We talk to Canadian small businesses every week who are feeling confused about hosted PBX pricing.

They’ve usually spoken with at least one of our competitors, heard their pitch, and are more confused than before they started learning about this new technology.

After reading this post you’ll have a clear understanding of how Hosted PBX phone systems are priced, what features you really need, and how to decide what provider is the best fit for your business.

The Quick Answer to What Does it Cost?

The quick answer to the question of ‘how much does a hosted PBX phone system cost’ is somewhere between $16 and $40 per user needed in your office.

That price spread varies, and is based on the number of extensions you need, the service provider you choose, and the features available with the service.

You can check out our pricing page here.

Let’s take a look at the different approaches business phone service providers take to pricing their service.

The Bells and Whistles Approach

Some cloud-based phone system providers take the “bells and whistles” approach. Their system has more features than you could possibly list on a single sheet of paper, and the sales representatives are so excited about it you almost feel embarrassed to admit you’re not sure what the heck they’re talking about.

Pricing is justified based on all of the features rather than the actual service being provided and cost savings your business will enjoy.

We’re the first to admit that some features that can be programmed into a virtual business phone system are great! They improve efficiency and productivity.

Then there is a slew of other features that sound fancy, but honestly will never be used.

The solution? Figure out what features are important to you and your business and then ignore the rest.

Aside from basic voicemail and call routing, we’ve found our customers enjoy the find-me follow-me feature, which allows more than one phone to ring at one time until you answer it. An example would be ringing your desk extension and cell phone at the same time to ensure you don’t miss a call.

Custom auto attendants that allow callers to select an extension are also popular as they ensure callers can self-serve and not have to wait on hold for someone to answer their call.

Low-Cost Long Term Contract Approach

This is the pricing approach taken by most of the large telcos. They offer free hardware upfront and a low per line or extension price but require you to commit for 3-5 years or longer.

While it may be attractive today, will you still feel that same way in a year or two? Technology changes fast, and while the software and hardware in place today for hosted PBX phone systems will likely stay put for the next couple of years, it’s never a great idea to be stuck into a long-term contract.

Just look at the smartphone industry as an example. Recent regulations have reduced the length of contracts allowed from wireless carriers in Canada, but prior to this, it was often the case that your contract outlasted your smartphone technology and speed by a year or more.

How Much Does it Actually Cost

Pricing for a Hosted PBX in Canada is most often quoted by the number of phones or extensions needed. If you check out our pricing page you’ll see that all of our ClearNote service packages are based on the number of extensions (phones) you need in your office.

If you needed 6 different phones in your office then you would look at our medium business package at $107.95 per month. That’s no long-term contract or commitment. We have to earn your business every month.

What do you really need?

Most small offices in Canada require a Hosted PBX service that most closely resembles a traditional PBX system providing

  • Auto attendant
  • Automatic call distribution
  • Voicemail
  • Call transfers

New features such as softphones and desktop calling may sound neat, but in all honesty, you and your staff will function just fine by swapping out your legacy PBX phone system for a shiny new hosted PBX phone service.

You’ll cut monthly costs, reduce the amount of hardware you need onsite and enjoy a couple of extra features that were unavailable with a traditional PBX phone system.

After the Sale is Important

Monthly service fees are no doubt important when making a decision on a service provider, however keep in mind that what happens after the sale is arguably just as important.

One of the benefits ClearlyCore offers its customers is unparalleled customer service. As a boutique provider of hosted and on-premise PBX phone systems, our team is better equipped to not only help you before you make your purchase decision, but more critically, we will be there for you after the install is complete, when you’re settling into the new system and need hands-on, expert support during the first few days and weeks..

To determine what hosted PBX plan is right for your office call today, or submit the form on this page to request a phone conversion consult.

The majority of small to medium-sized businesses that we help with their business phone system needs, are looking to get away from having old PBX phone equipment in their office, and instead move to a more streamlined phone system that is housed in the cloud.

However, there are some that still have an interest in an on-premise PBX phone system.

The purpose of this article is to help explain the differences between a hosted PBX phone service versus an onsite PBX phone service, while still using VoIP technology.

There’s a lot of geek terminology that can be used to explain the fine details of how an on-premise versus cloud phone system works, but for simplicity, we’ll stick to the basics.

There are two big questions you need to answer to determine which type of PBX is right for you.

  • How many extensions does your office require
  • Do you mind investing more upfront to save down the road

How Many Extensions

Hosted PBX most often is billed by the number of extensions you require. While the cost per extension almost always goes down as the quantity increases, there is still a cost associated with it.

This is because the service is being maintained and managed offsite by your provider.

With an on-premise PBX setup, adding another line doesn’t incur an additional monthly cost. Although it may require a fee to set up, depending on if you use a 3rd party provider to manage your on-premise setup for you.

If you are in the situation where you require 80, 100 or 200 extensions, the cost benefits of running an on-premise PBX system might outweigh that of a hosted PBX platform.

It’s important to understand if there are extension limits on the hosted or onsite system you’re considering. The Hosted and on-premise PBX systems we setup here at ClearlyCore do not have extension limitations.

Upfront Cost and Management

The setup of an on-premise PBX system requires the purchase of some hardware. The cost will most often be $4000 – $7000 initially to setup(this is just a range less and more expensive costs can be incurred). Also, the hardware and software is then set up at your location, so should something need to be changed either a staff member or 3rd party provider will need to make the change.

A hosted PBX has all of the software installed and managed at your provider’s location. There’s no server hardware installed at your office, and if changes need to be made you can log in to an easy graphical user interface (GUI) or contact your provider for assistance.

With an on-premise PBX you aren’t paying by the extension, as we explained above, so if you require a lot of extensions, the added upfront cost of new hardware and possible maintenance and management of the equipment and software isn’t such a big deal. You’ll be saving by not paying a per month fee per extension which, can mean even bigger savings once the initial equipment cost is recouped.

However, it should be said that Hosted systems receive upgrades automatically from your provider, while an onsite system tends to require periodic software upgrades (and hardware upgrades as older equipment wears out).

What’s the Right Decision For Your Business?

Here at ClearlyCore we help Canadian businesses setup both hosted and on-premise PBX phone systems. One of our co-founders even co-wrote the book on Asterisk, the most popular open source software platform powering on-premise PBX phone setups.

Scheduling a short discussion with one of our team members can often clear up any confusion you have on what is best for you. Give us a call today or schedule a phone conversion consult by submitting the form on this page.

In today’s world of “i” this and “e” that, the words cloud, virtual and hosted get tossed around almost interchangeably.

We’re often asked by new customers “What’s the difference between a hosted PBX versus a cloud or virtual phone system for my office?”.

We want to address the question here to help you out as well.

The difference between the three really is…..


Cloud-Based Phone Systems

The term cloud service really means nothing more than a service that is hosted and managed by a service provider offsite from your location.

Services like Dropbox and Amazon Web Services are cloud-based services. They provide you server space and file storage that is not local to your office or computer.

As it is a cloud-based phone system. Your VoIP phone system is hosted and managed offsite on a server managed by your provider.

In this way, the terms cloud, virtual and hosted PBX phone systems can be used somewhat interchangeably.

Where things get a bit cloudy (pun intended) is whether we’re talking about handsets on desks for each extension in your office or softphones on a smartphone or laptop computer?

Handsets Vs Headsets

Most of our customers are changing their office phone service from a traditional PBX hardware system to a software-driven PBX system. Most of them also opt to have us host the software and manage the service for them rather than hosting it locally at their office.

All of our customers also usually have desk phones for each staff member in their office. Like a traditional PBX system, there’s a phone on each desk that staff can receive calls on and call out from.

It is possible with some cloud and virtual phone systems to not have a desk phone. Instead, these systems use an app on your smartphone or application on your desktop or laptop computer to make and receive calls. These applications are called softphones.

When someone calls your extension or office, the app rings, just as if it was a phone, and you answer it either on your smartphone or using a headset plugged into your local computer.

These types of phone systems are flexible in the fact that they travel with you, but many offices prefer the traditional desk phone versus using computers or smartphone apps to receive phone calls. You can of course mix and match both phone types within the one system; we can help you to determine what mix is best for you.

To learn more about how you can save by switching your office phone to a hosted PBX service give ClearlyCore a call today, or submit the form on this page to book a phone conversion consult.