How To Switch From a Fax Machine to an Online Fax Service
Although the image of fax machines is one of an outdated technology, many businesses and individuals still use them. While faxing may still be relevant, the fax machine itself is not. If you rely on faxing but find yourself ready to ditch the fax machine, here’s a look at how to transition from faxing on a machine to online faxing.
Why Make the Switch?
There’s no denying that certain industries – including government, healthcare, insurance, law, and real estate – still rely heavily on faxing. Far from being an obscure method of communication, faxing is a tool that professionals rely upon for the transmission of legally binding signatures, confidentiality, conforming with established process and a litany of other reasons.
However, as internet connectivity becomes accessible to more people and as our culture moves toward mobile technologies with instant results, standing over a physical fax machine may seem less and less appealing to those who fax.
Moreover, now that online faxing has been around for long enough to develop robust applications and reliable providers, it’s a form of faxing that offers many advantages over fax machines.
- Cost: depending on the size of your business and your faxing needs, it might actually cost you less to have an online faxing service than it would to maintain the landline through which fax machines send and receive messages. RingCentral, for instance, lets you send and receive up to 500 faxed pages at $7.99 per month, and MetroFax has a similar plan for $6.63 per month. Nextiva offers a plan that includes 1,000 page a month for a $4.95 effective monthly rate. A landline typically starts at about $15 per month, and may cost closer to $38 with some providers.
- Convenience: Instead if standing over a machine waiting to see if a fax went through, online fax providers will send you an email confirming successful fax transmissions. If a fax does need to be resent, you don’t have to rescan it.
- Paper free: If you’re faxing digital files most online fax providers will work with applications like Dropbox so that you can easily send files from cloud storage. You can also send online faxes from your phone on the go; some providers include apps, others let you fax directly from your email.
What You Need to Switch And How To Do It
You’ll need an internet connection, of course, and then the right provider to help you send and receive faxes.
As far as a number for your new fax service goes, you can keep your existing number by porting it into the service you choose, once you’ve signed up. To learn more about porting, visit this page.
We also recommend a good quality document scanner so that you can easily fax files online. Fujitsu ScanSnap and Neat are both reasonably priced and good performing scanners.
When choosing an online fax service, there are a few criteria to weigh. One of the biggest factors to consider should be how many pages you’ll need to send and receive per month. Most plans are structured according to the number of pages faxed and received, so this will help you pick the right plan. Most plans also include a combined number of ingoing and outgoing pages. There are a few exception to this, including MyFax and eFax, which give customers a set number of sent and received pages per month instead of a combined number. Plans typically range from single user plans with about 300 pages included to business plans with more than 3,000 pages per month.
You’ll also want to consider how many people will need access to the account and whether or not you want a feature-rich service that includes features like smartphone apps, eSigning (the ability to sign and send the fax back without printing it), or HIPAA compliance.
Most online fax providers offer a free trial, so you should take that time to test a service to make sure that you like the interface and features, and that it’s works well for your organization.
Once you’ve found a provider you’re happy with, you can either call to initiate the process of porting in your old fax number, or if you’re ready for a new number, just use the one you selected when you initially signed up for that service.
You’ll also be able to say goodbye to your landline and those payments!