Your business phone is a non-negotiable expense. Paying your bill each month becomes a habit; it may even be automatic. Because of the necessity of your phone service, hidden fees on your business phone bill are easily overlooked.
Some phone providers increase the cost of your monthly business phone service by adding ambiguous fees or taxes. Even when these charges are seemingly insignificant, they do add up over time.
Hidden Fees to Watch For on Your Business Phone Bill
Here are some of the hidden fees to watch out for on your business phone bill:
1. Initial Fees
Your first phone bill with a new provider can sometimes be a shock. The company’s quote usually does not detail taxes and extra fees. Sometimes a provider will require the first month to be paid in advance, making your initial payment more than double what it normally will be. Also, some providers charge from the installation date and include the next month in the first bill, so you’re paying for a full month plus a partial month.
2. Rollover Lines
A rollover line is typically used to allow a business to receive multiple calls at the same time. To prevent a caller from receiving a busy signal, calls are “rolled over” to another line. Be sure you’re not paying for more lines than you really need.
3. Wire Maintenance
The implication of wire maintenance fees is that your phone service provider is working to maintain the wires that connect your business to your phone service. The problem is that not all phone service providers have access to those wires. Most often, it is the phone service supplier (a vendor to your phone service provider) that is responsible for the wiring.
4. Long Distance & Toll Charges
For many businesses, long distance or toll-free charges are unavoidable. It’s part of the cost of doing business, but it’s worth exploring your options with your phone service provider. Depending on your service plan, there could be time frames when long distance calls are free, for example. If you can’t seem to negotiate a reduction on these fees, get creative about long distance communication (like sending emails instead).
5. Users or Extensions & Features
Evaluate how many lines or users your business actually needs. Is your plan excessive? Look closely at additional features you’re paying for. These are sometimes charged on a per line or per user basis as well.
6. Unused Features
Are you paying for features you’re not using? Some companies might lump certain features in with your plan even if you don’t need it or didn’t specifically request it. Make sure you understand exactly what any third-party charges are for; they may not be relevant to your business.
How to Avoid Hidden Fees on Your Business Phone Service
The best way to avoid hidden fees on your business phone service is to be proactive and alert. When negotiating you initial contract, request a breakdown of all the charges you can expect. Ask for what your total will be on your first bill and make sure you understand it. Take the time to look at each monthly bill and keep your eyes open for any new or indeterminate charges.
You may be able to reduce your monthly phone expenses by bundling your services. Most phone service providers offer discounts for packages including more than one service. Having all your phone services on one bill also reduces administrative costs.
How a Hosted Phone Service Can Reduce Your Business Phone Expenses
A hosted phone service can reduce your business phone expenses and eliminate the nuisance of hidden fees.
A broadband internet connection and an IP phone are the only requirements for setting up a hosted phone system. Your business is probably already paying for internet service, so the cost of set-up is comparatively low.
Monthly hosted phone service plans typically offer greater value than traditional phone service. Along with standard business phone features, additional features are included, such as:
- SMS messaging and queues,
- conference calling,
- Auto Attendant (virtual receptionist),
- CRM integration,
- voicemail-to-email transcription,
- customized messages- and music-on-hold,
- and more.
Don’t Pay Unnecessary Fees on Your Business Phone Service
Phone service providers are increasingly creative in finding ways to charge you more for your business phone service. If you’re vigilant and assertive, you may be able to stay on top of things and prevent your business from paying for hidden fees.
A simpler solution might be to switch to a hosted phone service. SelectCom’s business phone system provides valuable features and reliable service for an affordable price. For more information about SelectCom’s business phone solutions, contact us today.