Have you currently got the best deal for your business telecoms, broadband and mobile? The average business may not have reviewed these costs for five years. If you are in this boat it’s time to take action. There is money to be saved!
Telecoms costs have been falling. We have any number of case studies where we have saved somewhere between 30% and 80% for companies and schools.
Recently released data from Onecom shows that SMEs are spending, on average, £2,052 per year on telecoms. Is 30-80% of that figure worth doing something about?
Let’s look at some specific ways in which you can save money.
Identifying your call patterns
Do you make lots of very short calls or do you tend to make long calls? Fixed line call tariffs are, generally, either cost per call- or cost per time-based. If you make lots of calls and pay per call, you are almost certainly paying much more than you should and would be better off using a cost per second tariff.
Avoid your contract defaulting to standard terms
Many telecoms contracts are for an initial term, perhaps two years. After that, the terms, and prices, can often change for the worse. Make sure that you review your options before the contract’s initial term finishes.
How many lines do you need?
If you have an ISDN-based phone system, how many lines are you paying for? If your business has changed significantly you may be paying for lines you no longer use. If you are still in contract, you may not be able to change that number, but if you are past your minimum term, you will be able to.
Are unlimited calls necessary?
Many small businesses take out unlimited call contracts for business mobiles just in case people make huge numbers of calls. You may not be making the savings you expect by doing this.
Switching to VoIP
Openreach aims to stop all ISDN-based services by 2025, so you will have to switch relatively soon, but the benefits of VoIP mean you are highly likely to be able to save money by switching sooner rather than later e.g. with lower call costs, and getting the economies of scale from maximising the use of your internet connection.
When you’ve paid off the hardware…
Once you reach the minimum term on your mobile contract, you have paid off the hardware part of the monthly cost. If you don’t yet need to upgrade the hardware, you should talk to your mobile operator about only paying for the calls, texts and data.
Finding cheaper handsets
The mobile operators are not always the best people for entrepreneur to get their phones from, particularly for bulk purchases. Even if you don’t want to add this to your capital expenditure spend, you can always ask the mobile operator for the hardware fund. You can then spend that elsewhere and pay it back to the operator on a monthly basis.
Up in the air
If you are in an area with poor internet connections, look at air-based alternatives. Line of site, satellite and 4/5G are all options to consider. Some may be short terms options until a bigger line is installed. Others may only really be suitable for smaller businesses – but don’t automatically take the Openreach controlled option. There are alternatives, and they may be better and cheaper.
Impact on staff productivity
It is worth looking at productivity costs. Saving money on an internet connection by installing a slower connection may save you a few quid per month which may be appealing. However, if this means your staff cannot work effectively, you are losing money on productivity. Sometimes cheaper isn’t better.
For small businesses it’s a good idea to ask an expert to help you. They know the telecoms market and will be able to suggest the best deals that are currently available, both for initial contracts and regular reviews. There is money to be saved on your telecoms, broadband and mobile.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.