For those of you who run a home office and occasionally need to send a fax I have found the following solution to be a really cost effective one, and will only cost you around $10 in fees to set up and should be enough to send around 90 faxes for that $10, which for me is more than a years worth of faxes. You will need a computer, a printer, and a scanner for this to work properly. Right now I see a mix of companies allowing faxes or email attachments, and I am guessing one day all "faxing" could be done through email attachments and for "free".
Here are some perks of this setup: no second line needed, no re-occuring monthly fees, the ability to send faxes from any computer in the world (as long as you have your documents with you), ability to view a fax from anywhere in the world as long as you have the software installed.
And the possible negative aspects: no real fax machine, may take a bit more time to use. Probably not the best solution if you send many faxes or have an office with more than a few people in it. You need a computer, scanner, and printer to use it.
Here is how it works:
1. Recieving Faxes – Sign up for Efax – www.efax.com they have different services available, but offer a free version that ONLY allows you to accept incoming faxes. This converts them to a electronic document, and allows you to print, or view them on the monitor. They will send you spam once a month begging you to sign up for their premium service, but their basic service is free, and you get some weird number out of the local area. I am in 630/773 and my fax is 435.xxx.8181, pretty awesome actually that my last number is the same as my home phone! Cost = Free
2. Sending faxes. I shopped around and found a great service to send faxes from. Efax wants 9.95 a month to be able to send faxes, I send maybe 1-2 a month which would be like $5 a fax…. I found a cheaper service that allows you to prepay at $10 and only use 11 cents of credit (or similar) per page that you send. No monthly fees, or other BS. You send my emailing the telephone number @ a certain domain and it will either send the body as the fax, or you can send attachments and it will make the body the cover letter and the attachments are the other pages. The place I use is called: Interfax. l again avoid anything other than the prepaid sending fax package…otherwise you are paying a monthly fee for recieving faxes. Cost = $10 per every 91 pages you send, and the credit stays good for a year.
3. Scanning a Document to Fax: I use an all in one printer and scan things in as full size jpg images. All in one printers are dirt cheap these days and they have numerous models available. I have a HP 3210 all in one, which is a higher end photo printer which prints great looking photos, it also allows me to scan slides or film. Cost = Free if you have it around $99+ if you don't.
A standard fax process would be like this:
- A company either sends me a fax (to my efax number), or emails me a document that I need to fill out
- I print the form out and sign it (printer/all in one)
- I scan the form into my computer (scanner/all in one)
- I use interfax to send the fax (interfax)
- I go on with my day. (wooo wooo)
In summary I urge you to use technology and give the finger to your phone company and any company trying to charge you monthly fees for sending or recieving faxes. Again use the following:
What fax solution do you use and how many faxes do you send per month?