Used phone systems: getting the best bang for your buck

Used phone systems: getting the best bang for your buck

Used phones systems: getting the best bang for your buck

Used phone systems hold a ton of value for many businesses. For startups or the budget-conscious, it’s a great alternative, with many advantages. However, used phone systems have their disadvantages. Businesses also have to decide on going with a POTS phone system or VoIP. We’re going to talk about the difference between a POTS phone system and VoIP system. We’re also going to talk about what to look for and what to be aware of when looking for used phone systems.

When considering used phone systems, we recommend a VoIP-based system. Find out why below.

POTS Phone Systems

First, let’s talk about the different types of used phone systems. They come either compatible with POTS (plain old telephone service) lines or compatible with VoIP. POTS phone systems come in two flavors, analog or digital. With either, you’ll need to have enough POTS lines installed to handle your business’ call volume. For example, if you need to have enough lines to handle up to 4 simultaneous calls, you’ll need at least 4 POTS lines running to your business.

Analog POTS systems have limited features. For many, you get call transfer, hold, and that’s it. The phones will have multiple buttons to answer calls, put them on hold, and transfer to other extensions.

Digital POTS systems will have more features available. For example, you can add music on hold for callers to listen to. A digital POTS system will usually be more expensive to purchase than an analog system.

Used phone systems using POTS lines will typically be more expensive to configure and maintain. In addition to the number of POTS lines you’ll need to handle call volume, you’ll have to have those lines terminated and run to each extension, which will require having a phone line installer visit. Each time you need to add or reconfigure POTS lines, the phone line technician will need to come back and re-terminate. Typically the technician will charge for each visit.

POTS lines for used phone systems may have a lower initial cost, but are more expensive to configure and maintain.

VoIP Phone Systems

Used phone systems that use VoIP technology have much more features. Calls can be transferred to an outside phone number, not just between internal extensions. Businesses can block calls from annoying telemarketers. Businesses can log capture calls and use them for marketing purposes. VoIP phone systems have the capability of dozens of features, and the ability to add on more features.

Although VoIP systems are more expensive to purchase, they are cheaper to maintain and configure. VoIP phone systems require digital IP phones, which can cost more than POTS line phones. However, these IP phones are much more flexible and come with more features. VoIP systems need high speed Internet, and enough bandwidth to handle call traffic. A VoIP technician can help determine how much bandwidth you need. If you feel comfortable enough to figure out your bandwidth requirements yourself, you can visit one of many Internet speed test sites.

Google “free voip bandwidth test” and you’ll get a search result like this. Visit different sites to get at least 3 different test results. Over the long haul, adding more Internet bandwidth is as simple as calling your Internet provider and paying the extra monthly charge. If a technician needs to visit to increase bandwidth, the Internet provider doesn’t typically charge you.

VoIP systems also can grow with the business. By adding additional bandwidth and additional features, you’ll never outgrow your system.

Used Phone Systems: Advantages & Disadvantages

Overall, used phone systems have their advantages. They have a lower cost point of entry than new phone systems. They are relatively modern, meaning you’ll get decent features that will serve your business well. You’ll also give your business a professional appearance with features like transferring calls and hold music.

Used phone systems also have their disadvantages. Many phone systems come from failed businesses, or businesses who have upgraded their phone systems. Most of them will be sold as-is with no guarantee that they will work properly. You could spend weeks or months trying to get a used system to work, only to find out it’s not possible.

Many or all of the used phone systems’ components may be out of support. Since they are end of life, manufacturers want customers to purchase the latest technology. They will stop supporting legacy phone systems.

Depending on the age of the phone system, there may be little or no documentation. The company may be out of business, or the system is at its end of life, so companies may pull documentation. also, the documentation may be incomplete.


The get the best bang for your buck on a used phone system, use a VoIP-based system. Overall, you’ll get the best balance of features, compatibility, and lower long-term maintenance costs. Although getting into a VoIP system is higher initially, it will pay for itself in the long run.

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