Eight more days until California’s hands-free driving law goes into effect. If you’ve been too cheap to buy a headset, you have two options: Stop talking on your cell phone while driving or visit FreeHeadset.org and get one mailed to you for $3.94 to cover shipping.
The site offers wired headsets for a ton of different cell phones, which is great because cell phones are so proprietary that there is no one-size-fits-all headset. FreeHeadest also offers a Bluetooth headset from Motorola but that will cost you $27 (still, a pretty good deal for Bluetooth).
Matt MacAdams, who started the San Diego site in 2003, said he buys all the headsets directly from Motorola, Nokia and other cell phone companies. He buys in bulk, so he gets a major discount. By charging a little more in shipping — $3.94 per headset — the company is able to break even. Yes, wired headsets are that cheap.
Headsets are shipped first-class mail on the day of the order, unless there’s a sudden surge in orders. That’s because FreeHeadset is just MacAdams, whose day job is to write code for a “very large cell phone company.” Plus, he gets help from a few friends who volunteer their time. When the New York Times wrote about the company in 2004, they got so many orders, it took about two weeks to catch up. Customers should get their order within 2 to 5 days.
MacAdams considers FreeHeadset more of a hobby. He started it after witnessing a horrific traffic accident where a driver plowed through an intersection and killed a mother. He later learned the driver was distracted with his cell phone and he couldn’t help but think that the death could have been avoided with a $3 headset. So, he started FreeHeadset.org. He thought about applying for non-profit status, but there was too much paperwork.
Expanding into a business he could make a living on would mean raising prices and that would ruin the whole free concept, he said.
“It gives you a good feeling to be non-profit,” he said.
**Check out the rest of the Gadgetress Blog, offering news and tips on saving money through technology. **