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If you are reading this it is because you have been thinking about the possibility of starting a VoIP business. You are not wrong considering it; the telecommunications market has shown a constant growth in the past few years and it does not seem it will stop at all.

This is not an impossible dream. With the correct focus, you can convert your VoIP start-up from a personal project to your main income.

Low budget IP telephone businesses are possible with the help of OKay. We will show you in terms of money an overview of the possible expenses and incomes of this business.

Choose your Market

When you say 'I have a VoIP business' it is very vague. Just to give you an example, this is the same as saying 'I like food'. There are many VoIP markets and each one has very particular characteristics. Some of them are:

  • The wholesale market:Wwhich it deals with thousands of minutes a day. Players here own routes or they trade with them. If you have ever heard about Class 4 PBXes, here is where they operate. A destination price with a difference of half-cent could make the difference. These markets usually are prepaid
  • The calling card market: Which it is usually a prepaid market. Customers buy codes, those codes are exchanged by credit. Users then dial a local phone number, enter their id, after that they dial in the destination number they want to connect. This market is usually demanded by immigrants who want to connect with their hometowns from abroad
  • The call centre market: For incalls in which calls are attended by agents or outcalls in which the agents do the calls
  • The predictive dialer market: For automatic calling to different targets
  • The domestic market: Which is usually a home phone. The most complex configuration you may find here is a ring group or a follow me
  • The business market: Enterprises with their own very specific needs. Configurations could be as crazy as their greedy hearts want

Each market has their characteristics. For example, the wholesale market is very sensitive to price variations. If your prices rise half-cent, you may lose the customer. As you do not have anything to retain the customer, they just finish their prepaid credit and move to another vendor without saying anything. The domestic market, a home user, has more tolerance to failures, but they can get easily frustrated and port out their number. The only way you may retain them is by reporting a balance on their account. The business market is very tolerable to faults; porting-out a number is very painful, and businesses prefer to deal with the error instead of moving out. Of course, there is a limit for everything.

Plan your PBX

complex pbx architecre with different datacenters

Depending on the market you are targeting, you may need a cluster configured with load-balanced, high-availability, or maybe both. The following table may help you to understand this:

Market Load Balanced High Availability 
Wholesale X  
Calling card   X
Incoming call centre   X
Outgoing call centre X  
Predictive dialer X  
Domestic X X
Business X X

This table is not an absolute truth. For example, you could start only with a load-balanced cluster if you are targeting the domestic market, and eventually add the high availability.

Your cluster needs to be able to grow horizontally (adding more nodes) and vertically (increasing server specifications). Load-balanced clusters are very flexible to grow horizontally while high availability cluster does so vertically. Remember both approaches are not exclusive to each other, you can combine them in a bigger cluster.

In OKay, we can help you to achieve this.

Your Pricing Schema

The key here is keeping it simple. Complex pricing models where you give 'virtual' credit or discount under certain conditions is difficult to bill and to follow for your customers. You may want to choose one of these schemes:

  • Bill per minute: The simple one. Each destination has its own price and depending on where you are calling to, the rate will be assigned. You can choose your billing increment X/Y (connect, talk). It is very common to bill per minute to domestic or calling card (60/60), per second (1/1) to businesses, and the famous six-seconds increment (6/6) to the wholesale market.
  • Bill per call: It will not take in mind the length of your conversation. The per-call scheme (X/0) is common in some countries for domestic or business market.
  • Bill a flat rate: You just bill a static amount regardless if the PBX is used or not.

You will need also to define a profit percentage. Usually, 30% is a good profit. This price will depend on what carriers you select. In OKay, we can help you select the best carriers that satisfy your business strategy.

You can mix some pricing schemas, for example. Bill per call to US and Canada (domestic calls) and per minute to International. The Billing for FusionPBX software will help you on this.

You can also add some static charges, for example, E911 charges, 1 dollar minimum service charge, rent of hardware and others.

The way you do your pricing scheme is a key piece of your business success. This decision depends on the market you are targeting.

Support

Don't panic! The truth is VoIP is one of the most complex systems. Many protocols interact in order to make possible a user plug their phone, it auto-configures, it places or gets a call for example. Networks are not always VoIP friendly, for your peace of mind, OKay offers support by hourly-package or as pay as you go.

You will focus on your selling and customer care.

Your Brand and Web Page

You may need to choose a good name. It is smart to use the TLD domains as part of your domains name to make it easy to remember. For example, To Call Me, which domain is to-call.me. When choosing a brand name and a domain name, do not forget that Google trends to show geographic TLD to the linked geographic zone. For example, all .ca domains names will have the preference if you google it from Canada rather from another country.

Your webpage must be eye-catching, with the last web tendencies and fully responsive. The webpage must be coded in a way that Google does not punish it. The text in the article must use the correct keywords. In other words, SEO optimized.

Money

Finally, your question. How much would the start kit cost? The following table will help you, please note prices are relative and they are calculated if all services are provided by OKay.

Concept Price (USD)
five server monthly rent
2 Gb server each
274.95
cluster configuration 0.00
Billing for FusionPBX monthly license 0.00
Website design (just an approximation) 799.00
Wildcard certificate (1 year) 99.00
Domain name (.com) 9.99
Dedicated WEB server monthly rent 29.99

So, you may need around 1200 USD to do the kickstart with monthly recurrent costs of 300 USD approx assuming you do not need any kind of support. Please notes this is a rough approximation. Other costs may incur. Also, please note that you will need to consider any extra employee; if you are starting, it is reasonable to start yourself, but eventually you may need someone to help you.

If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact us.

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About OKay

An IT Compnay whose mission is generating value with low cost of ownership.

We will offer you Linux based solutions that satisfy your needs. We focus on VoIP & Linux, but we are up for any other challenge you may want to bring.