The key to reading a phone bill is taking notice of the detail. Reading that bill correctly can save you and your business money, in many cases hundreds or even thousands of pounds every year. So here are a few tips to help you save money on your phone line starting right away:
1.) Payment charges
Often on your bill you’ll see you’ve been charged for something relating to the way you’ve decided to pay. Commonly this will mean you pay extra if you opt to pay by any other method than direct debit. You can often avoid this charge simply by switching payment method.
2.) Call barring
Take a good look at your itemised bill every month. Did you make all those calls? Were they to numbers you recognise or not? What time of day were they made? It is very common for businesses losing money to illegitimate calls made by people with access to the phone. This might be your usual staff but it might be someone a little less obvious, for example a cleaner or even customers! If staff have no need to be making certain types of calls then you can get these stopped with call barring.
3.) Phone line rental and broadband charges
These are such basic charges that often people don’t even look at them. But you should look hard, because these charges will appear on your statement come rain or shine. If you make calls or don’t make calls you will still get charged line rental. The same is true for internet use. And the fact is there really are huge differences in the charges different providers make. Particularly if you’ve been with BT or a similar old school telecoms company for a long time, there might be a big difference between what you’re paying now and the cheapest rates on the market.
4.) Itemised billing
The place to start is to see whether your bill gives you a breakdown of your calls and charges. If it doesn’t then you will struggle to lower your phone bill simply because you will have no idea what calls were made and when. Get your service provider to add itemised billing to your account and you will soon start saving once you have more details on what calls have been made.
5.) International calls
International calls can be a real killer on any phone item and the differences between providers can be huge. If you regularly call abroad, you can slash your bills by switching.
6.) Delete unused network services
If you’ve had a phone line for a while, at some point in the past someone may have opted for a network service like call waiting or caller display that you no longer need. Get your phone line provider to take this off and you can shave another few pounds off your bill.
7.) 0870 or 0845 numbers
In recent years some companies have tried to reduce their 0800 freephone customer service costs by replacing their free numbers with 0870 or 0845 numbers. These are cheaper for them to run, but sadly they are more expensive for you to call than if you were simply calling a normal local or national number (those beginning 01,02,03). You can, however, use the internet to find equivalent geographic numbers that will get you through to the same company at a cheaper rate. saynoto0870.com is a good place to start.
8.) Call minutes
Another way telecoms companies make money is when you use your phone line for more minutes each month than the “free” minutes they’ve made available on the calling plan you’re on. These extra minutes cost far more than if you’d bought them as part of a fixed price package. The best way to get around this is to have an accurate idea of the amount of minutes you actually use and then buy an additional fixed price call bundle that will mean you have enough minutes available.
Communication costs can be a large overhead for companies and whilst money is still tight, any reduction in charges has got to make sound business sense.