Grasshopper and RingCentral are two of the popular options that many small business owners or entrepreneurs consider for their communication needs.
In this article I’ll be going over a comparison and discussion of these two cloud phone communication systems and give you my recommendation of you which one is best for each use case.
Use Grasshopper for: Lower Cost, fixed price with unlimited phone extensions and call minutes, no additional phone hardware needed, best for entrepreneurs and small businesses. There is no charge of per user per month like other services. Here is a 7-Day Free Trial of Grasshopper to test their service.
Use RingCentral if: You are a larger business that needs more complicated and rich VoIP features and do not mind about cost. See why RingCentral is great for Businesses Here.
Make sure to read the whole article to see the reasoning of my recommendations which take into consideration various use cases and business environments, feedback from several users etc.
The last decade has seen a tremendous increase in cloud services. Almost all traditional IT and telecommunication solutions, that used to be implemented on-premises, are also available now as cloud services that can be utilized from a simple Internet connection.
In the current technology era, our communication needs have improved considerably as we switch from landline to cloud-based virtual phone systems.
Landline phone systems worked great for a long time until a new, better, and advanced tech was introduced.
Today, most businesses use a cloud-based virtual phone system that has eradicated the use of landlines and offers a lot more features that fully utilize the cloud and advancements of technology.
As I’ve mentioned above, Grasshopper and RingCentral are two of the most popular cloud-based communications solution providers.
Both offer unparalleled service with many features. However, choosing between the two can be confusing.
Here I’m offering a review and comparison of both services to help you decide which one best suits your requirements and specific needs.
Grasshopper Brief Review
Grasshopper is one of the many companies under the famous LogMeIn software provider which owns several other popular Software-as-a-Service products for remote connectivity, cloud communications, cloud collaboration etc.
Therefore, it belongs in a healthy and big company with billions in revenue and thousands of customers.
Grasshopper is currently providing its service to over 350,000 businesses and entrepreneurs. They didn’t achieve this success without any effort.
The company was founded in 2003 by two young men who were entrepreneurs themselves and who know exactly what kind of communication needs an entrepreneur and small business has.
Their experience in the field has allowed them to understand the market needs inside out. Grasshopper currently targets small businesses and entrepreneurs and has tailored its services right according to their requirements.
The step to focus their virtual phone service to the customer segment of SMB businesses and entrepreneurs was a smart move.
This is why they understand what a business needs, especially the one in starting phases. They have made it through the struggle and now want to help their fellow business owners.
Most of their customers find their story truly convincing, and there hasn’t been any noteworthy complaints or negative reviews about their performance, which means they really do understand the needs of their customers.
Actually, they have a current rating of 8.7/10 in TrustRadius which speaks for itself how good they are and how great their product is evaluated by users.
Currently Grasshopper offers a free 7-day trial to test drive their virtual phone service, so go ahead and give it a try below (with no commitments and no credit card requirement):
How Grasshopper Works
Basically, Grasshopper adds a second business phone line to your existing phone. You must have an existing main phone number with a phone service provider (which is your personal phone number) and then you add one or more business virtual phone numbers on that one (how many extra phone numbers and extensions you add depends on your plan).
This means that you don’t need to buy expensive hardware VoIP phones like other services and also it allows you to separate your personal phone number from your business one.
Both numbers (personal and business) will be ringing on your same phone but with the Grasshopper app you will know if the call is coming on your business line or personal one.
Also, you will be using the cellular network of your existing phone provider (for both personal and business calls) therefore the voice quality of incoming and outgoing calls will be the same as your cellular service provider. Moreover, you can also enable VoIP calling which allows calls over the Internet if you want.
The choices of business phone numbers that you can get include:
- Toll Free Numbers (make your business sound more professional)
- Vanity Numbers
- Local Numbers
- Transfer your existing business number if you have one
The plans available allow for a fixed monthly cost (or yearly) with unlimited calling-minutes (in USA). International calls are charged per minute.
When to Use Grasshopper?
Although Grasshopper is mainly recommended to entrepreneurs and Small-Medium Businesses, it does not lack in features and can be used also to business cases with several employees.
Here is a quick overview of their main features:
- Adds a second business line to your existing personal phone.
- A full virtual phone system at very low cost (fixed price with no charging per user).
- Unlimited call minutes.
- No need to buy expensive phone hardware.
- 24/7 USA Based Support.
- Business Texting
- Simultaneous call handling.
- Custom greetings
- Virtual Fax.
- Call transfers.
- Voice mail
- Call forwarding
- And much more
Just like any other virtual phone system, Grasshopper will enable effective internal and external communication as you can see from above.
It’s no problem even if you are a solopreneur or you are a business owner with multiple employees with different types of work; this setup is designed for productive team collaboration as well.
It allows all members of the business to stay connected even when they are traveling or sitting on a couch at home, all while presenting a professional image to clients.
Even with such flexibility, it allows all employees to keep their personal information confidential.
However, let’s see the most popular use cases of Grasshopper communication service:
- Best for all startups who want to streamline all their phone lines and increase credibility.
- Best for people on the go who just want a single phone to receive and make calls for both personal and business purposes (using different phone numbers).
- Freelancers, consulting companies, realtors, accountants, service-based businesses, non-profit organizations etc would find its features most helpful.
- Highly recommended for entrepreneurs who have to manage a remote workforce. You can transfer calls as if they are sitting next to you.
- It’s cost-effective compared to most cloud-based virtual phone systems service provider. Small businesses need all the savings they can get.
- Companies whose employees have to travel a lot can rely on Grasshopper for seamless and professional communication.
- The online administrative platform is very user-friendly. It won’t require much training or time to get used to the interface.
- You get voicemails and their transcription in the email. This may not sound much big of a deal, but it saves time when you have to respond to a lot of mails.
Not Best For:
- Organizations and departments that have to transfer a lot of calls, such as telemarketing or customer support providers, may not be satisfied with Grasshopper.
- Its users don’t recommend it for industries similar to healthcare that mostly rely on software systems and tools.
- If you need more “exotic” VoIP features such as Artificial Intelligence in call routing, local hardware IP Phones, full-featured and complicated PBX, call receptionist devices etc, then you need to look for RingCentral.
RingCentral Brief Review
RingCentral is an older company than Grasshopper, offering its services since 1999. They have seen the evolution of technology and have always kept up with every new invention.
With over five thousand employees and annual revenue of over $700 million, it’s one of the biggest companies in the field of cloud phone services.
Its target audience is not limited to just small businesses like Grasshopper. It offers several plans for larger enterprises with features that meet all their requirements.
RingCentral doesn’t have an influencing story for its customers, but it was named UCaaS leader in 2019, and it currently stands in line with giants like Google and Microsoft. Ringcentral has also won many other prestigious awards.
Because their service caters to larger businesses which can be anywhere in the world, the infrastructure of Ringcentral spans also to Europe, USA and Asia.
The flagship product of Ringcentral which is focused for Businesses is called “RingCentral Office” which is what we will be examining in this article.
Unlike Grasshopper, you can use RingCentral cloud phone system on desktop hardware IP phones or using a mobile/computer app using VoIP communication.
Regarding feedback and rating from users, RingCentral currently scores 7.6/10 in TrustRadius .
RingCentral is one of the top leaders when it comes to cloud communication. But does that mean it’s best for every business? Let’s find out below.
When to Use RingCentral?
RingCentral has a solution for individuals, SMEs, and large enterprises that require inter-departmental communication and provide service to customers.
You get many services and features, but you need to pay per user per month (or annually). There is no denying they have great technology that most other companies afford to buy. They are first to adopt innovations and offer it to their customers.
You would find many good and bad reviews of the RingCentral compared to other service providers, but it also has a larger customer base than most. No matter how heavy your usage, it always stands up to the task.
- RingCentral has a usage scenario for industry and small businesses. You will feel like they have a range of configurations to meet your exact requirements.
- Its voice quality is one of the best in the market. Some compare its call quality to Skype, whose entire business depends on it.
- Works great for routing incoming and conference calls. This is very helpful for companies that have many employees in different locations.
- RingCentral apps work perfectly on all platforms, including Windows, iOS, and Android, allowing uninterrupted access to features like making calls, conducting meetings, and checking voicemails.
- It can be integrated with Office 365 and Outlook where you can schedule and attend meetings without having to leave them.
- Works great for healthcare sector and telemarketing companies. Their system is powerful and you can assign a unique number to each user with access.
Not Best For:
- If you don’t want to be bounded by a contract which is charged per user, then it’s not for you.
- RingCentral offers a lot of features and services but they come at a high cost. It’s worth the cost if you are using all of them but if you only need a few, you will find it very expensive. Besides, many users complain that they can’t disable the services they don’t need.
- With so many features and configurations, you can set it according to your business. Though experienced users would like it, new users find it too complicated. That’s why some customers don’t like their user interface.
- They recommend using Plantronics headphones for best compatibility (which is partners with RingCentral). Most customers find these headsets very expensive.
Plans and Pricing for Grasshopper
Grasshopper is much more affordable compared to RingCentral. It has only three plans, and all are tailored to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. All of them can be paid monthly or annually; the latter saves you 10%.
1. Solo Plan
The Solo plan is for entrepreneurs working alone or with a small team. You get 1 number with 3 extensions for $28 if you pay annually.
2. Partner Plan
Growing businesses would find this plan most relevant with 3 numbers and 6 extensions for $46 per month (billed annually).
3. Small Business Plan
Small businesses that need flexibility in call routing can get 5 numbers and unlimited extensions for $80 per month if they pay annually.
All Plans Include the Same Services
Grasshopper offers everything it has in all plans, no matter what your budget. Your cost is determined by the numbers and extension you need at a fixed price. Everything else is included. Here is what Grasshopper has to offer.
- Mobile + Desktop Apps
- Voicemails and Business Texting
- VoIP + WiFi Calling
- Call Forwarding & Transfers
- Simultaneous Call Handling
- Custom Greetings
- Virtual Fax
- Incoming Call Control
- Business Phone Number
- Instant Response
Plans and Pricing for RingCentral
RingCentral is expensive compared to Grasshopper, but it also offers more services. It has four different plans for businesses of different sizes. The more expensive plan you purchase, the more services you get. You can pay monthly or annually, and the latter can save you up to 33%.
Plan for up to 20 users, where each cost $19.99 monthly with the following services.
- Call Management and Phone System Administration
- Mobile and Desktop Apps
- Integration Google, Microsoft, and Box
- Unlimited phone calls within the USA and Canada
- 100 toll-free minutes/month
- Toll-free or local number
- Unlimited SMS and MMS
You get all the services of Essentials plan with the following for $24.99 per month for each user.
- Unlimited audio meetings
- Unlimited video conferencing for up to 4 people
- 1,000 toll-free minutes per month
- Unlimited internet fax
The most popular plan of RingCentral costs $34.99 for each user and includes all services of Standard in addition to following.
- Unlimited video conferencing for up to 100 people
- 2,500 toll-free minutes per month
- Automatic call recording
It’s the most expensive plan offered by the company. You can get this plan for a monthly fee of $49.99 for each user. It includes all services of the Premium plan with the following additions.
- Unlimited video conferencing for up to 200 people
- 10,000 toll-free minutes per month
Grasshopper Vs RingCentral – Similarities and Differences
Both services work in pretty much the same way. You get numbers, extensions, and admin panel to manage them. Most of their services are also similar that cater to every basic need of a business. For example, both have automated attendant, call management systems, and business phone numbers with extensions.
So, how are they different?
- First noticeable difference is in their prices. Grasshopper is much more affordable.
- Another main difference is how they charge customers. RingCentral charges you per user but Grasshopper allows unlimited users for one price in every plan.
- You get more services if you pay more in RingCentral. That’s not the case with Grasshopper.
- RingCentral has some advanced features and configuration options to offer that you won’t find in Grasshopper.
- Grasshopper uses your existing cellular network to make and receive calls but RingCentral uses VoIP. Therefore, Grasshopper voice quality is the same as your mobile cellular quality (i.e very good).
Final Verdict – Which is Best for You?
Considering the reviews and information shared above, we can’t say one service would be the best fit for all businesses. We can, however, conclude that:
Grasshopper is a better option for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- It’s cheaper
- Simple pricing Plans according to the phone numbers and extensions you need
- Easy configuration for all
- No extra cost when adding more users
- Not suited where you have to transfer a lot of calls
RingCentral is much suited for businesses that are expandable to multiple locations.
- Only bigger companies can utilize all its fixed price features and services.
- More suited for a heavy workload and countless call transfers.
- Startups wouldn’t appreciate purchasing its Plantronics headsets and powerful computers to run its program efficiently.
- Small companies usually don’t bind themselves in longer contracts.