business negotiation

As an entrepreneur, you most likely conduct your meetings over the phone instead of spending the money on airfare and accommodations. And until recently, very few business owners thought about how much a phone system cost. With the market the way it is, business owners have to be smart and cut costs on office equipment and services.

Over 68% of business owners that switched phone systems last year cited “cost savings” as the reason. VoIP and hosted services are the most popular choices today because it is cheaper and still offers the same amount of services as a traditional system.

If you are just starting out, or thinking about switching providers for your business phone system, here are a few things you should know:

  • If you are currently in a contract with a provider, ask if you can extend your contract or expand with more services. Sometimes companies will give you discounted upgrades or more services for a lower fee.
  • If your current provider does not meet your needs, switch. Just make sure you work out any details beforehand and factor in the time it takes to switch. Switching to a hosted PBX phone system from a traditional landline can take up to a week so have a cell phone handy.
  • If you are just starting out, typically VoIP and hosted services will discount set up costs to gain your business. You can also negotiate equipment costs by leasing or purchasing in volume. If you decide to lease (which I recommend starting out), ask about buyback provisions.
  • If you don’t know what system you need, learn the terminology before speaking with a company. Traditional systems, or landline-based options require a cabinet to house routing software. These systems, like a KSU or PBX system, or a bit more expensive than hosted and VoIP systems.
  • If you know how much you want to spend for the service, that’s a start. However, you have to factor in maintenance costs and training of the system (if needed). If you are switching providers, factor in those costs and see if you can ‘port’ your current number to the new company for free.
  • If you start negotiating, keep in mind that service charges tend to be fixed and non-negotiable. A phone system package with more comprehensive offerings and added features is what you can negotiate on.

Image by wagg66.