Who even USES fax machines anymore?! Well, as I found out recently BANKS still do. But I don’t have a fax and don’t intend to get one. I mean, like I even NEED a fax machine twice a year. The history behind me and fax machines is that I have purchased four fax machines in my 20 years of being in home-office business and TWO of them broke in the commission of the first fax ever sent from them. I vowed never again to purchase one, and I’m sticking to it.
Recently, I ‘incorporated’ Webs By Amy (practice your curtsy when you see me next…). And I moved my IRA… and I need signatures… on paper… faxed. Period. No ‘scanned and email’ back–they could email it to me, but I had to fax or mail (what’s that?) back. Whatever. So began my search.
Anyone else remember when computers came with internal fax modems… and you plug a phone into it (dating myself?). Windows machines do come with Windows fax and scan software–but you need the hardware. I quickly looked at my options (READ: Google) and found a cool little dongle that very compactly plugged in to my machine via USB and it looked cool and satisfied what I needed, but really? Spend $50 for something I would use twice a year? Well, turns out, if you send faxes regularly… this appears to be the way to go. There were cheaper options for hardware, but read the reviews first…
Enter checking out faxing via a web service. I almost gave up with them all appearing to be ‘free’ but really only for 30 days. Not for me. Then I found an article about HelloFax and how they work with Google Docs to send/receive faxes by uploading a scan (or typing in a document, even helping with a digital signature…). The free plan comes with 5 free fax pages, and when you run out, it’s only 99 cents / fax for faxes up to 10 pages and 20 cents for every page after. Note, this is just for sending faxes. To receive faxes, you can pick one of the paid plans that start at $9.95 a month, but they give you your own dedicated fax number. I have found that most places that would fax you something, will also scan and email it to you. They just don’t accept scans back. So, if I had to receive faxes, I would buy the fax hardware dongle.
The next choice I found (that I will likely switch to) is FaxZero.com. It was very hard finding this service… and you can send 5 free faxes a day (3 pages +cover max for each fax). All you need to is accept that an advertisement will be on the fax cover sheet. I can live with that. If the thought of an ad offends you, pay $1.99 for each fax (under 25 pages). They have a lot of accolades from Reuters, etc. on their website and it is a very simple process. No ‘receiving fax’ options appear on that.
Well, I thought to have you benefit from my new idea of posting for the ‘home office.’ I’m sure there are a lot of other options, but I am horrendously cheap and don’t have a lot of time on my hands. Just so you know, I am not associated with any of the hardware/companies/services in this article and do not receive any compensation for recommending them).