Compare Answering Service Prices BUYERS GUIDE 2020
How Much Do Answering Services Cost?
See who offers the lowest price on answering services in 2020. An answering service costs between $0.65 to $1.19 per call depending on the plan you purchase. The price can be affected by some needs such as order taking or appointment setting services. An average answering service charges around $50 for either 45-75 calls per month; 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 businesses of all sizes greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness than keeping inbound call handling entirely in-house. Answering services cost a fraction of in-house staff, and typically charge either for a discrete block volume of calls or a number of minutes per month.
- Medical Answering Service Pricing Cost Around $0.71 /call
- Bilingual Answering Service Cost Around $0.68 /call
- Attorney Answering Service Cost Around $0.68 /call
- 24 Hour Answering Service Cost Around $0.69 /call
Compare 2020 Answering Service Prices by Company
To help get you started in shopping around for an answering service, we’ve gathered some sample pricing structures from some of the top companies.
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 $750 credits.
With the $30 package, each call will cost you $1.20 each. While at the $750 package each call will cost you $.90 each because your payment of $750 is credited at $1,000.
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
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 their service offered.
Answering Service United
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 $1349 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 $.99 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
SAS – Specialty Answering Service
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 $7749 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.
- sub-account $10 per month
- IVR $.15 per minute
- Voicemail $.15 per minute
- Patching $.10 per minute
Cost Guide to Answering Service Prices
Your 2020 Answering Service Cost Comparison Guide
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 you are missing out on communication with. You want to have your incoming calls answered, but you don’t have enough need to justify hiring someone in-house.
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 your answering service to cost you anywhere from $.65 to $1.19 a call. The price usually fluctuates depending on how many minutes you buy and the services you need.
There are five standard plans that you will see when comparing answering services. Keep in mind that these are very basic and that each answering service may or may not include specific services with their plan.
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. Plans at this level can cost as little as $0.58 a call.
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 $400 to $670 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 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 $165 to $290 a month.
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 $82 to $199.
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, $40 a month plus $1.25 per minute.
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 $0.71 – $0.98 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 $0.65 – $.87 per call.
Attorney Call Answer Solutions
This is another service that requires a certain amount of confidentiality. These attorney answering services tend to be around $0.68 – $1.02 per 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 24-hour answering is about $0.69 – $0.99 per 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 cost 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 on 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?
While we understand that as a business owner, the price is in the front of your mind, this should not be your only deciding factor on choosing an answering service though.
Beyond the actual cost, does the pricing structure make sense? The answering service you choose should be clear and upfront about the costs and fees.
If you struggle to understand the pricing structure, this is a bad sign. You don’t want a nasty surprise because you didn’t decipher the fee structure correctly.
The answering service should also provide you with reporting. This will help you understand where the fees come from on the bill.
Can the answering service scale-up with you as your business grows? Right now you may only have 50 calls a month, but what happens when you have 150 calls or 350 calls.
Ask the answering service about their action plan when things go sideways. What will they do if the power goes out or their server crashes? You don’t want your business to grind to a halt because your answering service lost power somewhere else in the country.
There should be someone that you can get in touch with for assistance. This should be an account manager who can help you refine your script, discuss how specific calls get handled and improve the service for you.
Look at what other customers are saying about the answering service. If they have a ton of negative reviews online, this might be a warning sign.
Remember this is your customer’s first interaction with your business. So you need your answering service to give the right first impression.
Time to Hire Your Answering Service
You are now ready to start shopping around for your answering service. Remember that is isn’t all about the answering service cost. You need to consider what services you need.
Look at the quality of the answering service, are other customers happy with their service? Can the service provide you with consistent quality call handling?
Let’s start comparing answering services and their pricing!
Phone Answering Service Sample Costs
Below are a few examples of price facts for answering services which will give you an idea how much you will pay for you purchase.
- Monthly call volume up to 50 calls average under a minute will cost $50 – $85.
- Inbound calls ranging between 100 calls to 200 will cost $79 to $175.
- Up to 500 calls (average length 1 minute) is usually priced between $390 to $450. If calls average 1.5 minutes add approximately $170.
- On holidays plan to pay an extra $10 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 $50 to $100 a month for staff training.
- Call Patching. If your call center will be patching calls (as opposed to just messages and sending by text) expect to pay an average of$0.25 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
|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|