Cell Phones vs Two-Way Radios
All businesses need to have some kind of reliable communication system in order to function correctly. It doesn’t even need to be hi-tech necessarily. If two cans connected by a string works for you, then great. You have just what you need. Expanding your system later on will be quite easy. All you will need to do is hook up another can.
However, cans on a string isn’t going to cut it for a majority of businesses. Fortunately, there are a number of options available, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the ideal two way radio system for your business.
For VOIP and Cell Phones to Two-Way Radios… there are many different options for you to choose from.
For our purposes here, we have narrowed the choices down to Cell Phones and Two-Way Radios. Each of them have advantages as well as disadvantages, depending on what kind of business you have. To keep things clear, I am comparing these two communication systems. However, these days it is quite common for a business to use both two way radios and cell phones.
To start with, we will take a closer look at cell phones. You might have noticed that there is a “walkie-talkie” feature on some cell phones. This has helped to bridge the gap between two way radios and cell phones. However, there is still plenty of space between the two. In fact, cell phones come really close to that analogy mentioned above about the cans on a string.
Cell phones work great if there are just a couple of individuals working for you that are on the go occasionally. They are usually inexpensive to purchase and maintain. You can often get free phones, so the only cost you need to pay is the monthly fee, which tends to be around $40 to $50 a month per phone. That is a very small price in order to have reliable communications.
If you happen to have at least 5 individuals working for you, it’s a good idea to start looking for other options other than cell phones. I don’t have anything against cell phones. It’s because the monthly fees on cell phones can really start adding up.
High Monthly Fees Limit The Cost Effectiveness Of Cell Phones
One of the walkie-talkie cell phone providers charges around $50 a month for your first phone and then approximately $30 a month for each additional phone that is on your plan. So if you have 10 employees, maybe your provider gave you your cell phones for free. However, over time, they definitely make the difference up. You would pay approximately $800 a month or $9600 a year, and that’s just is you never went over on your minutes. That’s a lot of money.
In addition to the issue of the monthly fee, there are a couple of other things that need to be considered when it comes to cell phones. Our first consideration is a minor problem would turn into a major one quite easily: it is easy to abuse cell phones. It easy to call whoever you want to and rack up a lot of minutes. If you don’t have any preventive measures in place, it could end up costing a fortune. Productivity is another issue. As workers are calling their girlfriends or family members, they aren’t getting any work done. Or even if they happen to be working, they most likely aren’t paying too much attention to what they are doing until they are finished with their call.
The Cell Phone Company Must Maintain The Cell Phone Service
There are also control issues in addition to potential productivity issues. Many business owners like having control. It tends to be one of major reasons they started a business to begin with. Cell phones don’t provide you with much control. You don’t have any control over the type of customer service you receive, and it can be very poor at times. Also, if the system dies on you, you don’t have any control over when it will be up and running again. You have to rely on the phone company to do that.
So what is my stance on cell phones? Honestly, I don’t have one. I do deal in two way radios. However, I also admit there are times when using a cell phone makes more sense. They are usually the best option for personal use. They can also work quite well for business use, depending on what kind of business it is. They tend to be more practical for smaller businesses and potentially more cost effective as well than over alternatives. However, bigger businesses definitely need to get more out their communications in order to function properly.
Now that we have taken a look at the things that cell phones can provide you with, it’s time for us to look into two way radios. Like with cell phones, at times it makes a lot of sense to use them, while at other times it doesn’t. Just use a cell phone if you just need to speak with your assistant manager. You may be wondering if it isn’t worth it for small businesses to have two-way radio. Yes, but here is what I have to say about that.
If your business is wanting to use two-way analog radio with power of 1/2 watt, then you will need to buy a FCC license first. Typically these licenses cost under under $500 and last for 10 years, depending on what your specific situation is. It might not really be worth it for just two people. However for large and even medium companies, it can definitely be worth the money and could even end up saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars a year.
So let’s use the same example from above. You have 10 employees who need to communicate with one another. Having a cell phone system would cost $9,600 a year at least. So if you needed the system for about 4 years, which is pretty typical considering you usually need to have a contract with cell phones. Your communication system over 4 years would cost $38,400 at least.
Say those same 10 employees were provided with a 4 channel model two-way radio. The average cost is approximately $450. So 10 radios for 10 people will cost $4,500 and then you will need to spend around $450 to get an FCC license. Over 10 years that only comes out to be $45 a year. So over 4 years you would save around $34,000, but you would be getting a lot of other benefits also.
Being Able To Control Your Communications Gives You Peace Of Mind
To begin with, business owners can control their system much better than with cell phones. You bought the license and radios; so you are the one controlling your airways. Your system will only crash if something happens to the radios. Typically high quality two-way radios last for 7-10 years at least.
Poor customer service is another thing you won’t need to worry about since you will probably be going to an authorized dealer to buy your radios. A majority of dealers, unlike phone companies, have real humans answering the phone. In addition, you will have a consultant working with you on each step along the way to make sure you are completely satisfied.
The most important factor in determining whether to use radios or cell phones is…
What will you be using them for? What kinds of features do you need? Take a closer look at what your environment is like to get answers to those questions. In industrial environments, things can easily get broken from either an accident or drop. You will need to have durable two way radios. You won’t need anything nearly as robust if you will be sitting inside an office.