February 23, 2018

Smith.ai vs. Moneypenny: Live Answering Service Comparison

It’s no longer necessary to pay an in-house receptionist, because virtual receptionists allow for more flexibility at a far lower price. But how do you choose the right live answering service? Today, we set Smith.ai head-to-head with Moneypenny.

Setup fees, trials & contracts


  • No setup fee

  • 30-day/10-call free trial (whichever comes first)

  • Month-to-month; no contract


  • No setup fee

  • 14-day introductory period with a money-back guarantee

  • After 14 days, there’s a 3-month minimum contract.

  • One month’s notice required to cancel

Discussion: Both Smith.ai and Moneypenny offer free setup. Although Moneypenny offers a money-back guarantee for the introductory period, they do not offer a free trial, and the "risk-free" term is half as long. Smith.ai allows you to try our service for up to a month (or 10 calls) before making a commitment. Moreover, you can start and stop service at any time, whereas Moneypenny requires a minimum of a three-month contract, plus a month's notice if you choose not to renew. Why be stuck with fees for another month if you've already decided the service isn't paying off?

Monthly plans

Smith.ai and Moneypenny offer monthly plans depending on your call volume.


  • $60 for 10 live receptionist calls and 1 live transfer number

  • $150 for 30 calls and 2 live transfer numbers

  • $450 for 100 calls and 5 live transfer numbers

  • Custom plans available


  • $75 for a pay-as-you-go plan, at $2.25 per call

  • $140 plan for 30 calls

  • Custom plans available

Moneypenny does not advertise most of their pricing online. Inquire to learn more about higher-tier and customizable plans.

Discussion: Smith.ai offers a lower entry price for the cheapest plan. At Moneypenny, it takes $75 just to get off the ground, and then you're paying for each call on top of that. At 10 calls per month, your cost would be $97.50 compared to $60 at Smith.ai. 

Overage costs


  • $6/call on the $60/month plan

  • $5/call on the $150/month plan

  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan


  • $2.25 per call for the $75 plan (technically, it's all "overage" with this plan)

  • $2.50 per call for the $140 plan

Inquire with Moneypenny to learn more about their overage fees for their other plans; further overage costs are not available online.

Discussion: Smith.ai and Moneypenny both charge per call. However, Moneypenny requires you to contact them for the monthly fees or overage costs based on your estimated call volume. With Smith.ai, we feel strongly about transparent pricing and list everything on our website.


Smith.ai and Moneypenny both offer the following features:

  • Live call answering

  • Live call transfers

  • Daily call reports

  • After-hours voicemail


Smith.ai offers the following additional features:

  • , like Clio, Lexicata, and Capsule CRM

  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs

  • Ability to map client history to the incoming number so clients receive personalized attention

  • Messages texted to you or

  • Custom call handling procedures

  • Lead qualification & lead intake form completion

  • Payment collection

  • No charge for spam calls or wrong numbers

  • Real-time status updates via SMS


Moneypenny offers the following additional features:

  • Live web chat

  • Phone app to analyze call data

  • 24/7 or weekend service add-on available (extra fee)


Discussion: Both companies offer similar features when it comes to live call answering. However, Smith.ai offers more customization for lead capture and qualification. Also, Smith.ai rotates it's calls among many receptionists rather than assigning four dedicated receptionists to your business as Moneypenny does. Smith.ai builds out all call handling instructions for each business so that anyone on our team can handle your calls professionally and thoroughly. Having our full team available and not just a few receptionists means we're never short-handed for your calls, and can quickly grow as your business starts receiving more calls. 

Moreover, Smith.ai offers outbound calls where our receptionists reach out to your potential and existing clients to share or gather information. We can call with appointment reminders, service availability or rate changes, work status updates, and much more. If you're debating between the $150 plan at Smith.ai and the $140 plan at Moneypenny (both include 30 calls), for just $10 more per month (the cost of one lunch), you can get access to this outbound calling feature and many other features that only Smith.ai offers. 


With an entry-level plan that's over 50% more expensive than Smith.ai's basic plan, Moneypenny isn't the most affordable option for businesses looking to get an extra hand. And while their per-call prices are lower than Smith.ai's, it comes at a steep cost: they offer hardly any features. A virtual receptionist is only the equivalent of an in-house receptionist if they can take on all the receptionist duties during office hours. At Smith.ai, we'll make your outbound calls, appointment reminders, relay messages to existing clients and business partners, complete new client intake forms that pass directly into your CRM, schedule appointments directly on your preferred calendaring software, and much more. We can even answer basic questions about your business, freeing you and your team for more critical tasks. Sure, the per-call pricing is higher with Smith.ai, but that's because with us, the virtual receptionists can handle a much wider range of duties on each call.

Smith.ai client testimonial

Smith.ai virtual receptionists are a great fit for any small- to medium-size business or independent professional, but don't just take our word for it. Here's what one of our long-time clients had to say:

“I started using Smith when my paralegal/receptionist suffered a disabling injury. They are very, very helpful folks who do their job well. They have a really good method for handling legal clients without me having to provide training and are great at getting me good basic information before I return a phone call. They are also very polite, and my clients compliment how warm they are to them. At this time, I won't have to replace my paralegal/receptionist, and I have better phone coverage than before.”

- Devon Slovensky, Virginia Nonprofit Law Center, P.C.

Learn more about Smith.ai

Smith.ai virtual receptionists are trained to learn your business and build a relationship with your customers. Discuss your options with us by calling (650) 727-6484 Monday through Friday between 5am – 6pm PT. You can also reach us by email at support@smith.ai. Signing up for our 30-day/10-call free trial is a great way to get started.

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