This may seem an obvious place to start, but although most major business landline providers offer free calls as part of package deals, they may not reveal this information without some prompting - or may offer promotional, introductory free calls instead of an ongoing service. Don't be afraid to push for free calls as part of your service package, as it will save you money in the long run. If a contract is up for renewal, or is reaching a point where it can be upgraded, it is also worth discussing options for free calls with providers.
Most providers will allow you to choose times of day during which calls are free, or certain numbers that will be free to call. Choosing times when you know you make a lot of calls - or when your clients are more likely to be available - will be beneficial, as you will avoid any flat-rate charges. You can also use free calls to your advantage if you work across time zones. Choosing specific numbers for clients, suppliers or partners who you are constantly in contact with is also a great way to use free calls to your advantage, as the numbers you call most frequently become free to use.
Although calls may be free for certain times of day or certain numbers, 03, 08, 09, 0845 and 118 numbers may still charge a connection fee, although no flat-rate fee will be charged. Check this with your provider.
Again, free calls may not apply to international or long-distance calls, although you may find packages that support these calls for free.
Getting an itemised bill sent through for your business phone lines will allow you to get an overview of which calls are being charged, as well as helping you to keep track of which numbers you call most and which times of day you make most calls.
When using free calls, line rental (instead of flat-rate per minute charges) may become your biggest cost. There are services that offer cheap line rental, however, and it might also be worth considering a switchboard service or cutting down on the number of phone lines your company uses.
Often, companies bundle cheap or free landline services with more lucrative mobile phone or broadband contracts. It may be worth seeing if a provider can offer you a better deal for an all-inclusive phone package.
Many companies offer free landline calls as bonuses or loyalty rewards during ongoing phone or internet contracts, or may offer free international calls for a certain period. It's worth keeping an eye out for these promotions and taking advantage of them when they appear.
Often, a provider will include extra services in a landline deal that you don't use. Check your itemised bill to see if you're being charged for extras, such as data and roaming, that you don't use through your landline service.
The telecommunications market is highly competitive, and providers are likely to be able to match prices if they're threatened with losing a contract because you are comparing business landline prices. Negotiate with them, quote competitors' prices, and see if you can maximise your free landline calls. Here at Make It Cheaper you can compare quotes from a number of companies to ensure you get the best deal. For help in choosing the best landline deal for your business, read our helpful guide.