Action Plan

Evaluate and Select Equipment:

This is a critical step. Start-up equipment for a telephone answering service (TAS) can cost between $20,000 and $100,000. Do not, under any circumstance, buy equipment that has not been designed specifically for the TAS industry.

The features available on the equipment you buy will dictate the types of services you can offer and what you will charge for them. Although buying an entry-level, basic system will save you money, it will also severely limit what services you will be able to sell and may negatively affect your productivity.

The tendency is to focus on the price and features of the equipment, but also look to the company behind it. How long have they been around? How big are they? How many systems have they sold? What about product support? Is there a user's group?

When you narrow down the list of vendors, make a point of visiting your top prospects. This will give you a  real good feel for they type of company that they are. During your visit, spend time in their customer service department. These are the folks that you will be working with after you purchase the equipment, so make that you are comfortable with them. Also, meet with their trainers to make sure they are knowledgeable and competent. Lastly, talk with other users of the equipment to see what they have to say. Their feedback will be valuable. When doing this keep in mind that every company ahs there supporters and their detractors, so keep things in their proper perspective.

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