Before your small business makes the switch to a VoIP service provider, you should know some basic info. The good news is that all of the answers you need can be found in one place- in your current phone bill.
Getting to know what you're paying for when you pay for your small business's phone service today, and getting to know how much that costs are the first steps in understanding how switching to VoIP service can save your small business money or provide new useful features that you don't currently have access to (because your current provider charges too much for them or simply doesn't offer them).
How many phone lines does your business use?
Looking at your bill to find out how many phone lines your business is using is the first bit of data you'll need to gather. This will determine how many SIP Trunks you need. SIP Trunks are the phone lines of the VoIP world. So if your bill says that you're currently paying for 5 lines, you will likely need 5 SIP Trunks.
Now is also a good time to make sure you're not paying for numbers or services that you're not using anymore. This kind of thing can end up costing you a great deal if you don't correct it quickly! Small business owners are frequently surprised at how much they're spending on telephone services and features that they're not even using.
If you spot errors during this audit of your phone bill, don't be too surprised- it's estimated that up to 50% of business phone bills have errors.
Are you paying for phone numbers?
It's possible that your current phone service provider is providing you with more phone numbers than you have phone lines. Take a look at your bill to find out how much you're paying for all of your phone numbers.
Are there any toll free or other specialty numbers that your small business uses? Take a look at what these specialty numbers are costing you with your current telephone service.
It's highly likely you'll save money on phone numbers (sometimes referred to as DIDs or Direct Inward Dial in VoIP lingo) by switching to VoIP service.
Does your business make mostly local calls?
This is an area where you'll want to be careful. If most of your business's calls are local calls, it's important to understand that many VoIP service providers do not have any concept of what is "local" to you.
If you're not paying for local minutes with your current phone service provider, it's time to crunch some numbers and find out how much those local minutes would cost your small business if you switched to VoIP service.
Keep in mind that even if you find that your local calls would cost more with VoIP, providers may offer savings in other areas that make up that difference, and some may offer an unlimited VoIP service plan that would still end up saving you money over your current total bill.How many minutes of long distance calling does your small business make?
If your business is making many long distance calls, chances are good that VoIP can save you money on your monthly bills. Look at your current bill to evaluate how many minutes of outbound long distance calls your business makes every month and multiply that by your current provider's long distance rates.
Once you begin to evaluate a new VoIP service provider for your small business, you can perform the same calculation using their rate and see if there's savings to be found. You may be able to save even more if that VoIP service provider offers an unlimited long distance calling plan.
What about international calls?
Are there certain countries that your business calls frequently? If they're to another branch of your business, it's likely that you can save a ton of money by switching to VoIP, since many providers can offer free calling between branches!
If your bill tells you that your business makes many calls to one particular or just a handful of countries, look for a provider that gives you great rates to those countries.