you might have. Along with the ability to contact them via an online contact form and a 1-800 number, Vonage has a comprehensive tutorial compendium called the VBC Training Center. It houses any tutorials and quick start guides you need for learning how to use their service.

And if you’re migrating from one service to another, you’ll want to make sure your new service has a team that will help you each step of the way. For example, Vonage’s customer support team will help you with everything from number transfers to using new equipment.

GoToMeeting offers a knowledge base for you to search for the answers you need quickly and easily. If you can’t find the answer, you can turn to their community of users or call for live support.

Ooma on the other hand only has live caller support, which may result in longer wait times to get the help you need.

best business phone service
best business phone service

Summary: The Best Business Phone Services for Every Situation

I made sure that this guide included something for everyone. No matter how big your team is or how small your budget is, you can definitely find a reliable phone service for your small business.

Let’s recap the best choice for each situation:

  • Nextiva — Most affordable enterprise-level plans.
  • RingCentral — The most popular VoIP phone service for small businesses.
  • Ooma — Best for traditional office settings with desk phones.
  • Phone.com — Best cheap small business phone service plans.
  • Grasshopper — Best phone service for solo entrepreneurs.
  • Vonage — Pioneer in the VoIP phone industry.
  • Jive — Tiered pricing with all-inclusive features.
  • 1-VoIP — Flexible and cost-effective metered pricing for small businesses on a budget.

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