What Does an Answering Service Cost?

Although the exact cost of an answering service varies depending on the provider you choose, one thing is for certain—it’s cheaper than hiring an in-house receptionist. According to Salary.com, the average in-house receptionist salary in the United States is $37,990 as of May 01, 2023. Depending on how skilled the receptionist is, they may be paid more or less than the average rate. That same study states that the least skilled in-house receptionists make $30,029 on average, while upper-level receptionists make $47,582 on average.

But salary isn’t the only cost associated with hiring in-person receptionists. You also have to consider the cost of medical insurance, sick days, maternity and paternity leave, paid time off, and many other factors. Plus you have to consider how expensive it is to train a new employee. It all adds up fast! But you don’t have to budget for the extensive costs of an in-house employee—you can spend a significant amount less by using an answering service. Compared to all of that, the cost of an answering service for a small business—or for a larger company—is pennies on the dollar.  

you don’t have to budget for the extensive costs of an in-house employee—you can spend a significant amount less by using an answering service.

While there are different different pricing models, you’ll see answering services that offer many benefits—like 24/7 availability and bilingual support—that use one of the following: 

  • Per-Call
  • Per-Minute 
  • Flat-Rate
  • Pay-As-You-Go

Within these different pricing models, there are two standard billing models most answering services use:

  • Monthly 
  • 28 Days (13 cycles instead of 12, typical of older TAS)

Take a look at Answering Service Care’s pricing, for example. We use a per-minute model with monthly billing as we’ve found these options are most simple for our customers. Our pro plan costs $289 a month, while our all-inclusive enterprise plan is $599 a month—and we have custom plans available for larger call volumes (at the time this blog was published). The main benefit of a pay-per-minute plan is that it’s easy to see exactly what you are paying for. Put simply, you only pay for the minutes you use and the add-on services you select—and after hours answering service costs are included in the monthly price without an extra charge. With monthly billing, you know exactly what to expect. 

What Are the Cons of Answering Service Pricing?

Other models that are not pay-per-minute can work, but have some significant downsides. For example, when using a pay-per-call answering service, it can be effective depending on the average length of the call, however, costs can easily sneak up on you. This is because every business classifies “calls” differently. For example, some answering service companies charge full-price even if the caller hangs up immediately after the agent answers. For longer calls, it is less profitable for the answering service so this can lead to pay-per-call answering services speeding up their calls because there is no incentive to talk to their callers any longer and, in turn, it leads to providing a lower quality service for callers.

In the end, answering services are an investment but they are far more affordable than in-house options. Read on to discover even more benefits of using an answering service!

Why Should I Use an Answering Service for Cost Savings?

Aside from being more affordable than hiring in-house personnel, answering services offer many additional cost benefits. Here are a few of the most compelling examples. 

  • Eliminate Recruiting and Training Costs | Finding, training, and retaining receptionist talent takes a lot of money and time on your part. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that the average cost per hire was nearly $4,700, but could be three to four times the position’s salary. Answering services eliminate recruiting costs and provide experienced live agents and additional technological assets that require no training from you or your team.
  • 24/7 Service Without Extra Cost | Providing constant service and immediate gratification is very expensive without the help of a third-party calling service. A 24/7 answering service works seven days a week, giving your customers access to your business whenever they need. One benefit of around-the-clock availability is helping customers at any time, rather than missing calls during out-of-office hours.
  • Easy Implementation and Adoption | One of the first questions people ask is “How do I set up an answering service?” Thankfully, the solution is very straightforward—the answering service does everything for you! When you partner with Answering Service Care, there’s no need for you to purchase expensive hardware or software, or interrupt workflows to adjust the way your business operates. 
  • No Missed Sales Opportunities | Leaving calls unanswered can do more than just damage your brand’s reputation, it can actively cost you money. Any unanswered call could be a missed sales opportunity. With an answering service, you won’t miss a beat and nothing will get lost in translation!

Why Should I Use an Answering Service for Cost Savings? Eliminate Recruiting and Training Costs, 24/7 Service Without Extra Cost, Easy Implementation and Adoption, No Missed Sales Opportunities.

How Do I Find the Best Answering Service for My Business?

Identifying the needs of your business and establishing a reasonable budget are the first steps in selecting a suitable answering service. Do your due diligence and compare reliable service providers based on their features, technology, availability, and customer service processes. You should also check references, talk about costs and contracts, and think about scalability and compliance before making a decision that matches your business’s needs.

Finding a professional answering service that is a suitable fit for your business may seem like a daunting process at first, but it is possible with substantial research. To help you choose, here is a checklist of all the items you should consider before committing to a decision.

  • An established reputation 
  • Ability to serve multiple industries
  • An experienced and knowledgeable team
  • 24/7 service
  • Reasonable payment plan
  • Customizable service 
  • Bilingual agents
  • Automated features and other helpful add-ons
  • Continuous monitoring for quality control purposes
  • Seamless integration with the apps and tools you use
  • Chat and SMS services

At Answering Service Care, we check all of these boxes. No matter your industry or unique needs, we will create an answering service plan designed to support your business and boost your customer experience. Get started for as little as $25 per month.

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