It’s the year 2020, and despite the predictions of more than a decade ago, fax is a technology that is alive and well. It is often used by government entities and in industries that share sensitive client information, such as law and healthcare.
The truth is that faxing is as important as ever, and to this day remains the preferred way to share documents securely. Sure, instant messaging and traditional email help us save a lot of time, but we aren’t always sure the document has arrived to the correct person or company. On the other hand, each fax transmission you send comes with a confirmation message, and it is a legally binding type of document. But what are the options small businesses have to fax? Let’s take a look at them.
Internet Faxing Services
Fax services appeared more than a decade ago, providing a solution to businesses that don’t want to rely on a fax machine. Instead of using a physical fax line, these companies hook your email to a virtual fax number which works over your standard Internet connection. This merging of technologies have proven to be extremely useful, bringing the best of the analog and digital world in just one package.
You can send a fax through a fax service in multiple ways. The most used alternative is through email. That’s right, you can send a fax the same way you send an email. You just need to keep into account that the recipient’s number is typed into the TO field followed by the domain (ie. faxservice.com) given to you at the moment of signing up. The other difference is that the file you want to send must be uploaded to the email message. According to GoogleOnlineFax.com, if you are using a Gmail fax service, this is done by clicking on Gmail’s paperclip icon. Fax servers can convert dozens of file types into fax in just a few seconds.
And what about receiving faxes? Once you have your virtual fax number in place, all incoming faxes will arrive automatically to your web dashboard, and a copy will also be sent to your email. Given that your digital fax number works like a dedicated line, there’s no need to answer incoming transmissions, just activate your notifications and check your email for new faxes.
Smartphone Fax Apps
The dream of having a fax machine that fits in your pocket has come true. At least a digital one. In the past few years we have seen the appearance and evolution of apps that let you fax from your phone. This is a very convenient fax solution for those small business owners who need to be always on the move.
The best Android and iPhone fax apps will let you send and receive faxes in just a few taps. Sending a fax usually involves uploading a file from your phone, or taking a photo of a physical document you need to send. Thanks to advanced image optimizing technology, this document will be readable in black and white on traditional fax machines.
We recommend having fax apps that work based on a subscription, much like online fax services. Why? Because they offer much more features than single-use apps and they also give you a fax number. The vast majority of apps you can find in the marketplace only serve to send faxes by paying a one-time fee, which is perfect if you just want to send the odd fax once in a while, but not if you are looking to receive faxes as well.
Fax Machine / Multifunction Printers
With the alternatives listed below it might seem that relying on fax machines is going back in time, but you can still use them without problems. Both fax services and fax apps convert your digital files into fax images that are fully compatible with legacy faxing machines and other fax services as well, and the person on the receiving end won’t notice a difference.
Besides fax machines there are also multifunction printers with faxing capabilities. In both cases the machines have to be connected to a dedicated fax line to avoid interruptions. Installing a fax line can mean more expenses for your business, especially if we take into account that we have to add things like paper supplies, toners and regular maintenance.
This option would only be recommended for those business owners who have a fax machine or printer in the office. But if you are looking to integrate faxing into your business from scratch it’s best to go with the other two options.