As a small business owner, chances are, you’re running your company on a shoestring budget—and looking for ways to cut the extra fat from your operating budget.
When you run a retail store or restaurant, one of your biggest expenses may be a point of sale system. Unless you choose a cash-only model, you’ve likely considered purchasing a terminal point of sale system that will enable you to track purchases and process credit card transactions. Such systems are extremely pricey—as much as $20,000—and are difficult to modify or upgrade.
However, there’s another option that may look far more palatable: a mobile point of sale system. In contrast to the hardware required for a legacy point of sale system, mobile systems can be installed on smartphones, iPads, and other tablet devices. This option can help save costs for many reasons:
They are generally billed on a monthly subscription plan – While terminal point of sale systems require you to purchase expensive equipment upfront, the majority of mobile point of sale systems offer billing on a month-to-month schedule. Depending on your needs, some systems cost as little as $39 per month to operate.
Low Initial Outlay
There are few associated hardware costs – Terminal systems require you to purchase expensive equipment upfront, but for mobile point of sale systems, there are few hardware costs. You’ll need a smartphone or tablet to run the app, and may need to purchase a credit card reader, but some providers, including GoPayment, Square, and Instore, offer the readers free of charge.
They are automatically upgraded with the latest software – While you may need to call a specialist for assistance upgrading a terminal point of sale system—or simply replace the system altogether—mobile point of sale systems are cloud-based, and are automatically upgraded with the latest software and technology.
They can incorporate newer models of payment – In contrast to terminal systems, which can only process credit cards and gift cards, mobile payments systems are able to incorporate newer payment channels, which often have lower associated fees than credit cards. For example, such systems can enable payment through Dwolla, an online payment method that charges just $0.25 per transaction, or nothing for transactions under $10, in contrast to the 3 percent or more typically charged by credit card processors.
Less time is spent training employees – Every hour that your employees spend in training is one less hour that they’re not performing essential business functions like ringing up sales. With terminal systems, it can take weeks to get employees up to speed on the technology, but small business owners using iPad cash registers 15 minutes may be all it takes.
As you move into the world of accepting credit cards, investigate all the options. You may find that mobile system is right for your business.