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I’m a senior in college who works part-time for my dad’s startup, which helps fledgling entrepreneurs sell their crafts online. He’s had his consulting business for several years now and has multiple clients located all over the country. My dad is very resourceful and likes to take advantage of the most cost-effective products and services to support his business.


One example is the fact that he’s been using Google Hangouts this entire time for client calls because it’s free. He also uses Google voice instead of his regular phone plan through AT&T. I know that at least one of his clients gets especially frustrated by the recurring technical issues. My dad’s only saving grace is the fact that the project isn’t big or complex. As a result, he doesn’t have to interact all that much with that particular client.


Last week, he said he might consider getting rid of his free services and switch to something more reliable. He also proposed I look into it for him. I couldn’t be less qualified to figure this out, which is why I need some guidance.


Mindset is everything when it comes to tackling any big project. Don’t underestimate your ability to solve this problem. It’s rather surprising that your dad managed to run a client-facing business despite some of the limitations presented by Google Hangouts and Google Voice. The inability to receive inbound or place outbound calls through a WiFi network is one prime example.


The first thing to do before completely disregarding your existing Google services is to ensure that your dad is fully aware of Google Meet, which was rather quietly launched early last year. This newer solution addresses a number of commonly-cited grievances. There’s no guarantee that it’s suitable for your dad’s requirements, but it’s important to evaluate each possibility with care. Assuming he elects to abandon the Google bandwagon and explore alternatives, the next step is conducting your due diligence.


Authors at Inc published an informative article about how to choose the right telecom system. That should be a favorable place to start. Anticipate having to familiarize yourself with basic distinctions like the pros and cons between on-premise and cloud-based systems. Writers at PC Magazine offer some more sage advice when it comes to choosing a VoIP service, But browsing these tips obviously won’t be enough. Your dad will have to assess each option while balancing client needs and expectations.


You already know that cost is a major contributing factor in your dad’s internal calculus. That means you should bring multiple options across a wide range of prices and value. For instance, conference phones can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the features and equipment quality.


Unfortunately, most vendors don’t have anything in place to let prospective customers experiment with their devices and services. That means you’ll have to rely on the word of sales representations and combine what you learn with external resources. Don’t hesitate to investigate third-party ratings and reviews of service providers for second opinions.


The last idea your dad might entertain is consulting his clients before making a final decision. It’s possible that any of his clients could have insights and/or suggestions to share.


“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.” — Henri Kaiser

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