A good fax machine is a necessity

I can’t think how many times in the past month alone I’ve needed to fax out a copy of a contract with my signature on it. I keep a fax machine (and an actual telephone line) for just that reason. I find it absolutely necessary as a freelance writer, even though I dislike using anything beyond my computer.

My fax machine, however, is dying a slow death — it still sends out faxes relatively well, but between a number of factors, receiving a fax just doesn’t happen. When you add in the expense of the phone line it needs, it gets just a bit depressing. (It’s probably important to note here that I would not have a phone line in my apartment if I did not need it for my fax machine. I use my cell phone for all calls and don’t feel the need for an additional phone.)

There are plenty of cheap fax machines on the market: You can get one for about $30 if you shop the sales. But, the ink can cost more than the fax machine!

So, I’ve started looking for fax machine alternatives. There are plenty of online options, most of which are priced around $10 per month. Honestly, nothing has really made one of these services stand out for me, one way or the other. Just about any of them would be a reasonable option — although you may need a scanner to go with your online fax options. For instance, you might need to sign a contract before you fax it back to a client for a counter-signature. It’s not exactly useful to sign the computer screen, so you’ll need to scan your signed (paper) contract in before you can fax it online.

There are a couple of free fax services: FaxDigits and FaxZero are pretty well known. While FaxDigits allows you to receive faxes for free, FaxZero allows you to send them for free. So, theoretically, you can handle your faxing needs for free. I really dislike this option, though. I want one system to handle all of my faxing needs.


  1. MarkDM   •  

    You might consider DocuSign (http://www.docusign.com), an electronic signature service. My wife and I used it on our most recent home purchase, and it was really slick.

    Rather than faxing all of those zillions of offers, counteroffers and God knows what else back and forth between us, the sellers and various real estate people, the documents just showed up in our e-mail inboxes. Wherever it said “sign here,” we did, all in the computer. Didn’t have to print out or fax anything.

    I don’t know the setup procedure (our Realtor set things up) or the cost, but we found it a godsend.

  2. thursday   •     Author

    Thanks for the tip. After checking out DocuSign, I think it’s a good option for anyone who only needs a fax machine for contracts. It’s a bit pricier than some options out there, but it does look like a very reliable service.

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