OK, you might be thinking, “Phone service?! How boring is that!”
There’s a reason why I’m excited about this topic: you’ll save a bunch of money.
Seriously. Each and every year, I save nearly $1,400.00. Yep, and it was super easy.
If you haven’t already realized, I’m a bit of a cheapskate. It’s not that I won’t spend money on quality stuff, but it’s just that it’s not that often that I find quality things I like to spend money on.
But for my current phone setup, I’m really happy. First though, some background.
My business phone setup: version 1
When I first started my consulting business, I used my personal cellphone for all my client calls. I was already paying for the service, and I could call anywhere from any location. Convenient, yes, but the call quality wasn’t the best, and it probably didn’t project the most professional image.
This was back in 2007, and I just had a cheapo, non-smartphone, so I didn’t have access to e-mail from my phone.
My business phone setup: version 2
When I started working from home during the day (while I was phasing out my day job), I used my home phone for client calls. While the sound quality was better, any client calls were going to my personal phone (and, yes, I did change the outgoing message so it was professional).
The problem was that the cordless phones kept running out of battery power after about 45 minutes on a call. I could have sprung for a couple of new batteries (about $20 each for my 2 cordless phones), but not only am I cheap, I’m also lazy.
Again, not very professional. But at least I wasn’t paying any additional costs.
My business phone setup: version 3
A couple years ago, I discovered a few services that really changed things.
I started using Skype for some calls with colleagues, and had also used some e-faxing services. I did some research, and ended up getting a dedicated phone number, along with unlimited local & long-distance calling through Skype.
In contrast, I could have gone with a traditional phone company (currently Qwest in my area) for similar services, but it would have cost more–a TON more. Here’s the comparison:
- Qwest landline: $115.00 per month
- Skype service: $60.00 per year
So, each month, I’m saving $110, which doesn’t even take Qwest’s one-time $50 setup fee into account. I told you: HUGE savings.
A few things I like about Skype:
- Unlimited calling to local, long-distance, and mobile numbers.
- My own dedicated phone number.
- Call forwarding.
- I can call from anywhere. Mostly I call through my laptop, but Skype also has a mobile phone app too. With a traditional landline, I’d only be able to call from my office.
- All the other nifty features of Skype, like: chat, send files, screen sharing, etc.
What if you need more than 1 phone line?
I currently don’t need more than my 1 phone line, but if you have several employees, you can get similar service using RingCentral, again, for a LOT less than a traditional landline-type phone service.
RingCentral gives you features like:
- A dedicated regular or toll-free number.
- Virtual receptionist and a dial-by-name directory.
- Call forwarding.
It costs a little more than Skype–plans vary between $10/month, $30/month, and up, depending on what features you need–but it’s still extremely cheap compared to a traditional landline phone provider.
I recently added a Tools & Resources page that lists a wide variety of other services that I use for my business: Tools & Resources
Note: Some of these links may make me a few dollars if you sign up. In all cases, you will not be charged extra for using my link, and you help support StartMyConsultingBusiness.com.