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«Return to Blog List Why I’m abandoning a land line altogether: bye bye Qwest!

At the end of June, I’ll be abandoning Qwest service entirely, saving about $56/month on phone service. Not that $56/month is outrageous; it’s actually a good bit less than what I pay Tmobile every month, although there really is no comparison between what I can do on my Tmobile-powered Android and what I can do with the land line, which has become pretty useless. And $56 is way too much to pay for useless.

I used to think it was important to have a land line because along with it came a Yellow Pages listing. But in the past 2 years, I’ve logged the calls coming in on the land line. The average number of calls I’ve gotten on the land line each month during that period is between 15-16. Three of those are typically from two long-standing clients who seem to prefer that number to my cell phone (Marcie, Ted: call me on my cell!). About every 3-4 months I get a call from a new prospective client, indicating they found me in the Yellow Pages. At least 80% of those want me to fix a broken down website their nephew built for them in 2002, or something equally unattractive or unrewarding (I’ve learned the magic phrase that makes them go away: “we’re not the right people for that”). During the two years, I have not acquired a single new client who first contacted me on my land line or who first saw my Yellow Pages ad and then contacted me by other means.

By contrast, during that period I’ve acquired approximately a dozen new clients who contacted me at someone’s recommendation, who found me in a web search, or who became acquainted with me via social media. Monthly cost for those? $0. Math is not my strong suit, but even I can figure out that, in comparison, the Yellow Pages ad is not very cost-effective.

And the other 12-13 calls per month? People from India selling offshore programming and “web designing” services (why do always say “web designing” and not “web design?”). No kidding. I guess in India they assume web developers here are so busy that we need a lot of help, because they call and they call and they call. I understand they’re just trying to make a living, but I do get tired of telling them I’m not interested.

The other reason I have held onto my land line is so I can have a fax machine. But I realized recently that I have not needed a fax machine in more than a year, and probably could have emailed a scanned document saved as a pdf in its place. Faxing has become outmoded as a means of communication. It’s time to dump the fax machine and move on.

I’m looking forward to being done with Qwest. I expect it will feel a bit like it felt when I was able to replace Microsoft Office for Mac with Open Office: lighter, more flexible. And $56/month more in my pocket. And I can live without explaining several times a month that I don’t need web designing services.

Update 6/16/2011: This did not factor into my decision, but when I called Qwest to cancel as of July 1, I was able to reserve the land line number for one year for $65, during which time a phone message directing callers to my cell phone number will be played (I expect that means I will continue to hear from programmers in India, sigh…). If I decide I made a mistake during that 12-month period, I can have the land line restarted. It’s nice to have the fallback option, though I don’t foresee using it.

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5 Responses to Why I’m abandoning a land line altogether: bye bye Qwest!

  1. Ray, I’ve been very happy with the FaxIt Nice service out of San Francisco… They are a pay-as-you-go efax provider, so costs are really low if you don’t use it, but you do get a permanent toll free fax number to boot. That way on the off chance it’s easier for someone to use a fax machine to contact you, it still shows up in your email as a pdf.


  2. Ray Gulick says:

    Jayla – I’m not “blaming Qwest” for anything. I’m simply recognizing that a land line and the accompanying yellow pages ad are (were) next to useless as business tools. And yes, I dropped the yellow pages ad.

  3. Jayla says:

    So you’re blaming Qwest because you aren’t getting results from the Yellow Pages? How is that Qwest’s fault? I’m not saying don’t drop them, but while you’re at it, drop the pricey Yellow Pages ad along with it!

  4. Ray Gulick says:

    William – I use “we’re not the right people…” only when there is no way I would consider doing what they’re asking, under any conditions I can conceive. It keeps me from saying something rude.

  5. William says:

    We got rid of our landline at home a year or two ago. One drawback — and only one — is that unless you keep your cell phone with you, you probably won’t hear it ringing. The nice thing about a landline is the house phone — when someone is calling, you know it, no matter which room you’re in.

    And thanks for the very smart “we’re not the right people for that.” It’s a nice way to say no.

    However, I’ve been using something else for the last year or two. “Yes, if…”

    I heard this from Newt Gingrich of all people.

    The concept is this — never say no. Say yes if… Just tell them what it would take for you to say yes. State your terms.

    Here is an example of how it applies to me. I’m a photographer who does NOT shoot weddings. People make this request of me on a regular basis, and are often unwilling to take no for an answer.

    So then my answer is yes, if…

    Ray, PM me if you’d like to know how I finish this sentence!