5 Alternatives to Keeping a Fax Machine

28 Comments

This week, I landed a big client. Emails flew back and forth and, finally, they sent me the final version of our contract. I digitally signed the PDF and emailed it back. No good — the contracts department for this particular company required that I send a fax in order to be able to verify the signature. I actually do have a fax machine (combined with a scanner and a printer) sitting on my desk, but I no longer keep a landline to hook it up to. This is the first time in months that I’ve even had a request for a fax.

Luckily, though, there are plenty of online options for sending faxes, so getting the contract to my client through their preferred method of communication wasn’t impossible. It was still time-consuming — I had to print off, sign and scan back in the contract to meet their standards — but I got it done. Here are a few of the more useful virtual fax options available.

  1. GreenFax: With a send-only service, GreenFax can be an especially cheap option for faxing. While it has a variety of other plans, the send-only option is a pay-as-you-go service, charging 7 cents for the first page of any fax and 5 cents for additional pages. The site also offers international faxing, which can come in handy.
  2. Drop.io: While it’s far more than just a simple faxing service, Drop.io offers the ability to both fax in and out documents you have in your account. The ability to receive faxes is available on both premium and free accounts, while sending is only available for premium accounts. If you only need to receive faxes, Drop.io is a good option, because you can do so for free.
  3. MyFax: If you need to have a standing fax number and you send or receive a fair number of faxes each month, MyFax offers a good deal. For $10 a month, you get a fax number and the ability to send 100 pages and receive 200 pages. You can even send and receive faxes in your email.
  4. Popfax: One of the better prices on international faxing is available from Popfax. If you send a lot of faxes overseas, you might consider the site’s services. It offers both a per-page rate and plans for sending and receiving faxes.
  5. RingCentral: In addition to its phone services (see Charlie’s review here), RingCentral can send and receive faxes. If you send and receive a lot of faxes (we’re talking thousands of faxes per month), the site offers some good deals, as well as a free trial. At this level, it may be cheaper to keep the landline and fax machine, but there are several features that go along with a RingCentral account that can make it worth using the virtual service, like integrating the ability to send faxes with your computer applications.

It’s worth noting that plenty of virtual phone systems include faxing in their packages. If you’re using such a system to handle your calls already, it’s worthwhile checking whether you’ve got capabilities for faxing built in.

Do you still have a fax machine?

Image by Flickr user Sapphireblue

28 Comments

web faxing

It’s kind’a weird to use the bulky fax machine in our recent times now. Well, we can’t blame the technology of changing our minds toward the evolution of fax machine. :D

I think all you’ve listed are really helpful only that it’s kind’a greenfax ahead? I’m not sure but I know web faxing does promote green environment since it doesn’t use paper anymore.

ZXT

I can’t remember when was the last time our fax machine works but we don’t use it anymore because it occupies space and its not economical anymore (ink, toner, paper, etc)

We also use online fax service now and we glad we made the shift because fax to email is what everyone needs for those who send and receive fax.

We only pay $1 a month with our online fax service with Onesuite ( http://www.onesuite.com/products_OneSuiteFax.asp ) for unlimited incoming fax and of course like everyone else using online fax, we don’t need to print everything out.

Faxing From PC

I love RingCentral’s feature-rich phone system that not only includes an internet fax but other features such as toll free or local number, PBX extensions, voicemail, etc.

sefcug

How about using MajicJack and a fax modem?

I have not tried it yet, but a quick googling of ‘majic jack fax’ results in plenty of results suggesting it would work.

Just got MagicJack a short while ago, and have not yet set it up.

Steve Costello
Computer user groups keep users informed, join one and become an active participant.
http://card.ly/sefcug

terranceway

Being unemployed and actively seeking work, you can imagine I’m sending out quite a few each week, As for Faxing goes, We have high speed internet with VOIP service, I still use my Brother MFC-4800 however with the PC to fax software pkg. my PC and Fax machine work harmoniously together.

Al

On a relatively unrelated topic of nightmare with faxes….

I inherited a land-line which was a fax number before and have been receiving fax calls on it. By hooking up an old fax machine on my line, I found out that they were spams, advertisers, people sending resumes!

Any free service I could use to direct these faxes on-line?

No I don’t use fax anymore… the sound of incoming fax is causing my nightmares !

Mike

I have never much liked faxes, even when there weren’t good alternatives. I remember the fax machine going off all day at a place I worked in the 90s. It was usually fax spam: the local restaurants sending out their daily menu and other useless stuff like that.

The most annoying part is when someone won’t allow me to scan and email a document… they have to have a hardcopy fax. It really makes no sense.

Anyway, our coworking location has no fax machine and for that I’m grateful!

John

Until a year ago I used eFax. Their price increased over the years and is probably the most expensive for stand alone electronic faxing. Now using RingCentral which is included with virtual PBX service. Faxing is not a big part of my business but it works well.

Mark

If you are a large office with multiple fax machines, one solution is to use a windows faxserver, multiport card with your line supplied using VOIP. We changed over to this three years ago, it has saved us thousands of dollars in communication costs, allowed us to remove all of the physical fax machines from throughout a large office building, removed the support & consumable cost for each machine. We then allow all staff to fax directly from their PC, saving on printing costs & time. All faxes are received into an email inbox which can be accessed by each department staff member.

If you have a midly savvy tech team, give this a try.

James

GotFreeFax.com also allows user to send free fax online to the US and Canada. User can either upload a PDF/Word file or enter text to fax. Plus, it does NOT add Ads to user’s fax and is suitable for faxing formal documents.

Marc

for sending short faxes, I’ve used http://www.faxzero.com/; there’s a free option and a pay option. Drop.io is a very cool service, but for receiving faxes you need to deliver a special cover page to the party that’s faxing to you.

Doug

One vote here for RingCentral. We do everything in the cloud, with folks in CA, VA, and support in FL. RingCentral allows us to send/receive faxes from anywhere. Incoming faxes are downloadable as PDF documents. I also have them forwarded to email which makes them readable from my Blackberry. Plus, you always know when a fax comes in when you are away from the office since you don’t have to be next to a physical machine. The PDF document allows us to archive them for future reference. From the road this can be a little tough if you have an original document not in electronic form. You may still need to stop in an office store to do a fax. However, most electronic documents can be printed to PDF and faxed via the email fax function.

Dennis

I mainly scan as much as possible with the ScanSnap 5100 and e-mail. When I need to FAX, which isn’t often, I use Faxaway.com. Works great! and relatively affordable for the once in awhile fax.

"the bloggers' post"

I liked this article as it is often difficult to filter through all the services out there. It is especially frustrating when it is am application or process that is no longer part of my standard operating procedures. Faxing is especially frustrating in general. I work with contracts all the time, and faxing destroys so much of the clarity by the second round back and forth.

Thanks for the article,

Marty

Meryl Evans

Finally dumped the second line. Wasn’t worth the monthly bill. A teacher needed test scores from last year — scanned and emailed. Scanning works most of the time. If someone needs to fax, we still have a fax machine.

Matt

I use Send2Fax.com and have for several years. Perfect for receiving and sending faxes. Low monthly cost. Similar to MyFax is sounds like.

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