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Little Expenses Can Sink A Business – Stewart Maxwell – Medium

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A recent cell phone bill made me sick.

$1200?! No Thanks.

Take a look at these massive usage charges

There are multiple problems with this bill but here’s the major glaring issue — that’s a $939 charge for using less than 1GB of data while roaming!

Cell phone plan expense reduction is one of my FAVOURITE ways to help a business save money…

But it can also be complicated.

I worked for over 12 years at a major telecommunications carrier in Canada, so I have seen all of the ways businesses are being overcharged :

  • Roaming out of Country
  • Long Distance Calls
  • Data Overage
  • Directory Assistance (I know, who hasn’t heard about Google yet?…)

I see companies try every strategy they can think of to lower their business cell phone plan… except one.

This one business cell phone plan expense reduction strategy cut this bill by 67%! And now I’m showing you.

In 10 minutes, you can use this strategy to…

  • Save hundreds, or thousands of dollars, per month on your business cell phone plan.
  • Improve the features in your plan to get more value for your money.
  • Get your carrier to give you credits, and pay your bill.
  • Plus, you’ll still keep your carrier the same and avoid a messy changeover, (if that’s what you want).

*Note this information pertains to businesses with 5 or more cell phone lines*

Getting a Custom Cell Phone Plan, Built For Your Business

There are a number of reasons your current cell phone plan may not be stacking up to expectations:

  1. Business needs may have changed along with usage.
  2. You or your team has other priorities to focus on.
  3. You trusted your vendor did their due diligence when they implemented your current setup.

In order to get the right solution for your business 2 things need to happen.

First, you need to know what your usage has been over the last 6–12 months, and most importantly what happened in the worst month (Highest Usage).

Second, engage the competition. This will give you leverage with your current carrier to get your business the best deal.

“So how do I figure out my business usage? That sounds like a lot of work…” it’s not!

Each major carrier has a self serve portal that you can use to generate a report

An even easier way would be to make your carrier create and email you the report.

Just call their business client care line and ask for a usage report for the last 6 months, don’t forget to have them include that last column highlighted in yellow. That’s your Early Cancellation Fees, we’ll need that for later.

This is what you need to find out from the report. In the last 6–12 months:

  • How much data in GB did we use in total at peak?
  • How many people were roaming consistently and what was their usage on average?
  • Who is calling into the US/Internationally, and are we being charged for it?

From this you will know what plan your business needs and how much it would theoretically cost you to cancel out and switch carriers… you can now move to step 2 and contact “the other guys”. Again, you aren’t forced to make any changes at this point, we’re just shopping around and keeping your carrier honest.

So far you’ve made one phone call or ran a report yourself and you know what you need, this probably took you all of 5 minutes (hopefully they didn’t keep you on hold too long…)

Pay attention because this is the good part

How to Lower Your Business Cell Phone Plan by 67%

The way major telecom carriers make big money is by charging you overage fees for exceeding your plan when your features are limited.

Price checking other carriers will open your eyes to all of the things you didn’t know you could get for FREE, such as:

  • Unlimited U.S. Calling ($10 Value) included in a 3GB plan like the one above
  • Discounted Roaming Travel Plans (by as much as 20%)
  • Early Upgrade Fee Waived (5%+) each year. This feature can save you up to $600 in fees when you lose or break a cell phone and need it replaced
  • Bigger Data Plans for the same price as your current cell phone plan, and much much more…

When you know this, you can turn the tables on your Carrier — and save yourself a lot of money.

Now that you have contacted 2 competitors, given them your requirements for a new business cell phone plan tailored to your needs, and received proposals from both of them you can go ahead and call your current carrier and let them know you would like a competitive response.

To be fair I would recommend you tell them all it is a blind bid situation and you won’t be sharing the proposals with their competition. It is also a good practice to give them all a deadline, this way the process won’t drag on.

Here are some important questions to ask each carrier that will help you gather valuable information on what’s available in the market:

  1. What kind of discount would an account 2–3 times larger receive?
  2. How new is the pricing or features in this proposal? Is anything exclusive to your carrier?
  3. What other business cell phone plans are available and what would happen if the needs of my business change?
  4. Did they need to get special approvals to offer you this pricing? (If not, it’s not their best offer)

Remember that crazy bill? Here’s what an optimized cell phone plan looks like…

And roaming in the same destination for 1GB would cost ⅓ the price.

Now, not every business will be able to get a plan like this, and roaming is still going to be relatively expensive. The point of this exercise is to make you aware of what your business needs are and to have your carrier craft a cell phone plan that fits your business so that you can avoid overage fees.

There are better data plans available, and there are better roaming packages out there. You just have to ask for them. It is up to you to look out for your own best interests after all.

This is what I do for businesses at McLean Maxwell.

3 More Advanced Telecom Expense Management Tips

Tip #1 — You can renew business cell phone plan pricing every 18 months and get credits.

When you look to renew your business cell phone plan pricing your carrier will be able to offer you credits to stay with them. Typically $200 for each line but you can ask for more to help you offset the cost of new phones, or early upgrade fees. You can, and should, do this every 18 months.

Tip #2 — The best time to negotiate a new contract is at the end of a quarter.

March, June, September, and most importantly December are the best months in the year to get new pricing.

Why? Because big telecom carriers are competing for business and trying to hit sales targets each quarter. This is especially prevalent at the end of the year when some of the best deals and biggest credits are offered up to entice a business to switch in the last 3–4 weeks.

Tip #3 — Refresh all your cell phones every 18–24 months and sell off the old phones.

Many businesses tend to only replace cell phones for their team when they break, get lost, or start acting up. This can create downtime and lost revenue for your business as many employees jobs rely heavily on their smartphones to function.

If you upgrade all of your phones at the 2 year mark, your current cell phones will likely still be in decent shape and you can sell them back to your carrier or a 3rd party for $100-$300+ each. This coupled with the credits mentioned earlier will likely mean you are paying $0 for the new cell phones upfront.

Your team gets the latest technology before their old cell phone fails, you don’t pay anything for the new cell phones and you sold off the old technology before it’s of no value and your IT team just shoves it in a drawer

Have a question about your business cell phone plan? Ask it in the comments below and I’ll answer you.

Connect with me here

Stop paying huge bills and start saving money today.

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