Drowning in phone bills? Learn how to save money on both mobile and landline phones.
With a little digging, high monthly phone bills can be a thing of the past. NFIB member Bobra Bush, president of Telcom Corporation, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based telecommunications consulting firm, offers five ways to cut costs on landline and cell phone costs.
1. Count Lines
Cross-reference the number of lines on your bill with the number of lines you’re using in your office. “If you can’t account for all your lines, you have your first clue that you are being billed for lines you are not using,” Bush says.
Make sure you don’t have landlines that you don’t need, like for fax machines you no longer use.
2. Keep Your Distance
Many companies slap on pricey unlimited long-distance packages to plans, but a plan that charges by the minute may be all you need. Some companies offer LATA (local access transport area) plans that cover calls for “local” long distance—calls that are in the next town over, but aren’t considered local calls—at a much lower rate.
Check the long-distance section of your bill for “minimum commitments.” Make sure your minimum commitment is in line with your usage to get the best rate.
3. Monitor Bills
The best way to handle cell phones is to get a corporate plan and have one person review the bill each month for spikes in voice or data usage, Bush says. The second best way is to reimburse employees for set amount that reflects an average month’s usage of voice and data.
4. Plan Ahead
To leave a cell phone carrier, notify them in writing and by fax 45 days before expiration, as most providers have a clause in their contracts that says the contract renews automatically if they aren’t notified 30 days before expiration. Follow up with a call.
5. Get Audited
Have a contingency-based audit—meaning it doesn’t cost you anything unless the auditor finds a problem—within the first three months of getting a new plan to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Schedule it for three months before your contract expires so you can recover money lost.