Grasshopper VS Vonage: Which Is Better For Small Business?

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Comparing business voip phone services and virtual number providers, trying to figure out which provider is right for you? In this article, I’m going to go over the main difference between hosted number forwarding services, and business voip providers intended to be landline replacements for small business. This is the main glaring point that seems to be lacking in this industry, for potential customers researching and reading reviews online. By the end of this article, you’ll quickly and easily be able to decide which provider is right for your needs, and which is better and the most cost effective for your business.


Summary

  • www.grasshopper.com – go with Grasshopper if you want a business line on your cell phone
    • Pros: cheap and easy to setup (plans start around $12/mo)
    • Cons: cannot add physical phone adapters or hardware
      • perfect for service based businesses who serve customers at their location, and traveling entrepreneurs and salespeople
  • www.vonage.com – go with Vonage is you want a more affordable solution to landline companies
    • Pros: more affordable for office desk phones than a landline provider
    • Cons: more expensive (plans start around $35/mo) than some cheaper options like Phone.com
      • perfect for small business owners who are tired of being in a landline phone contract and want to go voip

**Update —–>>   Phone.com just emailed me a coupon code for 10% off for you guys, should be good through the end of the month. I highly recommend them for their flexible business phone service.

phone.com10OFF


Vonage VS Grasshopper: The Main Differences Between The Two

The main difference between Vonage and Grasshopper, is Vonage is designed to be a landline replacement for small businesses, and Grasshopper is designed to be a virtual number service for business.

What I see no one mentioning in most reviews, is the fact that Grasshopper is a BYOD provider, meaning you have ot have an existing line on either a cell phone or landline phone to forward your calls to. (I normally just reference these services as “number forwarding services”… since all they really are is a hosted number solution, but are a perfect for the business owner who just wants to add a business line to his or her cell phone)

Related Resources:


Pros And Cons Between Grasshopper And Vonage

So just form the paragraph above, I’m sure you can spot the often overlooked limitations of both services in most other reviews online. This is because most people are comparing features and price, instead of capability and user intention.

Your needs for your business phone system should determine the phone solution you go with, not the other way around. Sure, it might seem like you save a few bucks a month going with the cheaper one at the time, but 6 months down the road when you realize it would do that add on thing you want it to do, you’ll be kicking yourself when you have to go through the hassle of porting your number to another provider. (not to mention finding the right one AGAIN, and running your business through that active line while trying to maintain zero downtime during the transfer… PITA)

But that’s why i write about these things, because I’ve been in that position where we spend two months setting call tracking lines up for clients, and then things take an unexpected right hand turn we didn’t see coming, and then ya gotta scramble to try and figure out what provider will do what you need. After a few years of that, I pretty much have all the virtual number forwarding services and business voip providers down to a science, and in the event I don’t know, now I have a rep contact at each of the companies to get quick resolutions.

Why do I tell you about the limitations? Because it’s best way to make sure you don’t choose the wrong service for your needs!


The Limitations Of Vonage

As I mentioned above, Vonage is designed to be a voip landline replacement phone service, specifically for small business solutions. This is my point of view as a user, though a sales agent may tell you what you want to hear, here is what really matters for you:

  • Vonage is more than a virtual number forwarding service, they are made to integrate with voip office desk phones, functioning as a hosted pbx.
  • Vonage is not an ideal solution for a business owner who just needs a business line on their cell phone, mostly because it costs 3 times as much if you just want a business line without hardcore outbound calls.
  • Most people these days are running service business of some kind, whether small local businesses, or online companies, the days of needing 15 phones for a bootstrapped startup are few and far between… not to mention you should save money on your phone service in the beginning, and spend that extra cash on marketing to grow quicker.
  • Where Vonage is a really good fit, is as a landline contract replacement. Most small retail businesses are Paying AT&T, Brighthouse, Century Link, etc… way WAY too much money per month for a simple 3 line phone system. When your contract is up, it’s a great way to save on your renewal by switching To a voip provider like Vonage.

Related Reading: Why Can’t You Get An 800 Number On Google Voice?


The Limitations Of Grasshopper

So as you can already tell, Grasshopper (powered by Cisco) is a great fit for anyone looking for an affordable business phone solution on their mobile device. In the past, this was a pain in the neck, and most people would try to use a free service like Google Voice. But as I mentioned in another article, you cannot get toll free numbers with Google Voice, nor do you really own the number in my opinion, since you’re not really paying for anything. Personally I don’t trust systems like that when I’m putting marketing dollars and blood sweat and tears into growing my business.

That said, I really like Grasshopper, and recommend it to friends and family who have loved the service. It’s a great fit for anyone who services customers at their location, and does not have a retail location. Of course though, there are some cons, and even some instances when I don’t use Grasshopper myself for certain situations, and turn to www.phone.com for those usually.

  • Grasshopper is not a good fit for you if you want to have an office desk phone, or use a voip phone adapter, because they do not support physical hardware. Again, while I love the service, if you know in advance you’re going to need phones in your office other than your smartphones, save yourself the number porting experience and choose a different provider.
  • Grasshopper does not allow you to record calls. As an avid proponent of call tracking for ad campaigns of small to medium sized businesses, this is the only other time I don’t use Grasshopper. Aside from that, it’s the cheapest way to get a business phone line you can take with you anywhere.
  • I also probably would not choose Grasshopper if I needed to make a ton of outbound calls. it works great for inbound, but queuing up a bunch of contracts like for a call center or something would be out of the question.

Are There Better Alternatives To Vonage And Grasshopper?

Depending on what your needs are for your business phone system, yes there are better alternatives to both in some cases. usually newer business owners are very budget conscious, whereas older more established companies are just happy to save money on their landline phone service.

However, the #1 service I recommend all businesses take a look at, and the most flexible voip phone service for small business I know of and use myself, is Phone.com. You could say I’ve become a bit of a fanboy, but for good reason! Their service is exceptional, and it’s cheap when you start out, but expands as you grow… so no more having to switch phone providers anymore. (they even have great call recording features like I use on my 800 lines to boot)


Vonage Alternatives

The two alternatives that I’d recommend that are similar to Vonage, would be Ring Central first. They have a full featured business voip service called RingCentral Office, and also lease phone hardware and everything else you might need.

One thing Ring Central does really well, is integrates video conferencing extremely well compared to other providers. Usually companies have to get a third party service in order to do this well, but Ring Central has it dialed in nicely.


Grasshopper Alternatives

Above we discussed instances where you wouldn’t want to use Grasshopper, but for a lot of people it’s the perfect solution with plans starting at $12 bucks a month. However, Phone.com also has a $10/mo plan, and even though it will cost a few bucks extra since they charge for addons, if you don’t think Grasshopper is right for you, or you want to have phone adapters or office desk VoIP telephones in your office, Phone.com is a solid service that I highly recommend. See this article for more Grasshopper alternatives.

A lot of people get duped into going with another forwarding service like Talkroute, but the reality is if Grasshopper doesn’t work for you, any other number forwarding service is going to be the same problems for ya… this is why it’s so important to distinguish between the two, and not get side tracked by price.


Vonage Reviews

I’m sure you’ve already searched around on Google for reviews on Vonage, but the bottom line whether you go with a provider I recommend or something someone else recommends, just make sure it’s the right feature set for the way you intend to use it. If you take anything away from this article at all, or from anyone’s reviews, it should be that.

Why you ask? I thought all these reviews that compare plans, pricing, etc.. are what I should be looking at in the comparisons!

Well yes, but if you’re not considering what you’ll be needing in the immediate future, you might find yourself in a pickle at some point having to transfer to another company. This is what I try to help everyone avoid the most, because it is not fun!

Even WeRockYourWeb reports that Vonage is lacking in customer service, and most of their add on services to bring the platform up to speed for a full head to head comparison, cost extra. On the flip side, they do offer phone adapters, 911 services, and sip trunking which most virtual phone providers do not.

In my opinion, Vonage is meant to be a voip landline replacement for small business, and a good inexpensive option to do just that. Sure you can find some reports of inadequate service quality and yada yada, but you will find that anywhere. Overall, if you just want a landline service without paying landline telephone company pricing, Vonage is a great fit.


Why I Don’t Use Vonage

I like to be able to have full control over my virtual numbers, so I can enable call tracking whenever I want, or do fancy things like transcribe voicemails, and automatically deliver them to a different specified email address that I choose… depending on what extension a customer selected.

Vonage isn’t really set up to be a call recording provider either, so if I want to spot check secretaries for a client or something, we’d have to use a 3rd party provider just for that… which becomes pretty cumbersome.

I usually recommend these two companies, in this order:

  • Grasshopper – go with Grasshopper if you just need a business line on your cell
  • Phone.com – go with Phone.com if you think you’ll need to add office phones
    • Bonus – check out Ring Central if you need multi-line support, have multiple locations, etc… for anything less, they’re twice the price.

Update – Vonage Pricing May Be Inaccurate  

So I’m not sure if Vonage hires out an outreach agency, or if they have in house customer satisfaction departments.. But apparently this article popped into their Google Alerts. While I don’t feel obligated to share this with you guys, and still feel confident in my recommendations for phone service providers, I do feel a sense of duty to correct any miscalculations on my part concerning Vonage plans and pricing… especially if they happen to be a good fit for your needs.

Here is the correspondence from a Vonage rep today, hopefully it clears up any pricing issues or discrepancies in the way I interpret Vonage plans and service offerings or how they compare to the companies I use:

From: Matt [mailto:ma[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 2:22 PM
To: ‘Stankevich, Santina’ <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: FW: CleverLeverage.com: Additional thoughts on Grasshopper VS Vonage: Which Is Better For Small Business?

Thanks, I can read it now. I think the main problem here, is the service offerings aren’t clear on the website. I don’t have time to wade through a bunch of pdf’s just to learn how a service works, and that’s the barrier to entry for new customers without calling you guys.

I personally called you guys as a customer two months ago, looking for information on a business line. The rep has called me back at least 30 times, though I have no interest in a package at this point… I opted for a number forwarding service that same day, that was easier to understand and sign up for on the spot. (and it was setup in a matter of minutes, without speaking to anyone… no ongoing hassles.)

So, if you want to setup a landing page on vonage.com that outlines all of this pdf info in one place, and an easy way to sign up right on the website without having to give out address, personal contact info, and talk to a sales agent, etc… I’d be happy to take a look at it, and promote it to my readers if it backs out.

Until then, it’s just too cumbersome sorry.  Example: when I google “vonage mobile extension $14.99” which is what you just told me you offer, all I get are pdf’s, Mexico, Phillipines, itunes app, nothing of relevance to a quick signup number forwarding service.

Not to mention, I don’t want to have my readers hounded like crazy just to see pricing, which is exactly what will happen given your current sales funnel on the Vonage website. A live example of this, is the way your Business Essentials plan pricing is setup right now. I just tried it again myself with the link you provided, and it forces you to speak to a “specialist” just to get firm pricing and create an account. Come on…

I’ve also given you my cell number, so if you want to have your supervisor or a sales manager call me to give me the 411 if I’m missing the boat here, feel free to do so. As of now I’ve already found several good solutions that complement the call tracking companies I’ve used for the last 5 years… and they’re are much easier to understand in my opinion.

Thanks,
Matt


From: Stankevich, Santina [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 12:48 PM
To: Matt <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: FW: CleverLeverage.com: Additional thoughts on Grasshopper VS Vonage: Which Is Better For Small Business?

Hi, Matt-

Thanks so much for the quick response. I had a feeling the formatting wouldn’t translate in the form. Resending in this email. Let me know if this is better and if you have questions. Happy to chat live. Thanks!

Summary

  • Cons: more expensive (plans start around $35/mo) than some cheaper options like com

 

Actually, Vonage does offer a mobile extension designed specifically for customers on-the-go, which is as low as $14.99 and in some cases, even lower, with volume discounts available.

Vonage VS Grasshopper: The Main Differences Between The Two

  • The main difference between Vonage and Grasshopper, is Vonage is designed to be a landline replacement for small businesses, and Grasshopper is designed to be a virtual number service for business.

On the contrary, geared toward smaller businesses, the Vonage Essentials platform offers customers a full UCaaS experience. Vonage Essentials is targeted to smaller customers and delivered over-the-top of a customer’s broadband while providing the ability to cost-effectively scale and introduce new features and capabilities. Recent upgrades to the Essentials desktop and mobile applications, including enhancements with the upgrade to Apple iOS 10 to enable a more native calling experience for business users. In late Q2 2017, Vonage will include a professional license, the Pro version of Amazon Chime for our Vonage Essentials users at no additional cost. Through their Vonage accounts, users will simply link their Amazon Chime service, and will then be provisioned with a professional license. The addition of Amazon Chime will be seamless for our customers.

Amazon Chime is our collaboration solution for our Vonage Essentials customers, which are primarily small and medium businesses. It has helped to round out our feature set on this product.

Through the Company’s gUnify middleware technology, Vonage Essentials also integrates seamlessly with some of today’s leading workflow tools and CRM,  such as Google for Work, Salesforce, Zoho, Oracle, Zendesk and Clio, to increase productivity and mobility, allowing employees access to all the customer and client information they enjoy in the office, no matter where – or how – they choose to work.

The Limitations Of Vonage

  • Vonage is not an ideal solution for a business owner who just needs a business line on their cell phone, mostly because it costs 3 times as much if you just want a business line without hardcore outbound calls.

Again,  Vonage does offer a mobile extension designed specifically for customers on-the-go, which is as low as $14.99 and in some cases, even lower, with volume discounts available.

Vonage Alternatives

  • One thing Ring Central does really well, is integrates video conferencing extremely well compared to other providers. Usually companies have to get a third party service in order to do this well, but Ring Central has it dialed in nicely.

In late Q2 2017, Vonage will include a professional license, the Pro version of Amazon Chime for our Vonage Essentials users at no additional cost. Through their Vonage accounts, users will simply link their Amazon Chime service, and will then be provisioned with a professional license. The addition of Amazon Chime will be seamless for our customers.

Amazon Chime is our collaboration solution for our Vonage Essentials customers, which are primarily small and medium businesses. It has helped to round out our feature set on this product.

Grasshopper Alternatives

  • Above we discussed instances where you wouldn’t want to use Grasshopper, but for a lot of people it’s the perfect solution with plans starting at $12 bucks a month.

 

In this case, the $12 per month doesn’t include actual calls, which are billed as a pay per use. Vonage Essentials is offered in several different tiered options, starting as low as $9.99. Please see link for options.

Why I Don’t Use Vonage

  • I like to be able to have full control over my virtual numbers, so I can enable call tracking whenever I want, or do fancy things like transcribe voicemails, and automatically deliver them to a different specified email address that I choose… depending on what extension a customer selected.
  • Vonage isn’t really set up to be a call recording provider either, so if I want to spot check secretaries for a client or something, we’d have to use a 3rd party provider just for that… which becomes pretty cumbersome.

 

Vonage Essentials provides all of these and more. Integration with leading workflow tools and CRM, such as Salesforce, Zoho, Clio, GSuite and others, as well as 40+ business and mobile phone features, including voicemail transcription, call monitoring and call recording.

Vonage also has a strong offering in the Cloud Contact Center space covering small businesses with our Broadsoft Call Center product.


On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 12:38 PM, Matt <[email protected]> wrote:

Santina, the formatting on this email is painful… I think outlook broke it or something. Happy to hop on a quick call if you want to walk through what you mean/spec differences.

My cell is: (redacted)

Thanks for reaching out!
Matt

—–Original Message—–
From: Santina Stankevich [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 12:30 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: CleverLeverage.com: Additional thoughts on Grasshopper VS Vonage: Which Is Better For Small Business?

From: Santina Stankevich <[email protected]>
Subject: Additional thoughts on Grasshopper VS Vonage: Which Is Better For Small Business?

Message Body:
Good afternoon, Matt-

Thanks so much for including Vonage in your review of communications systems for small business. I’d like to offer a few points of clarification on Vonage’s Essentials platform, which is designed for the unique needs of smaller businesses. Appreciate your consideration of any corrections you think might enhance the article.

Summary

◦Cons: more expensive (plans start around $35/mo) than some cheaper options like Phone.com

Actually, Vonage does offer a mobile extension designed specifically for customers on-the-go, which is as low as $14.99 and in some cases, even lower, with volume discounts available.

Vonage VS Grasshopper: The Main Differences Between The Two

◦The main difference between Vonage and Grasshopper, is Vonage is designed to be a landline replacement for small businesses, and Grasshopper is designed to be a virtual number service for business.

On the contrary, geared toward smaller businesses, the Vonage Essentials platform (https://www.vonage.com/business/what-we-do/products/essentials/?icmp=BMM_D_whatwedo_products_vonageessential) offers customers a full Unified Communications as-a-Service (UCaaS) experience. Vonage Essentials is targeted to smaller customers and delivered over-the-top of a customer’s broadband while providing the ability to cost-effectively scale and introduce new features and capabilities. Recent upgrades to the Essentials desktop and mobile applications, including enhancements with the upgrade to Apple iOS 10 to enable a more native calling experience for business users. In late Q2 2017, Vonage will include a professional license, the Pro version of Amazon Chime for our Vonage Essentials users at no additional cost. Through their Vonage accounts, users will simply link their Amazon Chime service, and will then be provisioned with a professional license. The addition of Amazon Chime will be seamless for our customers.

Amazon Chime is our collaboration solution for our Vonage Essentials customers, which are primarily small and medium businesses. It has helped to round out our feature set on this product.

Additionally, through the Company’s gUnify middleware technology, Vonage Essentials also integrates seamlessly with some of today’s leading workflow tools and CRM,  such as Google for Work, Salesforce, Zoho, Oracle, Zendesk and Clio, to increase productivity and mobility, allowing employees access to all the customer and client information they enjoy in the office, no matter where – or how – they choose to work.

The Limitations Of Vonage

◦Vonage is not an ideal solution for a business owner who just needs a business line on their cell phone, mostly because it costs 3 times as much if you just want a business line without hardcore outbound calls.

Again,  Vonage does offer a mobile extension designed specifically for customers on-the-go, which is as low as $14.99 and in some cases, even lower, with volume discounts available.

Vonage Alternatives

◦One thing Ring Central does really well, is integrates video conferencing extremely well compared to other providers. Usually companies have to get a third party service in order to do this well, but Ring Central has it dialed in nicely.

In late Q2 2017, Vonage will include a professional license, the Pro version of Amazon Chime for our Vonage Essentials users at no additional cost. Through their Vonage accounts, users will simply link their Amazon Chime service, and will then be provisioned with a professional license. The addition of Amazon Chime will be seamless for our customers.

Amazon Chime is our collaboration solution for our Vonage Essentials customers, which are primarily small and medium businesses. It has helped to round out our feature set on this product.

Grasshopper Alternatives

◦Above we discussed instances where you wouldn’t want to use Grasshopper, but for a lot of people it’s the perfect solution with plans starting at $12 bucks a month.

In this case, the $12 per month doesn’t include actual calls, which are billed as a pay per use. Vonage Essentials is offered in several different tiered options, starting as low as $9.99. Please see link for options – https://www.vonage.com/assets/documents/DS-ES-WEB-FEATURES_0317.pdf

Why I Don’t Use Vonage

◦I like to be able to have full control over my virtual numbers, so I can enable call tracking whenever I want, or do fancy things like transcribe voicemails, and automatically deliver them to a different specified email address that I choose… depending on what extension a customer selected.

◦Vonage isn’t really set up to be a call recording provider either, so if I want to spot check secretaries for a client or something, we’d have to use a 3rd party provider just for that… which becomes pretty cumbersome.

Vonage Essentials provides all of these features and more: integration with leading workflow tools and CRM, such as Salesforce, Zoho, Clio, GSuite and others, as well as 40+ business and mobile phone features, including voicemail transcription, call monitoring and call recording. Please see link for full list – https://www.vonage.com/business/what-we-do/products/essentials/?icmp=BMM_D_whatwedo_products_vonageessential

Vonage also has a strong offering in the Cloud Contact Center space covering small businesses with our Broadsoft Call Center product.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,
Santina Stankevich


This mail is sent via contact us form on cleverleverage.com

Santina Stankevich | Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
(numbers redacted)  | [email protected]

We transform how people connect. See how we’re doing it for businesses.

I could be totally in the wrong here, but my biggest problem with this is the forced opt in, when I could be up and running in the same amount of time on another provider. I don’t want to be forced to talk to someone. I know what I want, let me buy it. I expect the same from my readers, but who knows. I’m definitely not looking to make enemies with any large companies, but at the same time this is a bit ridiculous and I don’t like this:


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