Is the Telephone Answering Service Industry Shrinking?

The telephone answering service has “been on a buying spree” notes industry publication, TAS Trader, with mergers and acquisitions galore. This has been going on for many years, with the recent couple of years appearing to experience an even further uptick. Rob Ward, marketing director at Anserve Inc. in Butler, New Jersey agrees. He simply states, “There is a lot of consolidation going on.” While many assume this spells doom for the industry, nothing could be further from the truth. Answering service owners are buying other answering services because they recognize value in the industry; they see a bright future. This should encourage the entire industry. As a result there are fewer answering services, TAS Trader continues. “Although the number of actual answering services is on the decline…the number of TAS customers is not.” In addition “the amount of revenue generated industrywide is (likely) on the upswing,” though there is no data available to confirm or refute this, just the enthused comments of the answering service owners who shared information about their own experience. Pat Vos, CEO of Intercon Messaging Inc., has done several acquisitions in recent years is excited. She knows “this business has huge potential.” Indeed rumors of the high multiples paid in many of these private transactions underscore this exuberance for the industry’s vast potential. Paul Lloyd, president at AnswerPlus, a Canadian-based answering service, has seen nice growth for the past fifteen years, along with increased quality industry-wide. His answering service continues to land bigger accounts than in the past. “In my forty-four years in this business I can’t ever remember a time that has been more exciting and with as many opportunities.” The remaining competition is “fierce,” adds Celia Vincent Broussard, president of Southwest Call Center in Charles, Louisiana “but it keeps us on our toes.” She notes that revenue is up significantly, despite having fewer clients. Likewise Anserve’s Butler notes “decent growth” in the past couple of years at his organization and feels the industry consolidation has created “an opportunity to go after customers that still want a local .” While this consolidation does put severe pressure on industry software vendors and support organizations, there is nothing but opportunity for growth and increased profits from those answering services that remain. Today is a great day to own and operate a telephone answering service. So don’t worry if the answering service industry is shrinking, only worry if you are. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at, or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.