Handling the Purchase of a Business Phone System

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

Purchasing a business phone system is a challenging endeavor. Still, with the right mindset and a little knowledge about business telephones, you can find a practical, budget-friendly solution to your business communication needs.


One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to use a critical system or a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system. Depending on how many individual stations you need and how rapidly you expect your company to grow, one of these two options should fit the bill.


PBX systems work well for larger companies or those who expect to grow in the upcoming years. At one time, PBX systems were considered to offer the best functionality and enable you to enjoy more features than critical systems, although that has changed a lot in recent years. The most significant difference between the two types of systems is that PBX systems will allow more stations than critical systems. Of course, they are also more expensive.

A critical system might be better for a smaller business with less than thirty to forty employees. Critical systems offer the same features as PBX systems but can be cheaper. For businesses on the fringe, however, it pays to go with a PBX. If your company were to expand beyond what your crucial system can handle, you would have to replace the entire system. 


 Whether buying an essential system or PBX, professional installation will be necessary and is often just as costly as the phone system itself, so be sure to factor that into your budget. Also, consider your leasing situation if your company does not own its building. You want to avoid paying for an expensive installation only to change locations soon after. 


Ask your retail or wholesale phone system dealer for more detailed information on the types of systems available to you, including expansion options. They should be willing and able to guide you in making the right purchase for your business.