Business Long Distance: Top 7 Tips For Saving on Business Long Distance
By David Wood
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Most business owners dread the thought of switching long distance because of a past bad experience or confusion over how to choose the best calling plan for their budget and calling patterns. Switching long distance can make the most patient and intelligent businessperson want to hide under a rock, but there are rules to follow to make an educated decision and save more of your hard earned money.
- Shop Logically, Not Emotionally: Long distance carriers know the vast majority of consumers make their purchase based on emotions, not based on logic. Don't let a marketing ploy guide your decision.
- Know Your Calling Patterns First: You cannot logically choose the best money saving plan without knowing your calling patterns. One plan might be best if most of your calls are state-to-state, but a completely different plan might benefit you more if the majority of your calls are in-state or international. It's your money, so take the time to compare rates.
- What Will Be Your PICC: PICC stands for "Pre-subscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge" and is a Federally mandated charge that every business line customer must pay based on the number of and type of phone lines you have. The PICC varies between carriers but in no circumstance should you pay more than $4.50 per line. Note that if you are using a residential line for business purposes, you should never be required to pay a PICC.
- Should You Sign A Term Contract: In 98% of cases, you should not sign any type of contract that will lock you in to a specific calling plan for any length of time. The exception to this would be if you have a large business set up on a T-1 or if your business spends thousands of dollars a month in long distance. In this situation you might be asked to sign a contract to receive a rate of a few cents per minute. If you do sign a contract, be aware of what your penalty will be to get out of the contract early because in many cases it will cost you thousands of dollars to terminate the contract.
- Toll Free Numbers: Setting up a toll free number for your business can be a smart business decision because it invites customers and potential customers to call you at no cost to them. Make sure you know if your incoming per minute rate is higher than your outgoing rate. If you currently have a toll free number, you will be asked to fill out a Responsible Organization form that will give your current long distance carrier instructions to release your toll free number to your new carrier.
- Monthly Minimums and Minimum Usage Plans: There are two types of minimums you might encounter. If a plan has a $100.00 monthly minimum and your long distance usage is only $75.00, you will still be billed $100.00 for that month. If a plan has a minimum usage requirement, you will need to spend a certain amount each month or else pay an additional fee.
- Check the Billing Increment: A good business plan will avoid full minute billing increments and instead offer 6-second increments. If you have one minute billing increments, your 30-second call will be billed as a one-minute call. With 6-second increments, a 30-second call will be billed for only 30 seconds because each call is rounded up in 6-second increments. This little difference can add up over time.
David Wood is founder of CheapTelephoneBills.com -- [http://www.cheaptelephonebills.com] -- a consumer focused long distance comparison website.
Article Submitted On: November 16, 2004