What makes Ooma Office ideal for very small businesses is the two types of systems it offers. In addition to a traditional phone system that works with desktop phones, Ooma offers a virtual system that works in conjunction with mobile and home phones. This lets businesses with just a few employees choose the type of system that works best for them. Besides being one of the best phone systems for very small businesses, Ooma is an excellent choice for a virtual phone system.
- Best for: Very small businesses and virtual systems
- Phone service: VoIP
- Hosting: On-premises and cloud
- Costs: $9.99 to $19.99 per user per month; additional one-time costs of at least $200 for equipment
- Support: Phone, email and live chat
- Mobile app: iOS and Android devices
Since most very small businesses don't have a full-time IT staff, a phone system that is simple to install and use is of critical importance. Ooma Office is an on-premises VoIP system that someone without phone system expertise can install in less than 20 minutes.
The major component of the system is a router, which Ooma refers to as the base station. It is what's used to prioritize voice data and direct traffic to ensure reliable phone service. The other important piece of equipment is the Linx device, which wirelessly connects analog phones to the system.
The system allows each base unit to connect to four Linx devices. Businesses with more than five employees need to add expansion base stations. Each expansion station can connect five additional users. Overall, the system supports up to 20 employees.
Hooking up the system is a quick process. After the base station is activated and a local or toll-free number has been selected, it just needs to be plugged into a high-speed modem. You then plug a phone into the base station to start making and receiving calls.
You can hook up additional IP phones by plugging them into a local area network. Businesses that prefer to use analog phones can connect them to the system using the Linx devices. The process of connecting the Linx devices is also simple and takes just a few minutes.
Once up and running, the system is controlled via Ooma's online portal. The portal, which is easy to use and navigate, is where system administrators assign employees extensions and phone numbers, set up the automated attendant, and create ring groups.
For very small businesses that don't want a phone system with desk phones in every office, Ooma offers a virtual-only system. Ooma Office for Mobile works in conjunction with mobile or home phones.
Ooma Office for Mobile is basically a high-powered call-forwarding system. When customers or clients call a business's main number and then dial the extension for the employee they are trying to reach, the call automatically transfers to a phone of the employee's choosing. Employees can have the system ring their mobile phone, home phone or any other location's phone.
The virtual service, which includes all of the same features Ooma Office does, allows very small businesses to present a professional image at all times, without having to worry about keeping a full-fledged phone system up and running. Similar to the traditional system, Ooma Office for Mobile supports up to 20 employees.
While it doesn't have the huge selection of features that some other phone systems offer, Ooma does have the tools very small businesses need most, including unlimited local and long-distance calling.
Among the calling features both Ooma Office and Ooma Office for Mobile offer are a virtual receptionist, voicemail, call transfers, call logs, daytime and after-hours modes, ring groups, music on hold, conference calling, and online faxing. Employees using IP phones have a few other features they access through their phones, including three-way conferencing, a do-not-disturb option and the ability to put calls on hold.
Ooma also offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices that lets employees make and receive calls using their business lines. You can see all the features Ooma Office and Ooma Office for Mobile offer on the company's website.
Ooma Office has one-time fees for the equipment and ongoing monthly charges for the service. The basic package of equipment starts at $250. It includes the base station and two Linx devices. However, Ooma often runs promotions that drop the price down to $150 or $200, so it's a good idea to ask if there are any specials going on when you make your purchase.
Additional Linx devices are $50 and base station expansion units are $100. The monthly service fee for Ooma Office and Ooma Office for Mobile are $19.95 per user. Included in the costs are all of the features Ooma offers, as well as unlimited calling and a dedicated phone number for each user.
The only other monthly cost is for businesses that use more than 500 toll-free minutes. Additional minutes over 500 are 3.4 cents each. While the system does work with any analog phone, Ooma also sells a variety of IP phones from Yealink and Cisco, which cost anywhere from $70 to $400 each.
Ooma Office and Ooma Office for Mobile both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you start using either system and find out it isn't meeting your needs, you can cancel for a full refund.
We were pleased with the level of support we received from Ooma when we contacted the company several times posing as a business owner interested in its services. While we did have a problem with a bad connection that caused problems during one of our calls, each of the other times we contacted the company we received top-notch service. The representatives we spoke to answered our calls immediately and answered all of our questions thoroughly. By the end of our discussions we had a clear understanding of how the system works, how to install it and how much it costs.
Ooma provides phone support between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT on the weekends. Support is also available 24/7 by email and live chat.
To read reviews of other phone system providers, or simply learn more about business phone systems, check out our business phone systems buying guide.
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