International calls can break the bank. But when you're setting up a branch office overseas, evaluating new vendors, or hiring foreign reps, what can you do to ease the pain? One way around prohibitive bills is to use an overseas callback service. Because it completely bypasses the local country's phone company, it can save you as much as half the cost of overseas calls.

Karen Hammons, president of Parker Golf International, a wholesaler of customized golf services in Magnolia, Miss., found out about the service from an Internet mailing list she subscribes to. Hammons uses the service for faxes and phone calls, and she pays only 32¢ per minute to call Australia, for example, instead of 62¢ for dialing direct. To use the service, she dials a U.S. number and hangs up. Shortly after, when her phone rings, it's a recording from her overseas service. Hammons dials the overseas number and is connected immediately.

Before Hammons started using the service, Parker Golf's monthly phone bills climbed as high as $800. Now the bill is two-thirds that. And Hammons is also using a third-party service for her broadcast faxes. "I like to use services. That leaves us to focus on our core business and let other people do what they do best. We save money in the long term, considering our time."