4 MONTH UPDATE: I have been using Anveo.com for the past 6 months.  Overall, I have been somewhat satisfied by the service.  The phone answering and fax system works great.  I have used both and been very happy with it.  I get the MP3 of a voice mail and a pdf version of a fax emailed to me. I have not set up a VOIP service so I don’t know how this works.  I just use it to forward calls to my cell phone as mentioned below.  I like it because the time stamp means I only get calls forwarded during regular business hours.  The one draw back with this is set up is the VOIP and Cell Phone combination can sometimes cause the connection can be choppy for people on the other end.  One other thing to note, you do have to pay for outgoing calls.  It is pretty cheap but still this wasn’t completely clear to me when i signed up.

At ChurchWebToolKit.com we are always looking for ways to save ministries money.  We found a great one that you can use for phone service.  It is called Anveo.com

This online company has two facets to it.  I found it a little confusing at first.  It took me two chats with their customer service to figure it out.   I will try to explain it a bit clearer than their site.

Anveo provides who different services a VOIP (Voice over Internet Phone) and PBX (Private Branch Exchange).

This means that your monthly bill = VOIP (Call) Rates + PBX (Plan & Pricing)  

VOIP Plan: Anveo refers to this a Call Rates

VOIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  It is hardware and software that basically allows you to use the internet as your local phone company.  You need to have high speed (DSL or better) internet to make this work.  Most companies (like Vontage) have a telephone adapter device that you connect to your modem and telephone.  Anveo offers different VOIP plans.  They call it Call Rates.  You can get a Value Plan (40 minutes a day) for $1 a month, or business unlimited for $4 a month (free calls to USA and Canada).  The best part is you can keep your existing phone number by porting it over to Anveo for a $15 fee.  New numbers only cost $1 to set up.

PBX Plan: Anveo refers to this a Plans and Pricing

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange.  In the olden days of telecommunications, this was all the internal infrastructure that a company would have inside their office space to connect multiple employees a phone line.  You can now do this all online via Anveo IVR / Call Flow.  Anveo calls the PBX part their plan and pricing.  You can choose a plan depending on how many PBX features you need.  If you already have a phone system, you might not need much.  We use the FREE PBX plan.  It works great for all our needs.  Faxes are instantaneously emailed to an email address.  You can check voice messages like a normal answering machine (with code to punch in) or have messages instantaneously transcribed or forwarded as MP3 audio files to an email address.

Different Set Up Possibilities.

Single Church Line:

At our church, our monthly bill $4 = Business Unlimited ($4) + Free PBX Plan ($0)

This has worked great for us!  We have things in the PBX section to set up to receive faxes and three different voice mailboxes and system to transfer calls to the pastor’s cell phone when he is out of the office during regular business hours.
We have not set up the VOIP service yet.  We need to buy a VOIP Phone Adapter like this one OBi100 VoIP Telephone Adapter and Voice Service Bridge for $40 or less.   We plan to do soon.  Once we do, we will give you a our own personal recommendation.  However, the online reviews we read for their service was above average.

Church Fax and Phone Line:

Fax & Business Bill $8 = Phone Business Unlimited ($4) + Fax Business Unlimited ($4) + Free PBX (Plan and Pricing)

If you get a lot of faxes and have had a dedicated fax line in the past, you can port that number as well. Set your voice mailboxes however you want for your phone line and set up the fax line so it only receives faxes.

Single Church Line Forwarded to Cell Phone:

Church Plant Bill $1 a month = Value VOIP plan ($1) + Free PBX

If you are a newer church plant, we would suggest that upi do the value plan and not use the VOIP services for phone calls.  Some may wonder why bother, I will just use my cell phone.  We agree.  You can use the cell phone for outgoing calls, .  I would also but it is nice to have the separate number for the church for two reasons.  This allows calls to go directly to voice mall if people call before or after a certain time frame.  This protects your family from getting phone calls in the wee hours of the night.  It also allows you to receive faxes and messages instantaneously via email, something you can’t do with a cell phone.  It also provides you a number that people are used to calling for the church.  This could be important as you grow.  You don’t have to have to create a new number and switch all your bills over at a later date.  They are already tied to the church phone.
To do this, create a Call Flow that forwards all your calls to the pastor’s cell phone.  However, add the business hours filter so that calls not during your regular office hours go directly to voice mail.  See the picture below.

 Other Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you record a voice mail message? Anveo can have use a generic automated message or have a computer voice read a transcript you write in.  However, we just used GarageBand (Mac) and Audible (Windows or Mac) to record an MP3 Audio file and uploaded it.
Referal Code 2554176: If you sign up for Aveo because you read this blog, help save my church money on our phone bill.  We can get a small referral fee.  Just type in this referral code in the box when you sign up.  Thanks