While sales of fax machines have dropped from their peak sales of 1997 in the US of 3.6 million machines, they are far from dead. In fact, in an IDC study from 2017, amazingly 82% of respondents indicated that their fax volume had increased or remained the same, with particular growth in the sectors of manufacturing, up 16%, and the healthcare, up 9%.
So, as a small business, these types of statistics indicate that faxes continue to be a ‘necessary evil’ and every business needs to have some type of faxing capability.
However, before you take your fax machine out of the garbage, or get ready to look for a used one at a garage sale, let’s take a look at FaxZero, the free internet faxing online service that has sent over 18 million faxes. FaxZero is a popular site of Savetz Publishing, offering a whole suite of online services, including clip art, and printables such as business cards, and templated letters.
- Want to try FaxZero? Check out the website here
FaxZero has a simple choice of plans, as it is limited to two. They are both best suited to the lower volume fax user.
For the lower plan, FaxZero lives up to its name, as indeed the plan is named ‘Free Fax.’ This plan is quite a bargain at free, but offers a paltry maximum fax length of 3 pages plus a cover page. On top of that, there is a limit of 5 free faxes per day. Finally, just to unsweeten the deal even further, and bordering on nagware, there is emboldened on the cover page, a logo of FaxZero branding. While this is for sure a bargain worthy of a ramen noodle eating college student, overall this plan is super limited, and the logo branded cover page makes this plan not even suitable for a newbie college student sending out their resumes upon graduation as they would get noticed for mostly the wrong reason.
The upper plan is only a little more appealing. The plus is that the maximum number of pages per fax is increased to a more usable 25, with the option of a cover page that does not count into the max count. Also, more suitable for business, there is no logo or branding by FaxZero on the cover page, making this plan infinitely more professional appearing. However, for these privileges, there is a significant cost of $1.99 (about £1.51) for each fax. Payment is made via PayPal.
While this cost is ok for low volume use, be aware that for those that still have a landline, there are fax machines on Amazon for just over $60, so if you plan to send more than say 30 faxes in the next year, this can make owning the fax machine the more affordable option, or to look at another fax service with better pricing more suitable to your expected volume.
With its emphasis on super low cost, not surprisingly, the extra niceties that just about every competitor has, did not make it into FaxZero’s feature set. This includes things like smartphone and tablet apps, a dedicated web portal for management, and archiving of faxes for the life of the account- yup, none of them are here. Also, as you do not get a login and account, there is no way to be able to receive a fax, also limiting the service.
Rather, FaxZero makes do with a simple web-based page. Into that, ‘Sender,’ and ‘Receiver’ information is entered, including the name, company, email and phone number. Then type your text into the included text box, which becomes the cover page, and supports included editing features of paragraphs, bold, italics and underlining. Then the file to be faxed is attached. The file is limited to only three different formats, which are DOC, DOCX or PDF. Up to three different files can be added to a single fax, but recall that the page limit is a mere 3 pages for a free fax, and 25 pages for the paid one.
Despite the overall ‘bargain basement’ feature set, there are a few standouts. One would certainly be the list of supported countries in their international list. For example, from the US, we can send a fax to Chile for $1.99 (about £1.51) for up to 15 pages, or to the somewhat more obscure Northern Mariana Islands for $2.56 (about £1.94) with the same 15 page limit.
Another neat feature is the option to fax your elected official- congressperson, senator, or governor. FaxZero also links to useful information such as how to find out who your elected official is, tips on contacting them, direct links to their fax numbers, and even the most-faxed representatives (which it has by the last 24 hours, week and 30 days).
Ok, it just may be a bit of an oxymoron to call FaxZero, the free fax service overpriced, yet in our analysis that is what we concluded. The free tier is too restricted to be of any real use with such a low page limit, and a cover page that becomes an advertisement for the service. The paid tier is also a poor value with a high cost for each fax that makes us miss our dial up modem and how we used to send faxes in previous versions of Windows.
- We've also highlighted the best online fax services in this roundup