February 23, 2018

Smith.ai vs. VoiceNation: Live Answering Service Comparison

Deciding on a live answering service for your business is crucial for sustainably and affordably growing your operations. But, it can often be difficult to choose between the myriad service providers. Today, we compare Smith.ai virtual receptionists to VoiceNation.

Setup fees, trials & contracts


  • No setup fee

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

  • No contract


  • Setup fees are not disclosed on the VoiceNation website

  • Free 7-day/30-minute trial

  • No contract

Discussion: Both Smith.ai and VoiceNation offer free trial periods. However, Smith.ai gives you up to 30 days free to try our services, while VoiceNation only provides seven days. According to Invoca research, the average business call lasts five minutes, so the 30-minute limit on VoiceNation's trial would amount to only six calls, compared to Smith.ai's 10. 

Monthly plans

Smith.ai and VoiceNation offer the following monthly plans to fit your call volume:


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

  • $150 for 30 live receptionist calls and 2 live transfer numbers

  • $450 for 100 live receptionist calls and 5 live transfer numbers

  • Custom plans available


  • $40 for 40 minutes (no live transfer, only message taking)

  • $59 for pay-as-you-go at $1.15 per minute

  • $99 for 75 minutes

  • $149 for 125 minutes

  • $249 for 250 minutes

  • $449 for 500 minutes

  • Custom plans available

Discussion: Both Smith.ai and VoiceNation offer customizable plans to fit your needs; but Smith.ai charges by call, not by the minute, for more predictable monthly billing and easier calculations of marketing costs (for example, how many lead calls turned into new clients). 

Overage costs


  • $6/call on the $60/month plan

  • $5/call on the $150/month plan

  • $4.50/call on the $400/month plan


  • $1.00 per additional minute on the $40/month plan

  • $1.10 per additional minute on the $99/month plan

  • $1.05 per additional minute on the $149/month plan

  • $1.00 per additional minute on the $249/month plan

  • $0.95 per additional minute on the $449/month plan

Discussion: Because VoiceNation has higher base rates, you can end up paying more each month when you add in overages, compared to Smith.ai’s plans that are more affordable for small- to medium-size businesses. For example, assuming an average call is 5 minutes, according to the Invoca Call Intelligence Report, Smith.ai's $150/month plan would allow for 30 five-minute calls, but VoiceNation's comparable $149/month plan would only allow for 25 calls, with those five extra five-minute calls adding on another $26.25, bringing the total to $175.25/month.


Smith.ai and VoiceNation offer some of the same features:

  • Live call transfers

  • Daily call reports

  • Custom call handling procedures

  • Payment collection


Smith.ai offers the following additional features:

  • , like Clio, Lexicata, and Capsule CRM

  • Integration with helpdesk ticketing software programs

  • Client history mapping to the incoming number so clients receive personalized attention

  • Messages texted to you or

  • Lead qualification & lead intake form completion

  • No charge for spam calls or wrong numbers

  • Instant SMS status updates


VoiceNation offers the following additional features:

  • Automated answering service

  • 24/7 operation

  • Online client dashboard to manage schedule and messages

  • Instant online setup

Discussion: VoiceNation offers many similar features to Smith.ai, but they take a call-center approach to call answering, which can be distancing to callers. Moreover, their ability to offers "instant setup" comes at a cost. Yes, you get your calls answered immediately, but your receptionists are armed only with the small amount of information you entered in the online signup form and online "wizard," like your business name and greeting.

At Smith.ai, we take onboarding seriously so our receptionists are armed with all the important details of your business and your products or services. VoiceNation uses scripts; our receptionists use good sense, drawing from your business information and customized call handling directions to actively participate on the call with your customers. We're not just parroting information and we don't have scripted call "flows;" we listen carefully to your callers and adjust our responses to each person's needs based on information you've provided about your business, so customers get an experience equivalent to an in-house receptionist who is deeply knowledgeable about your business,


If you're looking for someone to perform basic, highly standardized duties such as answering calls and routine questions about your business, VoiceNation's scripted approach may suit your needs. But if you have callers who need personalized attention, if you're looking for a service that can ask the right questions to qualify your leads and complete new client intake forms, if you're looking for a true representative of your business to make outbound calls to current clients, business partners, and VIPs, Smith.ai delivers a service to meet your high standards. Yes, we don't offer service 24/7, but the service we do offer, during normal business hours, is of a far greater quality. 

Smith.ai client testimonial

Don't just take our word for it! Here's what a happy Smith.ai client had to say about our virtual receptionists:

“Smith is an excellent call answering service and has offered me outstanding service at a great price for my company! I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for this service. They go above & beyond and are highly professional. Not one thing bad you can say about them!”

- Kathryn Dorr, Coral Shores Realty

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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