Great Ideas for your Small Business: Use E-Fax
Rather than eliminating paperwork, personal computers generate massive piles of paper. Sure, we e-mail files around the world, but most of us then print out a copy and stick it in a file somewhere.
Still, the main advantage of using electronic mail to transmit information is that it can save you time and money. For example, using the Internet to fax can be substantially cheaper than using traditional phone lines, even if you delay documents until the long-distance rates drop.
There are scores of companies around the world now pro- viding electronic fax services.
Here are a couple of them:
1. Extreme Data reported that if you send 500 one-page documents by first-class mail, the postage will cost $160; good-quality letterhead and envelopes will cost about $175; and labor to prepare the envelopes is $130.
If you decide instead to go the fax broadcast route, you can send the mailing list and the information to their service bureau. The charge for transmitting to 500 locations is about $85, or 17 cents each, according to Extreme Data.
2. Efax, founded in 1997, estimates it can save any company about $330 in one year.
That’s the difference between the cost of a one-year subscription to the service and $450 for a fax machine plus the cost of telephone service for a year.
With an Efax subscription ($10 a month) you get a local phone number to which any fax machine can send. Efax receives the fax and sends it to your computer as an e-mail attachment. To send a fax from your office, you e-mail the document to Efax, which will then send it to a fax number anywhere in the States, except Alaska, for 10 cents a page (Alaska costs 14 cents; Uzbekistan, $1.22). Or you can blast one fax to a hundred clients at a cost of 6 cents a page domestic, 13 cents overseas. For an extra charge, you can use an 800 number to send and receive faxes on the road.
A small business owner in Franklin, Virginia, lost his office equipment in a flood in 1999 and, after signing up with Efax, has found no need to replace his fax machine. A mortgage broker in Seattle, Washington, says he saves time by reviewing the long documents he receives by e-mail and deleting the pages he doesn’t need.