As much as some people like to mock the fax machine, it's still an integral part of many businesses. If your customers and suppliers are still wedded to their fax machines then you might feel you have little choice but to maintain a fax machine chewing through printer paper. Thankfully there are alternatives.
The benefits of fax-to-email
Treating faxes like emails makes them easier to send, receive, store, search and archive while cutting down on paper and printing costs. Fax to email services often let you send and receive multiple faxes at once, offering greater flexibility than your average small business gets from its one-line fax machine. You can even set up email filtering rules to divert different incoming faxes to different staff members.
How to get started
Some business-grade multifunction printers are designed to act as fax servers, letting you send and receive faxes from your PC via the office's central multifunction printer.
But if a business-grade multifunction printer is beyond your budget you'll also find a range of online services designed to receive your faxes as email attachments. So you're basically outsourcing your faxing to the cloud and eliminating the hassle and expense of buying and maintaining an inhouse fax machine.
Australian fax to email providers include Mbox, UTBox, FaxToEmail, FaxMate and OzeFax. They'll generally offer you a new fax number which you can hand out to your customers. Plans vary, so you'll want to check the monthly fee as well as your incoming page allowance and cost per page for sending faxes.
Keeping your fax number
If you don't want to change your fax number you can forward your existing fax number to the new number, but this will obviously cost you a diversion fee every time you receive an incoming fax.
Some fax to email services also offer the option to transfer your fax line from your existing telco to the fax provider, often charging less for line rental than a standard telco. You'd obviously want to trial the service for a while using call version before you committed to transferring your number.
Sending your fax
Sending a fax is generally as simple as sending an email to a special email address with your outgoing document attached. The fax to email service will then send it over the phone lines as a standard fax.
Some fax to email services are also compatible with the Windows Fax Printer Driver, so you can send faxes directly from applications such as Microsoft Word.
Do you use a fax? Add your comment below.
Also read: Why won't faxing die?