We’ve reached the peak. The apex. The penultimate. The zenith (not your grandmother’s TV). If you have a significant number of wireless users that you are re-upping or moving to a new provider, you have a decent amount of leverage when it comes to adding your terms to a new contract. I hesitate to say how many lines qualify as having leverage, because it depends not only on the provider, but also the time of the year (end of quarter).

There are certain items you want to have in the contract that won’t take maverick skills to accomplish. Here’s a short list:

Activation Fees: Most wireless providers will charge an activation fee of about $30 for new users. That’s a b.s. charge. It’s another way for them to line their pockets and they know it. You shouldn’t get much resistance for having this charge waived.

Co-terminus Contract End Date: This benefits the provider so it should be easy to get this in the contract. It will definitely help to have all phone contracts end at the same date. This will save time keeping a spreadsheet of when phones are out of contract. It helps you by keeping things simple. It also helps the provider by locking in phones for a longer period of time. Assume a phone you are consolidating is six months in to a two-year contract. By having a co-terminus contract end date, that wireless provider now has that phone for 30 months, not 24. They shouldn’t say no to that.

Early Termination Fees (ETFs): There are two points to address here: get a percentage of your headcount of users waived and have a sliding scale of ETF fees. ETFs are expensive, but you don’t have to be nailed down to them. The first thing you want to add to any contract is to have ETFs assessed on a sliding scale. What I mean by this is to have the fee reduced by a certain amount for every month the phone is in service. A standard amount is $5 per month. So if a phone is under a two year contract but needs to be cancelled after 12 months, the ETF will be $60 rather than $200.

Percentage of headcount is another leverage point. What this means is you can eliminate a certain amount of lines without incurring any ETFs. Say you have 200 devices and negotiate you can cancel 10% (fairly standard) of your current headcount without incurring an ETF. That means you can get rid of 20 devices and not pay a cent. Ten percent is a standard number. Shoot high and you never know what you can get out of this. But never go for less than 10%.

Equipment Pricing: I hesitate to include this, but it’s worth mentioning. It helps to have a uniform fleet of phones and there are many quality phones you can get for free when you enlist with a provider. When it comes to higher-end devices, like Blackberries, you can demand a discount if you have the numbers to back it up. The discount will depend on how many units you need to buy and when you ask in regards to the wireless provider’s sales cycle. If you don’t have an immediate need, collect all the orders for new phones and place them at one time. The volume will drive a better price. Also, ask for phones at the end of the provider’s quarter. They are more amenable to discounted pricing at that point of the year to meet sales goals.

Accessories: Again, this depends on the number of lines you’ll be contracting. It’s not hard to get free accessories such as car chargers and belt clips. Blue Tooths can be discounted but probably not given for free.

Current Pricing: If your company is under an old contract or some amalgam, you may not be eligible for the most current pricing. This doesn’t require any kind of specific action, but it’s worth mentioning. If there is a new pricing program with the provider, if you’re under an old agreement, you may not be eligible for the new pricing until a new contract is in place. Be sure you are up to date with everything to get the best pricing.
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Jazzy Sourcer

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