Long delays, lost jobs, construction errors from manufacturer's questions- all can result from inefficient communication. But today, a variety of portable electronic communication tools are available to help you save time and money and better serve your customers. These include many types of cellular phones, pagers, two-way radios, fax machines, and laptop computers.

Have Office, Will Travel
A mobile phone is like a traveling office. Time spent traveling between jobsites can be used to coordinate jobs, schedule work, handle routine management functions, and answer questions. Most cellular phone service plans offer customers options such as voice mail, call-forwarding, call-waiting, and three-way conference calling. Recent advances in technology have increased reception and lowered prices for cellular phones. When you have a mobile phone, a portable fax machine tied into it can further enhance communication. Material orders can be faxed in order to avoid misunderstandings. Some contractors fax a map to the delivery site along with material orders. Another valuable use of fax machines is that detailed drawings can be sent to clarify confusing information, and greatly increase efficiency.

Two-Way Radios vs. Cellular Phones
Two-way radios have an advantage over cellular phones in certain areas. Contractor Sam McGee explains, "When privacy isn't important, two-way radios have an advantage over cellular phones: Since everyone who has a radio hears every conversation, someone you hadn't thought of might have the answer to your question or problem." Two-way radios are much less expensive to use than cellular phones, though the initial investment in hardware is substantially higher.