As a result, I’ve been playing a bigger role in the management of certain aspects of their financial life. Part of this has required semi-regular faxing of documents here or there.
Yeah, I know. Faxing. Seriously? While I have a clunky old fax machine collecting dust in a closet, it’s always been a pain in the butt to use. Plus, it takes up valuable counter space. Thus, I’ve been looking for alternatives.
While there are plenty of internet fax services out there, most require a steep (for my level of use) monthly fee and provide more functionality than I need. No thanks. I’m not running an office here, and I have no need for an incoming fax number.
Finding a fax service
So… I set out to find a good, cheap, outgoing fax service. And after a bit of hunting, I stumbled onto what appears to be the perfect solution for my needs. It’s called GreenFax. I have no affiliation with these guys. I’m just a happy customer.
Yes, they’re sporting a turn-of-the-century web design, but their service is easy-to-use, functional, reliable, not to mention one of the cheapest I could find.
While they offer multiple levels of service, I signed up for their “Send-Only Service,” which costs $0.07 for the first page and $0.05 for each additional page or, for longer transmissions, $0.07/minute. There are no monthly fees for this level of service.
The only downside is that you have to deposit $25 in your account when you first set it up. The cost of your fax activity is then deducted from this balance. However, your deposit is fully refundable so you can get your money back if you don’t like the service.
Given that my alternatives to an online fax service are either:
- cluttering up the counter with a fax machine, or
- paying for postage (financial services rarely accept documents via e-mail),
I consider this to be a steal of a deal. A quick two page fax costs me $0.12 and the longest fax that I’ve sent (8 pages) came in at just $0.42 — considerably cheaper than postage for that many pages. Sorry, USPS.
Yes, I could buy an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machine, but I’m happy with my current color laser printer. I also like having the freedom to fax things while on the road. That’s not possible with a big, clunky machine.
Sending your first fax
Once you’ve created an account, simply upload your document, enter the outgoing fax number, and clicking a button. Couldn’t be easier. You can include a cover page or create one on the fly by typing text into a box on the website.
The system supports a variety of file types, including: PDF, Word, Excel, text, RTF, HTML, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. Thus, it’s quite flexible and you probably won’t have to convert your files to send them.
If you’re sending a physical document, you can capture it with an actual scanner (I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner) or use a smartphone app to “scan” with your phone’s camera — I use (and love) JotNot Scanner Pro for the iPhone.
Either works, but the smartphone option (coupled with a Dropbox account) makes it particularly portable. As long as I have my phone and laptop, I can send anything just about anything from just about anywhere.