Amanda Layton
February 12th, 2015 — Posted by Amanda Layton
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For many small businesses, cheap or completely free POS software can sound like a good idea at the time. But as with all other things labelled ‘free’, there is reason to be suspicious. Free POS software has the potential to drain more cash from your business than paid versions and cost you a lot of valuable time. Find out why NOT to use free POS software.

5 Reasons not to use free POS software

 

 

If we’re being completely honest, not all free POS software is necessarily low quality and there may be some decent solutions out there for small businesses (if you’ve got the time to try them all). However, the fact of the matter is that these often heavily advertised ‘free’ options are designed to cost you money somewhere along the line.

We’ve put together the five reasons why your business shouldn’t use free POS software. Read this before you invest your time and money!

1.     Free POS software will not grow with your business

Not without costing you, anyway. As we’ve written before, choosing a scalable POS system is vital to growing businesses. You may not need more advanced functionality now, but when you take on new employees, open a second location, or require a customised report, you may be wishing you didn’t choose a free POS solution. As you require more functionality, you’ll discover that most freebie software either doesn’t have the features to give, or they do, but they’ll charge you an often unreasonable price to install them.

2.     You will not receive free installation, training, or support

Some free POS solutions may be easy to install without additional help, but the training and support that you would normally receive for free with other companies is going to drain you of some cash. If you don’t have any employees you may figure out things for yourself along the way and discover workarounds that will ‘do’ for now. But as soon as new people come on board, the training for this system is going to be difficult and/or expensive. Add to this the support required if something goes wrong, which it inevitably will one day. Many free solutions only offer a simple help forum on their websites.

3.     Free POS software comes with many surprise fees

As you may have realised by now, ‘free’ doesn’t always mean free when it comes to POS software. We already know about the potential money burner that support and training can be, but there are a bunch of other things you may be charged for, too. These include adding new features, upgrading your plan, exporting certain data, customisation (if offered at all), additional reporting functionality, surprise hardware requirements, and hidden monthly fees, amongst others.

4.     Free POS software offers limited or no customisation

When you pay for a quality POS solution, you become a valued client to a company that cares about providing a good service. This includes the latest and greatest features, as well as helping you customise their system to your business. If you need special reports, these can be set up to run automatically, if you require a special feature, this can be added, too. When your business is running on free POS software you’ll receive no such customisation. Some companies may offer it at a price (often a big one), but many will not even provide the option.

5.     It can be a huge waste of time

On top of all of the other costs, free POS software can cost you a lot of precious time. There is usually a ‘DIY factor’ to these systems and you’ll often find yourself up late at night working on an installation problem or sifting through the online help forums trying to find a solution to something that broke. You may not cost your own time, but this isn’t true of your employees, who will no doubt spend extra time learning a system that comes with no training and spend time figuring out problems when something goes wrong. You may even consider hiring an IT person, as running a POS system with no support usually requires strong technical knowledge.

Summing all of this up, we could even say there’s just one big reason not to choose free POS software: it doesn’t offer a good return on investment. Your business may be small now, but it will grow and this ‘free’ arrangement will be anything but that as you add new features and require support and training.

When choosing a POS system for your business, we would encourage you to make your decision based on your business’s wants and needs. If you find a free or very cheap solution that offers everything you need with no outrageous hidden fees, then that’s great! But most likely you’ll find that the best investments often cost a little bit more at first.

About Author

Amanda Layton
Amanda Layton
Amanda is a digital marketing professional who blogs for PrognoStore. She is from Sydney, Australia and loves to write from exotic locations.
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ovie
1 days ago
Thanks Amanda. Love your posts. We have all tried some free applications in the past, they turned out not to be so good as you would have expected.
Obafemi
1 days ago
I guess as they say 'there's no free lunch even in Freetown'...
Mofe
Today at 10:08
Amanda, you are spot on. Especially installation, training and support. Many of these free POS don't offer these. The features are limited and is a complete waste of time.
Hitesh Chauhan
6 days ago
You can try Mytrendin POS For free which is one of the best free POS software For retailers and grocery stores
damian
Today at 12:05
Free cannot be free when you indeed want to provide lasting value to your teeming clients. The unavailability of basic features in free software will almost render the business comatose. Support issues always arise in any enterprise / cloud software, the cost of business lost during this period will almost be enough to ensure you get a paid enterprise / cloud software.
Hitesh Chauhan
6 days ago
[url=https://www.google.com]Google[/url]
Kwabo
Today at 12:29
Nice article! Great point on customisation - this is an important feature as not all businesses can be lumped into the same box and businesses need to make sure their provider cares to meet their particular needs & requirements.
Simi
30 days ago
Humm, I had not given much thought to the consequences of freebies. Thanks for this Amanda!
Barnaby Holmes
2 days ago
There is one free called eHopper – www.ehopper.com, it's new fast growing POS solution. Currently using for my retail business. Keep in mind that software full-featured. What is covered: inventory, orders management, employees management (tips), simple and understandable reporting. Any additional payments for this customisations. They provide with technical support. I am happy for now.