Business Long Distance Service Shopping Tips

Whether your operating from a home office or large corporation, more than ever before has there not been a need to save your organization’s bottom line in this current economy. While the telecom end of your business is a necessary part of the machine for a successful operation, it can also be the most costly. By trimming business long distance expenses you can drastically increase profitability margins while maintaining or even increasing the effectiveness of your business call center usage. Today we will look into traditional switched long distance that can give your business the financial savings it deserves.

Switched services are a basic and simple transition for most businesses utilizing traditional POTs (Point of Termination) services. In some instances POTs is also considered an abbreviation for Plain Ole Telephone. In any case, POTs basically is a traditional phone line put in place by a local carrier such as SBC, Bell, AT&T, etc.

Switched long distance services require minimal set-up and maintenance to save on business telecommunications. Usually a few forms and a PICC unfreeze on your account is all it really takes to switch long distance carriers. Finding a carrier that suits your calling needs however can be a little more time consuming and does require some closer attention. You will want to analyze any applicable international rates, intralata (in-state L.D.) rates, as well as monthly fees, per line fees, etc.

Some features you will want to shop for:

Intralata Rates (In-State L.D.)
These rates can exceed the interlata (State-to-State) rates!!! If you make the majority of your calls within your state, then you might want to consider shopping solely by intralata rates. A pricier interlata rate could very easily be offset by a lower intralata pricing for in-state calling businesses.

Interlata Rates (State-to-State L.D.)
Usually the first advertised carrier price is what will be the interlata rate. If your company makes a majority of it’s calls to other states, this pricing option may be best suited for your business. Remember that the advertised rate may not be the same for in-state long distance calls.

International Rates
An advertised per minute rate may grab your attention, but keep in mind that each country may have an additional charge for connecting calls to cell phones as well as hiked up per minute rates. Be sure to research all the rates for any country you feel you may be calling, you might find one or more country to be outside your desired budget.

Per Minute Billing
30 and 60 second billing is a common increment on the market. Remember that anything over 30 seconds will bill to a minute and anything over 60 seconds will bill to another minute. These may not seem like much at first, but with a large calling volume it can add up to thousands of dollars easily. There are some quality carriers offering business long distance with 3 and 6 second billing increments which can save you countless amounts of long distance costs.

Contracts
If at all possible, avoid contracts including short term. Canceling services can pack on some hefty cancellation fees especially if you have more than 5 business lines. A carrier that offers contract free service has a tendency to work harder to retain it’s customers meaning better quality of services for you.

Toll Free Numbers
Almost all long distance carriers offer toll free service as an additional service. If you plan to use toll free numbers with switched business long distance, make sure you are able to get the same rate and billing increments as in your long distance plan. Many carriers have a monthly fee to retain a toll free number so shop for the lowest monthly fee associated with an 800, 888, 877, or 866 number.

Monthly Fees
Carriers advertising “No Monthly Fees” often only are offering no monthly fees for accounts with a certain amount of monthly usage. If your company is not going to be using a lot of long distance services you will want to try to find a carrier with a more reasonable monthly fee for less usage. Do not be frightened though, if your bill typically is over $20.00-$50.00 a month, you should be in the clear for these fees.