EasyIVR Tech Library
Telephone Answering Services
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to answering service systems and phone answering services. At Database Systems Corp. (DSC), we offer complete inbound call center and outbound automated phone services. Our inbound call center processes phone calls using our interactive voice response (IVR) system that answers calls without an operator.
Organizations looking to reduce costs and to improve customer service can now contract their inbound 800 answering service and outbound voice messaging programs at our automated call center facility.
As designers of call answering systems and phone answering service software, DSC is uniquely positioned to manage your call answering service and 800 number service campaigns saving your organization both time and money. Because our phone answering service software was created in-house, we can deliver comprehensive 800 number outsourcing quickly -- providing you with a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
From external database access to web integration including XML messaging, DSC can provide very custom phone applications. Plus you will find our 800 phone service to be quite affordable.
Work-From-Home: Answering Service Businesses
Financial and Legal Considerations
You are almost ready to start your new
phone answering service business. Some financial and legal considerations will
influence your business. First, be sure to check with your local zoning office
to be sure you can run a home– based business if you intend to start in your
own home. Your answering service business is not a high customer–traffic
business, so it should not be a problem, but check anyway as you may need a
specific permit to operate your business. It should only involve an application,
but could require a hearing, too.
You may have to have your home
inspected to determine if it meets business–type regulations for health,
building and fire codes. If it does not, you will have to make the necessary
modifications to operate the business out of your home. These alterations should
not be major.
Check with an accountant concerning
the tax–deductibility of a home–based business. The Internal Revenue Service
is more careful in checking these deductions today. In general, the amount of
space in your home devoted to the business is eligible for a deduction. That
area must be used exclusively for business, however.
Once you determine the space involved,
divide that into the total space in the house to obtain the percentage of your
home used exclusively for business. That percentage will be applied to some of
your usual house expenses like your electric bill. Keep a journal of
expenditures for your business along with the corresponding receipt. Record
and file them by month for easy reference. Many of these expenses are deductible
to your business up to certain specified limits. New tax laws can affect their
deductibility, so it is best to keep up to date through an accountant. As a self–employed
business owner, you would be filing a Schedule C (Profit or Loss for Business or
Profession) along with your regular 1040 form. Your accountant can brief you on
other forms you need to complete during the year, too. There is usually an
estimated tax payment to be made each quarter along with FICA and Unemployment
Insurance will also be a necessary
part of your business life. Some of the insurance is actually required. Health
insurance is a familiar vehicle to cover hospital and medical bills. A number of
states have enacted recent health care reform legislation to aid small
businesses in obtaining quality, affordable health insurance. Contact your state
insurance department for more information about the programs in your area. Law
often requires workers’ compensation. This coverage provides medical, hospital
and disability income benefits for on–the–job injuries or illnesses. This
program is administered by each state individually and you should check with
your state insurance department to see if you are required to carry this
coverage. If you are the only worker, some states merely recommend rather than
require the coverage be carried.
Liability coverage may also be a good
investment for your business. This protects the business against liability for
adverse actions that affect your client(s). If you incorrectly record a
message and that error results in the loss of business to your client, there is
always the possibility of a lawsuit today. Liability insurance can be
purchased to cover the threat of a suit. If you have a company car, insurance
will be necessary and the car must be designated for business use. This may or
may not be necessary in a phone answering service business, but if you call on
clients or potential clients, then you are using the car for business and may be
eligible for a business tax deduction for a portion of insurance payments on
the vehicle. Your accountant can verify the deductibility of any item associated
with a company–owned car.
If you are working out of your home,
check your homeowners’ policy to be sure your property listing includes any
business equipment you have such as phones or a switchboard. If you are
operating the business out of an office you purchased, you will need to have
hazard insurance to cover that facility separately.
Life insurance can be used to cover
your life in the event of death. This money can be used to continue the business
if surviving family members wish to do that. Disability insurance should also be
considered. This policy provides income to you and your family in the event you
suffer an injury or illness (at any time, not just “on–the–job”) and
cannot work. Many insurance companies do not offer this type of coverage to
business owners who work out of their own home, but check with your insurance
agent to see what he or she can find.
If you have a partner, you might also
consider some type of buy–sell coverage so that if one of you dies or becomes
severely disabled, the healthy owner can buy the interest in the business back
from the one affected. Both life and disability insurance is available to fund
Finally, you should also keep an eye
towards the day when you will retire from working. Business owners are able to
put money into various pension–type vehicles on a tax–favorable basis.
There are three common types of
retirement plans for self–employed business plans: the Individual Retirement
Account (IRA), the Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) and the Keogh plan (often
called HR–10).The IRA is a familiar vehicle that allows you to put up to
$2,000 a year before taxes into a retirement plan. For many business owners,
this amount is insufficient, thus other vehicles where larger amounts can be put
away for retirement are more attractive. A Simplified Employee Pension plan is
similar to an IRA except you can contribute much more to it, up to 15% of your
income but not more than $30,000 a year. That is significantly more than the
$2,000 maximum pre–tax contribution under the IRA. The Keogh plan is similar
to the SEP except that the contribution percentage can be as high as 25%, up to
$30,000. Sole proprietors usually select this type of plan.
These retirement vehicles should be
discussed with your accountant for advice on the best avenue to pursue. Not only
do these programs serve as a source for retirement funds, they also assist the
business owner with reducing current tax liability. All business owners should
review their options carefully. You should now have all the information you need
to determine if a phone answering service is the right business start–up idea
for you. Good luck!