How Much Do Answering Services Cost? [Infographic]

Interested in using an answering service? As with most purchase decisions, you should be aware of the associated costs when shopping for the right fit. We have done a deep dive into the industry by comparing prices from 18 different U.S.-based providers to create a thorough guide to answering service pricing. This infographic hits on some of the highlights. We hope it comes in handy as you decide which answering service is best for your organization!

How Much Do Answering Services Cost?

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What the Research Says

  • Pricing is directly tied to call volume. More calls = a cheaper rate
  • Average cost of telephone answering service: $1.12 per minute or $1.75 a call
  • Calls last an average of 1 minute and 35 seconds
  • $1.13 is the average overage rate

Why Compare?

  • There are dozens of options and not all answering services are created equal
  • Different pricing/billing models can make comparison shopping difficult
  • Transparency is key
  • Quoted prices are just the beginning – perform in-depth comparison of all elements before deciding on a provider

Answering Service Price Structures

Per minute

  • The most common pricing method and the most fair
  • Only pay for time actively spent with callers
  • Choose plan based on anticipated call volume

Per call

  • Pay for each call you receive regardless of duration
  • Hang ups, wrong numbers, etc. count towards total
  • Service may suffer under pay per call limitations

Per unit

  • Units can include time spent on the phone, transferred calls, message delivery, etc.
  • May deceive customers who believe they’re paying per call
  • Charges rack up quickly

Additional Costs to Consider

  • Contracts – month-to-month is far better than long-term
  • Account set-up fees – an industry norm. Expect this to be $50 – $100
  • Billing cycles – beware of 28-day billing cycles.
  • Hidden fees – these can add up fast if you’re not careful

The Risk of Partnering with Cheap Answering Services

  • Cheap providers may not have resources/time to dedicate to proper training or staffing
  • Service levels often suffer – long hold times, unprofessional receptionists
  • You get what you pay for – your brand reputation is at stake with every call
  • Investing in a higher quality answering service will net better customer service results

Read our 2020 Top Answering Service Pricing Guide to learn more about how much answering services cost.