Use VOIP to save on phone bill
A lot of our readers were intrigued when we mentioned the reasons for our high profitability. We watch our costs very closely. Apart from what we mentioned there (we fly coach and avoid business trips as much as we can), one area that we have made tremendous savings is the tele-communications, or in simple words, telephone bill (we will deal with other areas where we manage our costs very carefully in later articles). We switched to a new technology called voice over internet protocol or VOIP in November of 2003.
What is VOIP?
This is a non-technical explanation. Instead of sending the phone calls over traditional phone lines, they are sent over the Internet (which you typically access if you have a broadband connection). Thus, your phone call is identical to an email or a chat or surfing of a website. In other words, it is as cheap as sending an email, or almost free (you will need to pay a small monthly fee to a VOIP provider and pay by the minute for international calls). So if you have a broadband connection you can use VOIP technology for your phone system and literally drive down your business telecommunications expenses by as much 75% (as we did).
How does VOIP work?
While you will need to research each of the dozens of companies (Vonage, Packet8 Broadband, Lingo, IDT, Nortel Networks, Avaya, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) that are active in VOIP for your specific needs, switching to VOIP is generally quite straightforward and painless. Whether you have one line or 50, the installation is inexpensive and easy. In fact, we were able to make the switch on our own without any technical help. We opted for Vonage but we encourage you to research as many VOIP companies as you can to figure out the best package for your specific needs.
Are there any disadvantages of using VOIP?
- We have not noticed any difference in quality at all for domestic calls or calls to Canada.
- For international calls, the quality is somewhat lower (depending on what country you are calling, time of day, etc.) but you can compare it to the quality on a cellphone.
- You might still want to keep at least one regular phone line in your office just in case there are any problems with your broadband connection.