Free Point of Sale

4 Ways Free Point of Sale is Not Free

Everyone enjoys a good bargain, but business owners know there is usually a catch involved. If you are looking into upgrading your point of sale system, you have probably come across multiple offers, especially over the internet, for “free” POS systems. Before you sign the contract, take some time to fully understand what associated costs come with that free point of sale and understand your obligations with the agreement.

Business owners are constantly juggling tasks, leaving little time, energy, or money for much else. Getting roped into an agreement for a free point of sale that comes with fees and charges could hurt a business financially. It is crucial for an owner to read the fine print and get acquainted with what costs are put forth by the payment processing agreement.

Here are four costs to look out for with free point of sale agreements:

1. System Components that Are Not Free:

Make sure you look at what exactly you are getting for free. You could be asked to buy hardware and then get the cloud-based app software for free. Of you could be asked to sign an agreement where you pay for the software, payment processing, support, and service but you get the POS hardware for free. Look at what it includes and make sure you are getting everything you need for your budget. If you are not careful, you may have to purchase additional software with the functionality that your business requires after the fact. Educating yourself on the whole costs that are associated with the various offers will help you in the end to have a clear picture of what your contract will include.

2. Cancellation Fees:

Cancellation fees are another cost that is absolutely necessary to look into when you’re researching a free point of sale option. Say for instance your business needs to grow, you want to add a new location, or your business is closing and the free point of sale does not meet your needs any longer, you may have to cancel it. It is important to know whether there are penalties associated with canceling.

3. Processing Limits and Account Holds:

A good thing to look for in a company that is offering a “free” POS is if they verify credit histories prior to the account approval. If they do not, find out how they handle fraud. A company may have processing limits, put holds on funds after certain amounts for a period of time, or deny a transaction once you have reached your processing limit.

4. Service and System Downtime:

Good technical repair and service is hard to find, especially at any given moment when anything can go wrong. If a POS system needs servicing or goes down, know what service is included and if it will cost extra. When purchasing hardware and dealing with a company that provides an app through the internet, support and service could be two totally different things than what perhaps a local POS reseller may provide. Since service and support are so important, especially to a busy business owner, it is important to know exactly how much of that is included and what else will go out of pocket. If the support and service is limited, it is worth calculating what any period of downtime would cost and how long your business could go with all systems down.

Never let price dictate the POS system that you choose for your business. Don’t let claims of “free” POS lure you into costing your business more time, money, and energy than spending a little more upfront for an overall better deal. Although creating efficiency and processing payments are the big takeaways with POS systems, having the right support and service can ultimately save you money and headache. Finding a system that provides inventory control, scheduling, and loss prevention may be worth the extra bucks than limiting yourself to a “free” POS just to save money.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to look into working with an experienced POS reseller to find the best system for your individual business needs and within your budget. Affordable options are out there, especially ones that deliver on functionality to effectively manage your business. The real bargain is getting everything you need for your price range.

Originally published by Nicole Bryan, January 12th, 2018.


POS System Reports Restaurants

5 POS System Reports Your Restaurant Should Use

With these POS system reports you’ll have the information you need to optimize your restaurant’s performance.

Point-of-sale (POS) systems are a surefire way for any restaurateur to improve the productivity and staff morale at his or her eatery. These systems make it faster for wait staff to take and input orders and easier for the kitchen to see what’s coming in. However, there’s more functionality to POS systems than just day-to-day operations.

Most current POS systems have dozens of built-in reports that can be customized and pulled at will. If you’re new to POS system reports, it can be difficult to figure out which reports you need and which ones you can skip. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to restaurant reporting, there are a few categories that are useful for nearly all restaurant owners.

These are five of the most broadly used and universally functional POS system reports you should be pulling monthly.

Sales reports

Even basic POS system reports are able to give you an output of numbers as well as visuals, such as graphs and pie charts. Sales reports usually reflect the number of sales and the value of those sales as well as basic stats like the mean, median and mode of sales. POS systems allow users to pull sales reports on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Daily sales reports can be helpful for entrepreneurs with new or struggling restaurants, while more experienced restaurateurs typically rely on monthly, quarterly and yearly reports. Comparing annual sales reports from different years can give small business owners a sense of how their restaurants are progressing and help them identify seasonal trends.

Inventory reports

A surprising number of restaurateurs, especially those new to the business, don’t bother pulling inventory reports. They operate under the assumption that everything is fine so long as sales outpace costs, but there’s always room for optimization. Inventory reports are vital for making sure costs are being maintained. Without pulling regular inventory reports, restaurants open themselves up to higher levels of employee theft as well as greater instances of running out of vital items. When restaurants regularly cut menu items because of poor stock planning, it reflects poorly on them, and customers are less likely to return. Inventory issues can also result in disgruntled employees. Running out of basic items, whether they’re menu items or dry goods, makes everyone’s jobs extremely stressful, and a stressed-out staff cannot deliver quality customer service.

Product mix and menu reports

General sales reports give you a good picture of your restaurant’s overall success, stagnancy or failure, but they won’t show you exactly what’s selling and what isn’t. Product mix reports and menu reports allow restaurant owners to track sales by time and item. So, you can set the parameters and find out exactly what sells best and worst for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can do comparisons based on weekend dinner versus weeknight dinner; most reports also allow you to designate specific date ranges, so you can pull reports based on seasonality as well. This type of itemized data is helpful for restaurant owners who might otherwise rely on anecdotal feedback from chefs and wait staff to determine which menu items are popular. The more you know about what your customers want, the easier it is to cater to their needs.

Exception reports

Sales exception reports show you every void, refund, gift certificate-covered purchase and discount your staff has issued over a selected date range. This information can help you identify staff members who may need more training, but it can also be a helpful tool for loss prevention. One of the biggest obstacles restaurant owners face is their staff giving unapproved discounts to friends or giving large discounts to regulars in exchange for inflated tips. While many restaurant owners allow their wait staff to give out a specified number of discounts per night, without any oversight, this type of customer service can cost you thousands of dollars a week. Exception reports help you maintain quality customer service while minimizing costly preferential treatment of staff friends and regulars.

Labor reports

Also known as employee reports, labor reports provide insight into the efficacy of your staff and illuminate weak links. Labor reports often allow you to see the percentage cost breakdowns of different departments (front of house versus back of house) as well as by individual. You can measure productivity by viewing how many sales each wait staff member is responsible for or how many orders different kitchen staff members are fulfilling, which can be helpful when you need to promote someone to manager, cut off a weak link, or tell the difference between personal staff arguments that have nothing to do with work and valid complaints about someone not pulling their weight.

Bottom line

Not every POS system has the same reporting functionality, but most modern systems have at least a few general reports. Before you purchase a POS system, you should find out what the reporting capabilities are to make sure they suit your needs. If you run a niche restaurant with unique needs, you may want to inquire about custom reporting options. Some POS systems come with software that allows you to custom-create a variety of reports.

Original article was published on by Mona Bushnell.

POS Machines - Why They Are Used Everywhere

POS Machines: Reasons Why They Are Used Everywhere

When it comes to retail business, using good POS machines (aka, point of sale systems) can be a major asset.

If you’re someone who’s running a physical store and sells a lot of products that you can’t mentally keep a track of, you should get POS machines. Even if you think that you can keep track of your business records manually, you’d still do better with a POS machine.

The bottomline is—you’re going to be surprised to know how much it can be of help.

What Are A POS Machines?

Point Of Sale or Point Of Purchase is a the place and time where a transaction gets completed in retail stores.

A POS system combines software and hardware to help merchants simplify their daily business activities and receive transactions.

There are many POS softwares that are available today, that can help you boost your business. A POS machine is one that lets the person swipe, insert, or enter the debit/credit card details to transfer funds to the merchant. POS systems are increasing in number in all brick and mortar stores. Read on to find why.

Reasons Why POS Machines Are Used Everywhere

Removes Human Error

If you’re business activities and records are handled manually, it’s then open to human errors. You might think that a small error won’t bring down your business, but a small error margin of 1% could cause you losses of hundreds to thousands a year.

POS machines provide business with no chance of error by keeping track of transaction records, and it also helps you to bottomline figures.

Reduces Your Losses

It is sad to know that often a business’s losses occur due to theft by their own employees. Employees know how the system works, and they can exploit and cover it up easily. Using a POS machine is an advantage because it keeps track of the entire product life cycle—right from buying from a supplier to selling to a customer.

This data is crucial because you can use it to keep track of your losses. You can find out where your losses occur, and then plug the holes. Doing so could save you two fold.

Faster Checkout

Using a POS machine can significantly speed up your checkout process. The process is even faster with barcode scanning. This in turn makes the customers happy because they don’t have to wait in large queues to buy their stuff. It also allows you to record more data at the checkout counter, which can be used to find which products sell the most, loyal clientele etc.

Increase Efficiency

When you’re making records of your inventory and what you’ve sold, there might be some discrepancies. Sometimes you might forgot the number of items in your inventory. This is where a POS machine comes in. A POS system sends information directly into your inventory, you don’t need to keep checking for any discrepancies between the items you’ve sold and your inventory.

Know What Product Sells Best

Every business person is keen to know what products sell best. Keeping track of sales records manually is a tedious process. But, sales reports generated by POS machine helps you analyze your sales reports in detail. Using a POS can help you determine who is the top salesperson in the team, what products sell best, what market strategies are best for the business etc.

Using POS Machines

Using POS systems provides you with the ability to accept credit and debit cards from your customers in the store. This means that you can your products on the go wherever your customers are.

The seamless integration makes it easy for a business to sell products and accept payments hasslefree, and while doing so it automatically updates your orders, customer data, and inventory.

By using POS machines you can:

  • Use your own credit or debit terminal: You can use your own external credit card terminal and track payment details.
  • Split tenders: With a POS you can accept two or more payment types in a single transaction. For instance you can use both card and cash, or multiple cards.
  • Selling gift cards: Sell gift cards that can be redeemed in store. You can print gift cards using your receipt printer.
  • Store credit: In the case of refund, you can provide store credit instead of the payment method used.
  • Custom payment methods: You can use custom payment methods of your choice like gold coins, cheque etc.

Original article published on Times Square Chronicles, October 18th, 2017.