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Save Your Business Money - Know Your Local Phone Service Options

American Express





   Every business can benefit from saving money wherever possible. However, most businesses are unaware of the options that are available from their local phone company that could save hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

Knowing available options and choosing service types that fits your business needs are both critical elements for keeping telecom costs as low as possible.

Many business owners, managers and controllers make the mistake that telecom cost savings can be found in 'big ticket" items such as long-distance service. Choosing the correct local telephone service package is the first and most important step in controlling telecom bills.

Three Types of Local Telephone Service

In most states, three types of local telephone service are available to business customers.

1) Flat-Rate Service: the line cost is high, but the user can make unlimited local calls on the line at no extra charge.

2) Message-Rate Service: the line cost is lower than a flat-rate line, but the user pays an additional per call charge, usually $.07-$.12 per minute.

3) Measured-Rate Service: the line cost is usually low, but the user pays for each minute of local outbound calling. There is an initial rate for the first minute and a lower rate for each additional minute of the call.

Before deciding on a local phone service type for your business, first identify, or estimate, the amount and duration of outbound local calling for all lines at one location for a one-month period.

Analyze the calling patterns and rates that you've been charged for the entire billing cycle. Identify and total any additional charges for extra calls or minutes. Once you've analyzed and totaled these charges, it will be relatively easy to determine which type of service plan fits your business calling patterns.

Here's an example of a business and the appropriate service plan for its usage:

A plumbing parts manufacturer receives hundreds of inbound calls daily. These are calls from vendors, suppliers, contractors, etc. Most of these calls come in from the company's toll-free number. Out bound local calls are relatively few but when they are made, they can be long. These outbound calls average 30 minutes or more.

The best local service choice for this company is Message-Rate Service. Why? Because the outbound local calling is relatively low, but the calls are long. The company could choose Flat-Rate Service, but the cost of each line would be higher than Message-Rate. Measured-Rate Service is inappropriate because the outbound calls are long, and there is a per-minute charge for calls with this service type. Message-Rate Service allows the company to pay a lower line charge, and then pay once for each outbound call made.

Understanding the calling patterns for your business and learning the local service options available in your area are important first steps in reducing your telecom expenses. Analyze your local bills now. You'll find savings you never knew existed!

About the Author

Karen Thatcher is President of TelCon Associates, a 30 yr old telecom consulting and management firm. To receive a FREE booklet entitled "27 Ways To Slash Your Telecom Costs - Proven Tips and Strategies The Phone Company Doesn't Tell You", visit http://www.telconassociates.com

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