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Online fax services have become very popular in today’s “outsourced” working environments and may even some day replace the old traditional fax machine. These outsourced fax services are a simple form of “cloud computing”, where your business tasks are handled by a third party; in this case, all your faxing needs.

An online fax service simply uses your current email system and your web connection to send and receive all your faxes. In this new modern way of faxing, your faxes are sent as email attachments in a variety of formats (mostly Tiff or Pdf). In order to use such a fax service, you must first sign up to an online provider, who will act as an intermediary on your behalf.

However, like outsourcing any business task to a third party, you must do your homework or it could cost your company in time and money. You must thoroughly check out any online fax service you plan on using and make sure it is a quality service with good support. Here are some factors to consider to make sure you get the right fax service for your needs.

Compare The Prices, Rates and Plans

You must first carefully compare the different fax providers and their plans. This includes the monthly fee or charge and how many faxes (incoming and outgoing) you can send/receive each month. You must also check how many users or email addresses are allotted to each account. You must also check the overage fees which are charged if you go over your limit for the month, this charge can range from 3 to 10 cents so it pays to shop around.

Methods Of Faxing

Each online fax service provider may have certain ways to use their services, many can be used with your email program such as Outlook Express, Microsoft Office or even a desktop application which lets you send and receive your faxes on your computer desktop. Most, if not all, of these fax providers will give you an online account or interface where you can log on to check and send your faxes. Keep in mind, your faxes can also be stored in your account but each provider has different storage limits and rules, so check these before you buy your fax service.

Corporate Plans & Scalability

Most of these providers will offer corporate plans which can be custom fitted to suit your company’s faxing needs, especially if you do large volumes of faxing. You can probably also get discount rates so check this out before you buy. In addition, check the scalability of the faxing plan, can you easily add or subtract fax numbers should you need to?

Support Hours & Quality Of Service

Another important factor you should check are the support hours and the quality of this support. Are your questions answered quickly? Are your problems solved swiftly? These are really important factors you must check before you buy.

Set-up & Free 30 Day Trials

You must check out how much it is to set-up your fax number and service. Most providers don’t charge you a set-up fee and usually you have a choice of a local or toll-free fax number. But some times these providers will charge extra for a toll-free number so check this first. Thankfully, most of the well known online fax services will offer a Free 30 Day Trial period where you can check out the quality of their service before you buy.

Finally, if you check out all of the points above, finding an affordable online fax service which will meet all your faxing needs should not be a major problem. Just keep in mind, this is usually a long-term or ongoing business expense, so it does pay to do a little research now and save yourself from any headaches and problems in the future.

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