What is important in budgeting a unified communications project?

The shift and convergence of Voice and Data networking has radically changed the UC world. The market is saturated with traditional manufacturers of telephone systems, technology giants and large software companies all vying for market share. Buyers are faced with many choices and options. Let’s talk about a few of them below.

Based on our experience, we typically see prices ranging from $300.00 to $1,000.00+ for a premised based system. For hosted solutions, pricing can range from rom $20.00 to $55.00+ per user.

Let’s talk specifics

Some factors that contribute to overall cost of the project.

On Premise vs Cloud (Hosted) Solutions

Do you wish to manage dedicated hardware at your location that you pay a one time cost for, or are you looking for a Hosted solution that others manage and is billed as a monthly fee per user?

Phone, Browser or Cell

Modern unified communication systems are built to be flexible and have the ability to connect many types of media endpoints. Costs can vary based on physical handset choice such as single line desk phones vs. feature rich executive handsets. Other variables include softphone that run in a browser or those that run on a tablet or smartphone.

Flavor of Communication

How you prefer to communicate will affect cost. With a unified communications system, it is possible to integrate many of your favorite communications technologies into a single application. Audio, video, chat, SMS, and presence can all be accessed through a platform or can be handled by disparate systems.

High Availability

Is your unified communications system critical to your business? If so, consider a high availability deployment. High availability creates clusters at the application level that are highly redundant ensuring that your business never misses a beat.

Number of Users & Concurrent Connections

How many users will be connecting to the system at the same time? At certain user counts pricing per user will actually go down.


Do you wish to connect your locations together, or will your system be a single stand alone location? Systems that require an enterprise deployment are more complex and could add features that drive the total cost of ownership up.

Whether you need some rough numbers to reference in your next meeting or you want to sharpen pencils and talk specifics, one of our ASD® experts will be glad to help you with rapid ballpark estimates tailored to your needs or a detailed quote based on your exact specifications. Have any questions? Ask ASD®.

Common Cost Factors for Most Projects

Geographic Location

Where is the project located? Some parts of the country are more expensive than others. Some rural areas may require travel due to availability of the field resources which could increase cost.

Size & Type Environment

Type of environment will impact price. Class A Office, Distribution Center, Manufacturing, Retail, Indoor vs. Outdoor could all impact overall cost.

Labor Requirements

Projects being installed with a Union Labor requirement will be more expensive than projects without the requirement. Some projects require a prevailing wage to be paid to a technician which can also increase costs.


Pathways can contribute greatly to overall system costs. Costs of core holes sizing and cutting slab for conduits needs to be considered in your budgeting process.

Installation Hours

Normal working hours will be less expensive than afterhours or weekends.

New Construction vs. Renovation

New construction will typically be less expensive than renovation.

Local Codes & Standards

Local codes can drive cost as they vary in requirement. For instance, in some locations across the U.S. all overhead cable must run in conduit while others can be supported with J-Hooks in the ceiling.


Permitting varies from state to state and city to city. One city may not require anything more than an application form to receive a permit, while others may want full engineered drawings that go through a plan review process. The full set of engineered drawings carries a substantial price tag that elevates the overall system cost. Another consideration is the time required if the review process is a requirement.

Economies of Scale

What type of structure is being built? A system in a manufacturing plant is developed completely different than a highrise office building. An apartment complex can reuse the same templates for each building; this saves design time and costs.

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