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Long Distance Service Prices
Telecommunications is a highly competitive industry. If you haven't shopped around lately for a better deal on your small business long distance service, you may be paying too much.
Phone companies are constantly changing their rates and most are willing to offer discounted rates to entice new customers. Shopping around on a regular basis (at least once a year) is a great way to lower your overall business expenses.
Small Business Long Distance Service Rates
Depending on usage, most small business pay anywhere from just $10 or $15 a month for long distance to several hundred dollars per month.
Many telecom companies offer bundle plans that combine charges for local calling, long distance and Internet service onto a single bill. However, your long distance rates will still be based on your overall usage.
Most long distance service providers bill in one of two ways:
- Per-minute plans are the most common. Generally, telecom providers charge from $.02 to $.12 per minute for long distance telephone calls within the United States. These billing plans might also come with monthly service fees or monthly minimums.
- Flat fee plans offer an allotted number of long distance minutes for a fixed monthly fee. However, if you surpass that allotted number, per-minute rates and other fees will kick in.
Choosing a Small Business Long Distance Service
Flat fee plans are generally only offered to small business with just a handful of lines. It wouldn't be cost effective for telecom companies to offer those plans to larger business that frequently make long distance calls.
That leaves most of us with a variety of per-minute plans from which to choose. When shopping various providers, pay particular attention to the billing increment. You'll want to purchase a plan that bills in six second increments. Some telecom companies with low per-minute rates bill in 60 second increments, which means you will be billed for a full minute even if the call lasts just a few seconds. Those fees add up quickly.
You'll also want to pay close attention to monthly minimums. If your average long distance bill is currently $75, you won't want to sign up for a service with a $100 minimum.
Small Business Long Distance Service Buying Tips
- You shouldn't have to pay sign-up fees to switch your long distance plan. Most providers will be happy to let you switch to their services free of charge.
- By signing a one to three-year contract, you'll be able to negotiate a lower per-minute rate. However, keep in mind that you won't be able to switch carriers before the contract expires without paying penalty fees.
- If your long distance service also includes a toll free number that customers and clients can use to dial in, be sure to find out if the incoming rates differ from the outgoing rates.
- Always use a landline, not a cell phone, to make international calls. The long distance rates are generally much cheaper.