Grasshopper lives up to its claim of being the entrepreneur’s phone system. After all, its entire business model is taking small- and medium-sized businesses and making them appear as professional as possible. This punchy and innovative company does this by endowing even the smallest or freshest startups with upgraded communications networks and inbound calling functionality.
The real catch is that Grasshopper does all of this without forcing budget-conscious companies to deal with the complicated, expensive, and time-consuming PBX systems suitable for larger enterprises. With a modest selection of features, Grasshopper stealthily creates the appearance of a corporation without all the hassle—just like a real grasshopper.
• Great option for small- and medium-sized businesses
• 300,000+ small business users currently
• No new hardware to purchase
• Fast and easy setup process
• Cheap plans
• Call forwarding to anywhere in the world
• Voicemail transcripts
• Must be used with existing landlines or mobile devices
• Not as comprehensive features packages as other options
Small businesses and startups that want to look and behave more professionally
Named after the insect’s ability to project itself surprisingly well for its size, Grasshopper is designed to make smaller businesses sound larger and more successful through an outstanding customer service system. It’s an interesting platform, to be sure, and what’s more, it actually works. With little work on the part of the client, SMBs can create the appearance of large enterprises with tools like auto-receptionist, call transfer, and extensions menus.
So if your communication concerns are linked to appearing inadequate in the eyes of prospective business clients, then the answer is a resounding yes. Additionally, Grasshopper gives small businesses the ability to communicate with their partners, workers, and clients on a global level from anywhere and at anytime. This is another communication issue that many companies have been able to overcome with the help of this service.
Inbound and outbound calling plans are not the same thing, and that's something businesses need to know from the start. This is an important discussion for anybody considering the Grasshopper service because unlike most VoIP services, Grasshopper doesn’t offer outbound calling plans. In fact, this company has an entire blog written explaining how they are NOT a VoIP system at all.
While most call management solutions are puffing out their chests seeing who can offer the best international calling rates, local calling plans, and other outbound services, Grasshopper leaves all this by the wayside and focuses exclusively on inbound calling features, cloud-based management, and landline connectivity.
Not to leave you up the creek without a paddle, Grasshopper does have outbound calling functionality from its mobile app. More on that below.
There are 4 plans on offer through Grasshopper, each priced at a base cost per month. This base cost either includes a set number of minutes or gives a fixed price per minute. Obviously, the larger and more demanding your network, the higher you would scale your plan. Pricing ranges from $12 to $199 per month on flat fees, with the Pay As You Grow plan incurring an additional 6¢ per minute on top of this price. All plans are subject to a free activation, which normally costs $25. Here’s a more involved breakdown of the Grasshopper pricing scheme:
• Pay as You Grow Plan
The basic plan for Grasshopper beginners is the Pay as You Grow Plan. For $12/month, users get 6¢ per minute (that would be $6/100 minutes), one toll-free or local number, an unlimited number of phone extensions, and full customer support which includes email, support center, and 24/7 phone support. It’s cheap, it’s basic, and for small businesses who don’t need a lot of complicated features, it gets the job done.
• Ramp Plan
For $24/month, users get a lump total of 500 minutes per month. Everything else is the same as the basic plan.
• Grow Plan
The premium option for Grasshopper users costs $49/month. This increases your calling minutes to 2,000 minutes per month and also includes an additional toll-free or local number.
• The Max Plan
The “enterprise level” package, the Max Plan, costs $199 per month and delivers a tremendous 10,000 minutes per month, 3 local or toll-free numbers, and unlimited ports. Additionally, this plan grants customers access to Grasshopper's voice studio where companies can create and select customized phone greetings (including IVR) that sound professional and come in many languages. This is the most extensive package and is the best way for a small business to really project their brand upwards.
Normally, pricing would also detail the cost per fax page and outbound calls, but Grasshopper is exclusively an inbound service and therefore doesn’t provide these types of services.
|Pay as you Grow||Ramp||Grow||Max|
|6 cents/minute||500 free minutes||2,000 free minutes||10,000 free minutes|
|1 toll free/local number||1 toll free/local number||2 toll free/local numbers||3 toll free/local numbers|
The beauty of Grasshopper is that it requires no additional hardware to run. Since the system runs via your ordinary phone, all the “equipment” needed is something your business already has. Whether you are choosing to connect the Grasshopper PBX software instance directly to your current business line via the landlines that already exist in your office or to run the software on your mobile devices, everything you need to get started is already within reach before you even get in touch with them. This means that at soon as you subscribe to a Grasshopper plan, you are ready to be up and running within minutes.
The speed of connectivity, ease of use, and lack of staff training is a major bonus for most small- and medium-sized businesses.
We’ve come to expect no less from a reputable VoIP provider, but it’s always reassuring to find a 24/7 support system. You can choose to get in touch with Grasshopper through this toll free system or make use of the knowledge base and FAQ section on the website. There’s also an option to ‘Submit a Request’ for more detailed problems, which is like an email/support ticketing system.
The Grasshopper auto attendant is a fast and uncomplicated system to setup and offers crisp, clear, and professional call directing. Dial by number or name directory options are both available. Businesses can also set up after hours messaging.
The features suite is the area in which Grasshopper is most lacking when put to a head-to-head comparison with the competition. But, as mentioned previously, this company really isn’t competing for the same clientele as other similar VoIP services—its goal is small businesses, and its set of features is perfectly suited for this audience.
Some of the features available from Grasshopper include:
• Dial by name directory
This gives customers the ability to search a directory of employee names in order to find the department or representative they're looking for. This is especially useful if you're trying to give a larger, more professional air to your business.
• Routing to personal number wherever you are (in the world)
Again, this feature is helpful with giving off a more corporate appearance. It also makes you more accessible, allowing business calls to come through no matter where you go. And when you activate Business SMS functionality, you can send professional text messages from your mobile device that will come through as your business line.
• User-friendly configuration and interface
Since most small- and medium-sized businesses won't have a dedicated IT staff, the simpler, the better. Grasshopper has that covered.
There are several options that make this feature more flexible and user-friendly. For example, when a customer calls and selects an extension based on the directory name, the Grasshopper system will notify you of the selection. This way, you know who the customer is expecting to reach—perfect for those times when you’re running a one-man-show. Extensions can also be set up with time restrictions, for example so callers can’t reach tech support during off hours.
Additionally, call quality is par excellence, and that’s worth explaining. Grasshopper manages its system via the cloud for easier access. Since your plan doesn’t rely on internet connections or hardware like most VoIP systems do, the call quality is unwavering. That means you will never have a call dropped, and connections will always be crystal clear. This is considered to be a major benefit for businesses who are trying their hardest to appear professional.
While outbound calling is not an option, Grasshopper has created the ability to receive faxes. The system automatically converts faxes to PDF and emails the document to the email address designated at signup.
The Grasshopper app lets customers check their voicemail, faxes, and call logs directly from their mobile devices. The app is simple but intuitive, offering customers the ability to check voicemail, access directories, smartouch digital signatures, and change outbound number—so regardless of what number you are actually calling from, the number that will appear on the caller ID will be your designated business line. What’s more, Grasshopper’s mobile app is the only way for clients to make outbound calls. It has a digital dialer programmed into the app so you can place calls directly from within the application.
Setting up your Grasshopper system can be done entirely online and requires no installation or hardware since the network taps into existing phone lines. Through this rapid set-up, you can choose to use your existing number or select an entirely new one. You can also set up your greeting here, construct call menus, and add extensions. It’s an incredibly easy and simple process, one of the most intuitive we’ve come across.
Grasshopper is predominantly based on receiving incoming calls and projecting a professional image of your company to customers, giving your business the ability to run solely on cell phones and the Grasshopper system. When signing up for an account, you’re opening a vast range of options:
• Voicemail recordings
Voicemails are sent to your email inbox as MP3s, so you can listen to your messages at the same time as you check your email (without having to call in to receive messages).
• Voicemail transcriptions
Transcribing voicemail is useful for situations when you can’t listen to a voice message, during meetings for example.
And other important features, such as:
• Selecting toll-free, local or vanity numbers
• Unlimited extensions
• Access to voicemails by email and online
• A 30-day money-back guarantee
• Call forwarding to anywhere in the world
• Unrestricted contracts – alter, change, or terminate at any time
• Find me/Follow me feature allows configuration of dates and times per number
• Free additional phone lines
Grasshopper’s use of phone lines rather than broadband gives it a distinct advantage over the competition when it comes to call quality. Loss of WiFi signal or internet connectivity can disrupt a VoIP phone call, but not only will Grasshopper’s network stand up to this, it’s also leagues easier to set up in the first instance.
The one thing we didn’t like about Grasshopper’s features suite is the Extras menu. While it claims that all features are available within the plans, to get some really involved options, you will still have to pay extra. For example, Call Blasting is not a standard feature and will cost your company an extra $10/month to include.
At the end of the day, Grasshopper is offering something different to its competitors and is doing it really well. Focusing on inbound calls for smaller businesses and opting to use telephone networks, this Massachusetts outfit is one of the very best options available. Take nothing away from the provider though – a fantastic website, considerate support, and accessible pricing all combine to make it a top choice for any small business seeking a VoIP service. Don’t forget that you’re entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee with Grasshopper, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out.