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Radio vs cell phone

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BC Handyman, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    I ask what is a better idea to have/get for my business. I want to be able to contact my crews using my equipment so there is no excuses about my phone is dead, off, forgot at home, ect. Nor do I want to feel I'm using up the employees minutes.
    What I need is 3 or 4 radios or cell phones so each crew manager can have one so I can get them when I need to tell them something or want an update, as well as they can ask me if they or a customer needs something.
    So what do you think is the better route to take?
    prepaid cell phone or 2 way radio setup.
    I know 2 way setup aint cheap so I was thinking of buying $50 prepay cell phones that are picked up & dropped off at work. if a guy runs off with it I can get phone deactivated. 1 Prob with cell route is the $ I'd need to fork over every month for phone cards. I'm thinking prepay is better so I cant get any big surprise bills. Thoughts?
     
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,974

    Just outta wonder why are you supplying the phones?
    Don't the employees have there own?
    Maybe just offer the employees a couple bucks a month for the usage.
     
  3. mike6256

    mike6256 Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    I have radios on the list for this year, but as you stated way more $$$ and you need a reliable frequency to use. We are fortunate that one of our customers has frequencies they offered us to use. The phone ideas sounds pretty good, its just little easier to talk on a radio while plowing IMO.
     
  4. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    Yes most have one but it's because I hear "I forgot my phone" or "I gorgot to charge it" way to offten, if I just give them some money who knows how much if any goes towards thier phone.

    Yes plowing would be easier, I think radios look more pro as well, I never thought about the frequency thing, I live in a smallish city so I assume there would be a channel/feq for me to use. Plus I dont want to deal with installing and reinstalling radios everytime I get a diff or new truck. Also if I go radio route I'd want something that guys can have on them, not just in truck.

    I think I'm talking myself into a few new cell phones. I know the deal if I go phone route, But radios I've never personaly owned, is there anything I should know about 2 way radios that maybe I dont but should?
     
  5. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,974

    Well. If your gunna give them hand held radios then you'll get the same replies. Left it ________ forgot it.
    Phones are there's and they show ownership towards them.
     
  6. hansenslawncare

    hansenslawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    What about CB's?
     
  7. Liberty LLC

    Liberty LLC Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 60

    CBs aren't supposed to be used for business. Radios distance is an issue as well cost of radio. Cost of using the frequency it costs about 15k around here and the range is about 10 miles.
     
  8. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    15K yikes!!! must be alot of alot of people wanting radio freq, I think pay & talk cell phones are the best answer for me. one prob with phones is it's illegal to talk & drive, where as a radio is allowed. Hope I can find cheap phones with good speakerphone.
     
  9. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,974

    So how are you going to limit the use of the phones? If you do a prepaid phone with X minutes, and the employee uses it for personal and uses up the minutes before a storm then what's the option?
     
  10. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    if they use it all up for personal then they catch heck from me, what I can do is put each phone on a prepaid plan. So say i put $20 on each phone each month, with that $20 I can buy $5 text plan(100 texts) and $15 calling plan(30 min or.20/min) so if they use up the 30 min it cuts them off, they would have to pick up & leave phone at shop/work. I can track what amount of minutes they using on the phone co website to see if they using it for personal calls. Texts I cant track though.
     
  11. Grassman09

    Grassman09 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,806

    You live in B.C. and have big bad telus why not use the Mike system? If you need a bunch of phones I'm sure they will give you a deal. With the Mike system you have the best of both worlds or you can just have the Push to talk aka direct connect feature. They have some rugged phones that can be dropped get water and snow on them no problems.

    I used to use that but found it was not working too well here anymore. Most guys that worked for me have BB's or I phones.

    The walkie talkies that Home Depot Cdn Tire and places sell now go up to 60km I think I saw. No cost for air time or frequency just batteries.

    Motorolla I686 phone. You can prob get them cheap off ebay from the USA. I always have. I have a few of the older mike phones i580s and blackberrys. They also work off the network as just walkie talkies what they call talk around, however range is a issue with that function.

    https://businessmobility.telus.com/shop/en/BC/business/phone-detail/Mike_Phones/Mike_i686/I686


    [​IMG]
     
  12. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Each truck and tractor even the ATV has a radio Sidewalk guy has hand held business band
    Now installing one in my new Skid Distance I get over 40 miles
    Always use a the Cell phone for back up
     
  13. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    Ya I got a few of those walkies, good motorola ones I payed good $ for. They are ones that are 40km they claim, but if anything is in between they dont work. Really I'd say they good for a few blocks at most. They only good for a large site type job. I did look into mikes, but greedy telus wants way to much for the phones & want a monthly minumum as well as telus cant guarentee I wont get a surprise bill from an unruly worker.
     
  14. MatthewG

    MatthewG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    Im going through the same thing, with 15 or more guys working for me and trucks and skids, I need radios. The cell phone thing sucks, always digging in my pocket and then having to dial. PLus id like everyone to hear what is going on at the same time.
     
  15. Grassman09

    Grassman09 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,806

    Oh they still say line of sight eh? Well if you just have direct connect on the phone no cell service you should be good. Maybe just cell phone service on the ones you trust? I know that's hard to do lol.
     
  16. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Radio is high to get started but in long run its better I use to run CB radios and they work if you find nice channel run on But I like the business band better its my own channel I have 13radios and 6 hand helds 2 base radios
     
  17. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    I have the 2-way radios in just about everything I have. Including skid steers and mini excavator. I would be lost with out them. We have cell phones too but the radios always work even during bigstorms where the power goes out along with the cell phones occasionaly. To me they are far better because the majority of the conversations you have when plowing range from about a 2 second reply to a 15 second question. It takes less time to have the whole conversation on the radio than it does to dial someone on a cell phone. The other thing that is great is that when one guy asks a question and gets an answer, everyone else hears it too. Usually it saves a few phone calls. For me and my operation they are invaluable.
     
  18. MatthewG

    MatthewG PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    What type or model are you using
     
  19. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    Mostly Motorolla & Kenwood. We have our own frequency and no repeater. We can get a good 10-15 mile radius out of them sometimes less in really heavy snow but with 12 trucks on the road we can usually relay messages if we have to. The new Kenwood multi channel units run about $850 if I remember correctly.

    If you are interested in them I would suggest checking with your local PD, FD or HD or some other outfit that uses radios like that and ask them who does their work and start there.
     
  20. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,863

    It would cost me a few g's with 1 base, 3 units & 2 handhelds & a freq I can use & that the cheaper end, with distance I need it be prob be over 5k. No thanks, for the extra few hrs it takes over a few years of calling, a lost or broke phone or 2, I'll be way cheaper to go a cell phone route.