Like any small business owner, you want to get the best value for every dollar spent - and this includes your communication services. Many businesses are exploring the options of switching from a landline service to a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone system. The trusty landline has been meeting business needs for years, but the VoIP comes with a luxurious list of features. Let's examine the pros and cons of the VoIP.

VoIPs are much cheaper than most landline telephone services and they offer more features. Most VoIP line systems include the following:

  • Voicemail

  • Call waiting

  • Call forwarding

  • Caller ID

  • Unlimited local calling

  • Unlimited long-distance calling (domestic)

Along with all of these great features, VoIP users can keep their existing phone number or choose a new one with an area code from the provider's list. It would seem that with all these great features, VoIP is a very logical solution for small business owners. However, there are several challenges associated with using VoIP for telephone services:

  • Internet problems - VoIP requires a high-speed internet connection. If you don't have a solid, lightening quick connection, then there is a great possibility that you will experience outages and frequent disconnections.

  • Limited 911 capabilities - In an emergency situation, a dispatcher may not be able to determine your physical address. This can be especially dangerous if you are incapable of talking or if you get cut off from the call.

  • Jack troubles - VoIP is not always compatible with every phone jack on your property. Sometimes it will only work well with one or two jacks. Extension jacks throughout your building may need to be replaced to make it work well.

When you balance the features of a VoIP against the challenges, it becomes clear that a VoIP isn't necessarily the best solution for all small business owners. The costs associated with beefing up your high-speed internet connection may outweigh that of keeping your traditional landline.

Ultimately, you use phones to meet customer needs and those needs are your number one priority as a small business owner. Before making the decision to move from landline to VoIP, conduct research to see exactly how much money you might be able to save and whether or not a VoIP will allow you to meet customer needs effectively.