Pricing of phone systems is a notoriously difficult area, not just because it involves so many variables but because today’s more expensive system may bring operational efficiencies and cost savings in the future. Equally, cutting corners to save cost today can end up costing more in the long run.
Prospective purchasers should budget for the entire project and consider the whole life cost (WLC).
More than just handsets
Buying phone systems involves much more than just ordering a consignment of handsets and plugging them in. A typical phone system (if such a thing is possible) involves the following elements, all of which have pricing and whole life cost implications:
- Central system unit
- Monitoring software
- Network installation
- Possible building and infrastructure changes
- Staff training
- Ongoing maintenance
SMEs should budget around £200 per extension
KSU-less phone systems will be cheaper than any system with a central control unit. Full KSU and PBX phone systems will be more expensive, with central hub costs approaching £!,000 in many cases and good quality handsets running at £100 or more. For an SME with up to 20 extensions, the installation cost is likely to fall in the range of £1,000 to £5,000. For quick reckoning, many experts budget on around £200 per extension.
For larger organisations, more sophisticated technology, a greater training requirement and the need for more maintenance can easily push the cost-per-extension up to £500 or more.
Whatever the eventual solution, project pricing will include these three main components:
- Start-up costs
- Regular maintenance costs
- Internal staffing costs
Ensure all suppliers quote for the same system
Because so many variables are involved, not least among the businesses offering phone systems, we cannot overemphasise the importance of properly understanding your requirements and preparing a carefully specified brief for the work. By doing this, all potential suppliers will be forced to quote for exactly the same installation. This will make it much easier for you to compare different quotations.
And remember to look carefully for any hidden costs:
- Start-up costs beyond setup and equipment fees?
- Day to day usage costs not covered by the solution?
- Requirement for add-ons or extras to handle your existing phone system?
- Additional costs for upgrading?