Somewhere in the process of filling out applications for distributors I realized that most of the applications were requesting to be faxed in. Faxed. A couple of the distributors would accept emails of scanned, signed copies of documents, but only a minority. I hadn’t ever owned a fax machine, and I wasn’t really interested in buying one. Amazon had them starting for about $35, but then you’d need another phone line, the occasional toner cartridge replacement, etc….I didn’t want to deal with any of that.
I did a quick search for internet fax providers – companies who accept scanned files, or word documents, or .pdf files, whatever, and actually fax them to real-life fax machines. I was hoping that this would be a lot cheaper than buying a machine and getting a second line.
There were a lot of sites, and numerous reviews. Among them, I looked into four sites: faxzero.com, myfax.com, gotfreefax.com, and onesuite.com/internet-fax. Here is a quick summary of my investigation of each site:
Faxzero.com offered up to 5 free faxes per day, each with a cover page and up to 3 additional pages. Longer faxes could be sent for $1.99. That seemed like a ton of free faxes, but after some deeper digging I realized that the cover page would have a Faxzero.com advertisement on it. I was already a bit nervous over how my home-based, internet-only eCommerce business would be perceived by the distributors I was signing up with, so I kept looking, hoping to find another site which was more discrete in its free-ness.
Myfax.com had no advertising as far as I could tell, but they also didn’t offer free faxes. Instead, they offered a full-fledged faxing and fax-receiving solution. For $10/month (their cheapest rate), you could fax 100 pages, and received 200 faxed pages in a month. I didn’t know if I had enough faxing needs to spend even $120/year on fax services. I decided to keep looking.
GotFreeFax.com had a service similar to Faxzero.com, though their website looked a lot less professional. But while it didn’t look particularly fancy, GotFreeFax.com offered two free faxes per day, each with an ad-free cover page (if you wanted a cover page at all) and three additional pages. They also offered a premium fax service for larger faxes at about $0.10/page. What they didn’t offer was any sort of incoming fax service. I didn’t need incoming fax service just yet, but before I started faxing, I wanted to see if there was anything as enticing as GotFreeFax.com that included incoming faxes.
Onesuite.com provides a suite of services, including fax receiving, fax sending, VoIP, call forwarding, and other services. They are almost the opposite of GotFreeFax.com, in that they offer unlimited incoming fax-to-email service for $1/month – just $12/year! That was crazy cheap, but it didn’t include any outgoing fax services. For $2.95/month I could get both unlimited incoming faxes plus super-cheap fax rates at about $0.02/page.
I didn’t need incoming faxes just yet, but I’d found the place I would use if I ever needed it – onesuite.com/internet-fax.
However, I didn’t want to spend $3 just to send a fax I could send for free, so I decided to give GotFreeFax.com a try.
I got my first filled-out distributor application, scanned both pages, scanned my business license (which was also required by the distributor) and imported the scanned images into GotFreeFax.com. I filled out the basic info for their free cover page, and clicked send.
I was told I would receive an email at the address I supplied (required as part of the free fax process) and that I’d need to click on a link in that email to verify that I’d requested a fax be sent. I waited for about 10 minutes (longed than I’d expected to have to wait) for the email to show up, and clicked the link to start the fax process. I was redirected to a fax status page, and waited as my fax was sent.
Unfortunately, the fax service reported that the fax wasn’t successful. The service said the phone had been “busy”. I checked the distributor form, and verified that the fax number I used on GotFreeFax.com was the same as the number included in the directions on the application, which it was.
I did notice, however, that this fax number wasn’t the fax number listed on the company’s cover page, but was their main phone number. I called that number just to make sure it wasn’t a fax number, and sure enough, I got a voice mail box. Not sure what to do, I tried GotFreeFax.com again with that same number, just in case it was the correct number and someone else had been calling at the same time. Unfortunately, I got the same result – a failed send attempt due to what they called a busy line.
I had three different applications to fax in, so I tabled this one until later, when I could talk with the company and find out what the correct fax number was. I scanned the forms required by the second distributor, uploaded them to GotFreeFax.com, and clicked send. This was when I was reminded that failed fax attempts counted towards my two free faxes per day, and I had already sent to unsuccessful faxes. Argh!
Instead of turning to another fax service, I decided to pay $10 to get 100 pages of fax credits. The credits never expired (according to GotFreeFax.com) and those credits, plus the couple of free faxes I could send a day, should cover my first year of faxing needs. I paid the money, and had no problems sending the application documents to the second distributor. I repeated the process with similar success for a third distributor.
The GotFreeFax.com service seemed to work great. It was a little slow at times, but the service seems to have worked fine. (I have since successfully sent free faxes with the service, and it worked just fine.) I have been pleased enough with the combination of free occasional faxes and inexpensive premium fax services that I now plan on using GotFreeFax.com for all of my outgoing fax needs.