Whether you’re a business owner, a stay-at-home mom or a full-time employee, the one thing that you need to spend on is communication. Starting from connecting to your work e-mail to texting and calling friends or colleagues at work, you need to have a mobile phone that will allow you to connect to the outside world.
In fact, there are some people who are so connected that they even consider their mobile phones or tablet computers as an extension of their arm. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, as long as you know how to manage your time between work, play and your family life.
Now, the one disadvantage of having too many means of communication is the costs involved. Let’s say that you are a mom who is also running a small business on the side. You have a couple of mobile phones – one number is for business calls and the other for personal calls. You also have a landline phone at home, an Internet line and a dedicated business line.
It’s good that you have all these ways for people to get in touch with you, but what about the costs involved? Aren’t you paying too much for your communication expenses? If so, what are the ways for you to cut back on the bills? Read on to find out.
Save Money on Communication If You Have a Business
First, let’s take a look at the ways that you can save money on communication if you have a business:
Before upgrading or having anything installed in the office, make an assessment of the existing communication lines first
If you just moved into an office, check on the existing communication lines that the building has. Is the phone system older than five years? If yes, it could be that it cannot accept or utilize modern communication lines anymore, like fibre optics or VoIP. VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol and it has numerous advantages over traditional phone systems.
If the office that you moved into still has landline, for example, and the lines are more than five years old and do not support VoIP, it’s time to make a switch. VoIP is cheap, if not free, and it gives you a better overall communication experience as compared to traditional landline phones. This works even without a landline and more often than not, if you have a business account with a communications provider, you will be given discounts for Internet, communication and other data services. This is one great way for you to save money.
Determine what your network and communication needs are
Next, what are your office’s network and communication needs? Depending on the product or services that you offer, will customers be calling you over the phone, getting in touch with you through your website, or even connecting with you through live chat? How much data do you have to process on a monthly basis?
Everyone needs fast Internet but there are instances when the cost of higher or speedier connections is not worth the extra fees. Again, it all depends on what the nature of your business is. Based on your specific business needs, you can decide which service to subscribe to and which ones to ditch.
Know which communication services are expensive, and try to look for cheaper but equally effective options
If you have a landline phone, making conference calls overseas will cost you a lot of money in the long run. Instead of going for this option, use a free conference calling system which is available online. Or, choose one which works for a very minimal fee. Of course, you need to make sure that you have a reliable Internet Service Provider – especially if you serve customers through live chat or call centre options.
For those who need to send SMS or text messages overseas, the costs are also pretty steep. There are cheaper or even free ways to send text messages, although they may not be available through some carriers. By determining which communication services are expensive, you can try to look for cheaper – but equally effective – alternatives.
Cancel any service that you don’t need
If you have a younger clientele, they may not necessarily get in touch with you by calling through your landline numbers, so ditch the service if you don’t need it.
A dedicated monthly fax line is also expensive so cancel this service. If you do find the need to send fax messages later on, you can do so via free online services. Instead of paying for a dedicated GPS service, use Waze or Google Maps instead.
We’ve already had an introduction to VoIP earlier but how does it really benefit your business? The modern VoIP systems are designed in such a way that they have PBX functionality. This means that they offer better flexibility, scalability and can integrate voice, text and video into an all-in-one communication system.
The cost of setting up a VoIP-based network in the office might seem like a lot eventually, but the money that you will save for all your communication costs make it worth it in the end.
Ways to Save Money on Personal Communication
Second, what are the ways that you can save money on personal communication? If the thought of receiving a humongous bill for your mobile phone charges seem scary to you, you should definitely think of ways to cut back. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
Make a comparison of the call, text and data plans offered by different providers
The top five wireless telecommunication providers in the US include AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular. These have millions of subscribers so if you’re part of the 110 million signed up for the services of AT&T, for instance, you should be in good hands. But just because a wireless provider is popular does not mean that you should automatically sign up for their services.
Make a comparison of the rates that they offer for calls, text messages and mobile data plans. There are also areas where one provider has better service than others, so take this into consideration as well.
If you are always on the go, be sure to look for a provider that will offer you reliable service, but without charging you an arm and a leg for it.
Sign up for a plan that coincides with your preferred form of communication
When you’re communicating with your friends or colleagues at work, do you usually use mobile Internet for e-mail? Or are you the type to send out text messages? If not, you might make a lot of voice calls.
Depending on what your communication habits are, there should be a plan that works for you. There’s no sense in signing up for an unlimited voice calls plan if you don’t make that much calls in a month, anyway.
If you do make a lot of voice calls, choose a plan with rollover minutes
After making a comparison of the different plans offered by several networks, you determined that the best plan that you can sign up for is a minutes-based call plan. This should be fine, as long as you choose one with rollover minutes.
This means that you can rollover the unused minutes from month to month. If you have 60 minutes free for your plan and you were only able to use half of it, the remaining 30 should be rolled over for the next month.
How about your data usage?
One of the biggest mobile phone bill surprises is when subscribers fail to turn off their mobile data connection even when Wi-Fi is available. If there’s no Wi-Fi and you really need to connect to the Internet, that is the only time that you should turn your data connection back on.
At the same time, if you are already using your mobile phone plan’s included number of minutes for data connection, make sure to keep track of your usage. Compress data, download an app that allows you to track your usage, and make sure that you are not using any apps that drain your bandwidth.
Take advantage of discounts
If you’re an employee of a telecommunications provider, you could qualify for employee discounts. Senior citizens are eligible for senior plans if they are over the age of 55, although some plans are offered for those who just turned 65.
Additional tips to save on communication costs
If you don’t want to ditch your landline, place local calls using that phone because they’re free. The same thing does not hold true for calling local numbers using your mobile phone.
If you’re a frequent downloader of fun apps, consider blocking all third party charges. Go over your mobile phone bills per month and monitor your calls closely. If there seems to be erroneous charges, have them corrected.
Finally, if you have been with your provider for a good number of years now, ask for a better deal. They won’t want to lose your business and if you say that you’ll switch because another company is offering you a better plan, they might do a turnaround and give you perks and discounts.