Navigating the Pricing of PBX Phone Systems for Small Businesses
Last Updated: May 24, 2023
Fact Checked By: Ashley Smith
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Summary: PBX Phone System Prices #
On average, expect to pay about $1000 per user for a PBX phone system.
About PBX Phone Systems #
A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system is the most powerful type of privately owned business phone system. It is best suited for a business with 40 or more employees, allowing full implementation of multiple phone lines, auto attendant, call forwarding, messaging on hold, conferencing, voice mail, and more. PBX technology was once prohibitively expensive to all but the largest companies but advances in technology have made them affordable for even small businesses. While they come standard with most of the features your business is likely to need, more advanced technology can also be implemented. Because PBX phone systems can easily expand to meet the needs of a growing business making an initial investment now will ensure seamless communications between you and your customers for years to come.
Things to Consider for a PBX Phone System #
Before you begin pricing PBX phone systems, you will want to give some consideration to the following factors:
Size: You'll want to make sure your PBX system has the proper capacity to meet the needs of your business. To determine how big of a system you'll need, important factors are:
The number of outside phone lines (or trunks) the company has.
The number of extensions that will be implemented in the system. Every device that connects to the PBX system is considered one extension, including not only phones, but also fax machines, modems, and anything else that utilizes a phone connection.
When sizing your PBX, it will likely be defined by the number of ports, which include all connections to the system, including the number of phone lines and extensions as well as PBX features such as automated attendants.
You'll also want to consider your future needs by purchasing a PBX that can handle additional capacity as your business grows.
Features: What do you need your PBX phone system to do?
Basic feature include auto attendant, call forwarding, call holding, call waiting, faxing capability, multiple extensions, speakerphone, and voicemail.
PBX systems can also utilize computer-telephony integration (CTI) which allows a telephone system to interact with a computer system. This allows your PBX system to perform more advanced functions such as displaying caller ID on a screen and much more.
PBX Phone System Prices #
The average cost for a PBX system is approximately $1,000 per user (employee). Examples of actual prices paid for PBX business phone systems include:
- A Gearhart, Oregon manufacturer paid $18,000 for a system with 20-29 extensions and CTI.
- An IT consultant from Chicago paid $41,000 for a phone system with 50-69 extensions and CTI.
Keep in mind that the price of $1000/user can vary considerably, depending on the size of the system you purchase. While small companies will likely pay more, companies with more than 100 employees will pay less.
Other factors that will affect the price of PBX office phone systems include:
- Types of phones: prices vary considerably among major brands such as AT&T and Samsung. You will probably save money if you buy phones in bulk.
- The Cabinet (the central operating unit or "brains" of your PBX), which can cost $1000-$10,000 or more by itself.
- Additional features: Adding CTI and other more advanced functions will cost more.
- Installation: Professional installation is a must, can be quite complex and expensive, especially if your company's existing wiring won't work for a PBX system.
A final factor to consider is that paying more up front for a top-not system and expandability will yield savings down the road. In the end, total cost of ownership is a more reliable determinant of price than how much you pay up front.
Pros of a Hosted Phone System #
There are numerous advantages with a hosted phone system. For one thing, PBX systems include the full features found in traditional installed systems, such as automated greetings, faxing, voicemail, and conference calling. It is also less expensive to have the telephone service handle call routing and switching, as well as maintenance. Hosted phone systems allow employees to work from home, using the Internet service to configure their phones to receive work calls. Hosting options include PSTN (for public switched telephone network), Internet-based phone systems, or a combination of the two. Employees are no longer tied to a physical location, meaning you can eliminate office costs altogether or simply make it easier for sales personnel to change or modify orders from the field in real time.