Grasshopper is a great solution if you're a small business that is looking for the appearance and basic functions of a business grade PBX, without applying anything other than cell phones or standard landlines.
Grasshopper doesn't need any hardware onsite, like older, more traditional PBX or SIP phones that most other hosted PBX solutions rely on. Rather, Grasshopper simply creates a PBX software instance on servers, which link extensions to existing phone numbers. This means that Grasshopper is very cheap in comparison to other SMB PBX services. However it does have the drawback of being very limited, if your business needs to grow beyond basic PBX functionality.
Grasshopper’s Extensions are links to other phone numbers, such as a landline or a cellphone. Grasshopper has options available for extensions that allow incoming calls to be announced as a call through the Grasshopper system. Grasshopper then prompts the caller for a name and then replays that name to you before connecting the call, or it can be configured to connect the call immediately upon answering. Extensions can also be configured to have call time restrictions, such as only active between 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Extensions can also be defined with multiple forwarding numbers, and instructed to ring all numbers until answered, or ring each number, in order, for a specific period of time.
A great thing about using Grasshopper, is that any extensions can be defined in the same manner for individual people. for instance to route to an employee first of all on their desk phone, and if not answered, then on their cellphone. The extension can also be configured as a department extension and linked in the IVR system i.e. 'Press 1 for Sales' where extension 1 is a department extension, which rings multiple forwarding numbers, in order, when a call is received.
Usefully, Grasshopper also offers a dial-by-name directory, which requires configuration of every user's first and last name linked to their extension. Grasshopper plans also includes virtual fax services. If an incoming fax is detected, it will be converted to a PDF and then emailed to one or more configurable email addresses. This is a really useful feature for businesses that are moving towards being a paperless office.
Grasshopper uses a subscription pricing model with plans starting from £10 for the Pay As You Grow plan. This entry level plan offers 0 Minutes per month, 4p per minute Overage charge. With 1 included number and unlimited extensions. There is also a £25 activation charge. Next up is the RAMP plan. This is charged at £20 per month, and for this you get 1,000 Minutes per month inclusive, with a 3.5p per minute Overage charge. It comes with 1 included number and unlimited extensions. Finally there is the MAX plan. This is priced at £150 per month. For this you receive 10,000 Minutes per month, with a 2p per minute Overage charge. You get 3 included numbers, unlimited extensions, and unlimited voice studio as well.
Overall, Grasshopper is a great choice for fledgling businesses, or those companies, which intend to remain very small. It has some great basic features and the pricing plans are reasonable. However, for those businesses that need more advanced features or ones that are likely to grow quickly, Grasshopper probably isn't suitable.