4 Ways to Cut Mobile Costs When Working from the Road

mobile working
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Technology, especially smartphones and mobile apps, have made it possible to work from just about anywhere. Whether you are taking a working vacation, traveling for business, or trying to catch up on work while sitting in a waiting room, it is possible to stay connected with customers, vendors, and employees on the go. You can manage orders, draft a sales report, prepare interview questions, collaborate with your team, or do research for a new project right from your mobile device.

And while that may be very convenient, it could also be very costly.

In order to truly get the best out of mobile technology, not only should you be able to keep up with work from anywhere, but it shouldn't cost you an unreasonable investment to do it.  These tips will help you run your small business on the go, without paying more than you need to.

1. Use Free Wi-Fi for Non-Sensitive Work

Free Wi-Fi hotspots are everywhere these days. You can set your mobile devices to alert you when Wi-Fi connections are available, and you will save money on data and roaming charges billed by your carrier. Carrier charges can become astronomical, particularly if you’re traveling internationally. If you’re not careful, you could end up amassing thousands in data transfer charges without realizing it.

But be careful about networks you use when you're working on confidential or sensitive projects. A connection that is free for you is also free for everyone else in range, which could mean you are opening up your signal to be intercepted.

Your best best is to use free Wi-Fi connections that have WPA encryption and require a login, and when you need more security, move to a paid Wi-Fi connection. Here are more tips for using free Wi-Fi safely from Norton.

2. Understand Your Mobile Plan

Mobile plans can be notoriously confusing with a lot of gray area.

Some features are unlimited, some rollover, and some have restrictions. Take time to review and thoroughly understand your plan and what it includes before traveling. You can even call your carrier before you go to get questions about availability and pricing answered. This way if you discover that working on the go will be impossible or cost-prohibitive, you will have time to make alternate plans.

3. Turn Off Cellular Usage

In the settings of most mobile devices, you have the option to prevent your phone from transmitting data unless you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Sometimes you can lose a Wi-Fi connection without realizing it, and unless you’ve selected this option on your device, your phone will automatically begin transmitting data through your carrier’s network. Those charges can add up very quickly. The only way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to tell your phone to transmit data through Wi-Fi only. The same goes for roaming charges. Tell your device not to allow roaming by changing this separate option in your phone’s settings.

4. Screen Your Calls

If you have limits on your plan, taking calls when you're traveling can add quite a bit of cost. Be smart about what calls you take and make from your device, and come up with an alternative plan for voice communication.

Services like Google Voice or Skype, for example, can save your valuable mobile minutes for when you really need them. Other VoIP telephone services offer this same flexibility, enabling you to forward your cell to a VoIP number. You’ll still need an Internet connection, of course, but free Wi-Fi can solve that problem.

Remember, your best bet for keeping costs down while you conduct business on the go is to understand your mobile plan’s fee structure and make alternative plans for keeping in touch. For more tips, read this guide to creating a mobile office.