Telephone systems are a necessary expense for any business—allowing customers and prospects to get in touch with your team is a vital part of running a company.
As an award-winning provider of business telephone systems, our team have years of experience in recommending the best solution to fit both your requirements and budget.
However, with budgets becoming tighter, and technology evolving at such a fast rate, it can be very difficult to understand how much you should put aside for your small businesses telephone system. In short, the question most directors and managers are left asking is: What will a phone system cost me?
Small Business Phone Systems (Between 2-25 Users)
We don’t need to tell you that every business is different. You already know that! So there is no one-size-fits-all solution to business telephony.
In this article, we’ll be talking about how much we recommend your small business should be budgeting for their phone system. By ‘Small Business’ we typically mean a phone system with between 2 and 25 users.
If your business has over 25 users, we’d recommend a 3CX phone system, as this usually becomes the more cost-effective option for businesses with more than 25 users. Speak to us for a 3CX quote if you have more than 25 users.
There are so many phone system options available to small businesses, finding the right option is difficult; and a lot of small businesses aren’t sure if they’re overpaying.
How much does a phone system cost for a small business?
Modern telephone systems are normally priced on a per-user per-month basis. Which means that you’ll need to think about how many users you’ll need, and this will help determine a budget. As a guide we’d recommend a budget of £10 - £20 per user per month.
Usually this is a good budget guide for businesses with fewer than 25 users.
For example, if you had 10 users, each at £15/user, you would expect your bill to be in the region of £150 per month, which includes:
- 5,000 FREE Minutes to UK 01, 02, 03 and mobile numbers per user per month
- Access to mobile apps for home and remote working
- Modern VoIP deskphones for each user
- Professional features such as hunt groups and auto attendants
- Productivity features such as instant messaging and conference calling
- Advanced call controls such as holding, transferring, forwarding and more
The other thing to bear in mind is that a modern telephone systems use Voice over IP (VoIP), which means that you also need a stable broadband connection (most business fibre broadband lines are more than enough to sustain up to 25 users on VoIP).
Now, we must stress that this is only a guide, and the price fluctuates depending on your requirements and what you need from your telephone system. For instance, if you run a call centre, you might require some additional features such as wallboards or call queuing.
Factors that affect the cost of a small business phone system
No two businesses are the same, and that means that each telephone system is a little bit different. There is no ‘one-price-fits-all’ solution.
Here are a few of the elements that can have an affect on the cost of your small businesses phone system.
Engineer Installation of Your Phone System
Arguably, the most common factor that impacts the cost of a small business telephone system is the cost of an engineer installation and the associated resources.
While some businesses don’t require an engineer installation (the most common example being those using the mobile app to work from home), most office-based businesses require some form of engineer installation.
In some cases, this can mean installing new cabling and network points, and possibly some trunking.
However, there are some instances where a business already has existing CAT5 cabling, which can be utilised for your new system, therefore reducing the engineer cost.
As a guide, (assuming you have minimal infrastructure) we’d recommend budgeting between £250 and £1200 for an engineer installation. Again, this is just a guide, but we would expect a 5-10 user phone system to come in at between £350 and £500 installation, with 10-25 user systems being closer to the £1000 mark.
We do offer WiFi versions of some of our desk phones, which some small businesses opt for to avoid the installation costs, however we wouldn’t recommend this if you have more than 5 users.
In some cases, a new phone system may require some additional equipment, such as a network switch, router or even a conference phone or door phone.
Obviously each of theses bits of kit come with their own cost. Normally, we would say budget around £80 - £400 depending on what equipment you needed.
This cost is one of the most varied, as it all depends on your existing infrastructure. A small business with existing infrastructure may not need any new equipment at all; however a business with little to no existing hardware may need a few bits.
Usually, one of our team will be able to speak with you about your existing infrastructure, and even organise a site visit if required. This will help us put together a proper quotation for your new phone system. There may be options to spread the hardware cost too, helping reduce the capital expenditure and managing your cashflow.
As we mentioned before, new telephone systems use a technology called VoIP (which you have probably heard of or read about before). VoIP telephone systems use your businesses broadband connection to make and receive calls, rather than traditional telephone lines or ISDN.
Chances are, broadband is already something your business pays for each month, so it’s not a new or unforeseen cost. In fact, with the savings you’ll make by switching to a new telephone system, many of our customers choose to upgrade their broadband to a faster speed to boost productivity.
Our fibre broadband packages range from £30 - £120 per month, depending on speed requirements, higher speed = higher cost. But a standard small business VoIP telephone system usually needs no more than a standard fibre to the cabinet broadband line.
The other thing to consider is that in 2025, the UK’s ISDN is being switched off, which means that all businesses will have to make the move to VoIP at some point in the next couple of years.
Desk Phones & Handsets
It’ll come as no surprise that another cost involved in setting up or upgrading a telephone system is the handsets, desk phones and hardware.
Many small businesses like to have modern telephones on their desks, as it shows professionalism and gives employees an easy way to make and receive calls.
With deskphones, there are two ways to pay for them. You can buy them outright, in one big batch—or you can spread the cost over the contract term. Usually this is 36 months. For many small businesses, spreading the cost is usually the preferred method, as it helps regulate cashflow and reduce the initial outlay.
If you’re looking to buy up front, as a general rule of thumb, we would recommend a small business budgets between £60 and £180 per phone. The more affordable desk phone models come out at around the £60-£80 mark, with the top end phones hovering at around the £200 mark. Usually the higher spec phones are reserved for directors and senior managers, with the more ‘rugged’ and low cost phones provided to employees.
If you’re looking to reduce your costs, you may be able to reuse your existing desk phones, which means you don’t need to buy a whole new load. Even if you can reuse 30% of your handsets, that’s still a saving.
Upgrading your small businesses telephone system can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve had bad experiences in the past. But our team are here to help guide you through it. Managing everything from consultation to project delivery and installation.
When you choose Bytes Digital to look after your business telephone system, you’ll also benefit from our billing promise, with no unwanted add-ons, no un-needed extras and no surprise bill increases.