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If you're looking for a free pbx i'm going to assume you're looking for a VoIP solution. From an opensource perspective Asterisk is probably one of the more common - www.asterisk.org
Of course you'll need to make sure that your provider will support this (e.g. vonage does not) and that you have the appropriate equipment.
I don't want to install anything - something which runs on Skype may be good enough for me.
I am inclined to pbxplus.com (www.pbxplus.com). They are offering free pbx with speech recognition, free local number and few minutes. Did anyone try them?
It is hard recommending a provider especially if I don't know much more about your business telecommunication requirements. Instead, I will give you a link that can help you in deciding which provider will satisfy your communication needs.
Be careful with "free" offerings. Not that they are not a good wasy to save money but hink about the long run implications.
There is more of a likely hood that teh company will be shut-down or sold. Now, your business phone number would be at risk.
It might be worth paying a little extra for a service with a long history and some staying power.
I actually saw that you posted this question on several other forums. I wanted to make sure you saw my response.
There are not that many free virtual pbx systems out there but you can consider Google Voice if you simply need call forwarding. If you are looking for features like a toll free number, call forwarding, voicemail, etc...at Grasshopper we actually start our plans at $9.95/month. Pretty cheap and all the features you need. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to help you! Just let me know :)
Grasshopper is my case in point. I originally got an account with GotVMail (based on low price) and then one day I wake up and it is Grasshopper.
We had to redo our employee handbooks on setting up and using the services and our log in page/information changed.
We liked the original user interface but now it has changed. Again, not what we originally signed-up for.
It was quite the headache.
I am now concerned that if the company changes ownership again I will be in the same situation.
We actually didn't change ownership, we simply rebranded. The company is still owned and run by the same people and I can promise you that we will not be changing ownership anytime in the near or distant future :) Also, you shouldn't have to worry about your business number even if you change companies. Toll free numbers are yours and can be taken with you no matter which service you use. The same thing applies for most local numbers.
As for the itnerface, we have gotten a lot of feedback from customers like yourself and have made it a priority this quarter to make it simpler and easier for everyone. We are always open to feedback and if you have questions, complaints, thoughts, etc, please don't hesitate to reach out. Call support at 800-820-8210, shoot me an email (cgillette at grasshopper.com) or tweet us (@grasshopper).
First they change the user interface without notice, and now I get an email saying they are rasing pricing - and the price plan I originally signed up for will no longer exist.
Not grandfathering in customers! Wow. Stay away from Grasshopper.
"You don't need to do anything, but it will increase in price by $3 a month starting with your September billing statement."
Great time to raise prices on small businesses.
I'd love to hear more about your offering versus what we can do with Asterisk.
Hello Mongoose, Bridge, and JackSparrow,
I would recommend staying away from installing anything like Asterisk unless you have a lot of time to spend. It's much easier and faster to go with a virtual phone system as they've done all the work for you and all you have to do is do some slight configuration to make it work for you. From that point on you worry about your business, not your phone system.
I would recommend taking a look at Virtual PBX (www.virtualpbx.com). We have all the features that most small businesses want as well as some other features (like ACD queues) that they didn't realize they needed, starting at $9.99/month.
If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to talk with you about your current phone situation and how we can help you potentially save a lot of money in the long run.
Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.
I think as VPBX_John touched on, they can do a lot of similar things, however with Asterisk you are responisble for getting it set up. Grasshopper has many of the same/if not more features plus real-time support... it's all ready to go for you. You just get a number (or port yours in if you have one), create your extensions, greetings, call-forwarding options and you are pretty much set.
Google offers a product called Google Voice. It is not a true phone system because you need to have either a cell phone or a land line. It does offer a really nice package of free services including voice mail, voice mail to e-mail, voice to text and the ability to have a local number in just about any state.
Here's another update for the group.
I emailed Grasshopper asking about the 30% price increase that they were hititng me with and received the following response:
So, when they initiated the plan it was designed as a "teaser" rate. It would have been nice if they had notified potential customers that they would be eliminating the plan in the near future. Nice ethics.
I would suggest that people look at Ringcentral.com and VirtualPBX.com which offer similar services at better pricing; both of which have been around for some time.
We spoke on the phone earlier and as I explained, there was certainly no teaser or bait & switch. We've had the same pricing for almost 7 years now, and over the years have actually increased the number of minutes & features the $9.95 plan provides while keeping the price the same. But, as a small business owner like yourself knows, costs do rise.
We are giving all of our customers on the old plan the opportunity to stay on at the $9.95 price point (Pay-As-You-Grow plan), which includes all of the features but does not include minutes. For most of our customers, including you, that may be the best option as the amount of minutes you use is pretty small. It may result in an additional $1.00 on your bill.
Like I said on the phone, I am happy to put you in touch with someone to address your concerns as you have been a long time customer and we certainly value that.
Sorry to hear about your experiences with Grasshopper. X-( It stinks when a company you are used to gets bought out, and then changes everything about the services (including price).
I had the same experience with a company called TollFreeMax. The charged me $9.95 a month for over about two years, and I was happy with them. Then they were bought by another company. The new company tried to charge me $49.95 a month! That's a 500% increase! I bolted and am now using Google Voice.
Google Voice is great, and the price is right (free). The only downside I have found is the caller ID that displays on my outbound calls. When I place calls via Google Voice, my prospects and clients do not see my company name on their caller ID. They just see the city/state I am calling from. Often, they will not answer the call because they think it is a telemarketer. :-(
Hopefully, Google will make a "Caller ID" option available soon. But, I'm not holding my breath.