First, ask about your coverage area. Where can your phone be used? Is the service local, regional or national? Compare that to your needs. What are the additional charges, if any, for roaming? Don't pay for what you don't need.

What about the equipment? Is size a factor? Generally, the smaller the phone, the shorter the talk time between recharges.

Is the sound quality consistent throughout the country? Some phones sound great locally but weaken when roaming in certain areas.

Finally, examine the service contract. Look for the best combination of air time, monthly fee, additional-minute charges and contract length.

Excerpted fromGet Smart: 365 Tips To Boost Your Entrepreneurial IQ