In a world where you can have a virtual telephone number, get calls over the Internet or via the nearest cell tower, many businesses wonder if they really still need a landline.

The answer isn’t a simple one, there are variables to consider that include the company’s size, maturity, and budgets. Even if they seem like relics from a bygone era, some companies can still benefit from landlines; others may do just fine without one. What kind of company is yours?

Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Landlines

A hardwired telephone line, otherwise known as a landline, is a valuable business asset for large companies with employees that work in the same building. In fact, they’ll probably have a few landlines and other equipment that allows for the proper internal routing of calls.

But let’s say you’re not a Fortune 500 company. How do you know if you really need a landline?

A few points to consider include:

  • Your company’s size. A big company may save money with a business telephone system in their building, but if you only have a few employees, you can easily connect via cell phone or even over the internet using services like Skype.
  • Who answers the phone. When your company has an interactive voice response system (IVR) and it seems to be working just fine, you may be ok without a landline. The IVR will route calls to the right person in your organization. However, if you want to have a live answering service or a reception team eventually, you may not be happy with a system patched together with cell phones or VOIPs.
  • Your planned growth. Sure, today there are five people working for you, but is that as much as you intend to grow? Telephone systems that work for five people won’t necessarily scale for 500 people, and if they do, it may not be cost-effective. Consider what your end goal is and when you hope to be there. Planning for the future can start today, even when it comes to your telephone line.
  • Disaster planning. Does the weather get crazy where you live? What’s your plan if the power goes out and the Internet’s down? Can your company handle it if all the cell phone towers are jammed after a natural disaster? If not, a landline is imperative. Don’t forget that your exact location is also built into your landline. If you call 9-1-1, for example, and don’t leave the address, you can still be found. This isn’t always possible with cell phones and VOIPs.

Landlines may seem like a thing of the past, but they’re still highly utilized by businesses large and small. Still, not everyone needs one, especially if the majority of their calls are going to an answering service or are routed through a virtual number to an IVR. Even though it seems like a small thing, you should take the decision to dump your landline (or to get one!) as carefully as you did choosing your company’s name or URL.