While email or online fax has become very popular

  •   While email or online fax has become very popular with both small business owners and individuals, understanding just what exactly is an online fax provider is much more complicated. The whole process confuses some people, especially those who are not web savvy or are new to computers. So perhaps a full explanation would prove helpful.

      First, before anything is explained, users or potential users must realize online faxing is as easy as sending an email and just about anyone who has used a computer can do that. Basically, with Internet hand drier motor faxing all your faxes are sent as an email attachment, usually in a TIFF or PDF format, and are delivered directly to your inbox.

      The second part of the equation is what confuses many people, in order to use this new type of web faxing, you have to sign up to an online fax service provider who acts as an intermediary to handle all your faxing. It is really a form of cloud computing where your services are outsourced to an outside company in this case an online fax company.

      Once you are signed up to a fax service provider you are given a local or Toll free fax number which you can give out to all your contacts and place on all your business cards and dealings. And because it is web based, you don t need an extra fax phone like you do with a traditional fax machine. And because web faxing is paperless, you don t have the added expense of all those inks, toners and papers.

      You are also given an online account or interface where you can logon to check and send your faxes. Your faxes are also stored online but each company usually differs in the amount of time your faxes are stored so this is one feature you should check before signing up with any given fax provider. Also be aware, each different fax service provider has different monthly rates and the numbers of faxes you can send/receive. You are charged extra for any faxes that go over that limit and some companies charge by the minute, while others charge by the fax.

      On average, these monthly charges run around $10 but if you shop around there are good quality services which charge much less. Also remember, this is usually an ongoing business expense so it does pay to shop around and do your homework now since it can mean significant savings over the long term. Using an online fax comparison site is probably a good idea if you want to get the best deals.

      The only other question that usually comes up when discussing these fax services: Why should I use an online fax provider in the first place?

      For the same reasons which has made this type of faxing so popular: it s motor for elevator cheaper, easier to use, and much more convenient than the old traditional fax machine. It is totally portable and is available wherever you have Internet access. It turns all your mobile devices like cell phones, PDAs, laptops... into virtual fax machines. No more missed faxes because of busy signals or paper jams.

      Furthermore, if your company depends heavily upon faxing to bring in new sales, contacting clients or communicating with employees, then you have to realize with online faxing your business is open 24/7, 365 days of the year. This is one service that definitely can make any company or business more competitive, even in this harsh economic climate.

      Finally, perhaps one of the best features of these online fax providers, many have Free 30 Day Trials where you can check out their services and see if they re up to your standards before you buy. Setup is free and can be done in a matter of minutes so finding the right fax service provider to meet your needs should be quite painless.

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