Cell phones and mobile phone plans may be essential for the growth of your business, but how should you go about adopting a cell phone plan? Here, we look into how to choose a business cell phone plan.
You'll not only find out whether your small business needs a mobile phone plan but also how to select the best cell phone plan for your business needs.
By the end of this article, you'll hopefully be able to decide not only whether or not a business cell phone plan is right for you, but what cell phone plan is best suited for your needs.
In This Guide
Which Business Plan is Right for You?
First thing's first. I know you may be tempted to equip your small business with a nifty plan and plenty of smartphones, but should you even purchase a business cell phone plan?
You should first examine your business to determine your company's communication needs. For instance, if you have a lot of clients that you meet within the office, you may not need to rely on a cell phone. However, if you have an app dedicated to your business, or if your staff needs to be on the go while checking their email and web applications, then you should consider a business smartphone plan.
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Also, you should take a moment to review your company's calling habits. How often does your company make phone calls? Does your company miss many calls when the staff exits the building or takes a break? If the answer to the latter question is "many, many calls" then you should adopt a cell phone plan.
Additionally, can your staff go without any of the additional features provided by a phone? Do you only need phones for texting and calling? If so, you should go with basic phones. However, you should mainly ask yourself if you can go without a business mobile phone. If you can, you should then consider adopting a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service, which is a cheap alternative to the traditional phone service. One such VoIP service that you can refer to is Google Voice, as Google Voice has received high ratings from consumers.
Features and Needs
Additionally, if you do decide to run to a cell phone company for a business plan, then you should consider the features you desire. Do you want phones equipped with GPS trackers? Why a GPS tracker? Well, there are some jobs that do require GPS. For instance, I've worked for a company that required a GPS tracker, as I had to go door-to-door asking survey questions. Overall, the company wanted to track my progress as I've conducted my solicitations.
You may need a fully unlimited plan, so you and your staff won't have to worry about reaching the data limit. The four major carriers - AT&T, Sprint network, T-Mobile network, and Verizon Wireless - all feature unlimited everything plans.
MVNOs are typically cheaper compared to any of the four major cellular carriers. In fact, you may save more on handset and plan costs overall, depending on the MVNO.
Some MVNOs that you could look into are Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, two of Sprint network's subsidiaries, both provide unlimited plans at very little cost.
Pour Over the Fees Involved
As I've mentioned earlier, there are fees to be possibly worried about. You may have to worry about line fees or activation fees. Not to mention, you'll have to cover taxes, government fees, administrative fees, and more. For more information on the costs you might incur, we break them all down in our guide on hidden cell phone fees and taxes.
Depending on your carrier, you may end up with an unsightly bill, so make sure to do your research before you sign up with a carrier. After all, while you can move to carriers that will pay up to hundreds of dollars to switch, you will still have to pay for the phones and other fees.
Related: Check out this guide on how to avoid early termination fees.
Examine the Discounts
When you look through any form of monthly plan, you should examine the discounts. Employee discounts are one such example that allows you and your organization to save money.
As an example, you could set up an organizational discount service with Verizon, for instance, and grant your employees a certain discount percentage when they sign up for a monthly plan (or even a data plan). However, you must have an agreement with Verizon.
Explore the Coverage & Roaming Options
You'll want the best coverage for your business, as you don't want to experience dropped calls or poor reception. After all, either of the two could lead to the loss of your money. So do your research and look for the providers with the best reception in your location. Furthermore, look into the roaming fees with the provider before you make any rash decisions. Roaming fees can drive your expenses through the roof, and you want to maximize as much profit as possible for your company.
You may want to also look into an international plan if you plan on making those important business calls to London or Hong Kong. This will also help you save more money for your company in the long term.
Select the Right Phone
When you purchase a cell phone plan, you'll need smart phones and phone numbers for your staff.
Unfortunately, if you need the latest smartphone - something that will last a few years and has a long battery life - then you'll more than likely need to cough up a lot of money to cover down payments for the phone.
However, if you can settle for older phones or even basic phones, you could possibly receive them either for free or for cheap. Also, if possible, you should see if the cell phone company, like Straight Talk, offers a discount for phone purchases made in bulk. You could also possibly get fees waived for SIM cards (if they aren't included free of charge, that is). The SIM card, or subscriber identity module card, contains not only your phone number but also your contacts, text messages, and more. Without the SIM card, you cannot access the designated provider's towers, meaning no phone service whatsoever.
Compare Voice & Data Plans
Be sure to compare monthly plans when you search for the perfect business plan. You'll find that most providers offer either individual or family plans, otherwise known as group plans. With a family plan, you would save money across multiple lines. Typically, the more lines you add, the more you save, so you should certainly consider adopting a family plan. With a small business, you'll be able to add plenty of lines to your service.
Also, look through the features made available by the voice plans. Should you choose a postpaid plan or prepaid plan? Nowadays, after all, the postpaid plans and prepaid no-contract plans are quite similar (one of the major differences, however, is the phone selection).
Check out our buyer's guide to conference call services.