Do Small Businesses Still Need a Fax Machine?

Posted on March 20, 2023

Topics: Office Technology

Do Small Businesses Still Need a Fax Machine?

The office technology you use is critical to your day-to-day operations, but, in today's digital age, fax machines may seem outdated and unnecessary. However, many small businesses still rely on them. 

To help you determine whether you really need a fax machine, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of using fax machines for small businesses and whether they’re still needed in today's world. We’ll also take a look at some alternatives. 

Benefits of Using Fax Machines

While it may seem unlikely, there are some benefits to using a fax machine. 

1. Security

One of the main benefits of using a fax machine is that it allows businesses to send and receive documents quickly and securely. While email has become the primary method of communication in recent years, it’s not always a secure way to transmit sensitive information. 

With a modern fax machine, businesses can feel more confident that their documents are being sent and received in a secure manner. 

2. Records of Communication

Another benefit of using fax machines is that they provide a tangible record of communication. In today's digital world, it’s easy for emails and other electronic documents to get lost or deleted. With a fax machine, businesses can keep a physical record of important documents and communications.

3. Communicating With Contacts Who Rely on Fax

Another benefit of having a fax machine for small businesses is the ability to communicate with customers or clients who still rely on fax machines. While many businesses have transitioned to digital communication methods, there are still individuals and organizations who prefer to use fax machines.

In some industries, such as healthcare or government, the use of fax machines is still commonplace. In these cases, having a fax machine is not only beneficial, but can make communications much easier. 

4. Low Cost Upgrade

If you are already considering a new printer and photocopier, it may make sense to tack on a fax machine. In many cases, the cost of adding a fax machine to a printer copier package is minimal compared to the cost of purchasing a separate fax machine. The cost will vary depending on the specific model and features of the machine, but in general, it is a cost-effective solution for businesses that require all three functions.

Download 2023 IT Trends Guide

Drawbacks of Using Fax Machines

Despite the benefits, there are also some drawbacks to using fax machines. 

1. Not Environmentally Friendly 

While there are benefits to using a fax machine for small businesses, one of the main drawbacks is their negative impact on the environment. Fax machines use paper and toner, which contribute to deforestation and pollution, as well as energy, which increases carbon emissions. 

With the rise of eco-consciousness, many businesses are shifting towards digital communication methods that reduce their environmental impact. While fax machines may still be necessary in certain situations, businesses should consider ways to minimize their use and opt for eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible.

2. Added Costs

Another disadvantage of fax machines for small businesses is their physical size and maintenance requirements. Standalone fax machines can take up valuable office space, which can be especially problematic for smaller businesses with limited space. Additionally, fax machines require regular maintenance, which can be time-consuming and costly. 

As technology continues to advance, there are many digital alternatives that can provide similar functionality without taking up physical space or requiring regular maintenance. 

3. Lack Convenience

Another drawback of using fax machines is that they’re not as convenient as other methods of communication. With email and other digital communication tools, businesses can send and receive documents from anywhere with an internet connection. 

With a fax machine, businesses are limited to sending and receiving physical copies of documents from a physical location. 

4. Not Everyone Uses Them

Another major disadvantage of fax machines for small businesses is the fact that they’re becoming increasingly obsolete in today's business world. 

With the rise of email, digital document sharing, and other electronic communication methods, the number of people using fax machines has declined significantly. This means that relying on a fax machine to communicate with customers or partners may limit the ability of a small business to connect with a wider audience. 

Additionally, many people may not have access to a fax machine or may prefer to use digital communication methods, which can create a communication gap between small businesses and their customers.

5. It Requires a Landline Phone Number 

The requirement to have a dedicated landline phone number is another limitation of fax machines. The need for a landline means businesses may need to pay for an additional phone line, which can increase their overhead costs. 

Additionally, as more people are shifting away from landline phones towards mobile devices and web-based phone services, the number of people with access to a landline phone may be decreasing. 

6. Quality 

Another potential disadvantage of fax machines for small businesses is the potential for poor document quality. 

Fax machines rely on a physical transmission process that can result in distorted or low-quality documents, particularly if the document contains images or graphics. Additionally, fax machines can be prone to errors, such as lost pages or incomplete transmissions, which can be frustrating and time-consuming to address. 

While some modern fax machines may offer higher resolution or improved transmission quality, these machines can be more expensive and may require additional training to operate effectively. 

Do Small Businesses Still Need Fax Machines?

While fax machines may not be as essential as they once were, there are still some small businesses that rely on them. Furthermore, some small businesses may find that using a fax machine is more convenient for certain needs. This would be the case for businesses that primarily communicate with customers or clients who are not tech-savvy.

Ultimately, whether a small business needs a fax machine depends on their specific needs and industry. While some businesses may be able to rely solely on digital communication tools, others may find that a fax machine is still an important tool for their day-to-day operations.

Alternatives To Fax Machines

For small businesses that do not want to use fax machines, there are several alternative communication tools available. 


Email has become a widely accepted and popular way for businesses to communicate. It is fast, reliable, and easily accessible from any device with an internet connection. Some email services also offer secure encryption options, making it a secure way to share sensitive information.

Online Fax Services

Online fax services allow businesses to send and receive faxes digitally, without the need for a physical fax machine. These services typically offer features like secure transmission, electronic signatures, and the ability to store documents in the cloud. 

Online fax services can be more cost-effective and eco-friendly than traditional fax machines.

Document Sharing Apps

Mobile apps like CamScanner or Dropbox allow users to easily scan and share documents digitally. These apps can be a convenient way for businesses to quickly send or receive documents while on-the-go.

Messaging Apps

Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, or Microsoft Teams can be a convenient way for businesses to communicate and share documents in real-time. These apps offer secure messaging, file sharing, and collaboration features, making them a great alternative to fax machines for businesses with remote teams.

Electronic Signatures

Electronic signature software allows businesses to sign and send documents digitally, without the need for a physical signature. This can be a time-saving and convenient alternative to faxing or mailing physical documents. 

Many electronic signature services also offer secure encryption options for added security.

As technology continues to advance, it's likely that fax machines will become even less common. However, for the time being, they remain a valuable tool for certain industries and businesses. As such, small businesses should carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of using a fax machine before deciding whether or not it's necessary for their operations.

Need help deciding whether a fax machine is the right choice for your Ontario-based SME? Get in touch with OT Group today. We can listen to your unique requirements and make IT recommendations that will improve your company’s efficiencies.

Book a Consultation

OT Group 2023 Trends eBook COVER-2

Your Ultimate Guide to the Top Business IT Trends in 2023

In this new OT Group guide, we take a look at the hottest IT trends that will help Ontario-based small and medium-sized businesses grow over the coming year.

Download Free Guide

Related posts

Office Technology - September 22, 2023

How to Choose the Best Business Copy Machine for Your Office

Subscribe to our blog

Blog Subscription


  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.