When it comes time to pick out a Point of Sale system, for your new restaurant or retail shop, there are dozens and dozens of options. Just a quick online search will show you an overwhelming amount. On the surface, most of these national brands like Square, Clove, Toast, etc., look like a great deal. They often offer free hardware for just signing up for a merchant account. But there are some significant drawbacks since these brands take a “Cookie-Cutter” approach to POS systems. Just like your cellphone, you will use and interact with your POS system every day, so it is important to know what you are getting into.
Here are only some of the problems you will get stuck with…
Don’t Get Stuck with “Proprietary” Hardware
When you sign up for a “Cookie-Cutter” Point of Sale system, from a national brand, you are signing into a multi-year contract or receiving “proprietary” POS hardware, or both. Proprietary hardware, like POS computers, printers and cash drawers, have either special programming or a computer chip in them to communicate and work with other hardware that have the same programming or chip. Sometimes this special programming or computer chip is also tied to just one POS software. So if another software is loaded onto a proprietary POS system that all have the same computer chip, it still won’t run. Having “proprietary” hardware means that if something breaks and needs to be replaced, then there is only one place to get a replacement, the company you brought it from. Companies that sell their POS system on “proprietary” hardware will sell the hardware at much higher prices because they know you can’t shop around. If you are getting “free hardware” then that company is adding a fee to the merchant account to cover the cost of the hardware. That just means higher fees that you may or may not be aware of. They also could be selling you refurbished instead of new hardware. Refurbished hardware could be just as good as new, or it could start to have problems and break sooner than expected. If you find yourself with some or all of these unseen proprietary hardware issues, but signed a multi-year contract, you may have to spend big bucks to get out of the contract or threaten legal action. One last downside is if you want to switch to a different POS software, your existing hardware will not be compatible with it. It will only work with the software that was on it when it came to you. Therefore, making you put up with an inadequate POS system rather than taking the hit to move to a better option.
Here is the good news! Total Merchant Supply sells “non-proprietary hardware” that is fully customizable. Need a new printer for your system? A new tablet? Maybe a new touch screen monitor? We have you covered. Checkout our website for a full list of non-proprietary hardware.
Bad Tech Support
The biggest issue with the national brands is that they can not offer local support. These companies all have one head quarters where all of their sales and tech departments operate out of. Odds are their HQ are several states away, possibly on the other side of the country. While a local dealer, like Total Merchant Supply, lives and works in the same city you do. We offer 24/7/365 phone and internet support with a live person. If the issue is more dire, we can even show up in person when something breaks or stops working. That in-person support can also include nights and weekends, providing true 24/7 support. The national brands can only offer 24/7 phone and internet support and not necessarily with a live person. You may get a machine or told to leave a message and someone will contact you back eventually. To try to make up for this lack of support, national brands will go into great detail about the durability and ruggedness of their hardware. The truth is that the hardware they supply is no better or worse than the hardware provided by any local POS dealer. Nothing lasts forever, given enough time and usage every computer and piece of hardware will fail and stop working. As we all know, nothing breaks when it is convenient, like a Monday morning. They always break during a busy Saturday evening rush when orders are flying out the door. There really is some truth behind Murphy’s Law. Still, national brands will try to make it appear like their equipment will never fail, but you’re smarter than that. Shopping locally will give you the “peace of mind” national brands can’t.
No Customization Options
The national brands take a one size fits all approach to all the different POS hardware options available on the market. They may only offer one or two pre-packaged POS hardware options. If these packages don’t have everything you need or contain hardware you won’t use, you’re out of luck. You will have to make do without or spend money on hardware you don’t need. When it comes to hardware options, local dealers are way more flexible. We will take the time to learn about your business’s individual needs and customize a POS solution for you. We can providing a quote on just the hardware you need for your business. When you handpick your POS system from a local dealer, you will pick a combination that works for you. Only you know what you need for your business. The national brands do not.
Avoid the pitfalls of buying a one size fits all “Cookie Cutter” POS system from the national brands. Remember “you get what you pay for” and if the Point of Sale system sounds too good to be true, then it is. Shopping locally for your POS system gives you a number of benefits that national brands just can’t match. If you do decide to go with one of them; you could be in for a rude awakening somewhere down the road.
As always, we are here to help. Let us know if you have any questions.
Total Merchant Supply is a POS Dealer based in NC & SC.