How much does it cost to set up a Point of Sale (POS) system for your business? If you run or manage a retail business, such as a restaurant, where you accept cash or card payments, you will likely need a reliable point-of-sale system.
These systems are valuable and allow you to process payments from customers. Whether it is for a small shop, bar, gas station, restaurant, or other face-to-face business, the costs of a point-of-sale system vary enormously between merchants. The costs of a POS system also vary depending on several factors such as the type and size of the business, the features required, and the level of customization needed.
So, how much does a point-of-sale system cost? Fortunately, gone are the days when traditional POS systems cost an arm and leg.
You will be pleased to know that the emergence of modern cloud-based solutions makes them more economical and cost-efficient. However, each POS software solution is priced differently with various pricing models, packages, and inclusions.
Modern POS Systems
The best POS systems boast a plethora of features and are much more than simple cash registers. Yes, these systems can process customer orders and accept payments. However, some systems have evolved to the point that they have become invaluable multi-functional hubs for businesses across many types of industries, such as retail and hospitality.
The dynamic and quickly-evolving POS platforms can now offer a wide range of functionalities and features to meet your needs — everything from employee management and customer relationship management to inventory management and menu creation.
There are specific equipment, electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) software, and card payments to consider, some with ongoing fees. Let’s take a look at upfront hardware purchases and ongoing costs that add up to the total price of a POS system.
POS Software Pricing Models
A point-of-sale system has two main components: hardware and software. In most cases, you will have to ensure compatibility between hardware and software. Some POS vendors market and sell software with hardware kits sold either separately or in bundles.
On the other hand, some vendors provide software that’s compatible with a wide and diverse array of hardware equipment. This means that you can use the existing hardware or purchase what you prefer.
Point-of-sale system costs vary considerably by industry and can go from $0 to more than $300 a month, with setup fees ranging from $0 to more than $10,000 depending on your POS hardware needs and preferences.
To get a better idea and make the right decision, here are the basics of the point-of-sale software pricing models:
The basic hardware setup comprises a combination of a tablet, PC, cash register, receipt printer, and barcode scanner. When you’re getting started, this will likely be a substantial expenditure. Fortunately, many modern POS systems these days are more lightweight and considerably more affordable than traditional POS systems.
In one station, the total cost of hardware can vary significantly from $500 up to $3,000. However, if you already own a dedicated tablet or desktop, you will only have to add other basic components like a cash drawer, credit card scanner, and receipt printer.
You may know that many software providers have transitioned to cloud technology in the last few years. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 POS Software Trends Report, about 61 percent of the respondents stated that they would like to invest in a cloud-based POS system.
Most point-of-sale software platforms usually have a monthly or yearly fee, as well as multiple subscription tiers at various price points. Keep in mind that pricier software plans usually come with more advanced and sophisticated features.
Although it is a major upfront cost, some buyers choose to acquire a software license rather than going for monthly or yearly subscriptions. Many software vendors charge an upgrade fee that will add up when you would like to upgrade the software to its latest version.
Many cloud-based models provide monthly payment options, which make POS systems accessible to startups and small businesses because of their low cost. The price of packages depends on the features you need and the number of users.
Point-of-sale systems may also charge for extra features, customer support, and setup assistance. Some also offer transaction-based pricing where you will have to pay for each transaction you process. You also have to consider credit card fees.
Types of POS Systems
Generally, there are two main types of POS systems: traditional on-premise systems and cloud-based systems.
As the name indicates, an on-premise POS system is a network of computers or terminals that are located and connected at your business premises.
If you are using a traditional on-premise POS system, you will have to purchase hardware and software licenses upfront, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the system. Additionally, there may be ongoing fees for maintenance, software updates, and support.
Unlike an on-premise POS system, a cloud-based POS runs in the cloud, or on a remote online server that requires an internet connection. Cloud-based POS systems typically charge a monthly subscription fee.
The cost of a cloud-based POS system can vary depending on the number of users, the features required, and the level of support provided. For example, a basic cloud-based POS system may cost around $50 a month per user. On the other hand, more advanced systems can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month.
While on-premise systems require proprietary hardware or a computer as a terminal, cloud-based point-of-sale software usually runs on a tablet, such as an Android device or iPad. And since a cloud-based system requires less setup, it usually costs less to implement the software and hardware, with costs ranging from $50 to $100 per month as well as a one-time set-up fee that ranges from $1,000 to $1,500.
POS System Costs by Industry
There is no doubt that different industries, such as hospitality, place different and unique demands on their POS systems. Hospitality and restaurant businesses, for instance, usually need to help customers split bills or offer takeaway orders.
On the other hand, traditional retail businesses require effortless and quick checkouts with dependable and unique inventory features.
Retail POS systems typically cost between $1,200 and $5,000, depending on the size of the store and the features required. Additional costs may include hardware, software licensing, and ongoing maintenance fees.
Restaurant POS systems may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the number of terminals required, the complexity of the restaurant menu, and the level of customization needed.
POS systems for hotels, resorts, and other hospitality businesses can cost between $5,000 and $50,000, depending on the size of the property and the level of integration required with other systems such as inventory management and accounting.
Factors that Affect the Cost of POS Systems
Size of Your Business
Whether you run a small retail shop or a considerably larger business with multiple locations, the size of your business will considerably affect the price of your POS solution. This is because, under most POS system agreements, each additional register or location will carry an additional cost.
The number and type of features you choose will directly impact the total cost of your POS system. While many POS systems provide an analytics feature that displays crucial data, some are more advanced and complex than others.
Do you need mobile payment options and registers? Perhaps, you need unmatched inventory management. The more comprehensive your needs and requirements, the more you will have to pay.
Highly-regulated products, such as tobacco, and CBD are considered high-risk. Note that many POS brands and providers do not support high-risk businesses. As a result, your POS options may be limited from the outset. However, systems that support high-risk businesses aren’t always more expensive.
Avoiding Hidden Fees
An offer of a free POS system may seem like a deal that is too good to pass up, it may cost a merchant or business owner plenty over the life of the product. There could be hidden fees and high credit card processing costs.
Many free POS systems come with terms and conditions that will lock you into their own payment processing service and associated merchant fees. This allows them to recoup the costs of offering the POS system at no cost.
In this case, research other payment providers and determine whether merchant fees are reasonable and comparative. For starters, to avoid hidden fees, read the fine print before finalizing any deal.
How much does a point-of-sale system cost? The price can vary considerably depending on many factors. Some businesses may pay $3,000 per year while others will have to shell out more than $10,000 depending on their size, the industry, and hardware requirements.
However, there is a lot of flexibility and many options that make it simple to find a solution that works for your unique business needs and is within your budget. It’s best to sign up for a free trial to check out a system’s features at no cost before choosing a plan and making a purchase.