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The Hidden Costs of Maintaining an On Premise PBX

Hidden Costs of Maintaining an On Premise PBX

To PBX or not to PBX…that is the question.

But a better question might be: ‘Should I install a new on-premise PBX, upgrade my current system, or opt for the future of a Hosted PBX or UCaaS solution?’

IP-PBX phone system vendors are undoubtedly going to attempt to sell you on the grand virtues of an on-premise system and there is nothing wrong with that – on-prem PBX does offer some advantages. But you need to be wary once vendors start throwing around hard dollar figures with respect to the potential savings you’ll see.

As with most purchases, cost is highly dependent on how you set up, use and maintain your PBX system. That’s why it’s always a good idea to start the process by conducting a telecom audit of your current system before making any final decisions on something new.

There are a number of accredited consulting firms who will do the audit for you, and some – like Shamrock Consulting Group – will even do it for free.

In the meantime, if you’re actively having conversations with vendors about IP-PBX, here is a handy checklist that covers some of the key considerations you should be thinking about.

This list is especially helpful because it contains details that your friendly neighborhood IP-PBX vendor guy (or girl) may have not-so-accidentally glossed over during their sales pitch about savings.

Don’t say ‘yes’ to an IP-PBX system vendor without first asking about:


Unlike cloud-based PBX systems, you won’t be able to just increase or decrease capacity on demand. This means that any provisioning costs have to be based on your peak demand. If you only reach those levels of demand once a year, that is a lot of capacity you are going to need to pay for upfront.


Chances are, those attractive costs you’ve been given are for a single IP-PBX system. So what happens if a fire or flood takes out your entire exchange? If you want to manage such risk, you would need to budget for an additional system. UCaaS offerings have redundancy built in, so your calls would auto-failover in the event of a problem.


In an on-premise system, features such as call recording require storage space. Once your hard drives are full, you can no longer provide the feature. Be sure to ask the IP-PBX vendor how many hours of recording you will get and how much it would cost to upgrade.

Manufacturer Support

Does the manufacturer of the IP-PBX system provide technical support? Will they continue to do so after you’ve signed? If so, for how long? An average on-premise system needs upgrading every 7 years, whereas UCaaS technology is evergreen, with new features integrated on a regular basis.

Mobile & System Integration

Integrating anything, from mobile devices to CRM systems, is not a quick and simple task for an on-premise PBX system. It will also cost you extra to have an engineer perform the integration. In contrast, cloud integrations are simply hooked in and ready to go at the push of a button.


Some IP-PBX systems have a poor track record when it comes to cybersecurity. In today’s high-risk security landscape, you better know the anti-hack capabilities of the system you’re considering. If the IP-PBX vendor doesn’t have that information, you should treat it as a big, fat red flag.

System Management & Maintenance

The costs of maintaining an on-premise system must always be factored in, whether you plan to rely on in-house engineers or an outsourced solution. Then there are those occasional truck rolls that simply can’t be pre-planned for. With cloud-based systems, all management is centralized via a handy web interface.


What happens if your system slows down when you add new features? Improving performance of an on-premise PBX often means spending thousands on replacing the core system.

Looking for a best-of-breed Hosted PBX or UCaaS solution? Shamrock can help.

You may find that even after going through our handy checklist above, your business is better suited for an on-premise voice and communication solution. That’s great! Shamrock partners with the best providers in the industry, so we can help you find whatever you’re looking for.

That said, most of our customers have found that either a hosted or cloud-based solution is the better route to take.

Once again, our partner portfolio is comprised of the top Hosted PBX and UCaaS providers like 8×8, RingCentral, Mitel, CallTower, Intermedia and many more. We also guarantee the best price on any product from any provider.

With our vendor-neutral approach and the Who’s Who of providers as our partners, we’ll help you find the right solution for your business at the lowest prices on the market.

To find out more or to set up your complimentary audit, visit or reach out directly via the link below.

Paul Cooney

Paul Cooney

Paul Cooney is the Founder and President of Shamrock Consulting Group with over two decades of experience in the telecom industry. After finding early success selling fixed wireless for Teligent, Inc. in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, he took over AT&T struggling Los Angeles sales team and turned them into one of the best teams in the country within 6 months. In 2008, Paul left AT&T to start Shamrock, which he has grown into an award-winning industry leader capable of selling any product from any provider at the guaranteed best price.

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