Being cost-effective should be a top priority for any small business owner, and it doesn’t always mean having to cut corners. One way to find out where you might be spending unnecessarily is by doing a phone audit. Amy Keimach, owner of Border7Studios, a design company based in Simi Valley, Calif., said they performed a phone audit this past summer and realized they were paying more than $80 in monthly overage fees.
“Once we performed the audit and looked at our average phone usage, we modified our phone plan to a lot more minutes. Although it’s more expensive than our previous plan, we are still saving about $45 a month in comparison to before,” she says.
Be Diligent in Monitoring Your Phone Bills
Keimach says it can be easy to neglect that you’re paying more than you should for phone usage. Her business originally had an 800-minute phone plan that worked in the past, but as the business grew, and they got more clients, they used their phones more, causing them to go over their minutes without realizing it.
“You don’t really pay attention to it because it’s such a common thing to use your phone, and you don’t scrutinize,” she says. “We had to get a bigger bill several times before we realized how much extra money we were spending.”
Audits Don’t Have to be Complicated
Keimach says that performing the audit was as easy as using an Excel spreadsheet. They charted everyone’s minutes used from the past few months to find out what the average usage was—which turned out to be 1,000-1,200 minutes a month. After discussing with their carrier, Keimach says they learned the next upgrade was 1400 minutes a month, more than what she thought her staff would use. However, when they compared their overage fees with the additional upgrade charge, they found the upgrade would be more cost-effective.
When to Hire a Professional Auditor
Yosef Rabinowitz, managing director of TBRC Cost Recovery, a telephone bill auditing company based in New York, says if you want to save more money through other avenues besides just changing your plan, it might be smart to hire an auditor who can also assess potential billing errors, unnecessary services or above-market pricing, which he finds in 90% of the phone bills he examines. Rabinowitz says the good news for the small business owner with limited funds is that hiring an auditor is low risk because many auditors, including himself, work only on a percentage of savings and recovery, so the worst case scenario of doing a phone audit is that it turns out your bills are accurate and you’re already paying the lowest price available or getting the best deal around. “If that happens, the client merely invested a small amount of time compiling bills and can rest assured that their carriers are invoicing them properly,” says Rabinowitz. “And since no savings were generated by the auditor, there’s no fee for his or her time.”
Make it Auditing a Habit
Keimach recommends doing a phone audit every few months to touch base. It’s well worth its time even if only saves you a little money each month.
“I think it’s very important because every dollar and cent adds up, and that money can be used toward other more important things as you continue to grow,” she says.