RingCentral vs. Grasshopper
All businesses, be they home-based or a major corporation, rely on phone services to handle communications in an effective, professional, and timely manner.
Two top rated virtual phone service providers today are Grasshopper and RingCentral. While both have fair pricing and offer top-notch services, there are major differences worth noting before making a decision about your professional virtual phone service needs.
Type of Services Available
Grasshopper only offers one type of service which works as a call forwarding service – meaning that calls come in to one (or more) main phone number(s) provided by Grasshopper and then are routed out to other phones (mostly mobile, but can be any other phone number) via extensions. All minutes are shared between all users/extensions.
RingCentral offers 3 different types of services:
- RingCentral Professional is most like the service offered by Grasshopper, in that it also takes calls in via a phone number or set of numbers and routes the calls to other phones via extensions – and all minutes are shared between users/extensions. One main difference however, is that with RingCentral you can also utilize a softphone app that allows you to turn a computer into a phone. Grasshopper doesn’t provide a softphone application.
- RingCentral Office on the other hand is a fully featured office phone system where minutes are provided on a per user/extension basis and are used only by that user/extension. RingCentral Office also allows you to utilize digital IP phones and conference phones with the system. It also comes with more advanced features such as audio and video conferencing, business SMS, and an extensive list of integrations to third party business applications.
- Contact Center is specifically designed for the special needs of call centers, with features like advanced call routing, call queuing and distribution, analytics and reporting, as well as heavier minute usage.
Based on the above, we will be comparing Grasshopper to RingCentral Professional in this article.
Price and Plan Options
There are four plan options when choosing Grasshopper. You can choose one of the four and upgrade at any time as your business’s needs grow.
- Pay as you go: this plan cost $12/month and includes 1 toll free or local number with unlimited extensions. It also charges $0.06 per minute as no minutes are included in the plan.
- Ramp: this plan is $24/month and gives users 500 minutes per month.
- Grow: this plan is $49/month and gives users 2,000 minutes a month.
- Max: this plan is $199 a month and includes 10,000 minutes a month and an extra toll free number.
RingCentral Professional offers three pricing plans.
- Pro: $24.99/month with 300 local/long distance minutes or toll free.
- Pro Plus: $29.99/month with 1,000 minutes local/long distance or toll free.
- Pro Power: $39.99/month 2,000 local/long distance minutes and 1,000 toll free minutes.
While Grasshopper does not offer HD voice capabilities, Grasshopper does offer voice studio professional voice-overs for greetings and on-hold advertisements. There are not the normal call quality issues with Grasshopper that you will find with other VoIP providers, because Grasshopper does not use VoIP, but instead uses the traditional phone network and services only your incoming calls. You can make outbound calls by enabling outbound dialing on each extension you wish to make calls from and then registering the mobile number that will be making the calls.
RingCentral offers HD Voice capabilities, and is a cloud based business VoIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) provider. Because RingCentral utilizes VoIP, call quality will be affected by your internet bandwidth, the quality of the equipment you are using – routers, modems, ATA’s, and digital IP phones – and even things beyond your control such as weather conditions or interruption from other devices. Similar to Grasshopper, RingCentral also offers professional greeting and message setup.
Number of Minutes
Grasshopper’s lowest priced plan does not include any minutes and is a pay as you go type of plan. From there plans increase in minutes from a low of 500 minutes and a maximum of 10,000 minutes.
RingCentral Professional’s lowest priced plan offers 300 minutes and goes up to a maximum of 2,000 with an additional 1,000 just for toll free.
Which Businesses May Benefit from Each Service?
Grasshopper is ideal for small businesses, start-ups, single person companies or home-based businesses, that wish to route business calls through one number to other phones such as mobile devices. As we said, all minutes are shared between all users on the plan.
Because the lowest priced option does not include minutes and all plans come standard with only one phone number (with additional costing $5/month), a larger business may not find Grasshopper to be their best option. Another reason Grasshopper may not be a fit for mid to large size companies is the fact that you can not connect office phones or conference phones to the system either – you are restricted to routing calls to other phone numbers.
RingCentral Professional is also ideal for start-ups, professionals, small businesses and home businesses who want to keep private numbers private and business numbers separate.
With RingCentral Professional you will realize some of the same restrictions as Grasshopper – plan minutes are shared amongst all users and calls are simply routed to other phone numbers; meaning you can not connect digital phones to the system. The difference with RingCentral however, is that they give you an upgrade path to RingCentral Office. So that when the time comes that you find yourself needing more advanced features such as conferencing calling, digital office and conference phones, integrations to support and sales app’s and more, you have a path for getting there without having to find a new company to work with.
With Grasshopper there is no upgrade path to a more complete business phone system.
RingCentral Office, offers integration to sales and support apps, video conferences, audio conferencing, inbound/outbound faxing, and other features that make it the most robust choice for mid-sized to larger businesses. RingCentral Office has a wide range of plans and options, including contact center capabilities.
Call Management and Available Number Options
Grasshopper offers one to three local or toll free numbers with unlimited extensions. A business can also keep an existing number and/or activate a vanity number for an additional one-time fee of $30.
Management of calls include features such as: call blocking, caller ID and screening, call forwarding, call waiting, 3-way calls, and call routing. See our detailed Grasshopper Review for a list of more available features.
RingCentral offers one main company line. Additional numbers are $4.99 per month.
Management of calls include features such as: call blocking, caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, three-way calling, call logs, auto receptionists, call screening, and message alerts. To see more available features or compare RingCentral Professional to RingCentral Office read our detailed RingCentral Review.
With regards to features, you won’t find a huge difference between the two. The most notable differences include:
|Call from Web/Click to Call:|
|Internet Fax:||Yes - Both are Provided at no extra cost||Inbound Only|
|Business SMS(texting):||No – RingCentral Office Only||Yes|
|Upgrade Path to More Advanced Features:|
So as you can see, for the most part when it come to features Grasshopper and RingCentral Professional are very similar.
Grasshopper has 24/7 customer support based in the U.S., who are available by phone or email. You can also submit a ticket to have a specific problem addressed.
RingCentral also has 24/7 customer support featuring phone, email and live chat. However, their customer support agents are outsourced overseas. The language barrier has been a source of discontent for some users.
To sum it up:
RingCentral has options for any type of business owner – from the home-based business to large corporations such as BMW, Del Monte and Subway – and will provide you with more features and flexibility as your business grows. Where-as Grasshopper is best suited for the home-based office, busy professional on the go, or small business who is looking to forward calls to a team of remote workers.