05 May 2009

7 Ways to Lower Calling Cost for Small Business

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phone_saving_webIn time of tough economy, companies are tightening their belts to cut operating cost. Reducing expenditure on overhead is a vital undertaking. Long-distance expense is a place to start. By choosing a good service provider, you’ll spend a lot less without sacrificing the quality of communication. The following are tips on how to choose the best alternative long-distance service for your business:

1. Calling cards: It’s definitely cheaper than your local phone provider. Go with the calling card that doesn’t charge connection fees or maintenance fees. Also check and compare how much the additional charge is for calling from a payphone.

2. VoIP service:  Even cheaper than calling cards, VoIP service is the cheapest way of voice communication today. Most phone calls these days are simply tiny streams of data that flow over the Internet and other similar data networks. Why not maximize your Internet connection and let your business use VoIP for your long distance calls?

3. Toll-free vs. local access number: If you prefer the calling card option, make sure to check if there’s a local access number in your area. Local access is cheaper than toll-free number. The difference will surely add up in no time.

4. The fine print: A.k.a. the catch. Low per-minute rate is nothing if the fine print says that all calls have a connection charge of 50 cents per call and maintenance fees of 99 cents per week. Some even charge disconnection fees.

5. Contract: As much as possible, stay away from any plans that lock you in a service for a certain amount of time. A lot can happen in a 12-month contract and usually there’s a pre-termination fee if you opt out of the contract. A prepaid service is a better way to go, and you can quit anytime without worrying about unused minutes or plans.

6. No monthly plans: Unless you always consume the same amount of minutes every time, then getting a monthly plan is not recommended. If you are paying $25 a month for 500 minutes, using up 400 minutes will still cost you $25. If you go over the 500 minutes then you end up paying high rate for succeeding minutes. Instead, look for a pay-as-you-go service, where flexibility is allowed.

7. Manage multiple accounts: If you need to create multiple long-distance accounts for your staff or employees, look for a service where you can manage the accounts and monitor the call details. A good long-distance administrative account for small business can help you control budget, and monitor your staff’s long-distance cost.

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