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Review my startup: HelloFax, the easiest faxing service on the web
18 points by guiseppecalzone on Apr 26, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

There are some huge online faxing players, like eFax, but we're trying to emphasize usability in a way that none of the other players are doing.

1. If you were making the ideal / online faxing startup, what would you do?

2. A different business model? -The standard model is users pay a monthly X dollars for Y faxes, usually around $10 for 400 faxes. But, these players lose out on lower volume customers who don't want to pay monthly rates -Skype-style pre-charge with the option of a monthly rate for those who want a unique fax number. 20 cents a page. But, if a user spends $10 in one month, we give him/her a few hundred free pages for that month. -What do you think?

3. What features would it take to get you or people you know to use it? -We're thinking about different "killer features" we could use to pull people in.

If you want to test hellofax, it comes with 3 pages automatically. But, ping me at joseph@hellofax.com and I'll give you more credit.

I really, really appreciate feedback. Thanks for reading.

I love this idea. I keep asking friends about a reasonable online fax service, and the only one that keeps coming up is eFax, which seems good for businesses, doesn't seem to serve individuals well.

Most of us never need to send faxes, until we need do. When we need to deal with faxing, it's likely related to some event. A job offer, housing paperwork, refinancing, etc.

I would love the following two payment options:

- $1-$5 to send a fax. This seems totally within reason. Driving to find someplace with a fax, waiting in line, exposing your document to some clerk, etc. The one-time fee gives me the service I want with no commitment.

- $10-$20 for bigger faxing 'events'. I should be able to send unlimited faxes (which in reality will be <10 but makes me feel better they are not metered) AND have a temporary incoming fax number that I can receive faxes on, which forward to an email address. This service could be available for 30 calendar days from the moment you buy.

Nail those two things and I think you've nailed the modern use cases for faxing.

This comment is really, really helpful.

-We get the one off faxing market.

-But, we continue to pursue the business part of the market as well.

I was talking to my co-founder about having a free, advertised tier as well. We don't do random adds. Rather, we do cover page which talks about hellofax. Might be a good way to expand our user base. What do you think?

I appreciate the feedback!

I'm a fan. I'm from a niche market who need to receive faxes more than I send them. I'd kill for a small, annual plan that just lets me receive without signing up for monthly payments or attaching it to sending credits.

A la carte all the way. I'm unsure if competitors offer this.

Hope this helps.

Very helpful. Thank you!

I like it! I've had to use one of the other online faxing services a couple times lately and a per-month fee was way too much for sending a whopping two faxes.

I have been an eFax user for many years. I completely overpay for the service (monthly charge) since I only send a receive faxes occasionally. Neverthless I still need the service for the sending of fax from my computer and the receiving of faxes into my computer. I no longer own a fax machine. I would like to see a side by side chart comparison between your service and eFax to help make a decision to switch.

Yeah, eFax is definitely on the pricey side. We only send faxes for the moment. So, if you need to receive, you can stick with them. But, when we have that feature, I'll let you know and make a side by side comparison with eFax.

I appreciate the feedback.

Useful startup. I had to send a fax recently to renew my SSL cert - and a lot of your competition are sharks - trying to trick people into paying monthly (and making those subscripts hard to cancel).

So, some practical advice:

* I would implement Amazon FPS. Your target audience is likely to have an Amazon account - so FPS would make it quick and easy to pay.

* I would keep the per-page model.

* I couldn't see an email-to-fax feature, but that would be a useful one.

Thanks for the advice. The monthly fees kept me from online faxing for a long time.

-Definitely. For payment, we were thinking of pay pal, amazon, and google checkout.

-Email-to-fax feature. Great to hear. That's one of the features we have listed. We're just waited for comments like this one to implement it.

-Per-page model. --->Out of curiosity, how much would you or other people be willing to pay per page?

As far as pricing, you may have to do better.

Outgoing: I use greenfax.com for sending 7 cents per page, 5 cents per page after with no setup fees.

For receiving, used Packetel for unlimited fax-to-email (PDF) for $3.95/mo, they have since been acquired so now I use: Popfax $5.49/mo - unlimited incoming

I suppose if it's easy to use on a web browser, it may not be too bad.

For greenfax.com, did you charge your account with $25? I can see why they made it that high. Otherwise the transaction fees really eat into revenues.

Popfax: 5.49/month for unlimited receiving. That's not bad.

What would we be the model that would sway you to combine the service into one? Is it mainly a money proposition or could we add value in another way (Apple computer style ) that would make some extra money worth it?

I use onesuite.com to receive faxes. They charge $1 per month and forward received faxes by email. There is no per fax fee.

The thing they are missing is a way to send faxes. I usually go to Kinko's and spend a dollar a page to send. I guess if I used it more I'd think about optimizing.

I use http://www.freepopfax.com for the rare occasion when I still need to send a fax. Always worked fine for me. It includes an ad in the fax which might look unprofessional, but I figure it's unprofessional to still be insisting on faxes in 2010. :)

Yeah, for sure. For me, there are a few free fax services out there, but they always came off as super sketchy. So, I'd debate for a second, then drive to kinkos and pay 5 bucks :)

Thanks for the feedback. Does that come with a unique phone number as well?

I'm curious, if you could change something to make onesuite into an awesome fax service, what would it be?

The $1 Onesuite incoming fax service (basic) comes with a phone number. You will be ask to choose an area code or city and your fax number will based on your choice. Not sure how they're able to profit with that kind of pricing but I guess they are hoping to convert some of those to upgrade to Onesuite Fax Plus which charges 2.5c per page sent.

Right now, you can only send fax through Onesuite fax program, if I can send through my email without the program (when I'm not using my computer) then it would be perfect. So there you go, make your hellofax able to send fax through email.

OneSuite doesn't let me send faxes. For receiving it seems to be fine. So if they enabled sending that would make them awesome. Since they don't, next time I have to send a fax I'll try HelloFax.

Check Onesuite fax page to see the fax feature with sending capability http://www.onesuite.com/products_OneSuiteFax.asp

Onesuite fax service has a sending feature. What you have is the receiving only service, the fax basic. Onesuite Fax Plus has both receiving and sending feature.

I love this. I don't usually have to fax stuff but, when the need arises (usually 4-5 times a year), this is how I'll send them.

I've used a few of the other online services before but canceling a monthly plan was like pulling teeth. I love the idea of being able pay by the page.

I can't say enough how much I love your design. Super simple, super sleek, just awesome.

We were joking that we were going to try to pitch a fax-based startup to VCs this year - just to see what their reaction would be.

Actually this is kind of cool though :)

I think if you keep it simple and convenient, it's nice.

Haha. With some VC cash in the pocket, we could really run fast with this. But, something tells me this isn't up their alley :)

How much is your rates? Can you do a prepaid plan like Onesuite? Onesuite rates is good for both medium and low volume users. Also how about sending international fax?

Your account is one day old. Are you trolling?

As for features, drag and drop to attach files ala GMail would be excellent (if it doesn't already work).

Will write that down. Thank you.

when i signed up the password was in plaintext..

what are the country restrictions?

Thanks! We'll fix that.

So far, we only allow faxing to the US. But, if there is interest, we plan on expanding to other countries.

I use Grasshopper, but they can't send a fax. This looks like a service I was looking for a couple of months ago, but couldn't find.

Everything wanted me to sign up for $5 a month or more. Or I could send one fax for $3 dollars. I forget the exact numbers, but I remember being annoyed.

You are now bookmarked! Though, you'll be lucking to make $10 per year off me given my limited faxing needs.

Thanks for the feedback! I'm a huge, huge fan of Grasshoper.

I have a quick question for you. We can make the service cheap, but credit card transaction fees get expensive. If it were available, would you be willing to pre-charge your account with $5 or $10? What would be your ideal cost for faxing?

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