How Much Does an Answering Service Cost in 2023?
Depending on call duration, an answering service costs between $0.89 to $1.79 per call. The cost per minute will average $1.48 with prices being prorated in increments. Find out how much you will pay according to the type of services you need by starting here:
How Much Do Answering Services Cost?
See who offers the lowest price on answering services. An answering service costs an average of $0.93 per call depending on the plan you purchase, number of calls, length of call. The additional costs can be affected by some needs such as order-taking or appointment-setting services. A typical live answering service charges around $90 for 50-80 minutes of operator time; determining your monthly call traffic is essential before selecting a plan.
An answering service provides an off-site team of receptionists, sales representatives, and/or customer service representatives who handle inbound business calls. Answering services offer small businesses and companies of all sizes greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness than keeping inbound call handling entirely in-house. The cost of an answering service is a fraction of in-house staff and typically charge either for a discrete block volume of calls or a number of minutes per month. Average costs per call by industry will be:
- Medical Answering Service Pricing Cost Around $0.89 – $1.63/call
- Bilingual Answering Service Cost Around $0.69 – $1.20/call
- Attorney Answering Service Cost Around $0.76 – $1.54/call
- 24 Hour Answering Service Cost Around $0.70 – $1.46/call
Compare Answering Service Prices by Company
To help get you started in shopping around for a professional answering service, we’ve gathered some sample pricing structures from some of the best answering service companies that help businesses avoid missed telephone calls and capture more potential customers.
Answer America Prices
Located in Willow Grove, PA, Answer America offers a range of pay-as-you-go plans. They start at $30 worth of credits and go up to $400 credits.
With the $30 package, each call will cost you $1.20 each. While at the $400 package each call will cost you $.96 each because your payment of $400 is credited at $500.
There are a few things that are included in your plan:
- no monthly fee
- 24-hour answering
- email messaging
- text messaging
- wrong number or hoax calls are free
Responsive Answering Service Prices
If you need an answering service for a specific industry then RAS can help. Their plans start at $99 a month for about 80 calls.
- virtual receptionist
- message delivery
- appointment scheduling
- registration service
- 24/7 answering services
- call screening
Expect the cost to rise as you select from the service offered.
Answering Service United Prices
Located in Lake Havasu, AZ, ASU can offer customized plans to fit your specific needs. The most basic plan will start at $50 a month. Included with all plans is a dedicated help desk and disaster recovery back up.
They will customize your plan so that it fits your business needs. This could include any of these services.
- bilingual answering
- 24-hour answering
- dedicated agents
- call overflow
- appointment scheduling
There are six plans for you to choose from that start at $149 a month and go up to $1,199 a month. For all plans, any call under 30 seconds is free, after that calls get billed in one-minute increments.
The lowest-priced plan charged $1.49 per additional minute, and all other plans charge $.1.39 per additional minute. All plans require a $49.99 setup fee. Then you’ll get a suite of included services with your plan.
- email & SMS messaging
- message taking
- 7 answering
- appointment setting
Specialty Answering Service Prices
SAS is the most scalable answering service for your business. You can start with them at the most basic of plans at a low $31 a month at a rate of $1.19 per minute.
Then you can incrementally increase your plan all the way up to their top tier at $7,749 per month for 10,000 minutes. Then each additional minute is $.79.
All plans require a $50 setup fee. There are no holiday fees, weekend fees, or line fees. You will pay additional fees for other services though. They also offer a 2-week free trial.
- sub-account $10 per month
- IVR $.15 per minute
- Voicemail $.15 per minute
- Patching $.10 per minute
Cost Guide to Answering Service Prices
Did you know that 80 percent of callers will just hang up if no one answers? These people assume that no one will ever listen to their message, so they don’t bother to leave one.
This is a large portion of potential and current customers that whom you are missing out on communication with. You want to have your incoming calls answered by a live receptionist, but you don’t have enough need to justify hiring someone in-house. This can really harm customer satisfaction.
When you think about it this way, the answering service cost is well worth it. Keep reading to find out how your business and your bottom line can benefit from an answering service.
Phone Answering Service Plan Types
You can expect virtual receptionist services to cost you anywhere from $0.73 to $1.67 a call. Pricing plans and extra cost usually fluctuates depending on how many minutes you need, which generally is determined at the small business owner just needs basic information, collected, someone to schedule appointments, and other factors that impact the level of service.
There are several plans that you will see when comparing answering services. Standardized plans usually are for a monthly subscription requiring less than 100 minutes per month, and mostly for businesses with very few inbound calls. Expect the base rate for this to be around $75-$149 per month.
If you have a high call volume of more than 500 minutes your best option is to get a custom plan. When you have a high call volume you have negotiating power to set a lower price per minute. Different plans at this level can cost around as $1.60 a call, and lower prices, if calls are answered during normal business hours, and last less than one minute. These plans are very popular with medical practices, attorneys, universities, and businesses with moderate call volume at simply need a live person to capture customer information.
If you are in this category you are considered a high-volume customer. You will probably use a lot of the additional services that are offered. So look for plans that include more additional services.
You can expect your cost to be anywhere from $499 to $700 a month. This can go up though if your additional services are add-ons.
200 to 250 Minutes:
If you fall in this range, you’ll need to compare the plan carefully. You’ll find that many companies will charge you on a monthly basis. But you’ll find that you will spend less if you pay on a per-call basis.
This is also the usage range where additional fees for services will make a difference in your monthly cost. You can expect to pay in the range of $199 to $310 a month. These plants are normally a good fit for small law, offices, HVAC, companies, real estate, firms, and small healthcare practices.
100 to 150 Minutes:
This is a low-volume plan where the additional services fees will take up a large portion of your monthly bill. You can expect the monthly fee to be around $99 to $208. This type of call-center service generally is a good fit four small businesses, roofers, plumbers, daycare centers, and spas. Additionally, this has been known to be a typical plan for restaurants, towing companies, and businesses that need a real person to handle phone calls after normal business hours.
Pay as You Go
If you have a super low call volume this is your best option. You can expect to pay a low monthly service fee and then an additional fee per call. For example, $50 a month plus $1.32 per minute.
Answering Service: Per Minute vs Per Call. Which is Best?
Both per minute and per call answering services have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on your business needs, call volume, and call duration. Here’s a comparison of the two:
- Per Minute: In a per-minute answering service, you are billed for the actual time your calls are handled by the answering service. This model can be beneficial for businesses with varying call volumes or shorter call durations.
- Can be cost-effective for businesses with short call durations.
- You only pay for the actual time the service is used.
- Can become expensive for businesses with longer call durations or high call volumes.
- It can be challenging to predict costs, as they depend on call durations and the number of calls.
- Per Call: In a per-call answering service, you are billed for the number of calls answered by the service, regardless of the call duration. This model is suitable for businesses with longer call durations or consistent call volumes.
- Cost-effective for businesses with longer call durations.
- Easier to predict costs, as they depend on the number of calls.
- May not be cost-effective for businesses with shorter call durations.
- You pay for each call, even if the call duration is minimal.
To determine which is best for your business, consider the following factors:
- Call volume: Estimate your average monthly call volume. If your business has a consistently high volume of calls, a per-call plan may be more cost-effective.
- Call duration: Assess the average duration of calls handled by the answering service. For businesses with shorter call durations, a per-minute plan may be more suitable, while a per-call plan may be better for those with longer call durations.
- Budget: Consider your budget and evaluate which pricing model aligns with your financial constraints.
- Predictability: Determine whether you prefer a predictable, fixed cost (per-call) or a variable cost based on usage (per-minute).
In summary, the best choice between a per minute and per call answering service depends on your specific business needs, call volume, and call duration. Evaluate these factors carefully to determine the most cost-effective and efficient option for your business.
Answering Service Pricing By Industry
Sometimes specific industries or needs have specialized pricing. This tends to happen when there are additional needs for that industry.
Medical Answering Service
Medical calls need to comply with HIPAA laws as they potentially involve sensitive information. Because of this, the answering service’s staff will need extra training. Medical answering services tend to be around $0.89 – $1.63/cal per call.
Bilingual Answering Services
The answering service will need to hire people who speak a foreign language competently to provide this service. Because of this, bilingual answering services tend to be around $0.69 – $1.20/call.
Attorney Call Answer Solutions
This is another service that requires a certain amount of confidentiality. These attorney answering services tend to be around $0.76 – $1.54/call.
24 Hour Phone Answering
Expect to pay a premium for having your calls answered at all hours of the day. The average cost for a 24-hour call answering is about $0.70 – $1.46/call.
Fees to Avoid When Buying Answering Services
You need to pay attention when you start comparing different answering services. They do not use the same pricing structure or provide the same services per cost.
This can lead to extra fees that you may not have initially planned on. These fees can also result in the cheapest price service becoming one of the most expensive.
Standard Additional Fees
First let’s start with standard fees that all answering services charge, and ones that you can completely avoid. These are fees that will appear as an additional line item on your bill.
If you pay your bill late, you can expect there to be a late fee on your bill. Obviously, the way you avoid this fee is by simply paying your bill on time.
If you prefer to get paper bills instead of electronic you might be charged a fee. It’s cheaper for your service to send an email, so sign up for digital bills and save some money.
If you go over your agreed-upon used minutes you will pay elevated pricing. Avoid this by accurately predicting how many minutes your company will use, then pad that time so your plan allows for some fluctuation.
Short Billing Cycle
This one is just sneaky, and you may not even notice it costing you more money. But if your answering service charges you every 28 days instead of 30, they get in an extra invoice every year.
Don’t agree to a billing cycle that is less than 30 days. This will give you a bill every month, which will also match the rest of your standard invoicing.
Do you want the answering service to take calls and record messages? Or do you want them to transfer certain calls to you or your employees?
All answering services are going to charge you a certain amount for transferring calls. The trick is to pay attention to how you get charged.
The best method for you is a flat fee per call. This is a flat rate for each transfer. Usually, this fee will range from $.25 to $1.25.
The other common method is billing for the time on the phone. You will pay for the entire time that you are on the phone. This means that your bill can get astronomical if your call then lasts 45 minutes.
This may not be a big deal if your individual call volume is low. The way incremental billing works is the service will round up your call time to the nearest minute.
So if a call lasts less than a minute, you are still charged for a full minute. If a call lasts 3.1 minutes, you get charged for 4 minutes.
This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if the answering service takes three calls in less than a minute, it will be a big deal. Now you are paying for 3 minutes of service, that only costs the answering service 1 minute.
This will be a nasty surprise when you get your bill and find that it is significantly higher than your actual use. So if you know your call volume is high, ask about incremental billing.
Depending on your business, this one may not affect you at all. Some answering services will charge special rates on national holidays.
You may not care about your phones getting answered during these days. But if you do, ask what the rate is. It could be anywhere from $5 to $15 per national holiday.
Think about your monthly call volume. If you get less than 20 or so calls a month, then that holiday fee will be a big chunk of your bill.
Especially when you think about the fact that there is a national holiday in 6 out of the 12 months.
Foreign Language Fees
These are additional fees that are less common, but if they apply to your business, you’ll need to pay attention to them.
Do you need an answering service that speaks more than one language? Expect to pay extra for your foreign language calls. This could be charged as a per-call rate or as a flat monthly fee.
Simultaneous Call Answering
This one is a big deal if your call volume is higher and you get more than one call at a time. The answering service will only answer one call at a time.
Then if you complain and want a higher answer rate, you’ll have to pay extra. This is ridiculous, you are paying for an answering service, you shouldn’t then have to pay extra for the service to answer the phone.
There are a whole host of fees that will have random names.
- Telecomm recoupment fee
- Message retention fee
- Universal service fund fee
- Voice recording and logging fee
- HIPAA compliance charge
While some of the fees are completely justifiable, you’ll need to confirm with the answering service what exactly you are getting for the extra fee.
What to Consider Before You Hire a Live Answering Service?
As a business owner, you know that providing excellent customer service is key to retaining customers and growing your business. One way to ensure your customers are always able to reach your business is by hiring a live answering service. However, before you make this important decision, there are several factors to consider. In this article, we will explore what to consider before you hire a live answering service.
- Cost: The cost of hiring a live answering service varies depending on the service provider and the level of service you require. It is important to determine your budget before you begin your search. Some providers charge per call, while others charge a flat rate. Consider how much you can afford to spend and choose a provider that meets your budget requirements.
- Services Offered: Different live answering services offer different levels of service. Some may only take messages, while others can schedule appointments, provide customer support, and handle sales inquiries. Determine what services your business needs and look for a provider that can meet those needs.
- Reputation: When choosing a live answering service, it is important to consider their reputation. Look for a provider with a solid track record of providing excellent customer service. Ask for references and read online reviews to get an idea of the provider’s reputation.
- Availability: Your customers may need to reach your business at any time of the day or night. Look for a provider that offers 24/7 availability to ensure your customers are always able to reach you.
- Technology: The technology used by the live answering service is also an important consideration. Look for a provider that uses modern technology to ensure your calls are handled quickly and efficiently. This may include features such as call routing, caller ID, and call recording.
- Training: The agents who will be answering your calls should be well-trained and knowledgeable about your business. Look for a provider that provides ongoing training to their agents to ensure they are up-to-date on your business and able to provide excellent customer service.
- Scalability: As your business grows, your needs may change. Look for a provider that can scale their services to meet your changing needs. This may include adding additional agents, offering additional services, or changing pricing plans.
In conclusion, hiring a live answering service can be a great way to provide excellent customer service and ensure your customers are always able to reach your business. By considering the factors outlined in this article, you can choose a provider that meets your needs and provides excellent service to your customers.
Phone Answering Service Sample Costs
Below are a few examples of price facts for answering services that will give you an idea of how much you will pay for your purchase.
- A monthly call volume of up to 50 calls on average of under a minute will cost $60 – $99.
- Inbound calls ranging from 100 calls to 200 will cost $110 to $215.
- Up to 500 calls (average length 1 minute) are usually priced between $490 to $750. If calls average 1.5 minutes add approximately $176.
- On holidays plan to pay an extra $12 per day regardless of call volume.
- If operators are required to access a third-party website for order taking or appointments this will be priced from $57 to $110 a month for staff training.
- Call Patching. While normally free, if your call center will be patching calls (as opposed to just messages sent by text) you might pay an average of $0.00 – $0.10 per call transferred.
Related Industry Terms: 24 Hour, Call Center, Outsourcing, Live, Inbound, After Hours, 24×7, Small Business, Medical, Attorney, Bilingual, Remote Receptionist
National Average Answering Service Pricing
|Bate Rate||$70||$143||$225||$515||$1100||$4995||Ask For Special Pricing|
|Billing Increments||13 Seconds||13 Seconds||13 Seconds||13 Seconds||1 Second||1 Second||1 Second|
|After Hours /|
|$0.10 / call||$0.10 / call|
|IVR Set Up||$100||$100||$100||$100||$85|
|Voicemail||$0.14 / Minute||$0.12 / Minute||$0.12 / Minute||$0.11 / Minute||$0.11 / Minute||$0.10 / Minute||$0.10 / Minute|
|$0.10 / Minute||$0.10 / Minute||$0.09 / Minute||$0.09 / Minute||$0.08 / Minute||$0.08 / Minute||$0.07 / Minute|
|Local Number Fee||$15 / Month||$15 / Month||$15 / Month||$15 / Month||$10 / Month||$10 / Month||$7 / Month|
|800 # Fees||$8 / Month||$8 / Month||$7 / Month|
|Appointment Setting||$1.42 / Appointment||$1.42 / Appointment||$1.39 / Appointment||$1.35 / Appointment||$1.30 / Appointment||$1.29 / Appointment||$1.28 / Appointment|
|Order Processing||$1.92 / Order||$1.91 / Order||$1.90 / Order||$1.89 / Order||$1.87 / Order||$1.76 / Order||$1.74 / Order|
|Lead Capture||$1.53 / Lead||$1.52 / Lead||$1.38 / Lead||$1.29 / Lead||$1.27 / Lead||$1.19 / Lead||$1.17 / Lead|
|Help Desk Support||$3.00 / Call||$3.00 / Call||$3.00 / Call||$2.95 / Call||$2.90 / Call||$2.85 / Call||$2.70 / Call|
|SMS Text Message|
|Medical Messages||$1.68 / Call||$1.59 / Call||$1.49 / Call||$1.40 / Call||$1.39 / Call||$1.35 / Call||$1.33 / Call|
|Legal Messages||$1.69 / Call||$1.60 / Call||$1.49 / Call||$1.41 / Call||$1.41 / Call||$1.36 / Call||$1.35 / Call|
Find Answering Service Providers Near You and Compare Up To Five Money Saving Quotes
A Phone Answering Service is a great way to ensure that your business always has someone available to answer calls from customers and partners. This service provides a professional, friendly voice at the other end of the line when someone needs assistance or has an inquiry about your business.
A team of experienced operators will be there to help with whatever questions come in, and can also take messages when you’re not available. They generally guarantee quick response times, courteous staff, and an overall pleasant customer service experience. With our Phone Answering Service, you can rest assured that your customers will always get the help they need in a timely manner.
7 Reasons to Outsource Your Phone Answering Needs
1. Professionalism: A team of experienced operators is able to provide a pleasant customer service experience that reflects well on your business.
2. Cost Savings: Outsourcing your phone answering services can save you money in the long run by eliminating hiring and training costs for employees who would usually do this job.
3. Flexibility: Operators are available 24/7 to answer calls when you’re not available, freeing up your own time.
4. Expertise: Call center agents are knowledgeable and familiar with the industry-specific terms used in customer service interactions.
5. Availability: With a phone answering service, customers never have to wait on hold for long periods of time.
6. Scalability: Answering services are highly scalable, so you can adjust the number of operators to meet your business’s needs.
7. Convenience: You don’t have to worry about managing a team of operators in-house – they take care of that for you!
When it comes to providing excellent customer service, a call answering service is a perfect solution.
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Phone Answering Provider
1. Make sure they offer a free trial or demo: This will help you make sure that the provider is the right fit for your business.
2. Check for industry-specific expertise: Look for operators who are well-versed in your particular industry so they can provide customers with more knowledgeable answers to their inquiries.
3. Check their credentials and experience: Make sure the provider has a good reputation in the industry.
4. Find out what services they offer: Ask about extra features, such as order taking or appointment scheduling, that can make your life easier.
5. Ask about customer support: Ensure that there are options for assistance if you have any questions or need help with the service.
By taking these steps, you can be sure that you’re choosing the right Phone Answering Service provider for your business. With their help, you can provide excellent customer service and ensure that all of your calls are handled in a professional manner.
Answering Service Trends: Staying Ahead in a Fast-Paced Industry
The answering service industry has evolved significantly in recent years, driven by the rapid growth of digital technology and the ever-increasing need for businesses to provide personalized customer experiences. With the pandemic accelerating the shift to remote work and the widespread adoption of digital tools, answering services have become even more essential for businesses to maintain a competitive edge. Here, we explore the latest trends shaping the answering service landscape and what they mean for businesses today.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
As AI and machine learning continue to advance, answering services are integrating these technologies to improve efficiency and accuracy. AI-powered chatbots are now capable of handling more complex queries and providing personalized responses, while machine learning algorithms can analyze customer interactions to optimize workflows and predict customer needs. However, the human touch remains crucial, and many companies are adopting a hybrid approach, where AI works in tandem with human agents to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Customers today expect seamless communication across multiple channels, whether it’s phone, email, social media, or live chat. To meet this demand, answering services are increasingly embracing an omni-channel approach, unifying all customer interactions into a single platform. This allows businesses to provide consistent, personalized experiences across channels and enables agents to access customer history and preferences, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The shift to cloud-based technology has revolutionized the answering service industry, providing scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. With cloud-based systems, businesses can easily manage their answering service needs without the need for on-premise hardware or extensive IT support. This enables them to scale up or down as required, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. Additionally, cloud-based systems offer robust data security and disaster recovery options, ensuring business continuity even in the face of unforeseen events.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work, and answering services are no exception. By leveraging cloud-based technology, answering services can now provide their agents with the necessary tools to work remotely, resulting in a more flexible and efficient workforce. This allows companies to access a broader talent pool and reduce overhead costs, while also offering employees a better work-life balance.
Data analytics is transforming the way answering services operate, as companies increasingly rely on data-driven insights to optimize their customer service strategies. By analyzing customer interactions, businesses can identify patterns and trends, which can then be used to improve agent performance, enhance customer satisfaction, and identify opportunities for growth. The use of data analytics in answering services not only enhances efficiency but also helps businesses stay ahead of their competition.
Personalization and Customization
Customers today expect personalized experiences, and answering services are rising to the challenge by offering customized solutions tailored to the unique needs of each client. This includes offering specialized services such as appointment scheduling, order processing, and after-hours support. By providing personalized services, answering companies can help their clients stand out in a crowded market and foster long-term customer relationships.