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When You Just Cannot Be In The Office 24/7: Telephone Answering Solutions Ranked By Cost

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There are businesses out there that keep going long after everyone else has gone home for the day. They seem to have an endless supply of cash that pays for employees to answer phones and take care of customers regardless of the time of day. For you and your two-person operation, that is just not feasible, no matter how in demand your services are. Here are some telephone answering solutions, ranked from most expensive to least expensive.

After-Hours Secretary

Hiring a third person to answer phones after the office officially closes is your most expensive option. Even at minimum wage, that typically comes out to twelve-hour shifts at nearly eight dollars an hour. If no calls come in at all during a night, you end up paying someone almost ninety dollars to do nothing all night. That is almost two grand a month dropped on a payroll just to make sure you do not miss an important call or need to respond to an emergency.

Outsourced Answering Service

Instead of adding another person to your payroll, you could just pay for outsourced answering service. I is a flat-rate charge per month for someone outside of your office to answer calls. The nice part is that you may only have to pay for the calls that are answered and messages transferred, and not for any daily or hourly rates. It could cost you as little as thirty dollars a month, versus the thousands you would have paid an in-office, after-hours secretary.

Call Forwarding

If you do not mind being awakened by calls in the early morning hours or receiving calls after the dinner hour, you could just use a call forwarding service. You then become your own extra secretary, and you would receive all of your calls as they happen. Some people actually prefer this service, since they never miss a call or a message, and it is even cheaper than outsourcing calls to a live answering service. This extra feature is attached to your phone lines for a couple of dollars each month.


Voicemail you can access any time day or night often comes with every new smartphone or cellphone connection. It is a standard feature on almost every mobile phone, and costs less than a couple of pennies a day. Some phone companies throw it in for free when you sign a service contract on a new mobile phone.