It’s hard to imagine a successful business that doesn’t depend on reliable, high-speed internet. It’s what processes payments, enables digital marketing efforts, and helps deliver responsive customer service. But entrepreneurs know managing a small business isn’t just about the money coming in; it’s paying out expenses too. And as valuable as your internet service is, you still want to make sure you’re getting the most value for every dollar. You might not realize it, but that’s what ISPs want too. They value your loyalty and want to continue serving you. So how do you meet in the middle and get the best internet package for your business?
Take a look at these tips for negotiating the best internet package. The key is to demonstrate your value as a customer and politely ask for a deal in exchange for your loyalty.
Do Your Homework First
Take some time to assess where you stand now. Pay particular attention to the following areas:
- Check your speed – Be sure you’re getting the speed you purchased. There are several sites you can use. Google partners with Measurement Labs to do a free test that takes only 30 seconds. Cable One provides one too. Speeds vary, so you’ll want to perform the test several times throughout the day. Tests will give you information on download and upload speeds as well as response times. Compare the results to what you’re paying for.
- Know your usage – Learn how much data you’re using now. Most ISPs have a webpage to check your usage. Compare your usage to the amount of data your plan provides.
- Construct your customer story – Be ready to explain your situation. Document your on-time payment record. Are you near the end of your contract? What package and price do you have? Are there any service issues you’ve encountered?
- Understand your options – Know what other options are available in your market. The Broadband Now comparison tool lets you research what other ISPs and service options are available to you.
Meeting in the Middle
Now that you’ve done your homework, contact your ISP directly and start the conversation. Remember, you want the best value and the ISPs want to retain loyal customers. With the right option, it can be a win-win for both.
Here are some of the options to consider:
- Switch to a different speed – One size does not fit all businesses. Lower-speed plans cost less and might be fine if you just need to email and surf the web. This chart from NerdWallet shows you what bandwidth is needed for different activities. Remember to consider the benefit as well as the cost. For example, a high-speed plan may cost more but the capabilities it provides might result in more sales or faster service to customers.
- Bundle services – Two combined service plans can be more cost-effective than one if you bundle. For example, pairing telephone with internet can save you money if you use both.
- Buy rather than rent – Do a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether it makes more sense to buy or rent your modem and router. That’s especially important if you plan to stay with the same ISP.
- Negotiate your bill – Here’s where your homework comes in. Use your customer story to demonstrate your value. Communicate your understanding of choices you have from other providers, including sign-up bonuses. The ISP may be able to offer a competitive option.
- Explore discounts – Some ISPs offer discounts to people who are members of a certain organizations, like AAA, or who use a specific credit card.
Get the most value by negotiating with your ISP for the best internet package your small business needs. Start by assessing your current situation, then leverage your loyalty to explore options.