A Used Telephone and Answering Systems Buying Guide

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A Used Telephone and Answering Systems Buying Guide

Businesses rely on telecommunications for answering calls, sending faxes, and even swiping credit cards. With so many different business components relying upon the telephone system, it is no wonder shopping for a new telephone and answering service can cause a headache. Combine a dizzying array of options, unfamiliar terminology, and exorbitantly high prices, and buyers usually leave feeling more bewildered than when they first started searching. The good news for any businesses looking to save money on start-up expenses is that a used telephone and answering service can be purchased for just a fraction of the cost of a new one from websites like eBay.

As long as the phone system is still in good working order, it can provide a strong foundation for powering telecommunications throughout the entire company. Selecting the right used telephone and answering service means planning the company's growth within the next two to three years, and then finding a phone service that meets those needs.

Buying Considerations

Before running out and purchasing a used telephone and answering service, it is important to consider both the present and future needs of the business. After all, it is just a waste of money to purchase one system and then have to buy another one next year because of bad planning. The first step is to know how many phone lines are needed right now. Keep in mind that this number also includes fax machines, modem lines, and credit card stations.

The second step is to plan for growth. Business owners often get into trouble here, and either underestimate or overestimate their future expansion. The best strategy is to be realistic and base expected growth numbers off of a well thought out business plan. For example, if the goal is to have 50 employees in three years, but the company only has 10 now, then shop for a phone system that can handle 50 different lines.

Types of Telephone and Answering Services

In the world of business, there are 4 main types of telephone and answering services. They are designed to work with businesses at different levels depending on their size and features. No telephone system is universal, and what is best for one company does not always work well with another.

KSU-less Systems

The smallest type of telephone and answering service, KSU-less systems are designed for businesses of 10 employees or less that only need a limited number of phone lines. It is a great system for companies that are just starting out and on a limited budget since it is also the least expensive option.

The main drawback for KSU-less systems is that they do not have a central cabinet like key or PBX systems. This means that if more lines are needed in the future, an entirely new system must be purchased. It does not make good business sense to waste money on a phone system that cannot grow with the company, so only purchase a KSU-less system if moderate to little growth is forecasted. The second issue is that installation and upkeep of these systems is largely the responsibility of the business owner. If the owner does not understand how to set up the system, it can spell big trouble for future technical problems.

Key Systems

Key systems are designed to work for larger small businesses that have around 40 or so employees. These systems have a central unit that transfers calls to different lines. Telephones that are connected to the key system have special buttons that allow users to switch from one line to the other. They are also compatible with computer lines, and can be used to connect workstations to a central modem as well.

Another useful feature of key systems is that they can easily be upgraded. This means that a smart business owner can save money by purchasing a limited key system telephone unit and then upgrading it when needed. However, there is only so much these systems can do, and once they hit the 40 line limit, it is more practical to look into better long-term options.

PBX Systems

Large businesses have complicated telecommunications needs. Customers need to be able to contact the company, departments have to be able to contact one another, and telecommunications must flow seamlessly throughout the entire company. PBX, or private branch exchange systems, are the go-to choice for large companies for several reasons.

First, these systems can handle many different lines. Calling centres, for example, usually run PBX systems simply because of the multiple line factor.

System Type

Line Limit


Customised Options










over 40



PMX systems can also be customised for each business and upgraded as the company grows. If rapid expansion is planned, it may be best to go ahead and purchase a PBX system that can handle the extra demand.

VoIP systems

VoIP systems emerged with the internet. Instead of using phone lines, these systems use internet data cables for calls. Many traditional systems can be made to work with VoIP. For example, IB PBX systems are a type of VoIP that is suitable for large companies.

VoIP systems claim to be less expensive that traditional telephone and answering systems, but this is not always true. If a company has international offices or an office in several cities, then it is likely business owners would see a noticeable difference on their phone bill. However, the extra data price for using VoIP may end up costing companies more than traditional systems if they do not usually make frequent long distance calls.

Telephone and Answering System Features

Regardless of the system, there are several features commonly found in all types of telephone and answering services. Company owners need to decide on how to best integrate these features with their existing telephone service. Some telecom companies charge extra fees for these services, so keep this in mind when shopping.

Call Waiting

Call waiting allows for users to be placed on hold until someone is available to take their call. Larger systems like PBX can be programmed to play music or relay a message while the customer is waiting on the phone. KSU-less systems only offer a limited version of this feature and do not give any messages to the waiting customer.

Call Forwarding

Call forwarding automatically transfers the call from one line to another until it is received. Companies that use large systems have this system set up so that the call automatically transfers to the next available representative. Small businesses of less than 10 employees sometimes do without this feature, choosing to transfer calls to voicemail.


Voicemail, or answering services, allows customers to leave a message onto the phone. Companies that receive large amounts of voicemail usually have their answering system hooked up to a dedicated digital storage unit that saves the messages. Nothing is worse than when a customer tries to leave a message, only to be told that the mailbox is full. Businesses often need to expand their voicemail storage to keep up with customer demand.

How to Buy Used Telephone and Answering Services on eBay

Business owners are in luck when it comes to finding a used telephone and answering service on eBay. Instead of having to pay premium prices for a new system, they can buy a used one for a fraction of the prince instead. Get started by typing in 'used telephone and answering services' into the search engine. This pulls up all available results for sale. You can even choose to save extra money on shipping costs by searching for 'used telephone and answering services UK'. This limits the results to only sellers within the UK.

Nevertheless, not every system for sale on eBay is right for every business. Furthermore, you must always pay attention to the condition of the system in question. Some are sold in complete sets, while others are sold simply as piecemeal parts. If you are looking for replacement parts, try searching for 'used telephone and answering service parts' to limit what items appear on your list of results. Make sure that the seller's description of the item matches the picture shown. Used items should always be sold with an actual picture, not a marketing or stock photo.


A new or used, a telephone and answering service is an essential part of any business. It provides the backbone of the telecommunications network, and modern businesses cannot exist without one. Deciding to go with a used telephone and answering service makes good business sense, as it avoids the premium price placed on new products. However, there are several factors to consider when purchasing one of these systems.

First, the buyer needs to sit down and think about what services he needs before shopping on eBay. Make sure to account for future growth as well so that money is not wasted on a system that is obsolete in a few years. It is also a good idea to see how compatible the different systems are with additional features like call waiting, call forwarding and voicemail applications. Getting the right product takes a bit of time, but in the end a good used telephone and answering service is well worth it.

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