How can online faxing help my business?

Whether you own a small business or work as one of the thousands of employees in a large organization, online faxing services can help simplify your processes and save your company some money. Although the benefits of online faxing are felt across numerous industries, many of the latest technological advancements in online faxing have particular benefits for those who work with contracts.

Small Businesses

Most small businesses are looking for services that provide a high value at a low cost, and many online faxing services fit this description. One of the instant benefits of online faxing for small businesses is that you can avoid purchasing a traditional fax machine. A fairly cheap fax machine isn't hard to find, but it's best not to entrust the transmission of your important documents to a low-quality machine. If you already have a fax machine, signing up with an online fax service renders the old machine unnecessary and saves your business money over the long run. Online faxing reduces or eliminates the cost of paper, toner, and machine maintenance. You can also get rid of the phone line dedicated to your fax machine. Furthermore, none of the top online fax providers charge a setup fee, enabling you to access the service for a low cost. In addition, RingCentral, MetroFax, and several other top providers offer free trials, giving you a chance to use the product before you commit to a contract. Online fax providers typically have a number of packages to choose from, which enables you to find a faxing solution that best matches the needs of your company.

Large Organizations

Many of the best online fax service providers enable you to create and manage multiple user accounts, assign unique fax numbers to different departments, and even allocate billing to individual teams. All of these tasks can be completed from a centralized administrator account. Online fax services typically allow you to keep your existing fax number when you sign up with their service. If your business has been using the same fax number for years, all your suppliers, customers, and others contacts can continue to reach you at the same fax number. The top online fax services integrate with web services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and in some cases, with your customer relationship management systems, databases, and other important business applications.

Working With Contracts

Online faxing service providers offer features and functionalities particularly beneficial for real estate agents, lawyers, financial professionals, and other occupations that regularly work with contracts. One common problem that arises for those that work with contracts is that many files are too large to send via email, as most email service providers place a cap on the attachment size, ranging from 10MB to 25MB. With a top online fax service provider like eFax, you're able to send files that are as large as 1GB. Most of the top online fax providers also integrate with popular cloud storage websites like Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, giving you the ability to easily access and fax any documents you have stored in the cloud.

If you spend a lot of time outside the office, you'll also appreciate the mobile capabilities afforded to online fax users. Many of the top online fax services provide tools and resources that enable you to send and receive faxes to your mobile device. These services work pretty much the same way as your email accounts do, giving you easy and quick access to your faxes. One feature that's gaining in popularity is the ability the add a digital signature to a document. Online fax service providers like HelloFax make it easy to receive a fax, review it, add your digitized signature, then fax it back -- all from your mobile device.

How does online faxing work?

The process for online faxing is very similar to sending an email. You visit the site of the faxing service provider and, using a simple interface, enter the name of the recipient, the name of the company, the country where the fax is being sent, and a fax number or email address. You may also be asked to enter your name and contact information. The specific required fields vary between companies. Then, just as you would with an email, you upload and attach the file you want faxed and send it on its way.

Instead of transmitting through telephone networks like traditional fax machines, online faxes are sent through the Internet. If the recipient of your fax also has an account with an online fax service provider, the fax shows up in their inbox. Much like an email, they have the ability to view, download, or print the fax. If the recipient has a traditional fax machine, the online fax transmits, arrives at their fax machine, and is printed.

Online faxing providers generally cater to one of two types of customers: those looking to send a one-time fax, and those looking for a comprehensive fax service. Both of these options enable you to send faxes via Internet, but understanding the difference between these two types of providers will help you pick the right service.

One-Time Faxing

While the narrative that faxing is an antiquated technology with no place in today's business world is inaccurate, the average person probably doesn't send a lot of faxes. When these infrequent occasions requiring you to send a fax do arise, having the ability to send a fax online is a great resource.

Online faxing providers like FaxZero and others are designed specifically to meet the needs of one-time faxers. Generally speaking, these one-time faxing sites have you follow the process described above, entering contact information and uploading a document. Most of these providers enable you to upload multiple documents; however, some services may limit the total file size. Some of these one-time services enable you to send a small fax for free, but you can generally expect to pay between $1 to $2 per fax.

Full Fax Services

Full faxing services typically offer a complete package that enables you to send and receive faxes, manage contacts, and access learning materials and support. Although all faxing services are interested in facilitating fax sending and receiving, the features required by various individuals or organizations vary significantly. One organization might value online fax services designed to handle fax broadcasting (sending faxes to a large number of recipients), mail merges, adding multiple user accounts, and billing allocation. Another organization might value cloud integration, fax to email, digitized signatures, and mobile faxing.

The fundamental sending-and-receiving features are present in all leading online fax services, but being aware of some of the general differences helps make more appropriate purchasing decisions.

How much money can I save with online faxing?

Chances are, an online faxing service will save you money. Determining the exact amount of savings comes down to understanding the different ways online faxing helps you cut costs and applying those methods to your business.The following highlights some common factors that help lower expenses:

Ink/Toner: If recent trends continue, expect to pay more to keep your ink and toner cartridges full. From 2009 to 2012, the rising price of popular ink-based printer cartridges caused the per-page cost of printing to increase 4% to 30%. Similarly, over the same time period, the toner per-page costs increased between 5.5% to 28%. Depending on the number of fax pages that come through your office, reducing ink and toner costs can add up to significant savings.

Paper: Paper is another obvious contributor to the cost of faxing. However, as this paper cost calculator points out, there are other ways paper is adding on to your expenses. Perhaps most relevant to online faxing is the cost associated with filing. Traditional fax machines are often placed in central locations and, even if you and your employees are well organized, the time spent retrieving and filing faxes adds up. Contrast that with online faxing services that deliver faxes directly to an inbox, and the amount of time you spend organizing, filing, and searching for documents is greatly reduced.

Maintenance: A quality fax machine is probably going to cost you over $150 more than what you paid for upfront. Over time, the natural wear and tear on fax machines accumulates and, eventually, maintenance is required. It's difficult to approximate precise maintenance costs as it varies by region, but if you have to call a repair technician, expect to pay about $50 per visit. As your fax machine ages, the frequency of these repairs increases and you're left sinking money into an old machine.

Telecommunications: Because traditional fax machines transmit through a telephone network, many businesses have a dedicated phone line to handle faxing. Depending on your telecommunications arrangement, eliminating this dedicated line could help lower your monthly bill. Faxing internationally on a regular basis also gets expensive but, because online faxing uses the Internet to transmit, the cost of sending these faxes is typically much lower.

Time: In addition to helping you reduce the amount of time organizing and filing your faxes, a number of online faxing features help simplify common tasks. For example, top fax providers like RingCentral, MyFax, MetroFax, and others all have mobile capabilities that enable you to send and receive faxes from your mobile device. HelloFax and other top providers have streamlined the process for adding a digital signature to contracts and other documents. This enables you to receive a fax, add your digital signature, and send the fax all from your computer or mobile device. These features are especially useful if you or your employees travel or work remotely. Further, with online faxing, you don't have to stand by the fax machine waiting for your fax to go through, or deal with paper jams and repeated busy signals. Sending a fax is as easy as sending an email. Measuring the exact costs associated with your time can be tricky but, as the old adage puts it best, time is money.

What are the advantages of using an online fax service?

Despite the notion that faxing is an outdated technology, online faxing is a growing service that offers several advantages over traditional faxing. If you've been loyal to traditional faxing, you may be surprised at the ways online faxing can improve and simplify your business. Below are some of the more prolific advantages.

One less piece of equipment: One of the immediate benefits of online faxing is that it eliminates the need for a traditional fax machine. Even though modern fax machines are a fraction of the size of the old, clunky models, not having any fax machine at all creates more office space.

Helps keep stay organized: Because office fax machines are often located at a central printing station, there is always the potential of your incoming faxes getting lost, misplaced, carried away by the intern, or thrown away. Online faxing services deliver faxes directly to your computer, greatly reducing the probability of a misplaced or lost fax, and improving the security of your faxes. Instead of having piles of faxes stacking up on your desk, they are neatly filed in an online fax inbox, just like your email.

Saves you money: A detailed description of ways online faxing can save you money is covered in a different section. To provide a brief summary: When you get rid of your fax machine, you're also eliminating or reducing costs associated with paper, toner, maintenance, and telecommunications. Online faxing service providers do charge a fee for their services, but chances are high that your costs will go down if you make the switch from traditional faxing.

Digital signatures and other useful technology: Using "technology" and "faxing" in the same sentence may sound odd to some people but, the truth is, online faxing service providers do offer some pretty impressive services. For example, HelloFax is a top-rated faxing service that provides tools that enable you to easily edit, add an electronic signature, and send your fax. A process that formerly may have required you to download, print, manually sign, scan, and send, is now greatly simplified. HelloFax also syncs with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, and Evernote, giving you quick and simple access to common cloud-based storage sites.

Top online fax providers like RingCentral, MetroFax, and others have also developed mobile capabilities that enable you to fax from your mobile device. These services work much like your email, giving you the ability to send and receive faxes even when you're traveling or out of the office. If you regularly use Microsoft Office products, in many cases, you'll be able to use your online faxing account to send a fax directly from the application.