When you’re a home-based entrepreneur, every cent counts. One area where you can make significant savings is office phone calls.
It’s important for you to keep in touch with your staff, suppliers, customers and clients. But those cell phone bills and long-distance calls add up. Here are ways to stay connected without spending a fortune.
Long distance calls
Many businesses have toll-free numbers. Check if there’s one for the call you want to make by dialing the toll-free operator at 1-800-555-1212.
If you make frequent long distance calls, ask your phone service provider about a plan that will give you unlimited long distance calling. Also ask about being billed in six-second increments rather than a full minute so you won’t be billed for time fractions.
If you use long distance calls infrequently or irregularly, consider getting prepaid calling cards that offer great rates like three cents per minute. These are usually sold by warehouse clubs.
You may also want to consider internet-based calls such as Skype and Magic Jack. The connection may be spotty at times, though, so they are probably best for coordinating with other people within your company rather than clients, who are less likely to get impatient with erratic connection.
Cell phone calls
Consider getting a group plan for employees or partners, for discounted rates and freebies (such as replacement phones). If that’s not possible, agree on a service provider (since calls within the same network tend to be cheaper than those within competing networks).
Make cell phone calls only when necessary. Does the call concern any info that you need to get or give right now? Could you achieve the same results from a business email, or leaving a message at the office, or scheduling a meeting? Remember that a cell phone call often interrupts someone while doing something else, and you may not even be able to get his full attention. In this case, a face to face meeting is not only cheaper but more effective.
If you’re not happy with the quality of your cell phone service, don’t go to the store. Instead, ask to speak to the cancellations department. The people in this department are trained and authorized to make offer special deals and plans in order to keep your business.
Photo from mdot.maryland.gov