How Self-Employed Builders Can Cut Phone Costs
- 02 Jul 2021
The building trade is booming right now. Being stuck at home during lockdown has prompted a lot of people to take a long, hard look at their homes and decide that work is needed. New kitchens, extensions large enough to accommodate a home office, and extra bedrooms are all top of the must-have list. Naturally, this has led to a glut of work for builders. However, while having a packed work diary is great, you won’t enjoy a significant boost in your profits unless you are able to keep your business operating costs under control.
Profit is income less cost. The lower your costs, the more profit you make. A business phone is just one cost your business bears, but it’s an important one, as this is one area where you can look for cheaper deals relatively easily.
Any self-employed person needs a means of contacting existing and potential clients. Since the nature of your job means you won’t be tethered to an office for much of the working day, a mobile phone is essential. Without a mobile phone, you can’t talk to clients, suppliers, order materials, or project manage jobs. You will be effectively hamstrung.
Read on to learn how you can minimise your costs and maximise the benefits you enjoy.
Choose the Right Handset
There are dozens of handsets available at any given time, with more being released every few months. It is always nice to have the latest, flashiest handset, but given the nature of your job, ask yourself whether it’s worth it?
It makes no sense to splash out on the latest iPhone, for example, when there is a chance that it will end up damaged on a building site. A slightly older handset will do the exact same job and will be able to accommodate the apps you need for a lot less. Instead of aspiring to own the latest iPhone or Samsung, shop for a phone model that’s a year or two older. The price will be significantly lower, but in real terms, you won’t notice much difference.
iPhone Vs. Android
Some people prefer iPhones whereas others like Android phones. It is very much a personal choice. If you already own an iPhone, it makes life easier if you switch to a newer model. All you need to do is upload your phone’s data to your iCloud account and then download it to the new handset. Switching between an iPhone and Android can be done, and there are ways to transfer contacts between the two but allow for a learning curve if you are not used to the other operating system.
Protect Your Phone
Building work is messy and typically includes working outside in all weathers. From plaster and cement to water and mud, there are many things that can damage the delicate mechanisms of a mobile phone, not to mention the glass screen.
Whatever handset you buy will need a heavy-duty case to protect it from damage. There are a few to choose from, but look for one that offers multi-layer protection from shock and water damage. Be aware that some cases are quite cumbersome and make it difficult to access the screen or make calls. However, compromises must be made if you want to keep your handset safe.
Dual Sim Phones
It can be very annoying owning two handsets, one for personal use and the other for business use. The way around this is to buy a dual SIM handset, which lets you run two SIM cards at the same time. You can make and receive calls, and send messages, from both SIM cards. The upside is that you can connect to the second network if the first is patchy (assuming you use SIMs on different networks). The downside is that if you are on a call on the personal SIM, the business SIM will be engaged.
There are pros and cons to using a dual SIM phone, so weigh these up before you buy one, but the big advantage is that you don’t need to carry two or more phones.
One way to buy a new phone is by paying for it on a monthly contract, which covers the cost of the phone as well as the calls, texts, and data. The advantage of buying a phone on a contract is that it allows you to spread the cost over 18-24 months. The downside is that it is an expensive way to purchase a phone and you are then locked into a monthly tariff that might turn out to be more than you need.
Buying a handset outright is usually more cost-effective. You are free to choose any handset you like and search for the cheapest deals. When combined with a SIM-only tariff, you have the best of all worlds: flexibility and competitive pricing.
Shop around for the best SIM only deals from providers like Lebara. For example, Lebara offers 30-day rolling plans, which can be capped and cancelled at any time. There is no credit check involved, so if you are setting up a business from scratch, you don’t need to worry about being turned down.
SIM only deals can be changed as your needs change, so if you decide you need more data or extra calls, it’s easy to switch to a new plan. In the early days of setting up a business when you might not need as much data or call minutes, this is quite handy and saves you from spending more than you need to.
Do You Have Enough Data?
Consider how much data you need, as some plans charge a lot when you exceed your inclusive data allowance. This is a big disadvantage of monthly contracts, which tend to be less flexible. If you do decide to buy a pay-monthly phone, be very careful not to underestimate how much data you will need.
Look for Deals with Unlimited Calls
The best plans offer unlimited calls. This means you can make as many calls as you like without worrying about exceeding your call allowance. Since you may need to spend a lot of time speaking to clients and suppliers, it’s worth going for a plan with unlimited minutes.
Use Wi-Fi at Home
If you don’t have unlimited data on your plan and you can’t switch to a new one right now, utilise Wi-Fi where possible. This is the best time to download apps, invoices from suppliers, and make VoIP calls via WhatsApp or FaceTime.
Since many clients will prefer to have video chats rather than meet face-to-face, at least while Covid restrictions are still in place, it makes sense to use your Wi-Fi at home rather than eat up data unnecessarily.
Invest in Phone Insurance
It can be expensive to replace a handset if the worst happens. Phone insurance is worth having for this reason. If you accidentally drop your phone in a cement mixer or it falls from a great height and shatters, the insurance policy will cover the cost of a replacement. Consider this an expense worth paying.
Don’t rush into buying the first handset or sign up for a mobile contract without doing a bit of research first. That way you won’t end up on the hook for a monthly bill you could have easily avoided.