Picture this: there's an important document you need to send fast. Maybe it's a form for your realtor, a 100-page contract, or a hand-signed paper for an important work project. Whatever it is, you're in trouble. You need to fax the document, but you don't have a fax machine handy.
Naturally, you might be left asking, "is there a fax service near me?"
The answer is yes… but it's closer than you may think. Today, millions of people worldwide send faxes through their computers, smartphones and tablets with a new form of document sharing called 'online faxing'.
But is online faxing for you? In this article, we'll compare all of your nearby faxing options, including online and traditional faxing.
Let's dive in.
Where Can I Send A Fax Near Me?
Before we can explore the pros and cons of your local faxing options, let's cover the two forms of faxing you can use:
Online faxing from home
Faxing through a local fax service with a fax machine
Let's start with online faxing from home.
From Your Smartphone or Computer (aka Online Faxing)
Assuming you don't have a fax machine, you can send a fax at home using online faxing. Online faxing is a form of digital document transmission that lets you send a fax over the internet. You may have heard of online faxing before, as it's commonly called 'internet faxing', 'digital faxing', 'web faxing' or 'eFaxing'. Online faxing might seem like a new technology, but it's now over twenty years old as it was first released to the public in 1996.
So how does online faxing take your fax from 'A' to 'B'?
Online faxing providers like eFax make online faxing possible. When you send your fax, your service provider encodes it, transmits it through their servers and delivers it to your recipient. Essentially, this means online faxes travel: your fax service → internet → recipient's fax service.
As online faxes are fully digital, your service provider stores them in the cloud. This means that you can access your faxes from any device and print them like a regular document.
How Online Faxing Works
With online faxing, you can send a fax through your computer, smartphone or tablet. Across these devices, there are four basic ways to send a fax:
To send an online fax, you need a subscription to an online fax service like eFax. Then, you simply send a fax by:
Opening your fax service and clicking 'New Fax' or 'Compose Message'
Typing in your recipient's fax number, plus "@efaxsend.com" (for example, "[email protected]")
Clicking 'Attach' and attaching up to ten documents per fax
Filling in your cover sheet
Your faxing service will then transmit your fax to your recipient.
The process of receiving a fax is very similar to receiving an email. You simply open your fax service, click 'Inbox' and search for your fax. When you receive a fax online, it will be from the address “[email protected]” and have the subject line "fax received from (fax number)".
How Online Fax Numbers Work
When people first switch to online faxing, they usually ask one key question: how do online fax numbers work?
Online fax numbers use the same system as traditional fax numbers. This means that each number has three components:
The country code = a 1 - 3 digit number that denotes your fax's country of origin (i.e. '61' for Australia).
The area code = a 1 - 3 digital number that denotes your fax number's city of origin (i.e. '2' for Sydney).
The local number = an 8 - 12 digit number that identifies your fax service (i.e. '84924837').
To get your full fax number, simply combine these numbers like this: "6128492 4837".
If (like many Australians) you don't have a fax number, you can simply get a free one when you sign up for online faxing. If you use a provider like eFax, you can choose a fax number in one of 3,500 cities worldwide, and you can base your fax number anywhere (as it's not tied to fax lines).
Now that you understand the basics of online faxing, let's move on to your second option: sending a fax through a nearby fax service.
From A "Fax Service Near Me" (Aka Machine Faxing)
Depending on where you live, you can send a fax from your local library, Australia Post or an office supply store like Officeworks. The availability of faxing in each of these locations depends on whether they have a fax machine and whether they are open during COVID-19 lockdowns.
How Traditional Fax Machines Work In The Modern Day
If you can find that coveted "fax service near me", sending a fax is pretty simple. You simply add your documents into the machine, type in your fax number, and press 'Send'. The machine then digitises your documents and transmits them to your recipient.
Traditionally, fax machines used fax lines to transmit documents. However, as the National Broadband Network (NBN) removed Australia's old analog lines during the rollout, many fax machines are now connected to the internet with a telephone adapter. This means they transmit faxes online (though not the same way online faxing services do).
Can You Receive A Fax Through A Public Fax Machine?
Unfortunately, if you're wondering, "where can I get a fax near me" you may face a minor issue. As public fax machines are open to everyone, many machine operators have turned off the 'receive fax' functions on their machines. Alternatively, other machines are run by operators who are simply too busy to print, file and hold faxes for you.
Naturally, if you are considering using a traditional fax machine, you will need to check ahead of time that you can receive a fax through it.
Now that you understand how traditional and online faxing works, it's time to weigh up the pros and cons of both.
Faxing At Home Vs. In-Store Faxing
To decide between online faxing and traditional faxing through a local machine, you need to weigh up six factors: convenience and speed, capabilities and features, the sign-up process, international faxing capacity, pricing and whether it's free.
Let's examine each of these factors now.
Convenience and Speed
If you decide to use online faxing, you can send your fax from the comfort of your home through either your computer, smartphone or tablet. Transmitting a fax using online faxing is also a speedy process, as service providers like eFax transmit 90% of faxes in 60 seconds or less.
If you choose the "fax service near me" option, you will need to drive to your local machine, add your documents and wait for them to transmit. This could take you several minutes or several hours, depending on the size of your document and how busy the machine is. If your area is affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, your local fax machine may be out of operation - so you should keep that in mind when considering your options.
As public fax machines are accessible to everyone, you don't usually need to sign up to use them.
However, as online faxing is a private service, you must sign up with a provider like eFax. Although the sign-up process is pretty easy, as you can do it in three simple steps:
Click here to start a free trial
Choose your faxing number
Enter your personal details
Once you sign-up for eFax, you can start faxing straight away.
Capabilities and Features
If you choose the "fax service near me" option, the features you get will depend on the individual fax machine. Naturally, online faxing offers more features, including:
With online faxing, you will also get free cloud-based storage, which is a massive bonus considering that fax machines only store a handful of recent documents (depending on their capacity).
You can send a fax internationally using both online faxing services and traditional fax machines. The process is virtually the same, albeit slightly more expensive and slightly slower than domestic faxing.
If you choose to fax through an online service like eFax, it will cost you between $0.10 - $1.25 per page to send a fax (depending on your location). You can see eFax's complete list of international rates here.
If you fax internationally from Australia Post, it will cost you $10.00 for the first page and $2.50 per additional page. And if you fax internationally from Officeworks, it will cost you $3.95 per sheet. You will need to contact other outlets directly for pricing, as they are location-specific.
Online faxing is much cheaper than faxing through a machine as you can use a free trial if you choose to send a fax through an online faxing provider like eFax. After the trial period, eFax's plans start from $14.13 a month or $169.50 a year (with additional charges for extra pages or international faxing).
If you send a fax through Australia Post, it will cost you $5.00 for the first page and $1.25 per additional page if your recipient is within Australia. Alternatively, to send a fax with Officeworks, it will cost you $0.80 per sheet to receive a fax, or:
And naturally, the cost of faxing through your local library is location-dependent.
Can You Fax For Free?
Finally, we get to the question everyone wonders: "can I send a fax for free?".
If you choose the "fax service near me" option, there is no free trial option, and you will have to pay to send your fax per page.
If you choose to send your fax with online faxing, you can send it using an eFax free trial. The eFax free trial lasts for 30 days, gives you up to 400 free faxes, and provides you with a fax number.
So are you ready to hear more about eFax?
Give Up On Finding A "Fax Service Near Me" And Embrace eFax
Ultimately, online faxing is simply superior to traditional faxing, as it's cheaper, greener and more convenient during COVID-19 lockdowns.
And if you're thinking "online faxing", you should consider eFax. eFax is a leading fax provider that services over 11 million customers globally and transmits over 1 billion faxes every month.
But that's not all.
eFax's robust online faxing system gives you the flexibility to fax whenever, wherever. With eFax, you can fax inside and outside Australia through your web browser, email, mobile phone or desktop in seconds.
As eFax doesn't use fax lines to transmit faxes, it's also fully NBN compatible and future-proof. eFax is even a Business NBN Fax Provider, meaning their team of faxing experts can help you connect to the new network smoothly.
To test out eFax for yourself, click here to start a 30-day free trial
or call 1800 283 361.