Depending on your specific company profile, the number of phone lines your business will need can vary. While you certainly don’t need one phone line per employee, you also don’t want to cut too many corners.
To help you decide how many phone lines your business will need, consider the following:
- The majority of your employees are in the field: If you have a construction company with 50 employees and only four of them work in the office, leaving the rest at job sites, you don’t need 50 phone lines. Instead, you would be wise to purchase four lines for your office employees, plus one voicemail line and one or two lines for your fax machines. You can vary this configuration of course. If your business is very busy, consider purchasing three or four lines for faxes.
- You have a large volume of incoming and outgoing daily calls: If you own a telemarketing company with 25 employees, each making phone calls 8 hours a day, you should consider purchasing 35 or 40 lines just for the calls your employees make. Adding another two lines for faxes is a good idea as well.
As a rule of thumb, if your business has about 15 employees you should consider purchasing one phone line for every employee who makes calls in your office. But if your business has more than 15 employees, a cheaper solution is to move to a dedicated circuit that contains 24 phone lines.
Interestingly enough, if your business is growing, you will actually need fewer phone lines per employee as the number of employees increases. While this increased number of employees will most certainly be making more calls, the probability is low that every employee will be making or receiving calls at exactly the same time. Most likely, when one employee hangs up the phone to do some work, another will be picking up the phone to make another call.
To get an understanding of your business’ phone call volume, go over your phone bill’s itemized list of calls to determine the number of calls made during peak times. A better approach is to scan your phone bill and determine whether every phone number is being used. If several of your phone numbers are set as inbound faxes or are set for your security system and are not currently being used, then you most likely have too many lines.
On the flip side though, if customers, employees or associates complain that they keep getting a busy signal when calling your business, you probably need to add some more lines.
Before rushing out and buying more phone lines, make sure to troubleshoot the bottleneck in your phone system. It could be caused by a card failure that caused you to lose ten lines in your phone system. If after troubleshooting your hardware and you find no problem, order additional lines to match the number of people affected by the shortage of lines. Perhaps the Human Resources department hired 20 more people and did not tell you. If during peak calling times, 10 people in your office can’t get outside lines, order 12 more lines.
In summary, the number of phone lines you business needs depends on the number of employees in the office (as opposed to out in the field) and the volume of their calls during peak calling times. Taking a look at your business’ past calling records will help greatly in determining the number of phone lines needed.