The Inside Scoop on Retail POS System Prices
How much does a point of sale system cost? And what if you run into something that’s free? We put these questions and more to buying expert Donna Crichlow to help us understand POS system costs and prices.
And yes, if you do encounter a “free” offer, definitely take the time to look the gift horse in the mouth.
Generally speaking, how much does a POS system cost and how will it vary according to key features a company will typically choose?
PC-based POS systems can start for as little as $1000 per lane and go up depending on feature sets. Some SaaS offerings can start even lower.
How is it that some companies can offer POS systems for so much less than others? We’ve heard of even free POS systems being offered.
Features and level of service determine price. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can buy a system from an online distributor and save considerable money.
Nothing is free, though. It’s only packaged that way in some instances to give the illusion of a free system.
For example, one company may give away a free POS system… if you sign a 5 year contract at $80 per month, AND you use their credit card processing services. This POS system, if purchased up front, would probably cost around $3000, but over 5 years, it costs $4800.
So what is included in the $1800 upcharge…support and updates for 5 years? Or is this just an interest payment? What is the cost to break free from the contract if you are dissatisfied with POS system, or the rates you are paying for credit card processing?
Also, who owns the equipment at the end of the 5 years, or do you have to re-sign for another 5 years. These are important questions one must ask when considering a freebie.
What should I consider to make sure I make an apples to apples comparison?
Total cost of ownership, including support, upgrades and updates (and what is the average amount of time between new versions). Not to sound like a broken record, but make sure to ask yourself: what level of service and support do I need, and how much will that cost me with each proposed system?
Is buying my only option for a POS system? Can I lease or rent them?
Some companies only do the purchase option, while others offer leases as well. Some companies will offer rental as well and, in some cases, prefer to offer their systems that way, as it promotes a steady revenue stream for the POS provider, as well a stronger provide-end user engagement over the term of the engagement.
Any creative financing options POS system buyers should be wary of?
Many credit card companies are getting into the total POS solution game, offering a leases, and rental on the POS system in return for a contract on credit card processing.
An example pitch here is, “If we save you $200 a month in credit card processing fees, and your proposed lease payment for a POS system is $180 per month, then you are essentially getting a free POS system, and then some.”
Again, a contract is required for this type of deal, and the term may vary.