Costs for POS Systems

Most POS systems are sold by vendors who are able to implement the complete system: software installation, programming, hardware setup, maintenance, and even employee training and merchant services. Many businesses experience “sticker shock” after learning that POS software, compatible hardware, and programming costs can run upwards of $10,000.  It is important to remember that a POS system is an investment- in most cases you really do get what you pay for. 

A good POS system will make your employees more efficient (saving on payroll), make record keeping easier (saving on administrative costs), and make your customers happier (resulting in more sales).  Conversely, a cheaper but poorly implemented or poorly customized POS system will actually cost your business money.  Many businesses have made the mistake of purchasing a one-size-fits all system only to find out how difficult it is to program, and end up not using the system at all.  If your system is confusing, it might cost employee time and resources.  Systems that are not accurate can result in record keeping mistakes, which can be disastrous if you are ever audited or if you file an error-ridden tax return. All of these theoretical costs are important to consider in addition to the sticker price of the system.

Some other important costs to consider:

Equipment- At minimum, POS systems require a separate computer on which to run the system, which will usually cost less than $1,000.  Keyboards, scanners, and equipment for credit card processing.  All vary in cost depending on the model and number purchased. 

Maintenance and service- Some vendors provide maintenance or warranties as part of the initial purchase.  Pre-paying for maintenance or purchasing a warranty is a good way to save on these peripheral costs. 

Employee training- No matter what system you implement, you’ll have to spend time and money training your employees.  A vendor can offer these services will be able to help employees understand how to use the system efficiently.

Compatibility with existing merchant services: Most POS systems allow credit card processing at the POS terminal, and can be linked to an existing merchant account.  There may be costs associated with switching to a different account provider if the POS system you wish to use is not compatible with your current system.

Upgrades- As your business grows, you may want to expand your POS system to encompass new product offerings, create a customer database, or allow for additional discounts for frequent clients.  All of these programs will require specific changes to your existing system.  Some systems can support such changes easily, others might require additional time or payment.  Make sure that the system you choose will be able to accommodate the needs of your business in the future. 

The actual setup cost of a POS system depends on your business.  Your sales volume, the hardware you will require, and the complexity of your transactions should all be factors when making a decision.

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