By Wells Anderson
The TechnoLawyer Community, , published this post on a superior substitute for fax machines and fax software. Here are my impressions along with some updated information.
A number of contributors have praised the virtues of WinFax Pro. For those who are considering the switch from traditional fax machines, another alternative is available. First let me outline some of the limitations of products like WinFax Pro.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using any fax software is that it requires an available outside telephone line and ties up that line when sending or receiving faxes. Because it is dependent on the telephone line, fax software can only receive one fax at a time. Using a separate fax software product often requires that you maintain a separate address book with duplicates of the names addresses and fax numbers already saved in your practice management software. An additional irritant with WinFax Pro is that it consumes a significant amount of computer resources when it is running. It is one more program to learn and to deal with.
MaxEmail,, is a $24 per year service that sends and receives faxes via e-mail. It has several advantages:
- Use one program instead of two for both e-mails and faxes
- Phone lines are not needed or tied up
- Send multiple documents easily
- Link outgoing and incoming faxes to clients and matters in Time Matters
- Everyone in the office can send and receive faxes without leaving his or her desk.
(Note: I have no relationship with the makers of MaxEmail other than that of satisfied customer.)
MaxEmail beats competitors J2 (JFax) and eFax hands down.
- MaxEmail costs $24 per year with sending capability. The others cost $95 per year and up.
- MaxEmail costs 5 cents per half minute for sending. The others cost 10 cents per page.
- MaxEmail tries a busy number at 5 minute intervals up to 10 times. The others try only three times at one minute intervals.
- MaxEmail converts Word and WordPerfect documents, PDF files, Web pages, Excel spreadsheets, and 15 other formats automatically. The others convert only TIF files and PDF files.
- MaxEmail starts delivering a fax about three or four minutes after you send it, whereas the others often delay sending and receiving for much longer periods.
Because MaxEmail uses your e-mail account to receive faxes, you can retrieve faxes sent to your normal number from anywhere you have an Internet connection. You can also send faxes using your e-mail software on the road or from any computer that has Web access.
I find the greatest advantage of sending and receiving faxes via e-mail comes from the speed with which faxes can be managed in Time Matters practice management software. (http:www.timematters.com) A fax can be linked to and sent to a client by clicking a button on the client's record, filling in a Subject, attaching a word processing file or typing a note, and clicking Send. The key here is the automatic linking. Later when you return to the client's record, your incoming and outgoing faxes pop into view when you click the e-mail tab.
An extra telephone line can cost your practice $300 to $600 per year. You may want to consider the advantage of switching to an e-mail based fax service for both decreased costs and increased efficiency. To save the most money, you'll need to switch your published fax number. For an additional $5 per month, MaxEmail assigns you a new fax number in your current area code. Otherwise, you are assigned a number in area code 815.
If you like the advantages of faxing via e-mail, but don't want to change your current fax number, your local telephone company may be able to forward all calls on your current fax line to the new MaxEmail number for as little as 5 dollars per month. This phone company feature may be referred to as"call overflow." That approach gives you an additional out-going phone line that is never tied up by faxes.
If your practice sends a high volume of faxes within your local area code (more than 1000 fax pages per month), you may be better off using a product like WinFax to avoid the 5 cents per half minute sending charge. If you find that you and the people with whom you exchange documents are moving more and more to e-mail, but you still need to send and receive faxes occasionally, consider switching to MaxEmail.
If you currently use J2 or eFax, switching to MaxEmail can save you money every month and save time by handling the conversion of documents and spreadsheets to faxes automatically. If you are still using a traditional fax machine, here's your chance to spare yourself the extra time and inconvenience of walking to the machine, tending it, returning to it, and contending with paper jams, out of paper messages, and expensive toner or ink cartridge replacements. With an E-mail fax service like MaxEmail, you can simplify your worklife by getting rid of one more machine or one more software program.