Online faxing is popular with today’s small businesses. However, there are still many large and small businesses using traditional fax machines.
What are the advantages of online faxing? How much will everything cost? Is the added value worth it for your business? Today, we’re going to help you understand the debate between online fax vs fax machines.
If you need to send out a fax immediately, I would just sign up for an online fax service like RingCentral Fax.
RingCentral Fax is a computer service that offers a 30 day free trial and then its $12.99/mo which is cheaper than other email fax providers (MyFax, EFax, RapidFax & MetroFax).
Pros and Cons of Online Faxing
Access faxes anywhere: The ability to access online faxes from your computer anywhere you go is at the top of this list for a reason: it’s an extremely valuable benefit. Instead of having employees tied to the office all day, they can leave the office and access faxes from any internet-connected device.
Mobile support: All online fax services support mobile devices. It’s the biggest benefit of online faxing. Some support mobile devices better than others – with mobile apps, for example. Others simply let users connect to their online fax service over mobile browsers. In either case, online faxing features great support for mobile devices.
Easy to use: Even if you “know nothing about computers”, you won’t have trouble sending and receiving faxes with electronic faxing. Here’s how you send a fax: you compose an email using your regular email client or an online service. Then, you attach the ‘thing’ you want to fax to that email (it can be a PDF, image, document, Excel spreadsheet, and many other types of files). Finally, you type your contact’s fax number into the contact field, add ‘@YourFaxServiceProvider’sWebsite.com, and click ‘Send’. Piece of cake. Essentially, you’re just sending an email!
No overhead costs: The overhead costs of faxing can be exorbitant for larger businesses. In this day and age, there’s no need for these exorbitant costs – the internet has made them obsolete! Unless you exceed your monthly fax allotments, there aren’t really any overhead costs to online faxing. No paper, no ink, no toner, and no costly machine repairs or replacements.
View fax history: Traditional fax machines forget faxes after they’re received. You can’t easily view fax history or download faxes to your local storage device. With online faxing, all incoming and outgoing faxes are tied to your online account
Better security: Your business likely receives faxes with sensitive information. If your fax machine automatically prints out every received fax, then anyone can view this confidential information. Obviously, that’s not a good thing for your business. With virtual faxing, you can designate a single user or multiple users to receive faxes, increasing privacy.
Multiple users and extensions available: If you run a larger business with more extensive faxing needs, then that’s okay: online fax providers are happy to add extensions and multiple users to your account. Not all service providers support multiple users, but a large number of them do. Some allow you to add multiple users for free, while others charge additional fees.
No busy signals: With online faxing, it’s impossible to receive a busy signal. That means you’re going to receive each and every fax someone sends to your fax number.
Many different service providers and plans available
Choosing the right online fax provider takes some research. Every provider has different plans, different pricing levels, and different extra features. At BeBusinessed, we’ve helped you make sense of all of these features with in-depth reviews and comparison articles, but some buyers can find the process intimidating.
Pros and Cons of Fax Machines
No change required: If you already own a fax machine with an established fax number then you don’t need to change anything to continue enjoying that service. This is great for lazy business owners who want to maintain the status quo.
It’s simple and it’s ‘what you know’: Unless you’ve never used a computer, sending a fax with email faxing is easy. However, there are some people who are intimidated by technology – even something as simple as sending an email. If you or your employees are technophobic, then you may want to continue using your simple old fax machine.
Depending on your faxing needs, fax machines may be cheaper: Online faxing isn’t guaranteed to be cheaper for your business. If your business has limited faxing needs, then there may not be a pressing reason for you to make the change. However, with online faxing plans starting for as little as $5 per month, even businesses with extremely limited faxing needs will likely find the switch to be worthwhile.
Ink, toner, and paper: There are overhead costs to running a fax machine. Even if you only send and receive a dozen faxes each month, these overhead costs will add up. Ink and toner have never been cheap, and if you send a high volume of faxes, then the costs of paper can add up.
Repair and replacement costs: Owning a physical fax machine seems like a great idea until it breaks down. Most fax machine problems can be repaired on-site with the help of a knowledgeable employee or call to the fax machine company. However, there are some problems that require extensive repairs and replacements. Suddenly, owning a fax machine seems like a bad and expensive idea.
Tied to your office: When you own a fax machine, you’re tied to your office. You cannot receive faxes on your smartphone or view faxes in your email inbox. You or an employee must be in the office to receive a fax – no exceptions. This may not be an issue for companies where employees arrive at work and sit at their desks 8 hours a day, but it’s likely a problem for everyone else.
Lack of privacy and security concerns: Anyone can view the faxes that come in through your office machine. Don’t risk the security of your business with traditional fax machines.
Busy signals: If multiple people try to fax you at the same time, all but one of them will receive a busy signal. That means important information may not be transmitted when it needs to be transmitted. In the business world, that’s simply unacceptable.
Conclusion – What’s the right option for your business?
Let’s take away all the pros and cons for a moment. What’s the right option for your business?
Picture it this way: faxing is a necessity for most businesses these days. You have two ways to fax – own a physical fax machine and fax number; or, subscribe to an online faxing service.
One method relies on a technology first developed in the 1800s, while the other transmits data over the internet. One is costly, time-consuming, and inconvenient, while another is cheap, efficient, and easy-to-use.
Given that information, the vast majority of today’s businesses can benefit from online faxing. The only reason you would not benefit from online faxing would be:
- You own a fax machine that does not require ink, paper, or toner
- Your fax machine never breaks or requires repairs and maintenance
- You have unlimited free fax service with your telephone provider
- You send fewer than 10 or 15 faxes each month
If you fulfill all of those requirements, then sure, online faxing isn’t for you. But unless you own a magical fax machine and have extremely limited faxing needs, then online faxing is a very good idea for your business.
“Fax Anytime, Cancel Anytime” and get 500 free faxes per month with RingCentral Fax.