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Hot Cost-Saving Idea: Managing Phone Costs

With more and more salespeople doing business over the phone instead of face-to-face, many reps are looking for ways to cut down on their phone bill.

Leslie Nollie-Hernandez, owner of Eillon Enterprises (asi/186312), works out of her home, but in the interest of professionalism, wanted a business number to supplement her cell phone number. “We ended up getting a business phone number that is a virtual number, which means it can be forwarded directly to you no matter where you are,” she says. “I never miss a call and it only costs me $12 a month. Clients don't even know they’re calling my cell phone.”

Ben Adler, president of Top of the Line Promotions (asi/345372), says he plans to soon put an end to his business land line. “This really has to go,” he says. “I’ve saved a little money by having all calls forwarded to my cell phone and basically keeping the land line because of the outgoing faxes. I have an e-fax and I could fax that way, but it’s a pain to be scanning documents all the time.”

“I don’t want to use my home line for faxing because if someone’s on the line and I start faxing, that won’t be good for anyone. I will figure out a way soon to get around this.”

Allison Gower, president of The Platform Group Gallery (asi/78708), is a big proponent of Skype, a software program that allows the user to make phone calls via the Internet. Skype can be used for every phone call, including local, long distance and international.

“The basic service is free,” she says. “You set up an account by going to skype.com and creating a profile. The basic service will allow you to call contacts on their Skype number or a regular phone number.”

“There’s an interface that’s like a phone pad, and you dial numbers, then speak through your computer’s sound system. Most computers support sounds and will either have built-in or accessory speakers.”

The service only costs Gower an estimated $10 every six months.

The voicemail and call-forwarding features of the Skype also come in handy. You can check your voicemail via the Web, so you can easily check in and get information from remote locations.

“I work in many locations and am always on the go. I find my Skype number is the best way for people to reach me without going through the extensions at the office or calling my mobile. It’s hands-free, so I can talk and type at the same time, and it doesn't eat into my mobile minutes,” Gower says.